How to Become an Au Pair

Experience a new culture, and get paid!

This summer I lived and worked in France for 2 months! How? I was an Au Pair! Not many Americans do this, but nearly every European girl I met had/was! So how do you become one?

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FIND AN AGENCY

I went through Interexchange who then paired me with a family who used Europair. Please note I am not sponsored by Interexchange. 

I recommend using an agency that will give you support if it is your first time (especially if it is your first time going out of your home country). Interexchange supported me so well, but did so at a price. Each country’s price varies, but through interexchange you will get:

  • Pre-departure support
  • Answers to your questions about living abroad (even before your application is complete)
  • Supportive staff during the application process
  • Resources to learn about children
  • Family matches (to choose from) based on your requests/interests
  • In-country support
  • Entry into a group of other Au Pairs in the same country
  • A T-shirt (woop)
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The girl I took care of and I loved visiting new places

CHOOSE YOUR PROGRAM LENGTH

You can Au Pair for anywhere between 2 months and 2 years! Therefore, becoming one is a great option for both summer breaks and gap years!

Doing a summer program before you graduate gives you a feel for what your gap year might be like if you chose to Au Pair during it.

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One day we ended up at the beach!

CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION

I lived in France, and had minimal amount of French language training (aka none). You can go anywhere in the world, as long as a family there will not mind your lack of language skills. Just PLEASE have an interest in the people, culture, and acquiring the language! This way, we can all represent our prospective countries in positive lights!

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My family (photographed by me) visiting Reims!

APPLY BY THE DEADLINE

When it comes to submitting your application, the earlier you submit, the better. This way, you will have lots of family options!

This being said, it won’t be a breeze. But you can check out my personal application checklist below, which kept me on track and helped me complete my application in a quick and effective manor! (Save it for your personal use!)

  • Get Character References
  • Get Child Care Reference (x2)
  • Complete at least 200 hours of child care
  • Write “Dear Host Family” Letter
  • Diploma (if in High School/not College)
  • Upload your student ID or unofficial transcript.
  • Upload copy of Driver’s License
  • Get Medical Report from Doctor
  • Upload Passport Picture Page Copy (or receipt indicating you’ve applied for one)
  • Make Photo Collage (to express personality to possible families)
  • Get Police Background Check
  • Complete Program Specific Application – Au Pair Application
  • Upload Resume
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Sometimes you will find yourself telling the girls no, they can’t take the kitty home

START YOUR SAVINGS

Being an Au Pair is not something you should look at as an opportunity for a savings account, unless you don’t’ plan to travel where you are. It is more of an experience.

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Multi-tasking: Au Pair Style. Watch fire works AND two little girls!

Your housing, food, and some travel will be included by your host family. Your stipend will average around 90 Euros a week! (through InterExchange)

  • Extra Costs You Should Consider:
    • Plane Flight
    • Travel Insurance
    • New Clothes/Luggage (not needed)
    • Personal Sending Money
    • Visa (if it is required for you country/length of stay)

 

Some More Advice Before Becoming an Au Pair:

SAVING FOR TRAVEL

8 CREATIVE WAYS TO MAKE MONEY FOR TRAVEL

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Save Me On Pinterest!

16 Comments

  1. I know a lot of people who become au pairs to visit the US, one of my closest friends (she’s Polish) worked for a family in Philly for almost two years. I heard all kinds of stories about the program and becoming an au pair- some good, some bad 😉 But it’s definitely a good idea if you want to live in a foreign country for a bit and get to know it and its culture better than you would on a one week vacation. Great post! XO, Konstancja

    1. Thank you for such kinds words!!! Plus, that’s awesome about living in Philly!!!!! I definitely agree- one week would never have shown me the France I know now!!!

  2. I have thought about doing this for so long. This page will be a useful resource, thank you! My main hesitation is that the idea of being responsible for other people’s children makes me nervous. Also what if they hate me?! That would be so stressful. haha.

    I’m glad you had a good experience with it 🙂

    1. I think that you should apply!!! And as long as you are honest on your application, the company will match you specifically with a family who shares the same interests as you!!! So they won’t hate you! And it’s not too scary because it’s not a 24/7 thing and they will tell you exactly what they expect! Go for it!

      1. Thank you! I of course will I also think is such a great experience!!

  3. This was interesting to read! I would not be Au Pair because I’m totally scared of losing or accidentally forgetting the child somewhere. 😀 This however was very useful if I someday dare to try Au Pairing! I totally love your blog by the way. You have written many interesting posts lately 🙂

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