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?
FIND AN AGENCY
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)
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.
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!
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
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.
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: