Au Pair

How to get an Au Pair job

They say jobs fill your pocket, but adventure fills your soul. Now imagine if you can have both. Earning money while travelling the world used to be a dream reserved for the lucky few. However, anyone can work and live abroad whether or not you have the means in today’s world. You don’t even need to have any professional qualifications. If you love travelling, experiencing new cultures or you simply want to enhance your CV, you should consider becoming an au pair.

An au pair is a young adult who travels to another country to live with a host family for a period of time and help them with childcare and light housework. In return for the help, the host family provides free accommodation, food and compensation.  By becoming an au pair, you can fulfill your wanderlust dreams without having to break the bank. Some of the best countries to become an au pair include:

  • Canada
  • US
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • China
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland 
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland 
  • Turkey

Requirements to become an au pair

There are certain requirements that you need to meet to become an au pair. The requirements are pretty simple and similar for most programs. Here are some boxes you need to check before becoming an au pair:

  • A valid passport and visa – to travel abroad, you need a valid passport and visa. Make sure that you’re eligible for a visa in the country of your choice.
  • At least 18 years old and not older than 30 years – this can vary depending on the country. For instance, the age requirement for Canada is 18 to 35 years old.
  • A high school education – though most programs don’t require a college or university degree, you need a high school certificate to apply for an au pair job.
  • A solo traveller – you can’t travel with your partner or family for such a job. Some programs require you to be single and without children.
  • Basic to intermediate language skills – you need to be able to communicate with your host family. Most countries speak English but it’s good to learn the local language too. 
  • Criminal background check – The host family needs to ensure that whoever they invite into their home doesn’t have a criminal past for their own safety and the safety of their children.
  • Passion for childcare – the main responsibility you will have as an au pair is taking care of children. Therefore, you need to have a passion for childcare. Some programs require proven childcare experience.

How to apply to be an au pair

Once you have verified that you meet the requirements of becoming an au pair, the next step is to find a family. You need to follow some steps so that you can be part of the au pair experience. There’s a guide of what you need to do:

  • Register on AuPair.com and create a profile – this is the one of the best sites for those interested in becoming an au pair and those looking for au pairs. However, there are other sites that you can use. You need to create an interesting profile to stand out from other participants. Use interesting pictures and videos that showcase your personality. Provide all the required documents so that interested families can verify your qualifications. You can even write a host family letter telling your potential host family more about yourself.
  • Search for a host family – whether you have a travel destination in mind or not, searching for a prospective host family in different countries can help find the right match. You might find a family that you like in a country that you didn’t expect so try to keep an open mind. You can also use the site’s suggestions. Once you see a family you’re interested in, you can add them to your Favourites list. You can also send a request to the family. They will get a notification and can accept or reject your request.
  • Interview with potential hosts – it’s important to talk to shortlisted families to ensure that both parties are on the same page. You will both share your expectations and preferences. The interviews are usually conducted through video call to avoid scammers. If at any point you feel like the family isn’t what you’re looking for, you can decline to work with them. They will be notified of the changes and your profile won’t be available to them. Once you find a family that you like, you can organize another interview to discuss more details like accommodation, salary, payment method and insurance. If you both agree on the details, it’s time to accept the position.
  • Sign the contract – the agreement needs to be formalized to avoid any misunderstandings or conflict in the future. The agreement should contain all the important details that you and your host family agreed on. You can download the template and edit it together. Sign the contract and keep a copy for your visa application and other formalities.
  • Make travel arrangements – keep in mind how long your visa application will take to determine when you’ll arrive at your travel destination. Most programs help with the visa application process which makes it less stressful. Some host families also offer to cover the travel costs and deduct it from your salary. 
  • Prepare for departure – once your visa and passport are ready, it’s time to book a flight and head to your new destination. Before departure, make sure you have your host family’s phone number and physical address, and they have yours. You also need to inform them of your arrival details and transport arrangements from the airport when you arrive. 
  • Settle down in the new country – once you arrive, get to know your new family and environment. Ask your host family about the weekly schedule, household rules, language courses, emergency contacts and internet use. Don’t forget to explore the country. Some of the benefits of being an au pair is gaining new experiences, learning new cultures and meeting new people.