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Becoming An Au Pair

By Charlotte Copeland

Posted: 7th September 2016 09:29

By Charlotte Copeland

The life of an au pair is certainly an exciting one. Simultaneously economical, enriching and diverse, choosing to become an au pair could be the perfect way to amerce yourself in a new and wonderful culture, learn a language, and gain a second family.

What to expect

Traditionally, an au pair will live with their host family for up to a year, helping with child-care and light household chores. Your rent will be paid for, your food will be provided, and you’ll also receive a weekly allowance to spend as you wish. You’ll find that au pair programmes are available all over the world, so whether you’re in Europe, America, Australia or the UK, to name but a few, your working hours may depend on the laws of the country that you choose to live in – but as a rule of thumb, the standard weekly hours for most au pairs will be no more than around 25. While socialising with your new family will be fun and rewarding, there’ll also be other au pairs around your area to travel and spend time with during your time off.

Part of the family

Living close-knit with a new family can seem pretty daunting, so it’s important to know that this isn’t your only option. While some families will have a separate apartment already available (and rent-free) for you to stay in, as a ‘live-out’ au pair, you also have the choice to find your own accommodation – bear in mind that with your own bills to pay, a higher allowance may need to be negotiated with your au pair family. If you ‘live-in’, however, as the majority of au pairs do, you can rest assured that everything will be done to make you feel comfortable and welcome, and after a few weeks you’ll soon feel settled.  

Gaining skills and experience

Although gaining valuable child-care experience is beneficial in itself, choosing to become an au pair can develop all kinds of important skills that will prove useful in both your personal and professional life. Being a part of the daily lives of your au pair family will give you up close experience of a new culture that goes way beyond visiting as a tourist. By spending everyday with people who are likely to speak another language besides English, it’s also the perfect chance to learn something new, and some au pair families will even provide language classes if you’re serious about learning. Au pairing is one of the cheapest ways to spend time abroad, as well as providing the safety and comfort of family life. Whether you want to gain some independence, experience a new part of the world, or just enjoy working with children, au pairing has a lot to offer an adventurous soul.

About Charlotte Copeland

Charlotte is an eager traveller whose adventures include working in America and interrailing around Europe. Her most beloved destinations to date include Dubrovnik, New Orleans and Pennsylvania, whilst her happiest travel memory is visiting Elvis Presley’s Graceland, on behalf of her grandmother. She has plans to continue on her journey to discover new and exciting parts of the world that she is yet to explore.