How to be an au pair?

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Going to live abroad when you don’t have a penny in your pocket is not an entirely impossible task. Without being able to afford studies in England or Germany, it is possible to become an au pair. A way to deepen your language skills, discover another culture and earn some money. All this with some rewards.

An au pair is fed, housed, washed and paid for by the host family, but in exchange for a very specific mission: that of looking after the children of the house. As a general rule, you work between 30 and 45 hours per week for a period of between two and twelve months. Their main tasks will be to drop off and pick up the children from school, accompany them to their extracurricular activities, prepare their meals, help them with their homework or take care of them during school vacation periods.

Depending on the contract with the parents, he can also participate in household chores, as he is an integral part of the family. This experience will allow all young people and students who try it to improve their language skills, discover a new country and experience a true cultural exchange.

Becoming an au pair cannot be improvised and it is better to have the necessary qualities before starting. Thus, to apply for the position you must be between 18 and 27 years old, love children (that’s obvious…) and have solid experience in this field (babysitter, for example).

Knowing the basics of English is also an advantage, as is having a driver’s license. Some families may also require a clean criminal record and prefer a non-smoking youth. Lastly, of course, becoming an au pair requires flexibility and a good propensity to adapt. Patience and self-control will also be required, especially if you have multiple tweens to deal with.

It remains to find the right family, the one with which you can live daily without tension or disagreements. To find it, there are several specialized agencies. If they charge for their services (normally between 150 and 350 euros), they provide some security to the candidate. Legal above all, since they work in collaboration with both the country’s labor departments and the embassies. They also allow you to act as a liaison between the family and the au pair in case of disagreement or problem during the stay.

It is also possible to fend for yourself and find a host family thanks to the thousands of classified ads on the Internet. In this case, do not hesitate to ask all the questions that will help you prepare your stay and that seem important to you. You will have fewer surprises once there.

Also broach the issue of compensation before accepting the job. The au pair stay is a job, so it is normal to get paid. But beware, the salary varies according to the country: in the United States or Australia, for example, it is 200 dollars a week, 80 pounds in Great Britain and 80 euros in Germany and the rest of Europe.

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