Au pair abroad – if you love working with kids
Au pairs take care of the children in a family and may also be expected to help with household chores. In return, the family offers full-board accommodation and some spending money. You'll have social security and health cover, but will usually have to pay travel costs yourself.
Unless you have personal contacts, the best way to arrange a placement is by using a specialist agency or organisation, though be prepared to pay them a small fee for this.
What are the main conditions?
- Most au pairs are aged 18 – 24 (though some agencies cater for au pairs up to 30).
- There's no set period – some au pairs just stay for the summer, others for a year or more.
- You must have basic knowledge of the language in your host country.
- It’s not essential to have specific experience – though being able to demonstrate you've spent time with children certainly helps.
- A driving licence is not always required, but an advantage.
How to get started?
- Plan early – there are not usually any application deadlines, but allow sufficient time to find the best match and clarify all formalities.
- Check qualified agencies and organisations for au pair placements (see below). If you need assistance, contact your nearest Eurodesk.
Where to look:
Au pair box – wide choice of qualified au pair agencies, with a chat room and forum for sharing experience
Au pair search – global search facility for finding a host family or au pair agency, advice on work permits and discussion forum
Au pair world – worldwide au pair database
Find au pair - matching au pairs and families from around the world, discussion forum, visa information and links to agencies
International Au Pair Association - access to organisations active in all aspects of au pair and cultural exchange programmes