What is an Au Pair and Other Frequently Asked Questions

Au pair in Europe – What is an au pair?

An au pair is a young adult wishing to experience a new culture and lifestyle by sharing their time, culture and helping hands with a family in a foreign country. An au pair helps the family with childcare and light housework in exchange for room and board, pocket money and lifelong memories.

What does “au pair” mean?

The words “au pair” come from the French meaning ‘at par’, or ‘equal to’. Taking this into consideration, the au pair is meant to be an equal part of the family and treated as a family member. The au pair will have her own room, will eat with the family and take part in family outings and possibly even family vacations. Being an au pair in Europe is a full immersion experience which will allow you to really live like a local!

Why should I become an au pair?

Au pairing in Europe offers young adults a fantastic and safe way to travel, earn spending money and have many new experiences. Learning a new language and living abroad will provide the young adult with valuable marketable skills and knowledge beneficial for future employment, not to mention the rewarding and lasting relationships that are bound to be made!

What is expected of the au pair?

The au pair is expected to be enthusiastic and open-minded, willing to participate in family life, to be herself and to take part in the cultural experience. The au pair should have a genuine love for children and a desire for new experiences.

Duties will vary from family to family, depending largely on the age of the child(ren). Duties will generally relate to the child(ren) or household duties related to the child(ren). This may include everyday chores such as: dressing and/or bathing the children, babysitting, light meal preparation, playing with the children, helping with homework, putting the children to bed, ironing, dusting, tidying bedrooms, vacuuming etc. The duties of the au pair will be outlined clearly by the family. The au pair is NOT an employee or servant to the family.

What is expected of the family?

The family is expected to treat the au pair as part of their family and to share in the cultural exchange. Generally speaking, families that take an au pair into their homes are very open-minded, stimulating and interested in culture and new experiences and usually have strong family values. Families will provide the au pair with free room and board and pocket money. In some countries, families will contribute to the au pair’s airfare and class tuition.

What to do to join the Au Pair in Europe Program?

Interstudy & Travel Ventures will help:

  • Guide you in putting together a detailed and appropriate application package. This includes submission of a criminal record check, doctor’s certificate among other important documents. This application package will also help us find you an excellent and well-suite family!
  • Check all your references and interview you to ensure eligibility for the program. InterStudy will make a recommendation, based on your application package, to a partner agency in the host country of your choice.
  • Consider your preferences and, in coordination with a partner agency, match you with a family in your host country. The partner agency ensures that all families have been properly and thoroughly screened.
  • Work with you until you are placed with a well-matched family.
  • Advise you regarding the correct legal documents for your travels (visas etc). InterStudy will provide you with the application forms and all necessary information.
  • Provide you with a detailed orientation package to your host country. InterStudyw wants to ensure that you are familiar with the country’s customs, language and culture. In order to have a good experience you need to be well prepared. InterStudy can refer you to many different materials and resources that will help prepare you for your adventure!
  • Provide you with contact details of the partner organization in your host country so that you will have someone to contact should you have any questions or should a situation with the family arise.
  • Through the partner agency, make available a telephone list of other au pairs in your area (from all over the world)! This gives you an excellent opportunity to make new friends.

Why should I be an au pair?

As an au pair, you can expect to have a very rich personal and cultural experience, more so than tourists because of the opportunity to spend such a length of time in another country, living with a local family. You will return home with a second language, new customs and ideas, fabulous memories and very interesting friends. You will learn how to communicate and how to overcome unusual challenges. These experiences, combined with an education in a foreign country, lend to a very attractive resumé.

Who can apply to be an au pair in Europe?

Young adults, male and female, who are African citizens and between the ages of 18 and 30 (some age restrictions apply in some countries) are welcome to apply to au pair in Europe. Anyone can apply to for the Study Abroad program. Students under the age of 16 will obviously need parental consent and guardianship in the destination country; InterStudy can help arrange this.

How can I apply?

Au pairs must submit a completed application package, including payment. An application package includes a variety of documents including a Criminal Record Check, transcripts, doctor’s notes etc. A complete checklist of documents required can be found with the application form. The approval of the application depends on a successful interview and reference check as well as a Criminal Record Check indicating that you have no criminal charges against you. Preparing your application and the application process take time, so be realistic about estimating your departure date and apply 4 – 6 months in advance!

Au Pair jobs in Europe are available year-round.

What if I am unable to speak the local language?

It is common for au pairs to attend language lessons and in some countries such as France and Holland, it is required. In Germany, an intermediate knowledge of the language is required. In any case, the cost of the course is usually paid for by the family and is relatively inexpensive. And of course, you will have plenty of opportunity to learn and practice the language, especially with the children!

What if I am not interested in the first family offered to me?

Once your au pair application has been accepted, we will begin looking for a suitable family for you depending on your preferences indicated on the application. Au pairs can review as many family files as they like before choosing, keeping in mind that this may delay the process. InterStudy will work with you until you are placed.

Paris, France is the most popular destination for au pairing in Europe. Au pair in Paris and learn French in France this year! Au pair in France and live with a French family; experience family life in France and learn French in Paris! Exciting, right?

There are also many fantastic families in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy & Spain looking for English speaking au pairs to be a part of their family and help with the children.

Summer Au Pair Placements are available for June, July & August in France! Au pair in Paris and learn French in France this summer. Au pair in France and live with a French family; experience family life in France and learn French in Paris!

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