You have decided to become an au pair in another country, and you are ready to set off on the adventure of a lifetime? Becoming an au pair: how to choose your host country? Ash Advice helps you make your decision, by showing you the right questions to ask yourself in order to choose the perfect host country.
Why go as an au pair?
Let’s start at the beginning. Becoming an Au Pair means going to live in a foreign country with a host family. Fed, housed and laundered, an au pair is responsible for taking care of the children and doing some light housework related to the children. The purpose of this experience is to discover a new culture. The au pair lives in immersion in a foreign country, and the host family learns about the au pair’s culture. Sometimes, the host family even asks the au pair to speak his/her mother tongue with the children. Above all, it is a cultural exchange program, extremely enriching and interesting.
The right questions to ask yourself when choosing your host country.
In which countries am I qualified?
First of all, it is important to check in which country or countries you are eligible for the Au pair program. In general, to become an Au pair, you must be between 18 and 30 years old and have experience in childcare. Some countries, however, are a little more limited regarding age. In the United States, for example, an Au pair must be between 18 and 26 years of age.
In which language should I improve?
A great advantage of the Au pair program is the opportunity to practice a foreign language with native speakers. It’s up to you to choose the language you want to improve! You can go as an Au pair to practice :
- English ;
To become an Au Pair, you must have an intermediate level in the language of the country concerned. Don’t worry: all you need is the ability to communicate with simple sentences and to understand what is asked of you.
What culture do I want to discover?
Nothing is more incredible than going to live in a country that makes us dream! Annette, au pair in the USA for 2 years, shares her experience: “Personally, I have always been passionate about the USA, and I wanted to know if life there was really like in the movies and series I watched every day. I wasn’t disappointed! My experience was extremely enriching, and it opened my eyes to a lot of things. “And you, what culture do you want to discover? In which country do you want to live in total immersion? Scotland? New Zealand? China? The world is opening up to you!
Am I able to live away from my family?
One important thing to realize before choosing your host country is to say goodbye to your family and friends for a few months. Blues can happen, it’s quite natural. It is up to you to ask yourself how you will manage these moments. If you want to have the opportunity to go home for a weekend to recharge your batteries during your adventure, it’s best to choose a country close to your home country.
What are my expectations?
The conditions and rules of the Au pair program differ according to the host country. Number of hours of childcare, pocket money, vacations… In the USA for example, you will be able to take care of children and light housework up to 45 hours per week, and will receive a minimum of $195.75 pocket money every week. In Spain, it’s a maximum of 40 hours of work, and 60 euros per week. It all depends on your expectations.
What is my budget?
Likewise, the costs related to an Au pair departure vary according to the host country. It is therefore important to adapt the program to your budget. There are a certain number of elements to take into account: the program fees of course, but also air or train tickets, insurance, visa…
How much time can I devote to this adventure?
Finally, how long do you want to be an Au pair? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? The duration of the program is not the same depending on the destination. For the United States, for example, you must commit to at least 12 months, this is necessary to obtain your visa. If you only want to spend your summer vacations abroad, it is possible to stay less than 3 months in Europe. The rest of the year, you can leave for 3 to 6 months in China, 8 to 12 months in Europe, and 6 to 12 months in Australia or New Zealand. If you want to make your stay a little shorter, have you thought about going as a half pair?
You now have all the keys in hand to choose the country that will welcome you during your experience as an au pair! Do you have an idea of the destination you are going to select? If you have any questions, please fill out the form on this page. We will call you back as soon as possible!