Going to live abroad when you don’t have a penny in your pocket is not completely an 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, to discover another culture and to earn some pocket money. All this with some rewards
Fed, housed, laundered in return
An au pair is fed, housed, laundered and paid by the host family, but in return for a very specific mission: that of taking care of the children of the household. As a rule, he works between 30 and 45 hours per week for a period of between two and twelve months. Its main tasks will be to drop off and pick up children from school, accompany them to their extracurricular activities, prepare their meals, help them with their homework or even take care of them during school vacation periods.
Depending on the contract with the parents, he may also participate in household chores, since 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, to discover a new country and to experience a real cultural exchange.
The qualities required
Becoming an au pair cannot be improvised and it is better to have the required qualities before starting. Thus, to apply for the position, you must be between the ages of 18 and 27, love children (that goes without saying…) and have solid experience in this area (babysitting, for example).
Knowing the basics of English is also a plus, as is having a driver’s license. Some families may also require a clean criminal record and prefer a young non-smoker. Finally, 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 to deal with several pre-teens.
Find the perfect family
It remains to find the right family, the one with whom you can live daily without tensions or disagreements. To find it, there are various specialized agencies. If they charge for their services (usually between 150 and 350 euros), they provide the candidate with some security. Legal first of all, since they work in collaboration with the country’s labor departments as well as the embassies. They also make it possible to act as a link between the family and the au pair in the event 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 which will help you to prepare your stay and which seem important to you. You will have fewer surprises once there.
Also address the issue of compensation before accepting the job. An au pair stay is a job, so it is normal to be paid. But beware, the salary varies depending on the country: in the United States or Australia, for example, it is 200 dollars per week, 80 pounds in Great Britain and 80 euros in Germany and the rest of Europe.