1. What is an au pair?
An au pair is a child care provider who lives with a host family and cares for the children a set number of hours per week, in exchange for a room, meals and pocket money. While an au pair’s main responsibilities revolve around the care of children, s/he may also perform some household duties like cleaning and cooking. An au pair should be thought of essentially as a member of the family and should make an effort to adjust his/her schedule to align with that of the family to some extent. Each country has its own traditions and policies when it comes to au pair work, and our Au Pair Abroad programs vary slightly depending on the country.
2. How long is an au pair program?
Often families seek an au pair for a period of about nine to 12 months (usually during the school year) but sometimes shorter placements are available (in Australia placements last six months and in Spain short-term placements are available from two months and up). In France we have some short-term (two to three months) placements available in the summer only. The duration of any program will depend on visa restrictions, the needs of host families and au pairs’ abilities.
3. Is the au pair program right for me?
The au pair program can be very challenging and sometimes stressful. Since au pairs need to be available at various times (early morning, sometimes evenings, middle of the day etc.), their schedules must be somewhat flexible. Compared with someone studying abroad, for example, it may be more difficult to enjoy evenings out. An au pair should have significant child care experience. While babysitting for siblings certainly counts, it is important to have had experience caring for non-family members as an au pair would be doing.
4. When is the deadline to apply?
Although some au pair programs have specific deadlines listed on their web pages, in general applications should be submitted no less than three months in advance of your desired start date.
5. What are the costs involved?
Our program fees range from $495 to $595 no matter how long your placement is. Here are some other costs you will need to consider:
- Language classes (required for Spain and France)
- Visa fees (vary by country and may require travel to a consulate)
- Insurance (available through InterExchange for $9 per week)
- Personal spending money
Click here to read the rest of our Au Pair in France FAQs.