How to Be an Au Pair in Spain

3 minute read

Looking to combine your love of children with travel?

Serving as an Au Pair in Spain has several appealing factors:

  • It’s a short-term commitment (2-3 months).
  • Spain is a beautiful country with a ton of fascinating culture.
  • All your major living expenses will be covered and you’ll receive a weekly stipend.

Nicole with her host family on the beach.
Nicole with her host family on the beach.
Image courtesy of Nicole S.

Ready to pack your bags?

Here are five things to know as you prepare for the experience:

1. Know your host family options

Most InterExchange host families live in the suburbs of Madrid. It’s expensive for a family to live right in the city center, but Spain is well-connected with trains and buses so getting around is easy.

Many families in Spain prefer an English-speaking au pair since they’d like to provide more English exposure to their children.

2. Have a U.S. passport (a visa is not required)

Since the InterExchange Au Pair Spain program is three months maximum (you’re welcome to stay between eight and 12 weeks), you don’t need a visa! The Schengen Area requirements allow U.S. citizens to enter the Area (which includes Spain) and remain for up to 90 days within a 180-day period as a tourist. This means you don’t have to worry about obtaining a visa.

3. Put thought into your au pair application

Host families want to be sure that they’re making a good choice, just as you want to be confident that you’re joining a friendly home. Take some time to craft a thoughtful “Dear Host Family” letter and include a few friendly-looking photos in your application.

Check everything over for spelling and grammar. For a lot of people, this can indicate whether you’re willing to put time and thought into your responsibilities.

TIP: Including a 20-second selfie video where you introduce yourself to potential families will give your application a personal touch, and can go a long way towards instilling confidence.

4. Allow time for host family matching

A host family shouldn’t just be a family you’re okay living with; they should be people you feel like you can thrive with. You’ll have a chance to connect with potential families via video chat so you can get a good sense of their personalities and expectations. Keep in mind that host families may also be considering multiple options, so don’t expect to match immediately.

Tamara with her host kids.
Tamara with her host kids.
image courtesy of Tamara P.

We’ll be here to help, but you and the families are central to the matching process. Take your time and ask all the questions you need when you connect with a potential host for a video chat. Once you’re accepted to the program, you can refer to our set of questions to ask your potential family.

5. Learn more about the Spanish language and culture

You don’t need to know Spanish to participate in the Au Pair Spain program, but knowing some basics will be beneficial. Often, at least one member of your host family is conversational in English, but not always. InterExchange will provide pre-departure resources, including language-learning resources to help you out. You’ll also have access to our free Language Partner Program.

Danielle dining on Spanish cuisine.
Danielle dining on Spanish cuisine.
Image courtesy of Danielle M.

Besides the language, there will certainly be cultural aspects that will take time to learn. You’ll be living with Spanish hosts, who will be welcoming you into their home and family. The food they provide may be a bit different than what you’re used to in the U.S. (as well as the time they eat dinner!) Don’t be afraid to engage and join them for family meals and activities so you can soak up the full experience of living in Spain. And never be afraid to ask questions!

Think you’d like to try your hand at the Au Pair Spain program? Just let us know! We’re available for personal support leading up to your program and look forward to hearing from you.

James Bridge By

James managed the programs for U.S. citizens at InterExchange.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation