Application

When should I apply?

We can match you with families throughout the year! Please submit your application 3+ months before you’d like to start. We may accept later applications.

What kind of childcare experience do I need?

Your child care experience can include any kind of work where you have been responsible for children. This can include babysitting, tutoring, coaching, student/assistant teaching, classroom teaching, being a camp counselor or volunteering with kids and must add up to at least 200 hours in total. If you have additional child care related certificates or educational degrees, please highlight this in your application.

Do my references need to be sent directly to your organization?

You may collect your references and upload them directly to your online InterExchange account. If your referrer prefers to email them directly to us, please have them scan and send the form to workabroad@interexchange.org.

If I’m not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?

Yes.

Can I make a location request?

Yes! While we can’t guarantee a location, most families are in or near cities like Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney and you get to decide if you’re comfortable with a particular family based on viewing their profile and/or speaking with them. Your location will partly depend on families available when you apply.

Do I need to be a driver?

Most Australian host families seek an au pair who can drive. If you aren’t able to drive, it may take a few weeks longer to find you a family match.

Matching

What are host families like?

Most hosts are middle class families living in the suburbs of Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and other cities (in the eastern parts of Australia). All families must apply and be screened by our Australian partner agency.

Be sure to to ask lots of questions before confirming a match. We’ll send you some guiding questions during the matching process.

Can I be placed close to a friend?

We generally aim to have au pairs placed with hosts in the greater Sydney area so it’s usually not hard to place two au pairs in that region. That being said, this partially depends on you matching with two host families in the same area.

Will I have options to choose from during the matching process?

You’ll definitely have the option to ask for other families if you feel the one(s) we’ve presented are not a good fit. Let us know and we’ll be happy to continue looking for another family until you feel like we’ve found the right one! It’s important to us that you feel comfortable with your host family match, and we’ll do all we can to make sure that happens.

Is there Internet access at every household?

The majority of our families have Internet access in their homes.

If I’m placed near a college am I allowed to take classes?

Your visa allows you to take classes for up to 4 months. If you’re certain you’d like to take classes, we recommend having a chat about this with your host family so they’re aware of your plans, and can make additional arrangements for their children if necessary.

How do I match with another family for the second part of my stay in Australia?

Just let our partner know via email, phone, or by stopping into their office. We suggest informing them about a month or two into your first placement. They’ll simply re-activate your online profile and put you back into matching—exactly how we found your first family, but with no additional cost.

Can I just stay for 6 months?

That’s totally fine! A lot of people do this but if you like, you can travel afterwards on your own. Your visa is good for a full year so there’s plenty of time to explore. It also allows you to take on seasonal jobs, in case you want to try something a little different after your au pair program.

What if issues arise with my host family after I am abroad?

Being an au pair involves a unique working and living relationship with a host family, over an extended length of time. It’s possible that at some point you may experience some form of miscommunication, or even a disagreement.

Typically, with proactive communication and sensitivity, it’s not difficult to resolve these things together with your hosts. However, it’s never a bad idea to contact our partner agency in Australia for extra help - they are professionals and love hearing from au pairs, no matter the reason! If things really are not working out, they’ll work with you regarding the possibility of a rematch with a new family, subject to availability.

Logistics

What does the visa process entail?

You’ll apply for the Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462), which allows you to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months (with a second-year visa option possible under certain circumstances). The visa is available for 18 to 30 year olds from select countries. Getting the visa is typically a quick and straightforward online process, but we’ll provide information after you’re matched with a family and if you have questions you can always contact us.

In order to apply for the visa you should have your U.S. passport and a high school diploma, be in reasonably good health, and agree to have travel medical insurance before you travel. You may also be asked to demonstrate that you have access to funds for general expenses while in Australia. If so, you may wish to include proof that you will be supported by a host family as an au pair, which significantly reduces your cost of living.

You’ll pay for your own visa (currently AUD $485). It’s a one-time fee that has to be paid at the time you submit your online visa application.

Are there resources to help start my program?

A three-night orientation in Sydney is included, which is a great way to prepare for the program and meet other au pairs. Due to COVID-19, 2020 orientations are canceled. Once group gatherings are permissable, optional meet-ups will be held so you can connect with fellow participants.

You’ll also receive an InterExchange Child Care Guide, Activities Guide, and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. Upon arrival into Australia, our international partner will provide a Welcome Pack with Australia-specific resources on how to approach au pairing and how to adjust to your new environment.

Do I need an international drivers license?

In Australia, laws and driving regulations differ from state to state. Some states require you to carry an International Driver’s License/Permit, so we recommend you obtain one. It’s about USD $20. You should apply for this at the time of host family placement as it can take a few days/weeks to have it ready.​

There are two State Department-designated international drivers license distributors: AAA and AATA.

How do I obtain the required background check in Australia?

Commonly referred to as “The Working with Children Check” (WWCC), this is required of all people in Australia (Australians and foreigners alike) who plan to work with children in any capacity. Each state has their own WWCC procedure, so you’ll apply for this in Australia after you know your host family’s location. Our international partner will contact you within your first week in Australia with information on how to apply.

Do all families pay in cash?

Many families pay cash, although if there is another way you’d prefer to receive your pay, please let your host family know. If you open up a bank account (which is usually free, you just need to provide some proof of identity like your passport), your host family may be able to deposit your stipend directly into your account. If you’d like to change your money into U.S. dollars, you should be able to do at any large bank.

Is there a contract listing my hours and pay?

You’ll receive a host family invitation listing their contact information, your stipend, duration of program, and program stipulations. Both parties will be required to electronically sign this document upon successful matching.

Should I bring my U.S. phone with me?

You could simply use your existing phone with a local SIM card purchased in Australia (check with your U.S. carrier to make sure your phone allows this), or purchase a relatively inexpensive phone just for your time in Australia. In either case, you’ll probably want to set up a local phone plan. If you’re planning to contact people back at home, you could also use your existing device with WiFi for services like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. You can find more information here.

Do I need to buy a roundtrip flight?

It’s not required, but sometimes more cost efficient to book a roundtrip ticket.

Will I be able to connect with other au pairs in Australia?

Absolutely. Unless your logistics don’t allow it, you will start your program with a three-night orientation in Sydney with other au pairs (please note that 2020 orientations are canceled due to COVID-19). We’ll also connect you with other au pairs in Australia at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for au pairs in Australia. Our Australian partner will also help you connect with their special Meet and Greet program held all around the country.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation