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. The ideal au pair candidate is flexible and willing to become a participating member of the host family. Your child care duties may include taking the children to and from school, playing with the children, light housework related to child care, preparing meals for the children, tutoring the children and more. Highly experienced candidates sometimes have the option to choose a placement requiring additional hours and offering a higher stipend.
As an au pair in the picturesque south of France, you'll enjoy a private room, all your meals and a weekly stipend of at least €100 in exchange for up to 35 hours of child care per week. You'll get at least one full day off per week (usually Sunday), so you'll be able to both completely integrate yourself into your host family's life and have free time to explore this amazing region. You'll also take French language classes, which is a great opportunity to meet friends and improve your language skills.
Applications for fall 2017 placements must be submitted by April 7th.
We accept applications and organize placements throughout the year, but there is a particularly strong demand in France for au pairs who can start in mid/late August or early September. Please apply at least four months prior to your desired start date.
To apply you'll create an online account and complete a few simple web forms. You will also need to upload documents including references, resume, and any relevant certifications. When you're ready, you will pay a $250 deposit towards your program fee (refundable in the unlikely event that we're unable to place you). The balance will not be due until we confirm your placement with a host family.
When we receive your deposit we'll unlock your application so you can review everything once more and submit it. Then, we'll contact you for an informal Skype interview before confirming your acceptance and sending your application overseas.
Once we've sent your application abroad, it typically takes 3-4 weeks to receive a suitable host family file. It can take longer if you've applied more than three months in advance. We will notify you as soon as a placement has been found so you can connect with the family over email and/or video chat to make sure that you are both happy with the match. Once confirmed, we will provide all of the next steps on how to apply for your visa, when to book your flight, where to purchase insurance, and how to prepare to be an au pair and live abroad.
Your host family will pick you up from the airport or train station. Upon arrival to your host family's home, you'll find a welcome pack from our international cooperator containing helpful tips and a list of other au pairs nearby. Throughout your program, our international cooperator will be there to make sure your transition is smooth and fun. They host occasional social events where au pairs can gather, share experiences, and get to know one another.
You will be making a weekly stipend of about USD $110, all while not paying for your major living expenses of rent or food. This means if you are in France for a full year, you will make a about USD $5,700!
The best time to start is the early fall (September/October) when France's school year begins and the demand for au pairs is high. The beginning of the calendar year (January/February) is another popular time to start, but we place au pairs throughout the year. You and your host family will agree upon your exact program dates together.
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, etc. and must add up to at least 200 hours in total. If you have additional child care related certificates or educational degrees, please be sure to highlight this in your application.
Most applicants collect their own references and upload them directly to their online InterExchange accounts. However, if your referrer would prefer to email them directly to us, please have them scan and send the form to our general email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. Please wait to have these documents translated into French until after you are placed with a host family. Please note: you will only need to translate the one page of your transcript that indicates you've taken a French course.
While we can never 100% guarantee placement, placement is likely as long as you submit your application about 3-4 months in advance of when you'd like to start. We have lots of host families who register all throughout the year specifically looking for American au pairs (Americans are in high demand) so it would be very unlikely that you would not find a placement.
In the unlikely event that we are unable to place you, we will refund your $250 deposit. We will keep you posted throughout the placement process.
Most applicants submit their applications about 3-4 months in advance. Please feel free to submit your application up to 6 months in advance if you'd like, which will give us more time to find the most suitable match for you.
Yes. We can usually accommodate specific preferences if you want to be placed near an urban/suburban area. We generally have placements in and around Nice, but have also found placements near Cannes and Saint-Tropez. Please write in your location preferences anywhere on your Program Specific Application. We'll do our best, but location requests cannot be guaranteed. Actual placement location will depend on the families looking for au pairs at the time.
Most families in the south of France need an au pair who can drive. If you do not have your license it will likely take us longer than the 4-week average to find you a host family match.
Our international cooperator screens all of our host families for safety very similarly to how we screen our au pairs. Just as our applicants here in the U.S. must, all families submit applications and references, have an interview and pay a program fee.
We have many warm and caring French families looking for long-term au pairs. Most of our host families are middle class and have friendly kids excited to meet you. Here are some recent examples:
Family B.G. Lives in Nimes, a small city in the south, and has two boys, ages 11 and 7. The boys love soccer and swimming in the family's backyard pool.
Family R. Located in St. Rapheal, a small town outside Cannes and Saint Tropez, and has a 14-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. The parents are both race-runners and the whole family loves to stay active. They have a beautiful home with an amazing backyard with a pool for you to enjoy!
If you've made any special requests to be placed close to a friend, would like to be in a particular region, or have any host family/children preferences, we will take them into consideration but cannot guarantee we will be able to honor all requests. We do not allow multiple placements in one host family home.
You will definitely have the option to ask for other families if you feel the one(s) we've presented to you 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.
In terms of receiving a refund of your deposit, you would only be eligible for a full refund if we were not able to find a family for you after three weeks to your latest indicated start date. The stipulations of our refund policy can be found here.
The majority of our families, even those in rural areas have access to the Internet in their homes. The basics like electricity, water, and heat go without saying. In a rural area, it may be more difficult to access public transportation to get into town, but you will always have the option to discuss with your host family how they get around and stay social in a non-urban environment.
If any issues arise, you will want to contact our international cooperator immediately so they can mediate the situation. If things really are not working out, we will do our best to move you to another family in a timely manner.
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of your stay. Once placed with a host family, you will need to obtain a Long-Stay Au Pair Visa before entering France. It is important that you do not leave the U.S. before obtaining this visa! The fee for the visa is currently €99.
You must apply for your Long-Stay Au Pair visa before your depart the U.S. You'll be required to make at least one physical appearance at your designated French consulate. We will advise you on when to schedule your visa appointment and what to bring after you have been placed with a host family.
French classes will typically cost about €550 per trimester depending on your length of stay. There are three trimesters each year. You will be responsible to pay for your tuition at the beginning of each trimester. Your host family in France will pre-enroll you in your class and provide a certificate of pre-enrollment for your au pair visa application here in the U.S.
Course fees cover about 10 class hours per week. Each school has their own schedule and course offerings, but in general, you can expect to have more than 2 and less than 10 students in one class at a time. Most of the schools also organize social events each week and provide access to comfortable study spaces.
While there is no formal orientation, you will receive an InterExchange Child Care Guide, Activities Guide, and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. Upon arrival into France, our international cooperator will provide a ‘Welcome Pack' with France-specific resources on how to approach au pairing and how to adjust to your new environment.
You are entitled to 2 weeks of paid vacation for any program between 10-12 months and 1 week paid vacation for a program between 6-9 months. Before you schedule your vacations, make sure to discuss directly with your host family if it's ok for you to take that time off. You technically can take your vacation all at once, but most au pairs space their vacation time out to accommodate the schedule their host family requires. If your host family is ok with you taking the full 1 or 2 weeks at once, then by all means, go for it! The most important thing is to discuss your plans with them directly.
Although it is not absolutely required, we recommend you get something called an International Driver's License/Permit. You should apply for this at the time of host family placement as it can take a few days/weeks to have it ready.
Most families pay cash, although if there is another way you'd prefer to receive your pay, please simply 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 can deposit your stipend directly into your account. If you'd like to change your money into U.S. dollars, you should be able to change your money at any large bank. Please remember to take into account exchange rates and transaction fees.
There is no intention to create a contractual, employment, or legal relationship between the host family and the au pair. However, you will receive what we call an Au Pair/Host Family Invitation that lists your host family's contact information, your stipend, duration of program, and program stipulations.
Most people either purchase a cheap phone with a pay-as-you-go SIM card for national calls, or simply use their existing phone with a French SIM card purchased in France. However, if you're planning to contact people back at home, we recommend just using Skype or Whatsapp on your current phone with wifi. You can find more information here.
Although it is not legally necessary, it is generally more cost efficient to book a roundtrip rather than two one-way tickets. However, if you'd simply like to purchase a one-way ticket going into France and then purchase your return ticket at a later date, this is totally acceptable as well.
Absolutely! We'll connect you with other au pairs in the Paris region at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for au pairs in France. Our in-country agents will also help you connect.
Don't hesitate to participate in this program. You will experience an adventure of a lifetime that you will keep with you for the rest of your life. It's fascinating alone to immerse yourself in a new culture and learn all that you can while living away from everything you know, but you should also take the time to make friends from other parts of the world as well. If your cooperating agency puts together events with other participants in your area and you can go to them, I would strongly suggest it. I only went to one event during my time there, but I made several instant friends… Get to know your classmates and go out with them on the weekends and whenever you can. Take advantage of your time with your host family; ask them questions, never be embarrassed if you do not understand something and you need clarification. You're learning every day, so take full advantage! Heather
The first time the little girl gave me a spontaneous silly wet kiss it stopped me in my tracks. I realized that I've been a steady figure in their little lives and they rely on me… they even love me. Monica
Join a welcoming French host family in the South of France.