When should I apply?
We recommend applying at least four months in advance of your desired start date if possible, but if you don’t have that much time, let us know. Applying early is totally fine!
How is COVID-19 affecting the program?
Our number one priority is your health and safety. We’re closely monitoring the situation and are currently accepting applications with flexible travel dates. We invite you to complete an application so we can learn more about you and vice versa. That way you’ll have a head start when travel is safe again! There is no program fee for 2020 start dates.
What kind of child care-related experience do I need?
Your child care experience can include any kind of work where you’ve been responsible for children. This can include:
- Working as a camp counselor
You must show you have at least 200 hours of childcare experience with non-relatives. You’ll provide two childcare references. If you have additional child care related certificates or educational degrees, please be sure to highlight this in your application.
Do my references need to be sent directly to InterExchange?
Most applicants collect their own references and upload them directly to their online InterExchange account. However, if your referrer would prefer to email them directly to us, please have them scan and send the form to our email.
If I’m not matched with a family will I receive a refund?
In the unlikely event that we’re unable to place you, we’ll refund your deposit. We’ll keep you posted throughout the placement process.
Can I make a location request?
Yes! Placement locations are all around the country, mainly in suburbs of cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam. Please let us know your location preferences during the informational interview. 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.
Do I need to be a driver?
Some Dutch families are happy to invite a non-driver. Some families prefer a driver and host families often see driving abilities as a benefit. Many families rely on bicycle transportation in the Netherlands, including for transporting their kids to and from school and activities.
How does the host family matching process work?
You’ll receive profiles and contact information of families that are interested in speaking with you. We’ll provide an interview guide so you can make the most of your video calls to find the right fit.
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!
The host family matching process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month or so (sometimes longer if you applied more than four months in advance).
What are host families like?
Our Dutch partner 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 Dutch families with friendly kids excited to meet you. Here are some recent examples:
A single parent home. Sonja, 42, owns a horseback riding school and has two sons, 5 and 4. The boys’ grandmother lives in the home as well, which is a farmhouse about 15 minutes from Leeuwarden, a beautiful town in the north of the Netherlands with a population of about 100,000. The family is looking for an au pair over 20 years old who can work for between 26 and 30 hours per week.
A 2-parent home with 2 children. The daughter, 13, plays the piano and likes field hockey, tennis and sailing. The son, 12, plays the guitar and also likes tennis and field hockey. The family is in need of an au pair who is 22 or older and can bike and swim. You’ll live on the 2nd floor of the home, which is a 40-minute ride on public transportation to Amsterdam, with a bedroom, a living room and a bathroom to yourself!
How many hours of childcare will I provide each week?
You’ll provide up to 30 hours of childcare per week. When you connect with a potential host family, you’ll have a chance to talk about the weekly schedule and expectations upfront.
Can I be placed with or close to a friend?
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 can’t guarantee we’ll be able to honor all requests. Families can only host one au pair at a time.
What if issues arise with my host family after I’m 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, don’t hesitate to contact our Dutch partner for help—they’re 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.
Can I take college classes while on the program?
It’s not possible to enroll in university classes while on the program, but you’re welcome to take a Dutch language class! Your host family will contribute up to €320 for Dutch classes.
Can I stay for less than 11 months?
Most host families prefer an au pair that can stay a full year. Sometimes it’s possible to find families who are open to a 10-month placement.
Do I need a visa?
U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the Netherlands but before traveling our Dutch partner will file for a visa on your behalf. Within three working days after your arrival, you will need to validate your temporary residence permit that allows you to live and work in Holland as an au pair for a maximum of 12 months. You must bring your passport and an original, certified copy of your birth certificate with an Apostille with you. Your host family will assist you with this procedure.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the end of your stay.
Do I need to speak Dutch?
No. Most Dutch people speak English incredibly well, including the majority of our host families. If you would like to take optional Dutch language classes, your host family will provide you with up to €320 toward class tuition. Taking classes is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn more about the culture, so we encourage you to take advantage of this program perk.
Are there resources to help start my program?
You will receive an InterExchange Child Care Guide, Activities Guide, and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. Upon arrival into the Netherlands, our Dutch partner will provide a Welcome Pack with Dutch-specific resources on how to approach au pairing and how to adjust to your new environment.
Will I have a contract listing my hours and pay?
You’ll receive a host family invitation listing their contact information, your stipend, your program duration, and the program stipulations.
Will I have vacation time?
You’re entitled to two weeks of paid vacation for a 12-month program. Most au pairs space their vacation time out to accommodate the schedule their host family requires. If your host family is okay with you taking the full 2 weeks at once, then by all means, go for it! The most important thing is to discuss your plans with them directly.
Do I need an international driver’s permit?
If your host family needs you to drive, you will need to obtain an International Driver’s Permit. You should apply for this at the time of host family placement as it can take a few days/weeks to process.
There are two State Department-designated international driver’s license distributors: the AAA and the AATA. You may use either of these organizations to obtain your International Driving Permit. The cost is about $20.
Do all families pay in cash?
Many families pay cash, although if there is another way you’d prefer to receive your stipend, let your host family know. If you open a bank account (which is usually free, you just need to provide some proof of identity, such as 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 so at any large bank.
Should I bring my U.S. phone with me?
You could simply use your existing phone with a local SIM card purchased in the Netherlands (check with your U.S. carrier to make sure your phone allows this), or purchase a relatively inexpensive phone just for your time in the Netherlands. In either case, you’ll probably want to set up a local phone plan. If you’re planning to contact people back home, you could also use your existing device with wifi for free apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Check-out these tips on staying in touch while traveling.
Do I need to buy a roundtrip flight?
Although it’s not legally necessary, it’s 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 the Netherlands and then purchase your return ticket at a later date, this is totally acceptable as well. Please confirm with the airline that they’ll allow you to board with a one-way ticket before purchasing this option.
Will I be able to connect with other au pairs in the Netherlands?
Absolutely! We’ll connect you with other au pairs in the country at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for au pairs in the Netherlands. Our in-country partner will also help you connect with au pairs by hosting social events and get-togethers in different areas of the country.