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 late applications.


How is COVID-19 affecting the program?

Our number one priority is your health and safety. In light of the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, no deposit is required until you’re accepted. If you can’t travel due to restrictions or other concerns related to COVID-19, we’ll refund your program fee.


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:

  • Babysitting/nannying
  • Teaching/tutoring
  • Coaching
  • 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! While we can’t guarantee a location, most families are in or near cities like Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington and you get to decide if you’re comfortable with a particular family based on viewing their profile and speaking with them. Your location will partly depend on families available when you apply.


Do I need to be a driver?

Most New Zealand 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.


Placement

How does the host family matching process work?

You’ll receive profiles 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.

The host family matching process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks (sometimes longer if you applied more than three months in advance).


What are host families like?

Most host families have one or two children and live in the suburbs of major cities such as Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. All families must submit an application and are screened by our New Zealand partner agency.

In most cases, the children will be elementary school age or younger. You won’t be responsible for the sole care of an infant. Au pairs working with school-aged children are much like a big brother or sister, and will often care for the children before and after school attending extracurricular activities together and helping with homework. They will often share hobbies with the children, like cultural, musical, arts or sporting interests.

If you’re working with any children 5 and under, the family may also be taking part in a home education program available in New Zealand, with a teacher who visits occasionally and can help you build educational activities into your childcare role.


How many hours of childcare will I provide each week?

You’ll provide up to 45 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?

We generally aim to have au pairs placed with hosts in the greater Auckland 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. 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 New Zealand 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?

Your visa allows you to take classes for up to 6 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.


Can I stay for just 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.


How do I match with another family after my first 6 months in New Zealand?

Just let our partner know via email, phone, or by stopping into their office. We suggest informing them within a few months into your first placement. They’ll simply put you back into matching—exactly how we found your first family, but with no additional cost.


Logistics

Do I need a visa?

Yes, we’ll provide visa application instructions once your placement with a family is confirmed.


What does the visa process entail?

You’ll apply for the Working Holiday Visa, which allows you to work and travel in New Zealand for up to 12 months. 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’ll need:

  • a valid U.S. passport
  • a high school diploma
  • to be in reasonably good health
  • to agree to have travel medical insurance before you travel

You may also be asked to demonstrate that you have access to funds of NZD $4,200 for general expenses while in New Zealand. If you have much less than this amount available, then you might want to include proof that you’ll be supported by a host family as an au pair, which significantly reduces your cost of living.

Visa cost: NZD $35


Are there resources to help start my program?

You’ll receive InterExchange’s Child Care Guide, Activities Guide, and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. Upon arrival in New Zealand, you’ll attend a two-day orientation where you’ll get tips about living and au pairing in New Zealand. You’ll also meet dozens of other participants, who form a support network while abroad!


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. Both parties will be required to electronically sign this document upon successful matching.


Will I have vacation time?

You’ll have two full days off per week. For 12-month placements, you’ll receive four weeks of paid vacation. If you’re doing a six-month placement, you can always travel once your program ends since your visa is valid for 12 months.


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 drivers 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 New Zealand (check with your U.S. carrier to make sure your phone allows this), or purchase a relatively inexpensive phone just for your time in New Zealand. 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 New Zealand 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 New Zealand?

Absolutely! Unless your logistics don’t allow it (you can’t arrive during one of the orientation dates), you’ll start your program with a two-day orientation in Auckland with other au pairs. We’ll also connect you with other au pairs in New Zealand at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for au pairs in New Zealand. Our Kiwi partner will also help you connect with optional social outings.


You could simply use your existing phone with a local SIM card purchased in New Zealand (check with your U.S. carrier to make sure your phone allows this), or purchase a relatively inexpensive phone just for your time in-country. 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.

Why do I have to pay a program fee?

Program fees make it possible for us to promote our programs and pay staff to review applications and provide support, including placing you in a vetted host family and providing in-country support.

InterExchange is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, so we aim to keep program costs as low as possible for participants. If you have any questions about the fee for your program please don’t hesitate to contact us at workabroad@interexchange.org.


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