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 a short-term au pair in Spain, you'll enjoy a private room, all your meals and a weekly stipend of at least €70 in exchange for up to 30 hours of child care per week. You'll get at least 1 full day off per week (usually Sunday), so you'll be able to both fully integrate yourself into your host family's life and have free time to explore this amazing country.
Dates and Application Deadlines
We accept applications and organize placements throughout the year!
With no obligation to move forward, you can get the ball rolling by signing up today. We’ll reach out to help you plan your adventure when you're ready!
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.
Costs to Consider
Please be prepared to cover airfare to and from the U.S.
You must have insurance that covers repatriation and emergency medical evacuation.
- Personal Spending Money
For independent travel/trips, any optional extra classes, social time with friends, etc.
You will be making a weekly stipend of about USD $80, all while not paying for your major living expenses of rent or food. This means if you are in Spain for a full three months, you will make about USD $1,000!
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time for me to submit my application?
The best time to start is June when Spain's school year ends and the demand for summer au pairs is high, making March the best time to submit your application. We do however place short-term au pairs all throughout the year and would prefer to receive your application about 3 months prior to when you'd like to start. Later applications may still be accepted, but opportunities for placement become limited the later you apply.
What kind of child care-related experience is needed to apply?
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.
Do my references need to be sent directly to your organization?
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 email@example.com.
Does the $250 deposit secure the application?
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.
If I am not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?
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.
How far in advance can I submit my application?
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.
Can I make a location request?
Yes. We can usually accommodate specific preferences if you want to be placed near an urban/suburban area. We generally have fewer host family options outside of Madrid. 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.
Do I need to be a driver?
Most families in the Madrid area do not need an au pair who can drive. Public transportation in Spain is very accessible and often the preferred mode of transportation.
What are host families like?
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.
The make-up of our Spanish host families varies, but they're well known for being super welcoming and friendly, and often loving to make big dinners and go sightseeing! Most of our families are middle class and have children in either elementary or middle school.
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 cannot guarantee we will be able to honor all requests. We do not allow multiple placements in one host family home.
Will I have options to choose from during the matching process?
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.
If I decide not want to work with a presented family, am I eligible for a refund?
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.
Is there Internet access at every household?
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.
What if issues arise with my host family after I am abroad?
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.
What does the visa process entail?
You will not need to apply for a visa. As a U.S. citizen, you will simply enter into one of the 26 Schengen countries with your valid U.S. passport as a tourist and will be allowed to stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
For more information on the Schengen area, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website.
Is there an orientation or resources to help start my program?
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 Spain, our international cooperator will provide a ‘Welcome Pack' with Spain-specific resources on how to approach au pairing and how to adjust to your new environment.
Will I have vacation time?
Because of the short nature of the program, you will not have a set period of vacation. You will, however, always have at least one day (if not the whole weekend) off for free time.
When/how do I get the international drivers license?
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.
Do all families pay in cash?
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.
Is there a contract listing my hours and pay?
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.
Should I bring my U.S. phone with me?
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 Spanish SIM card purchased in Spain. 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.
Do I need to buy a roundtrip flight?
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 Spain and then purchase your return ticket at a later date, this is totally acceptable as well.
Will I be able to connect with other au pairs in Spain?
Absolutely. We'll connect you with other au pairs in Spain at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for au pairs in Spain. Our in-country agents will also help you connect.
What our participants are saying
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… 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
I have enjoyed the transition I have seen within myself. I have never traveled alone before and have never been abroad. It is such a learning experience for me to be able to make my own decisions without the influences of others around me. I enjoy how much my host family welcomes me with open arms. I enjoy how adorable my little girl is and the bond that we are creating. Brittany