What is an Au Pair?An au pair is a young person, usually under 30, who lives abroad with a host family for a period of time in order to learn about the culture of that country, and to improve their language skills. In exchange, the au pair provides the host family with childcare and some light housework.
The term "au pair" is French for "on par" or "equal to", and the au pair is considered a to be part of the host family. Room and board is provided for them, in addition to a monetary allowance for personal use.
Why choose an Au Pair?
An affordable alternativeNot all childcare options are right for every family, and in many situations the high cost of a nanny makes an au pair a uniquely flexible and affordable alternative. Almost all au pair programs specify that the au pair is not to receive a salary, but rather "pocket money" in addition to their room and board. If a family has an extra room to provide for an au pair, it can work out considerably cheaper than a nanny.
FlexibilityAlthough an au pair may only work a limited number of hours per day, they can be much more flexible with their time than a nanny. Families and au pairs can decide on a new schedule each week if necessary, taking into account the ever-shifting landscape of work, extra-curricular activies and events which change from day to day in a typical family.
Culture and LanguageMany families choose to host an au pair to introduce their children to another culture, as the au pair shares their country's music, games, crafts and cuisine. Hosting a live-in au pair can be a wonderful way of learning a second language too, so some families specifically choose an au pair who can speak a certain language in order to foster this learning.
Why become an Au Pair?
A unique way to travelBecoming an au pair is one of the easiest (and most fun!) ways to learn about a new culture, its customs and its language. Unlike other study abroad programs, you'll be immersed in a family and get to see the ins and outs of everyday life. It’s a unique chance to see a portrait of life in another country that you would otherwise never get to experience.
A free educationBeing an au pair is not a full-time job; in fact by law au pairs cannot be asked to work more than a certain number of hours a week, so it's an easy way to pay your way through a foreign education. And since your room and board are paid for by your host family, it won't cost you a thing.
Make a differenceBecoming an au pair is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience independent life abroad, allowing you to see the world from an entirely different perspective. What's more, the children that you look after will never forget you — every day you'll have the chance to make a positive impact on their lives.