Study Abroad in Europe Consultants

What is an Au Pair and Other Frequently Asked Questions

What is an au pair?

An au pair is a young adult wishing to experience a new culture and lifestyle by sharing their time, culture and helping hands with a family in a foreign country. An au pair helps the family with childcare and light housework in exchange for room and board, pocket money and lifelong memories.

What does “au pair” mean?

The words “au pair” come from the French meaning ‘at par’, or ‘equal to’. Taking this into consideration, the au pair is meant to be an equal part of the family and treated as a family member. The au pair will have her own room, will eat with the family and take part in family outings and possibly even family vacations.

Why should I become an au pair?

Au pairing in Europe offers young adults a fantastic and safe way to travel, earn spending money and have many new experiences. Learning a new language and living abroad will provide the young adult with valuable marketable skills and knowledge beneficial for future employment, not to mention the rewarding and lasting relationships that are bound to be made!

What is expected of the au pair?

The au pair is expected to be enthusiastic and open-minded, willing to participate in family life, to be herself and to take part in the cultural experience. The au pair should have a genuine love for children and a desire for new experiences.

Duties will vary from family to family, depending largely on the age of the child(ren). Duties will generally relate to the child(ren) or household duties related to the child(ren). This may include everyday chores such as: dressing and/or bathing the children, babysitting, light meal preparation, playing with the children, helping with homework, putting the children to bed, ironing, dusting, tidying bedrooms, vacuuming etc. The duties of the au pair will be outlined clearly by the family. The au pair is NOT an employee or servant to the family.

What is expected of the family?

The family is expected to treat the au pair as part of their family and to share in the cultural exchange. Generally speaking, families that take an au pair into their homes are very open-minded, stimulating and interested in culture and new experiences and usually have strong family values. Families will provide the au pair with free room and board and pocket money. In some countries, families will contribute to the au pair’s airfare and class tuition.

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