Do you want to travel the world and make some money while you're at it? Becoming an au pair might be the perfect job for you! This post will give you 7 tips for becoming an au pair and traveling the world. So, whether you're just starting to think about becoming an au pair or are already in the process, read on for some great advice!
When you become an au pair, you have the opportunity to live with a host family in another country and care for their children. In exchange for your help, the family provides you with room and board, as well as a weekly or monthly stipend. This is an incredible opportunity to travel and experience another culture while also getting paid!
The au pair process can be daunting, but it's so worth it in the end! These ten tips will help you become an au pair and have the experience of a lifetime.
Here are some tips to becoming an au pair to a screened host family abroad.
Do Your Research
There are many different au pair programs out there, so it's important to do your research before you decide on one. Consider things like the length of the program, where it's located, what kind of support they provide, etc.
There are also companies that will ask you to write a profile about yourself online. That gets shared with hundreds of host families. The problem with that is your personal information is shared with hundreds of people. People you've never met, people who have not been screened, and there have been instances where au pairs have shown up to find out there are no kids present.
When you are considering sharing your personal information online, even if the au pair position you get may cost nothing, you're taking a huge risk. And no one at home (or anywhere else) will be able to get you out of a jam if something bad happens.
Save everyone a lot of stress and work with an approved agency. An agency that has placed au pairs all over the world for many years and that also belongs to the IAPA (International Au Pair Association).
Unless you have prior experience working with children, most families will want you to have at least some experience before they hire you. You can get this experience by volunteering in a childcare setting, working as a nanny, or even just babysitting for your friends and family.
Many host families will consider summer camp counselor experience good experience, especially if their children are older. So don't think the only way to impress a host family is to have babysitting experience. Any experience that has you interacting personally with children and involved in their welfare and learning will count.
The au pair process can take some time, so it's important to be patient. Once you've found a family that you're interested in working for, the process of getting everything set up (visas, travel arrangements, etc.) can take several months.
First, you'll need to provide documents like a Dear Host Family letter, a copy of your passport, vaccination card, and resume, and even provide references of people you've worked for in the past when you took care of their children. The sooner you get started on this, the better.
Then we share your information with just our own screened host families. Many of our host families have had Cultural Exchange Project au pairs in the past. And then a family will need to show interest in you.
It's always an exciting day when you get an email from us saying we have a "match" for you. At that point, we share their application and photos with you and encourage you to reach out first by email. And after that a video call using WhatsApp or Zoom. During the video call, you can talk about the children, a sample schedule, and when to arrive and depart.
That entire process can take 60-90 days. So plan well in advance.
Learn The Language
Unless you already speak the language of the country you'll be living in, it's a good idea to start learning it before you go. This will make your transition easier and help you better communicate with the family you'll be an au pair for.
Being fluent in the language of the country where you're going is not required. But it will help once you arrive and it will help you become more fluent, more quickly. And learning a new language is another great point for your resume for the future.
As an au pair, you'll need to be flexible and adaptable. The family you au pair for may have different expectations or needs than what you're used to, so it's important to be open to new experiences.
Make A Bucket List To Refer To When You're Abroad
If you're thinking about becoming an au pair, I highly recommend creating a bucket list of things you want to do and see while you're abroad. Not only will it help make the au pair experience even more amazing, but it will also help you keep your eye on the prize when things get tough. Trust me, there will be tough days! But if you have a list of all the amazing things you're going to accomplish as an au pair, it will help motivate you to push through.
Bucket lists are great because they give you something to look forward to and help motivate you through tough times. When I was au pairing in France, my bucket list helped me get through some tough days. I knew that at the end of my au pair year, I would have accomplished so many things that I never would have thought possible. And now, looking back, I am so grateful that I took the time to create a bucket list before I went abroad.
So what should you put on your au pair bucket list? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Visit at least one new country or location.
- Make a social media list and share it about how childcare is different from what you're used to in your new environment.
- Learning a new language for free is a huge benefit.
- See famous landmarks you've only heard about.
- Attend a local festival, sporting event, or concert.
- Make new friends of all ages from all over the world.
- Try new foods famous in your host country.
- Learn about different cultures as you embark on this cultural exchange.
- Go on adventures. Remember, you'll have pocket money to do that!
- And so much more! Just take the first step and apply for the program.
Start Packing And Get Your Flights
Now it's time to start thinking about your au pair training. There are a few different ways to go about this, but make sure you do your research and find the option that's right for you.
There are a multitude of au pair training courses online. You only need to invest a couple of hours a week. The agency you signed up with should also be able to tell you if they will provide training or orientation before you begin. And if not, ask if they provide monthly "meet-ups" with other au pairs in the area.
Once you're all set with your paperwork and training, it's time to start packing! Make sure you pack everything you need for both your au pair duties and your personal life. We have quite a few blog posts about packing.
Now it's finally time to head off on your au pair adventure! Be excited, be open-minded, and most importantly, be yourself. You're going to have an amazing experience! And lastly...
Enjoy every single minute of it! Being an au pair is an incredible opportunity to travel, learn about new cultures, and make lifelong friends. Cherish it! These are just a few tips to help you on your journey to becoming an au pair. Do your research, take your time, and most importantly, enjoy the experience! Au pairs have the opportunity to change lives - including their own. Good luck!
Do You Have More Tips You Can Share?
What are some other tips for becoming an au pair? Share them in the comments below! And if you're already an au pair, tell us about your experience! Au pairing is a great way to travel and see the world while also earning money. So if you're looking for an adventure, au pairing might be the perfect option for you!
What are you waiting for? Start planning your au pair adventure today! And be sure to add a few items to the sample bucket list I provided above. You won't regret it!
If you're interested in becoming an au pair and traveling the world, or if you're interested in learning more, these tips will help you get started! And you can also Schedule A Call with one of our staff. They will answer all of your questions to make sure being an au pair is right for you.
For more information on au pairing, check out our Au Pair Overview page or contact us today. We'd be happy to answer any of your questions!