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© Liana Mikah - Unsplash © Liana Mikah - Unsplash

Au pair abroad – if you love working with kids

Last updated on Tuesday, 18/05/2021

Are you willing to gain work and life experience in another culture by becoming a temporary member of a new family? Then becoming an au pair might be the right opportunity for you!

Au pairs take care of the children in a family and may also be expected to help with household chores. In return, the family offers full-board accommodation and some spending money. You can choose how long you want your experience to be, a couple of months, over the summer or even up to a year or more. You'll have social security and health cover but will usually have to pay travel costs yourself.

Unless you have personal contacts, the best way to arrange a placement is by using a specialist agency or organisation, though be prepared to pay them a small fee for this.

What are the main conditions?

  • Most au pairs are aged 18 - 24 (though some agencies cater for au pairs up to 30).
  • You must have basic knowledge of the language in your host country.
  • It’s not essential to have specific experience – though being able to demonstrate you've spent time with children certainly helps.
  • A driving licence is not always required, but an advantage. 

How to get started?

  • Plan early – there are not usually any application deadlines, but allow sufficient time to find the best match and clarify all formalities.
  • Check qualified agencies and organisations for au pair placements (see below). If you need assistance, contact your nearest Eurodesk.

Where to look?

Different websites propose au pair opportunities. Make sure to check the reliability of the information (you can also check the European Agreement), contact the organisations and if possible, former au pairs (see our article on How to choose a good volunteering opportunity as the same quality checks apply). 

  • Au pair world – worldwide au pair database
  • Find au pair – matching au pairs and families from around the world, discussion forum, visa information and links to agencies
  • International Au Pair Association – access to organisations active in all aspects of au pair and cultural exchange programmes