Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Au Pair

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Au pair with children
Photo by Evan Carroll
For those without specialized skills, an au pair job may be just the ticket. Typically these positions are for young women between 18 and 25 years of age who would like to live for a short time in a foreign country and interact with children (note that men are becoming more common for this role, but still not the first choice). An au pair works part time and doesn't have a lot of responsibility, but they'll do the occasional babysitting, cooking and some light housework. Au pair's are not maids, but some families who get an au pair don't seem to respect that. Au pairs expected to know a bit of the local language and talk to the children in the household you're at. It's a good way to lightly expose the children to another culture and for the au pair to see a bit more of the world.

Au pairs are given a room, food, a bit of pocket money and maybe a local travel card. Different countries may have different legal requirements. For example, if you want to au pair in France, you'll be required to enroll in French language courses.

The Transitions Abroad web site has a decent introductory article on au pair requirements for different countries.