GeoVisions Foundation has been sending au pairs abroad since 2006. We are experts in helping people get great au pair jobs and screening families around the world who want to become host families to young people who will provide child care and English tutoring to their children. We're here to provide all the help you need to decide if becoming an au pair abroad is for you.
An Au Pair takes care of the children in a carefully screened host family and tutor them in English during scheduled hours. These scheduled hours are agreed upon between the au pair and host family in advance. Au Pairs help the children with their homework and assist in keeping children’s rooms and play areas clean. They prepare snacks and meals for the children, and drop them off or pick them up from school or activities.
Having an au pair job abroad allows you to use the experience you already have with child care to travel and get paid. Yes, you'll provide child care. But as a native-English speaker, you'll also be speaking to the family in English. The children's grades will improve, and the entire family will improve their English. You will learn their language too. Also, the stipend you receive and days off you can travel. Au Pair hours are from 20 to 35 hours a week.
Your host family is screened carefully. Also, you have the ultimate safety net: local coordinators and full-time staff in-country you can call on anytime. All of this to ensure you have a safe, comfortable environment and that your host family is a suitable host. Receive a clear set of guidelines and expectations that are set with your host family. Through monthly meetups with other au pairs, make new friends during your time abroad.
Some countries require you to take language courses to work legally. Au Pairs receive a private room to call their own plus all of their meals. Au Pairs also receive a weekly or monthly stipend and agreed upon days off.
We know you may decide being an au pair is not for you. And we also know you might find another organization to work with. We want to be helpful so here's a free 3-page resource guide that will answer a lot of your questions and give you a leg up on deciding your next steps.
You may think you're saving money by going through a matching site online. You're not.
In the United States and The Netherlands, you will be unable to be an au pair if you don't use an agency. Stop and ask yourself why those Governments have made and enforce those laws?
If you are using an online matching service, find out where to ask these questions to make sure you are going to be safe:
Please do not use an online matching service. Stay safe. An agency will make sure you're being paid the maximum amount working the least amount of time. And the agency will ensure you are paid on time each week. Agencies usually set up a get-together each month so you can make friends and talk about issues with your host family.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? And what if money were no object? THEN where would you go? Soon, you could be in a place you never even imagined existed. Or in a place you thought it would take years to see. And living alongside people you didn't even know exist. Where and how would you begin to make this happen?
One very good way to begin to live this life is by going abroad to be an au pair. You're going to choose where you want to live, make money, become immersed in another culture, entertain your friends and family when they fly to see you, (and impress them) and you'll have more benefits than you would have had if you stayed home and worked. When you're ready to leave, you will have the experience of living in that ideal location, and you'll have friends that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
An au pair job is different from other jobs. You don't get to go home at the end of the day! Be firm, but always be polite. You'll get more of what you want and expect that way.
The line between working and not-working can become blurred sometimes. You don’t want to end up feeling like you’re always on call.
Think about the children you've looked after before. Are you OK with toddlers? Or do you prefer older children? Do you overreact to tantrums? And what if the older children think you're the most boring person on the planet and barely give you the time of day?
Remember ... looking after the children is your principal responsibility and the main reason you're there. Ask great questions, evaluate your options, and then make your decision.
If you have used an online matching service to find your family, this is going to be VERY different for each au pair. Maybe you'll find out you're in charge of twins. Maybe you'll find out you have to work 6 days a week and 2 nights a week. You'll meet other au pairs that make €100 Euro each week and you only make €80 a week.
You might be working 30 hours a week, you'll meet an au pair that never has any time off, and another who makes bank, works 10 hours a week.
We make sure every au pair is working the same hours, making the same money, with the same hours off each week. We make certain that your cleaning duties around the house are ONLY light housework. We check this when we vet the host family, we make sure they understand the contract, and we check in each month. THAT'S why you never take an au pair job with an online matching service.
If there’s a problem, talk to your family. It can be kind of frightening to have to sit down and clear the air. But the au pairs who do that come out of it stronger and happier. With the language and culture gap, sometimes it just takes sitting down and talking.
Go to the agency meet-ups. Meet other au pairs, find people you want to travel with on weekends. Gather a group of au pair friends who you can share issues with and talk through ideas on how to solve problems.
If you have decided to use an online matching service, you are going to have a more difficult time finding a new family if you actually need one. The downside to finding a new family is having to tell a new family why you left the other one. And moving out, moving in to a new location, getting adjusted to a new family and a new routine.
Going abroad with an agency can mitigate the issues and 90% of the time we find a way to make the communication better. And the au pair feels comfortable staying. But when that can't happen, we have emergency families who will take you for a week or so, and you can begin interviewing new families with the confidence that we're standing behind you, and we have what we need to tell the new family this move was indeed necessary. You can't underestimate the need for an agency when things go wrong.
Living where you work isn’t easy, and often it can feel like you have no privacy and that you’re always working. That's why forming a good relationship with your host family will make your overall experience better.
Think about it. You've moved into someone else's home. You're attempting to integrate into their lives. So you will need to go the extra mile to make that entire transition much easier.
Problems? Talk about those when the kids are in school or when they have gone to bed. Just ask if you can speak to your host parents, tell them precisely what is concerning you, and have that conversation without children present. The parents will appreciate that most of all.
We have had au pairs never make their bed, keep a messy room and spend their free time in their room with the headphones cranked up and on the Internet texting friends and family back home. While there isn't anything wrong staying in touch with family and friends and listening to your music ... you also want to integrate into the home and the lifestyle and the family wants to see you out and about learning all you can about where they live and their culture.
A messy room might be fine at home or in your apartment, but a tidy room as an au pair shows you respect your new space and that you're going to also have expectations of the children you're caring for. Host parents want to see that you have rules and that you expect the kids to follow them. It gives them confidence in having you with them each day.
Holidays: Mother's Day and Father's Day are biggies. And they fall on different dates than what you might expect. Find out if you can celebrate Thanksgiving and show them your holiday. And find out how they celebrate Christmas.
Visits: Find out early how the family will feel if a friend or family from home come over. And if you meet a friend at an au pair meet up, what are the rules to inviting him or her over. If you talk about this way in advance, it's going to be much easier.
The visa process and which visa to get really varies from country to country and depends a lot on your citizenship. You will meet au pairs from the EU who are au pairs in Europe and they don't need a visa. Even an au pair from Spain working in France can be an au pair legally because no visa is necessary. Americans, however, will need to get the new Au Pair Visa for France if you're going to be an au pair in France. If you're an American and you're going to be an au pair in Italy or Spain for example, you'll need to apply for and receive the student visa. That means you'll need to take language courses and pay for that. Or ask your host family to pay for the courses.
If you are an au pair in the EU, don't even think about working "under the table" without a visa. Yes, some do and some get away with it. You face criminal charges when you leave the country. You will have no rights at all and no access to healthcare if anyone sees in your passport that you overstayed your tourist visa.
The exception? If you're going to au pair for 2 or 3 months, usually done in the summer months. There you show up with a tourist visa and you don't need a student or au pair visa for that short-stay.
Look over the programs below and click on the button for the adventure that moves you the most. We'll take it from there.