Become An Au Pair

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.

What Is An Au Pair?

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.

Use your Child Care Experience

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.

Carefully Screened Host Families

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.

Free E-Book To Read

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.

10 Tips to be A Great Au Pair - Grab a Copy

If You Want To Use An Online Matching Service

Don't!

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?

Safety. Safety. And Safety.

If you are using an online matching service, find out where to ask these questions to make sure you are going to be safe:

  1. Who screened the host family?
  2. Who vetted my bedroom, the family members and location to public transport?
  3. If I need a visa, who is going to help me with that?
  4. If I become injured or ill, who pays for that?
  5. If something happens to one of the children in my care, or something happens to an antique mirror I break, who covers that?
  6. Who will translate my contract? Even better, will there be a contract for me to sign?
  7. If I'm required to work more hours than I thought, who helps me with that?

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.

Pick A Country

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.

Ask Great Questions During Your Interview

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.

  • How old are the kids? What’s their current level of English?
  • Have you had an au pair before?
  • How many children do you have? What are their ages? What do they enjoy doing when they're not in school?
  • What are your expectations of me when I'm not on duty?
  • What will be my cleaning responsibilities?

What Should I Expect When I Arrive?

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.

If You Use An Agency (Like GeoVisions Foundation) You Won't Find These Crazy Differences EVER

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 Are Problems

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.

Going The Extra Mile To Get Along With Your New Host Family

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.

Here is a short list of things your host family would love:

  • Make food or bake something from home.
  • Bond with your host mom.
  • Make life for the parents easier, like picking up something from the store when you're out.
  • Don't lose your key.
  • Don't lose your cell phone, because that is how you're going to communicate with the host family.
  • Don't invite people over without asking first.

What About A Visa?

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.

Australia

Be between the ages of 18 and 30. Hold a Passport from the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Ireland or Sweden. Have previous childcare/babysitting experience with references and a genuine love of children. Commit to a minimum of 6 months as an au pair. Be interviewed by phone or Skype to be accepted by the family. Have driving experience.

You can earn a weekly salary of at least AUD 7/hour for 25-40 hours of childcare. You can budget around AUD 200 per week for income. There is a possibility that you can use the family’s car. Usually, you will receive two days off per week. Some families provide 1 ½ days off, but that information will be provided in advance. (Plan to spend one weekend evening per month to watch the children.)

Au Pair Australia

A GeoVisions au pair on a golf course in Australia with kangaroo.

China

Be between the ages of 18 and 30. (Female Au Pairs are placed quickly, while male Au Pairs can take a bit longer.) Hold a Passport from the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Have previous childcare/babysitting experience with references and a genuine love of children. Commit to a minimum of 3 months as an au pair. (Many families prefer a commitment of 9-12 months.)

For au pairs going to China, GeoVisions Foundation provides a placement with a carefully screened family along with a private bedroom and all of your meals. You will receive a monthly stipend of at least $450 US for 25 hours of childcare and English tutoring each week. You usually receive 1 ½ days off per week. You are picked up at the airport and brought to your host family. You will also receive medical and accident insurance coverage.

In China, it is the custom for your host family to assist with your airfare, depending on how long you will stay in China. The family will also pay for 60-hours of Chinese language classes during your first 3-months in China. 

Walk & Talk China 

Two GeoVisions au pairs in China with their host sisters having lunch.

France 

Be between 18 and 29 with at least a high school diploma. Hold a Passport from the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Have previous childcare/babysitting experience with references. Swimmers preferred. Be able to commit to at least two months as an au pair. 2-3 month placements are available from June through September.

Most long-term au pairs begin in September. If you start in January, you can qualify for 6, 8 or 12-month placements. A requirement to meet the France Visa requirements for the Long-Stay Student Visa program includes attending French language classes in France.

You can earn a weekly stipend of €90 (Euros) per week for approximately 30 hours of babysitting. At least 1 1/2 days off per week.  Moreover, one weekend per month.  After six months you will receive one week paid vacation and another week at the end of your stay.

Au Pair France

 

A GeoVisions au pair in France with her two host siblings in an outdoor park.

Germany

Be between the ages of 18 and 30. Hold a Passport from the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Ireland or Sweden. Have previous childcare/babysitting experience with references and a genuine love of children. Commit to a minimum of 6 months as an au pair. Be interviewed by phone or Skype to be accepted by the family. Have driving experience.

Au Pairs in Germany earn a monthly stipend of €260 (Euros) per month for approximately 30 hours per week of babysitting. If you take a 10+ month job, you will have made more than the fee after six weeks. You could then have more than $3000 in your pocket.

Au Pair Germany

Au Pairs attending a GeoVisions Au Pair social event.

Ireland

You must be a full-time college student leading to an Associate, Bachelor, Master, or doctorate with a minimum of 2 semesters on your transcript, or you must be a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree within 12 months of applying for your visa.  This is to qualify for the Work and Travel visa in Ireland. Be between the ages of 18 and 29. Hold a Passport from the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Have previous childcare/babysitting experience with references and a genuine love of children. Be able to commit to at least six months as an au pair. Provide a medical reference and a background check. Be interviewed by phone or Skype to be accepted by the family. Have driving experience and an international driving license.

You will receive a weekly stipend of €100 (Euros) per week for approximately 23 hours of childcare. You can earn up to €225 per week for 40 hours of childcare each week. Au Pairs who stay a year earn USD $12,000 after the cost of the program fee and Working Holiday visa. Some families may give a €200 – €500 bonus at the completion of your program.

 Au Pair Ireland

Two children outside playing with their GeoVisions au pair in Ireland.

Italy

Be between 18 and 27 with at least a high school diploma. (Females are placed quickly, while males can take a bit longer.) Hold a Passport from the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Have previous childcare/babysitting experience with references and a genuine love of children. Provide a statement of health and a background check. Have basic skills in Italian and be motivated to achieve a higher fluency. Be interviewed by phone or Skype to be accepted by the family. Driver’s license is preferred. Be able to swim.

For the Walk and Talk Italy program, a stipend of approximately €40 a week for 20 hours of child care and 10-15 hours of tutoring. For the au pair program, a stipend of approximately €80 to €100 per week for 30 hours of childcare. More hours per week will usually receive a higher weekly stipend.

Au Pair Italy

 

 

Walk & Talk Italy

 

An au pair on the beach in Italy with her host brother and their dog.

Netherlands

Be between 18 and 30 with at least a high school diploma. (Female Au Pairs are placed quickly, while male Au Pairs can take a bit longer.) Hold a Passport from the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Have previous childcare/babysitting experience with references and a genuine love of children. Provide a statement of health and a background check. Be interviewed by phone or Skype to be accepted by the family. Be able to commit to 10-12 months as an au pair. Driving experience is not required, but the ability to ride a bike is. (Many families have cargo bikes that require a minimum rider height of 5’1″.) Lastly, you will need to provide three references.

A stipend of at least €300 (Euros) per month for up to 30 hours of babysitting and light housework. The stipend is €340 per month if you are over 20 and have at least two years of college. You could earn over $5,000 for the year and have all of your living expenses covered. At least two full days off per week, plus you are entitled to two-weeks off as paid holidays.

Au Pair Netherlands

Dutch children outside playing a game with their GeoVisions au pair.

New Zealand

Be between 18 and 30 with at least a high school diploma. (Please note that males can apply to be an au pair.  The placements will take longer to make.) Have previous childcare/babysitting experience, and a genuine love of children. Be able to commit to at least six months as an au pair. A 12-month program is much easier to place! When arriving between October and December, nine months is the minimum stay.  Please arrive in February, March or April.

You must be able to obtain a working holiday visa. You must have a valid driver’s license and be prepared to drive in New Zealand. We recommend getting an international driver’s license.  Two driving lessons are provided to help familiarize au pairs with driving in New Zealand.  (Please note that most cars in New Zealand are standard transmission.) Be a non-smoker.

You will receive a private room and full board and a stipend of NZ $170 (net) per week for up to 30 hours of babysitting per week. Working up to 40 hours/week you earn NZ$215 (net) per week. 45 hours/week receive NZ$235 (net). Au Pairs will have two days off per week. With a six month placement, au pairs receive two weeks of holiday time.  9-month placements receive three weeks of holiday time. With a 12 month program, au pairs receive four weeks holiday. In-country support. Monthly au pair coffee group and occasional special events. 2-3 day orientation. (Au pairs working with preschool children will stay three days. Au pairs working only with school-aged children finish orientation after Day 2.) You will receive assistance setting up a NZ bank account.

Au Pair New Zealand

A GeoVisions au pair visiting Hobbiton in New Zealand, taking a break from her host family.

Spain

Be between 18 and 30 with at least a high school diploma. (Females are placed quickly, while males can take a bit longer.) Hold a Passport from the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Have previous childcare/babysitting experience with references and a genuine love of children. Swimmers preferred. Provide a medical statement and a background check. Be interviewed by phone or Skype to be accepted by the family. Driver’s license is preferred.

For Walk & Talk, a stipend of approximately €40 a week for 20 hours of child care and 10-15 hours of tutoring. For au pairs a weekly stipend of €65 – €85 (Euros) per week for approximately 25 – 30 hours of babysitting is paid. At least 1 1/2 days off per week. Moreover, one weekend per month. After six months you will receive one week paid vacation and another week at the end of your stay.
 Walk & Talk Spain

Au Pair Spain

A GeoVisions au pair in Spain with her 3 host siblings.