Paid to Get Your Wanderlust

A Guide to Becoming an Au Pair


Aislin Leto, Reporter

In a world full of requirements and full of things that are already planned there is only so much that students in high school are able to have control over. But what if that changed. What if we changed the narrative that high school students have come so accustomed to. 

Where even is a place to start and how is it even able to change in the first place. Most teenagers know that they go through four years of high school to get to college to get a job. This is the only narrative that students know. Some students will choose to go to the army but many think that these are the only two options after high school. This is in fact not true. 

In a world full of misconception this one is the greatest. Students in school see no hope of doing anything more than school for years of their early lives. The time of being young is short and limited and going from elementary, to middle, to high school, and then finally to college seems unfair. Life may be unfair sometimes but this is one time where it does not need to be. 

The readers may be asking where do you start if college may not be the path for you. You must take into consideration what you want from your future and where you want to go and if you see yourself in college later this could be an excellent time to take a break from school and see the world.

Being an Au Pair is not an easy task, but it is also not as hard as many think it is. Let’s start with asking the question: what is an Au pair? An au pair is a helper from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, Au Pairs take on a share of the family’s responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a monetary allowance or stipend for personal use. 

This could be an opportunity for anyone that enjoys kids and is looking to see the world without the concern of having to travel alone at a young age. By being an au pair you can go to many different dream places where you will be able to live for a duration of the time. 

There are many exciting things that you will be able to experience while you are abroad like learning the language and experiencing a new culture. You will be able to help the family that you decide to be a part of with their language skills as well and show them your culture as well. 

As someone who has experienced this it is truly possible. If you told me 3 years ago that I would be moving to France by myself and taking a gap year from college I would have told you, that you were crazy. But I am living proof that you can do this no matter where you are in life and what you think you can’t do.

I have worked hard to get to this place as so many things led up to where I am going. Travel was always a dream and never in the realm of possibilities. I wanted to find a way to travel in a safe way alone at the age of 18. That’s when my sister gave me the idea to au pair many au pairs are much older and in their 20’s but it is still possible for younger people to. This is not only for women but for men too.

This is a life changing decision but it possible if one believes that it is.

Seen above is where I am about to live for a year if you follow this guide you can also move abroad and live the life that you have been dreaming of.

If this is something that you may be interested in the first step is to make an account on it is a private orgnazation that is free for the Au pair. You will make a profile and add a picture of yourself or with you and children you have previously babysat or worked with. You will then answer a few questions about yourself and what you are looking for in a family. This will give the families an idea of who you are. 

The next step in this process is to put in filters of the places that you are interested in going to and looking at what the restrictions are for each of the countries you are interested in. This is an important step for your visa later on. Many of these countries will be interested in you if you have taken courses of their language and some require a certain level of knowledge. If that is the case you can ceritantly fufill the necessary requirements or look for other countries. 

Thinking ahead is always an important task especially before you meet any families. Looking at all of the countries that you are interested in and if they have an embassy or consulate in you city is the next most important step so that you will not be spending unnecessary time or money if one is not. 

After looking and deciding which country you feel is right for you, you can finally begin to reach out to families. Do not feel discouraged if you do not get much response back in the beginning because soon many families will contact you. It’s important to remember that most families get five to ten messages per day and have many people to consider in the application process. Consider the time zone when messaging them as well. Sending messages at night that they can read while it is middle of the night here is an excellent option and you will wake up to more messages in the morning. 

Once you have been in contact with a family and they decide to have a meeting with you, the best form of communication with the families is through Whats App. Remember that these meetings are similar to interviews and be prepared and professional. 

This is when you make your first impression and get to know the family but they also get to know you as well. Make a list of questions that ask them the nitty gritty details to make sure that you will be a good match. If they arent a good match let them know that you have gone in another direction. 

Meeting the right family is hard but you will get there eventually and once you know which family is for you comes the exciting part of this new adventure. You will sign the contract and it will be a done deal. You will be moving to a different country and meeting new people!

Once the contract is signed you will need to apply for a visa for whichever country you have decided. They most likely will require you to come to one of their emassys of consulates and if it is not in your city then you will have to fly to the oen nearest to you. You must fill out all the necessary paperwork and make sure you are prepared with everything you need before leaving. 

Finally you will get your passport back in the mail and it will have a stamp saying you have the visa. You will book your plane ticket to whichever country you have planned to go too. You will get to live in a new world and have a new experience that most people dream of and the best part about it is that it is not an expensive way to see the world.