Are you between 18 and 26 years old? Do you want to travel? Do you want to immerse yourself in a different culture, learn a foreign language, travel to new places? And at the same time earn a little money?
Sure, I think A LOT of people want to do that! There is one way of
doing this I want to talk to you about, but it isn’t for everyone. If
you answered YES, sweet!! But the next questions are also important:
Do you love children?
Are you willing to work, and live with a foreign family? Are you willing to adapt, and learn quick? And… are you patient?
If you still answered YES, then perhaps becoming an Aupair could be a way to achieve your goals.
What is an Aupair?
Aupair is often used as synonymous of Nanny,
although it isn’t 100% the same. Usually, an Aupair is a foreign
assistant who works for a family as caregiver. It is mostly common for
an Aupair to live with the host family, but there are cases where the
family will pay for a room or an apartment for the Aupair. An Aupair is
given responsibilities such as childcare and house chores, in exchange
for pocket money (a small monetary allowance for personal use), room,
So here it goes. As a personal experience, I would definitely recommend being an Aupair. But I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.
While doing an Aupair year (or several) can be a life-changing
experience, it could also become the worst year of your life if your
goals don’t match an Au pair’s lifestyle.
HERE ARE 7 REASONS WHY TO BECOME AN AU PAIR:
1. Learning the language:
If you’re learning a foreign language and are trying to figure out
the best way to learn it fluently, living with a native family is an
effective way to achieve this. Children are often good teachers. They
point at what they want, repeat it, and help you learn a lot of
vocabulary in a short period of time, especially if they only speak the
language you’re trying to learn.
2. Immersing into a different culture:
Being an Aupair is definitely a cultural
experience. Getting to live with a native family is also something very
special. Between sharing meals, learning the family and cultural values,
and experiencing a foreign every-day life, you can get a fascinating
and first-hand sense of the culture.
3. Constant Income:
Being an Aupair is definitely not a money-maker, but it makes a huge difference if you’re receiving
some money each month. I remember seeing some exchange students, who
partied and had fun, and of course, didn’t have to work. In a way I
envied them, but in another I was glad I could pay for my own partying
(even if it wasn’t as much as theirs!), and not have to ask my parents
for money. That was another thing, my parents couldn’t pay for me to
live abroad, so working and taking a language courses at the same time
worked perfectly for me.
4. Having a second family in a foreign country:
This is one of the most important and life-changing experiences you
can have. Apart from the cultural and educational side of it, becoming
part of a new family is something unforgettable. I knew German families
were a little colder than Latin American ones, so I was not expecting
too much warmth from my host family. Instead, I was surprised to find
that the kids would come to me, and hug me! They wanted to talk to me,
engage, and I felt very loved by them. One of the girls I was taking
care of cried when I left Germany. But it’s important to keep in contact
once you leave, because a bond like this can last a lifetime if you
want it to, and if you make it happen. Having a second home in another
part of the world is priceless.
The places you travel to will depend on the place you’re living, the
money you save or have for it, and your organizational and planning
skills. Honestly, I’m terrible at planning stuff, beside the fact that I
despise it. But even then, I did get to visit a few places once I was
in Germany. Now, I didn’t travel around the world or anything like that,
but whether you go to Australia or France, there are always ways you
can move around to discover places that are new to you.
6. Growing up:
This one goes in hand with earning money while you’re abroad. I was
an Aupair when I was 18. Now that’s not precisely young, but it isn’t
like one is completely mature at that age. So the fact that you’re
alone, in charge of your own money, and have a lot of responsibilities
on you (the children, your school!), does make you grow up, at least a
little! And then you’re stuck in another country, it’s not like your
parents can fish you out of a problem (unless it’s financial and they’re
able to help you), and extreme experiences will stretch you in ways you
can’t even imagine. It sounds a little scary, I know, but it’s fun and
definitely a thousand times worth it.
7. Opening other opportunities:
Being abroad will help you know people, and perhaps discover other
interests that you didn’t know you had. It can also open the doors for
future jobs, or for attending university there. It can help you meet
people from different countries, and maybe even develop friendships deep
enough for people to receive you in their homes when you come back.
Then it’s like having a home in different countries!! Some people
(especially girls) use their Aupair year to look for a boyfriend (or
husband!!). Anyway, I won’t comment on that, but only state that that’s
not what I did =P (Well, once you have a boyfriend, you close your doors
to meet or flirt with other cute guys, right?)
So whether you think being an Aupair is right for you or not, please
do you homework and read a lot about it. It helps a lot to be informed,
and know what other people say about it, what it implies, and what it
requires. That will hopefully help you decide if becoming an Aupair is
something for you, and something you would enjoy.
Have an awesome day!