Enticed by the idea of living abroad for a little while, but studying abroad isn’t for you? You may be close to high school graduation and now are considering something to do on a gap year. Perhaps you need income while traveling independently overseas, or wish to give your resume a bit of a kick in the pants. Have you considered serving as an Au Pair?
What is an Au Pair?
The simplest way to describe this arrangement is that you serve as a glorified nanny overseas. The term “Au Pair” is from the French, roughly meaning “the same.” The upshot is that you are to be treated as one of the family, not as an employee. You are paid to work with your host parents’ children, but the income should be considered as something akin to an allowance, not a paycheck.
You live with the family in their home, and they feed you at no cost to you. This kind of living situation where rent and food is covered is known as “room and board.” There are Au Pair arrangements where young men and women from other countries become an Au Pair in America. Similarly, you, as an American, can apply to various countries abroad to become an Au Pair. Many nations, unfortunately, do not participate in Au Pair programs. Of those that do, each has its own particular requirements of both the host family and the Au Pair.