Do you have a strong parental instinct, but you’re just not ready to have kids of your own? Have you ever imagined combining your love for travel and working with children? If so, then au pair gap year programs are the perfect thing for you! An au pair year is an ideal way to experience first-hand living in a different country, while providing childcare to your host family, and not have worrying about things like rent and bills. Once you get a taste of the au pair experience, you’ll wish you would’ve done it sooner. Read on to find out everything you need to know to get started on the best time of your life!
Choosing the perfect location for au pair jobs as a nanny abroad can be tricky, but we’ve made a few suggestions for you, based on criterias like working requirements, reasonable salary and easier visas.
Germany. Europe is the perfect spot for au pair jobs—expect high salary compensation and reasonable work schedules. Germany even offers au pair visas and working permits to non-EU/EEA nationals. From Berlin to Stuttgart, Munich to Hamburg, you’ll have the chance to live in a multicultural society, view fairy-tale inspiring landscapes, and experience good ol’ German frankness and punctuality. Germans love their festivals—and traveling—so if your host family is going, you’re going too. Say “Prost!” at the REAL Oktober Fest, learn how to appreciate family Sundays, visit the most beautiful Christmas Markets, drink Gluhwein, eat hearty food (bretzels are life!!!) and enjoy a good ol’ Hefe Weizen. All while on the job.
Australia. The land down under is a great choice to nanny abroad if you are worried about language barriers. Communication between you and the host family and children will be a lot easier here; you won’t need Google translate to understand when the kids are explaining the rules to a new game. Living in Australia will be a one of a kind experience. From hitting your brakes when a wallaby is crossing the road, to going on family trips to the most beautiful beaches in the world (maybe learn how to surf?!), to eating fresh seafood and vegemite all in one day—au pair programs here are a trip.
Sweden. Another european country that offers an au pair permit and takes a stress off your shoulders. You don’t want to be tired when you meet your new family for the first time. You will also need enough rest and energy to stroll down the picturesque streets of Stockholm, take day trip with the kids to the Vasa Museum and the historical Visby City Wall, become madly fascinated with the Viking history, travel to all the 15 islands that the country encompasses and see some of the most beautiful natural-made art pieces.
Everything else you need to know about gap year au pair
Costs. The beauty of spending your gap year as a nanny abroad is that you can actually earn money while you travel the world. The only costs that you need to budget for are the costs of working with an agency for au pair programs, which are usually under $1000, and costs for covering your own traveling and experiences during your au pair jobs abroad. You’ll never have to worry about rent and bills, groceries, or even travel sometimes.With FundMyTravel you can fundraise your budget for your gap year abroad.
Accommodations. Signing up for an au pair year means living as an adopted family member in a different country. Mi casa e su casa. You will have your own furnished room, and sometimes even your own bathroom if you get lucky. In rare cases, you can also get your own apartment (in agreement with the host family) for some privacy, or simply to have a social life and not always feel like you’re on call. In this case, you need to make sure that your pocket can afford it.
Visas. If you don’t want to deal with the headache of figuring out the visas, you probably should do it through an au pair agency. That fee you pay includes them taking care of the visa for you. Problem solved! But if you don’t mind the extra work and want to save the extra money, start with checking out the GoAbroad embassy directory, because depending on what you have your eyes set on, the visas differ. For countries like Germany and Switzerland, there are specifically au pair visas, though for most countries you’ll need a student or tourist visa.
Safety. Your personal safety is a very important issue to consider before your gap year. Au pair programs will do the necessary research on families to place you in a safe and secure environment. The host families are as concerned as you are about who they will share their family with, so you can put some of your worries at ease. Research some of the laws and regulations of your future host country so you can adapt more easily and stay out of trouble.
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An au pair year can be scary. You will be moving into another country and live with people that you’ve never met. Therefore, take your time in carefully selecting your family and location, do your research thoroughly, and make sure about the accommodation arrangements beforehand. Enter this adventure open minded, ready to embrace the shocking cultural differences, and willing to learn how to adapt and adjust to new rules and routines.
Although your main duties will be related to child care, including preparing meals and tidying after them, some families may require some extra housework. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to decline. Set your boundaries and share them with your family. Honesty will bring you a long way.
Have enough money for any unforeseen circumstances, bring some little gifts for your new family to break the ice, and make lots of precious memories. Don’t want to spend your entire year as Mary Poppins or Mrs. Doubtfire? Consider summer au pair jobs. Summer nanny jobs overseas can be a great fit if you’re short on time or just want to test the waters first.
Going on an au pair year is a unique way of experiencing another country and culture without feeling like a tourist. Become an invaluable member of a foreign second family, adopt another culture, build precious family memories, and have the time of your life. Welcome to your new family!
Keep reading! How to identify your gap year goals