I know a lot of people who, six years later, are still confused about what my American adventure really was. Saying I was an au pair is never enough, also as much as this is an exchange program to experience and teach culture, the word is thrown around locally as a synonym of nanny – there’s a fine line between the two but a line does exist.
Being an au pair requires you living with a host family and taking care of the kids in the house. You will sometimes be the designated driver to all their activities and you’re in charge of helping with homework and making lunches. If you have older kids chances are you will be given a car or will be using the family car that is shared with you and your host parents.
Here are some of the requirements to be an au pair:
- Be 18 – 26 years old
- Have a driver’s licence from your country
- Previous childcare experience (minimum of 200 hours)
- You must have graduated from high school (matric certificate to South Africans)
- No criminal record (this one should be obvious)
- Be able to speak English (if English isn’t your first language, you will be able to take classes in the U.S.)
If you’re a dude reading this going ‘eh?!!’, you could totally be an au pair too. A lot of families prefer male au pairs if they have little boys.
You need to remember that not every story is perfect, sometimes it doesn’t work and you will need to rematch with a new family or sometimes you will have to go home, but when you find the perfect match you will know it, kind of like me, I love my family and extended with them. Being an au pair is a great opportunity for a gap year or two and if you’re looking to be independent, this is the perfect way to gain some independence.
I’ve had the greatest time discovering myself, experiencing something so far out of my comfort zone and being able to explore the beautiful cities around me.
I hope you choose AUPAIRCARE and find your own adventure wherever it is you get placed.
If you have any questions or concerns, maybe just someone to talk you through the process please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org