Proactive Educational Consultancy

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FAQ (Frequently asked questions)

After backpacking Europe the summer of 2010 between my junior and senior year of college, I fell in love (with the continent, not a boy). All I could think about was going back. I went back to the monotonous routine: university, internships, sleep – and ultimately took on another job to really save up for my graduation gift to self: Eurotrip #2. During my saving and trip planning, I quickly realized that after graduation I wanted to do something different before entering the workforce. I missed out on the opportunity to study abroad in college, so I began exploring my options overseas. I loved my babysitting job in high school and being an au pair immediately came to mind. After tons of time, loads of research and countless heart-to-hearts later, I made the big decision (and later big decision #2 – staying). So, here I am in Deutschland. Hopefully the following can help you in the research department.
Au pair is a French term meaning “equal to”. Thus, it implies a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the family. Au pairs typically live with the family in their home and help take care of the children along with fulfilling some basic household duties in exchange for a place to stay and a cultural immersion abroad.
The Internet is the obvious answer here. As a member of the blogosphere, there are tons of au pairs out there blogging, like myself. There are also many online au pair agencies with free information (but not free family searching, but we will get to that later). Google is your friend. One of my favorite resources was AuPair Mom. It is a resource for host moms and dads, but au pairs can find some great info here as well. Also, talk to everyone you know about this option. Although they may know nothing about au pairing, they may know somebody, who knows somebody, who knows an au pair that you can talk to. This is how I found out about the site I ended up using.
I like to call it functional German. I can get through any situation if need be. I am nowhere close to fluency. I knew zero Deutsch when I got here.
While you will be surrounded by the language 24/7 once you have arrived here in Germany and hence will “have no choice but” to learn the language along the way, attending a German language class will ensure you learn the proper grammar and pronunciation. If you would like to brush up on your German before arrival try using an online language learning system like Rosetta Stone, go to your local library to check out whether they have any German (childrens) books in store, search on the Internet for a free German web radio station, read German magazines or newspapers online or rent a movie you already know by heart and set the language to German this time. There are many different ways to practice German even before you get here.
During my first trip to Europe, Germany was easily my favorite destination. Munich was the only place I saw, but it was all I needed. Germany is a lush, green, beautiful, centrally located country. The people are ultra welcoming and maintain wonderful family values. There are so many great towns to see and it is easy to travel anywhere in Europe from here. Oh, and (almost) everyone here speaks English, but it’s not the primary language. I wanted the opportunity to learn another language, but also selecting a country where I would not feel isolated by a language barrier was extremely important to me. In as early as elementary school, Germans begin learning English. Even if someone says their English is poor, it is actually pretty decent. If Germany doesn’t do it for you, explore your options. People all over the world are looking for au pairs!
As an au pair in Germany you have the fantastic opportunity to experience first-hand the German Way of life by living with a host family. In exchange you will provide personalized live-in childcare for your family's children for up to 30 hours per week. As an au pair you will:
Supervise, play, do sports or make handicrafts with your family's children
Get the children bathed and dressed
Feed and change diapers of infants
Make the children's breakfast, lunch or dinner
Drive the children to school, kindergarten, appointments, lessons, play dates, etc.
Help the children with their school homework
Keep your and the children's rooms neat and tidy and do your own and their laundry Do light household work such as vacuuming, un-/loading the dishwasher, taking out the trash, do some grocery shopping, etc.
Share your culture and traditions with your host family and vice versa
Accompany your host family on trips and celebrate holidays and birthdays with them
You will gain so much from it! The majority of au pairs state that they have gained more independence, maturity and self-confidence from their stay in Germany. They have had the chance to get to know another culture, make friends with au pairs from other countries and discover hidden talents within themselves. Staying abroad for an extended period of time is also a great way to enhance future careers options as au pairs learn to adapt and adjust to a new lifestyle, to be flexible and to further develop intercultural competencies.
Unfortunately it is not possible to work shorter than six months due to au pair visa regulations. You can however extend your stay until 12 months in total.
No, as an au pair you will not receive a salary. Your host family will pay you a certain amount of pocket money . It varies according to the relevant host country and partly depends on your working hours.