What is an Au Pair?
An Au Pair is a domestic assistant who works for and lives with a host family. Au pairs usually take up a portion of the family’s caregiving responsibilities, especially child care, in exchange for a financial allowance for personal use.
The concept of Au Pair started as an intercultural exchange program that allows young people to spend time abroad, discover diverse cultures, and learn/enhance their language abilities in return for assistance with childcare responsibilities. The host family also has the opportunity to learn the culture of the Au Pair, making the program mutually beneficial to both parties in that regard.
The word “au pair” is French for “on equal terms,” this implies that the Au Pair and the Host Family are on equal ground. No one is allowed to be treated like a subordinate or discriminated against.
Several people have moved to a different country for this purpose. If you are a young person who enjoys playing with kids, this is a fun and free way to improve your German language abilities while also learning about Germany. This article reveals how you can visit and stay in Germany via the Au Pair program.
Age limit to become an Au Pair
Government limitations on Au Pair placements are common, with age ranges, often ranging from 18 to 26 years old. This means only young people within the age range of 18 to 26 years old are considered for the exchange, based on the government policies concerning Au Pair programs.
Gender for an Au Pair
Both males and females are allowed to participate in this program. The males are often referred to as ‘Bro Pair’. However, this preference depends on the host family, and it is usually stated in the requirements.
Education/Work Experience for an Au Pair
People who have a high school degree can participate in this program. A high school or secondary school certificate is equivalent to the German ‘Abitur’. You may need to show proof that you are good with child-care before you are accepted as an Au Pair in Germany. This does not imply that you have to have been a professional child-care expert, you may just have a passion for caring for children. You can prove this by sharing some experiences you have had, even with children in your family, and why you enjoy caring for children.
Language Proficiency to become an Au Pair in Germany
You do not have to be proficient in the German language to become an Au Pair. Besides, one of the reasons people become Au Pairs is to learn the language of the region and their culture. However, It would be advantageous to know at least the basics of the German language before you head on to become an Au Pair in Germany. This will allow you to have basic communication with the residents, and most importantly, establish some connection with your host family.
Financial requirement to become an Au Pair in Germany
You should have at least the funds to cover your travel and visa expenses to Germany. While your host family will cover most of your expenses, you should be able to cover your visa and travel cost as it is not their responsibility. Although some families may agree to donate, it is not required.
Passport requirement to become an Au Pair in Germany
You must have a valid passport ID from your home country. This serves as a means of identification, and it is a mandatory requirement.
It does not matter if you are married, single, divorced, etc. You can still participate in the program, despite your marital status. However, if you have any children who are really young, you may be declined from participating in the Au Pair program. You are not allowed to be accompanied by any child to your host country.
Relationship with Host Family as an Au Pair
You should not be related to any member of your host family or come from the same country as them. Recall it is an intercultural exchange program, there will be no cultural exchange if you are already familiar with your host family, and it defeats the aim of the entire program.
Time Frame for an Au Pair
As an Au Pair, you are only allowed to stay in Germany for a period of six months to a year. You will not be allowed to stay for more than a year because an Au Pair visa expires then.
You must have a German residence permit as well as a work permit, which must be requested at the German consulate in your native country before departure.
Benefits of Au Pair in Germany
- As an Au Pair, you are not entitled to receiving a ‘salary’ which means you do not have to pay tax or make social contributions. However, you are entitled to a monthly allowance or ‘pocket money’ of 260 to 300 Euros.
- You get a day off a week, usually off days are Sundays. You also get four evenings free every week. If you work for a full year, you are entitled to four weeks off.
- Your host family pays for your health insurance, so you do not have to worry about that.
- Your host family’s responsibility is to pay for your German language learning at a German language school for up to 90 Euros.
- You are entitled to have access to public transportation, in the form of a car or a monthly pass for the local public transportation.
- As an Au Pair in Germany, you are entitled to a free room that guarantees your privacy and free meals on account of your host family.
How to become an Au Pair in Germany
Now you are aware of what an Au Pair is, the requirements, and the benefits, logically, the next thing to know is how to actually become one.
- Before becoming an Au pair in Germany, the first thing to do is find the right family to pair with. At this juncture, you should consider the number of children they have, payment, duties you are required to carry out and if they have special requirements you need to know before choosing them. When searching for families, you may need an agency to assist you to find the right one. If you want to do it on your own, you may consider some sites like GreatAuPair and AuPairWorld. These sites allow you to register as an Au Pair. You get notified when a host family needs an Au Pair that matches you. You can also find families that may match your preference and make contact with them. Make sure to talk to the family, over the phone, before you decide to take the offer. This allows you to determine whether the family is a suitable match.
- Next is to apply for a visa, especially if you are a non-EU or EEA citizen. You need to apply early enough as most families generally start looking for an Au Pair a few months before they need them on the ground and sometimes, getting a visa may take a while, depending on your home country.
Becoming an Au Pair does not require a lot of qualifications like getting a professional job, or moving to Germany for full-time employment or studies. All you need really is to find a suitable family, be willing to learn and share your culture with your host family, and have all the requirements stated above. When you become an Au Pair in Germany, you might want to hire a private tutor to learn the German language or go to a language school. Whichever one suits your preference and will enable you to learn fast is highly recommended.
Some programs limit the Au Pair’s responsibilities to child-related tasks such as transporting children to and from school, aiding them with schoolwork, and providing after-school snacks. Others expand their responsibilities to include minor housekeeping such as dish-washing, laundry, and grocery shopping. Check with your host family concerning the responsibilities they expect you to take on when you move in with them, and if it is what you can do.
Remember that this is a program to facilitate intercultural relationships while assisting families who need help with child-care. Note that this program is very different from getting a regular nanny or in-house help. In this program, you are like a part of the family. Feel relaxed and be open to learning the German culture and teaching members of your host family your culture.