If you’re looking for a way to spend time abroad but aren’t quite sure how to make it happen, summer au pair jobs just might be the perfect solution. Not only is it an affordable way to travel, it’s also a great way to combine a love of children with learning a new culture and language. Whether you want to experience life in urban Beijing or prefer to discover rural Italy, can get you there!
What does an au pair do?
What doesn’t an au pair do? No two days will look alike during a summer au pair program, and you might be picking up the kids from swimming lessons before heading home to make a snack or spending time reading articles in English before having tea with your host family. An au pair’s exact responsibilities will vary, but generally speaking you’ll be tasked with spending time with the family’s children, helping them learn English (or another language), and doing some light housework and meal prep.
The difference between an au pair and a babysitter is that you’ll be living in the family’s home and interacting with them on a daily basis. Not only will the children be learning from you, but you’ll also be learning from the family. Becoming an au pair is a great way to really immerse yourself in a new country’s culture and deeply experience what daily life is like from a local perspective. No hostel or AirBnB can give you that!
At the end of the day, au pairs are expected to be open-minded, flexible, and responsible individuals, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, too! While some days will most certainly be challenging, most au pairs come away from their experience with great memories and a deep connection to their host family.
How do I become an au pair?
Before you dive face first into a pile of applications, it’s important to consider if summer au pair jobs are right for you. Ask yourself: do you enjoy spending time with children, or are you just looking for a cheap way to get abroad for the summer? It’s crucial to keep in mind that this job is a childcare position and you’ll be spending the majority of your time wrangling little ones, in a foreign language no less! While it can be incredibly rewarding, make sure you’re signing up for the right reasons. (If you decide kids aren’t your thing, check out other summer jobs abroad that might be right for you!)
If you’re still super pumped after doing a gut check, summer au pair jobs usually aren’t too difficult to find, though it can take some time. Most international nanny agencies recommend that you begin your search three to six months in advance of when you want to start working. This will give the agency time to learn you and then provide your information to prospective families. You’ll likely be required to undergo a background check and provide proof of CPR certification as well. Once a match has been made, you’ll be able to speak with the family to ensure you’re also comfortable with the placement.
Throughout the process, make sure you’re doing your research and never agree to anything that doesn’t feel right. Unfortunately, there are placement agencies out there that are scams or offer less-than-ideal working conditions, so make sure you vet the organization and read reviews online. You can always check out GoAbroad’s Online Advisor for customized recommendations and program reviews, too.
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What can I expect my summer au pair cost to be?
Getting a job as a summer au pair abroad is one of the most affordable ways to experience life in another country. Not only is your room and board included in the program, but most au pairs also receive a small weekly stipend to cover personal expenses. Aside from your plane ticket and agency fees for your placement, you could be nannying abroad for the summer for almost no cost at all!
While this sounds like the best deal ever, keep in mind that this isn’t a vacation. While the amount of hours vary depending on the program, you’ll be working most days a week and are responsible for the care and safety of your host family’s children. As long as you’re prepared to work hard, summer au pair jobs are a great way to spend your break without breaking the bank.
Where can I find summer au pair jobs abroad?
There are many families who are looking for someone to share time with and teach English to their children, and chances are you can find a placement in nearly any country you want. That said, if you’re only looking for a summer gig, it’s best to stick to countries that have a similar school schedule as your home country. For those in the Northern hemisphere, this means summer au pair jobs in Europe are some of your best options.
For English learners, becoming a summer au pair in the USA is a great way to practice your language skills and live with an American host family. Due to visa regulations, the au pair exchange program requires a 12 month commitment, and au pairs are also required to take some college classes to further their education. If you can only manage a summer, check out , which still let you interact with children and practice your English, with the added bonus of outdoor adventure and s’mores.
Spend a summer getting to know a German family and you probably won’t want to leave! Between the English lessons hidden into Lego playtime and the hearty dinners of sausage and sauerkraut, you’ll feel at home in no time (figuring out German declensions, on the other hand, might take a bit longer). As a bonus, the country’s efficient transportation system ensures you’ll be able to visit other parts of the country once your program has ended. As for summer au pair jobs, Germany is hard to beat.
If spending the summer in London is your dream, au pair summer jobs are the perfect way to explore the city and get to know a British family in an affordable way. You’ll receive a small stipend in local currency to help pay for all the fish and chips you’ll eat, and you’ll get at least one day off a week to play tourist and explore Hyde Park or Covent Garden. Keep in mind that when it comes to summer au pair jobs, London isn’t the only option. If you prefer a smaller town or a more rural atmosphere, placements outside of the city are also possible.
Spend a few months learning Italian and filling your belly with, well, everything when you spend a summer as an au pair abroad in Italy. Not only will you learn what Italians really eat (spoiler: it’s as good as you imagine!), but you’ll also get an insider perspective on local culture while living with a host family. When you get a day or two free, cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence are just a train ride away!
As you’d expect, there are a lot of summer au pair jobs in France. After all, the very word au pair originated in this country of wine and cheese! Whether you end up in bustling Paris or a quiet, rural town, you’ll experience life like les français and discover just how adorable little children are when speaking French. In between Petit Suisses and bandes desinées, make sure you take some time for yourself to roam the city and practice your French.
Whether you’re looking to perfect your Mandarin or just want to experience life in the world’s most populous country, travel nanny jobs are a great way to immerse yourself in the Chinese culture. Most au pairs are placed in urban areas, so you’ll have the chance to explore a major metropolis when you’re not busy teaching the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song to your little ones. Most au pair programs also offer language and cultural lessons, ensuring you won’t be totally lost when you venture out on your own.
Living in Spain can be expensive, but a summer au pair abroad program here can make it a little easier on your budget. When you’re done playing in the park and have wrapped up your coloring sessions, you’ll have ample time to practice your Spanish and indulge in the seemingly never-ending supply of tapas. If you’re lucky, your host family may even take you on their summer vacation, meaning you’ll get to experience life in another region of Spain, or perhaps even a new country!
If you really want to au pair down under, you might need to take off more than just a summer. Due to its location in the southern hemisphere, summer break isn’t at the same time as its northern hemisphere counterparts, which doesn’t always mesh well with college students’ schedules. That said, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break from college and doing it anyway! After all, who wouldn’t want to trade in a cold, snowy winter for an extra summer as a nanny abroad in Australia?
You’ve got style, you’ve got flare, and you want to be there—it’s how you became the nanny (abroad)
Nannying abroad for the summer might be mostly playtime and giggles, but it also involves taking care of sick kids and cleaning up their messes. It can be a challenge, but the rewards are immense. Whether you’re gearing up for a career in childcare, teaching ESL, or something else entirely, there’s really no downside to spending a summer abroad as an au pair. Well, maybe just one: you probably won’t want to come back!