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What is an Au Pair and How Does Au Pairing Work?

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An au pair is a young adult, often female, who travels to another country to provide live-in childcare for a family. The au pair has many responsibilities similar to a live-in nanny, such as entertainment, homework help, meal preparation, household chores, and more. Put simply, the au pair provides an extra set of hands and eyes for the family they are living with.

How is having an au pair different than having a nanny?

Au pairs are generally much younger than nannies. The average au pair is typically between the ages of 18-26. Au pairs also tend to only work for about a year, while nannies often make a career out of childcare.

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Whether interested in becoming an au pair or hiring one, there are many business designed to facilitate an exchange. A quick Internet search pops up with a plethora of websites offering au pair matching services, such as “smartaupairs” and “AuPairCare.” Many of these websites also provide resources for both au pairs and their host families, from advice to choosing an au pair to suggestions for activities to do with children. In this day and age it is so much easier to connect with and communicate with people all around the world, so it’s no surprise how easy it’s become to be an au pair.

The stipend for au pair work depends on the host family, the au pair, how the au pair was hired, and what country the au pair will be working in. Certain websites that assist in coupling au pairs to host families have certain requirements for pay. For example, “AuPairCare” states their au pairs will earn around $10,000 for one year of work. Through that service they also receive travel insurance and the opportunity to earn a tuition scholarship. The U.S. State Department defines the starting salary for an au pair to be $195.75 a week.

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