Work & Study

How to work and study abroad on a budget with the Au Pair Program

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Always dreaming about studying overseas but feel stuck because of a tight budget? No worries! Today I’m going to tell you that this IS possible.

What if I told you you have the chance of joining a work and study program that will help you cover part of your study and travels abroad?

Let me introduce you to the Au Pair program! If you haven’t heard of it, or if you are a little bit familiar with the program but would like to know more details about it, just keep reading.


What is the Au Pair program?

Au Pair is an exchange program for young foreigners who want to live in a different country, live a new culture and learn a second or third language. It is one of the most affordable work-and-study programs.
The Au Pair live with a pre-selected host family and take care of their children for at least 1 year. The Au Pair exchange students can extend their contract up to 2 years. As an Au Pair, you will have your own private room, all meals included plus a weekly salary. The amount you will receive every week may vary depending on the participating country. In the United States, for example, Au Pairs receive USD 195.75 per week.

Please read my post for The Lifestyle Hunter blog for full details of my experience as an Au Pair in Chicago.

What are the benefits of the program?

You will have the opportunity to experience the daily life of a local family, such as an American family in case you have chosen to participate in the US program). You are going to spend time with your host family’s children, their culture, and lifestyle. You will practice the local language, receive a weekly wage, study and take advantage of the holidays to travel.

• You are going to enjoy 1.5 days off every week and one full weekend on a monthly basis
• Weekly salary
• Scholarship of up to $ 500, paid by the family, to help with your studies expenses*
• 2 weeks of paid vacation
• 4 weeks to travel as a tourist at the end of the program
• Support throughout the entire program from a local coordinator.
* a good opportunity would be to enroll in a preparation course for either the TOEFL or the IELTS tests. They are both language exams, typically required to apply for an American or Canadian university.  Here you can read more about  The Questions I got on my Exam 


The Au Pair life and responsibilities

As an Au Pair, the student works caring for the host children up to 45 hours a week, and no more than 10 hours per day. The Au Pair is responsible for all of the children’s daily activities and the main duties include:

• general childcare for your host children
• playing with them
• keeping them active yet always ensuring they’re safe
• preparing meals
• giving shower
• helping with homework
• organize the children’s bedroom and closet as well as their play area
• driving them to school (for this, many families provide a car for the Au Pair)


What are the requirements to be an Au Pair?

For the Au Pair program, you must be 18 to 26 years old. It is necessary to know the language of the chosen country at an intermediate skill level. You must have finished high school and must also have at least 500 hours of work experience with children. Last but not least, you must love kids and must love caring for them as well.


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