What is an au pair? What does one actually do, and why is it the best job ever?
Maybe you’ve heard the term “au pair” casually thrown around in conversation or maybe you’ve read about it as a travel hack. Let us tell you why it is the travel hack and, of course — the best job ever!
As an au pair, you can work, travel and learn transferable skills to add to your resume by connecting with families all around the world or even in your home country.
Childcare is expensive and can feel impersonal for parents, which is why many are opting to have someone live at their home and care for their children. It saves the family paying costly fees for external services while at the same time giving a traveler an opportunity to save money and gain experience. Everyone wins!
Traditionally seen as a female-skewing occupation, being an au pair is now evolving as a genderless role, with more and more guys embracing the concept and becoming role models for younger generations. Generally speaking, as an au pair, you are required to be a responsible adult with just enough life experience to teach children while at the same time being a fun companion to whom they can relate.
Want to find out more about the perks of an au pair job? Look no further.
Still wondering what is an au pair? Here are the top 10 reasons this is the best job for young travelers!
10.) Best Reason To Au Pair: You Get To Travel
The most obvious reason is travel! Travel is an enriching experience sought after by many. Nowadays, more and more people are looking for ways to travel farther and for longer. The digital nomad culture is growing, and younger generations are looking for ways to break away from the 9-to-5 jobs that tied their parents down to a set place and office.
Not to mention that in some countries, travel is still seen as relatively inaccessible for most people. Those of us who can get into a plane and venture to faraway lands are very blessed, indeed!
Opportunities such as au pair jobs are helping to bridge the gap for those young people who want to experience different countries and cultures but don’t yet have the means to afford expensive trips.
Bonus: If you are lucky enough to score an assignment with a family that travels for work, you may even get to travel more within the job, to provide child care on the road. Travel within travel … did someone say utopia?
Get even more inspired to go on a new adventure by reading this list of travel quotes we put together to fire up your wanderlust.
9.) You Also Get To Save Money
If you are say, 18 years old, chances are you can’t afford to travel and stay in a big house with a swimming pool, Netflix, airconditioning, wifi and beach views… unless you have been born to wealth, at such a young age you simply have not had the time to amass enough cash to afford luxuries like these.
However, as an au pair, you can have the perks of living in a nice house without having to pay the mortgage and bills. Most au pair jobs will offer benefits such as your own bedroom in a nice home, where you have access to great living conditions in exchange for free accommodation and pocket money.
Wait … free rent and pocket money? That’s right: There are hardly any expenses, so you can save the money or spend it on more travel experiences!
What’s more, you could live anywhere. Anyplace where there is a family with children is a potential home, and guess what? There are beachfront homes, properties nestled in mountains, farms, eco-friendly cottages … you could even live on a boat!
It’s just a matter of searching what suits you and the family best.
Curious? You can browse au pair jobs here.
8.) You Will Gain a New Appreciation for Your Parents
While the hard work involved in being an au pair may sound like a negative, it actually shows you what life is like running a household, and it can give you a new appreciation for your parents and the things you took for granted growing up.
Sure, changing nappies isn’t “fun” by anyone’s standards, but your parents did it for you, and now you’re paying it forward by taking part in the less glamorous steps of child care. It shows you the reality of raising children, the sacrifices, the rewards and the pride you feel when they achieve milestones.
What is an au pair? It is definitely the best job for developing parenting skills if when you are not yet ready for a family of your own. You will learn to do a lot of things your parents did that you took for granted growing up, such as time management, mediation, teaching others and, of course – enormous patience.
This leads us to the next reason why being an au pair is the best job …
7.) You Could Build a Killer Resume
Have you actually considered how many skills are involved in the daily life of an au pair? There is some serious potential for resume building! We have come up with this list of skills you can acquire as an au pair:
– Childcare worker
– Personal Assistant
– Team Leader
– Language teacher
– Personal shopper
– Child entertainer
The list goes on! Your everyday experiences in an au pair job can easily become valuable later in life.
The job is so varied, you can enhance your future employment prospects in crazy, unimaginable ways … took the kids to the beach for a surf? Congratulations, you are now a surf instructor! Helped with the kids’ homework? Hype your skills as a tutor. Get the drift?
Once you’re armed with all these newly acquired skills, don’t forget to check out our list of resume tips to help you stand out from the crowd.
Start your resume building by securing your au pair job!
6.) You Can Have Different Pets
This is an especially awesome best-job reason, because who doesn’t love cute animals?
You’ll make all your friends jealous by having numerous pet Instagram photos – check out the gallery we compiled earlier for some pet photo inspo.
In your au pair job you might reside in a home with a number of different pets depending on how many families you work with. Think about it – you could cuddle anything from the usual furry friends of the dog/cat variety all the way up to more exotic pets like horses, parrots, axolotls, snakes … hands up – who wants to cuddle a snake? (They actually make very interesting pets!)
And if you read the last reason and are thinking to yourself, “Hmmm, I could add this to my resume now that I’m a snake charmer and all,” well, you might be onto something!
Seriously, though, being around animals has been scientifically proven to be therapeutic to humans. Sharing a home with a pet teaches us to co-exist with nature in a kind and nurturing way, and children usually love them, too, including babies. Don’t believe us? See for yourself in this adorable gallery of babies and puppies loving life as best friends!
What’s more, spending time with animals gets the kids out and about instead of glued to the television or playing computer games. As an au pair, there are stimulating and entertaining activities that you can facilitate involving the family’s pets. An obvious one is walking the dog; it’s a nice physical activity you can do with children that is fun, interactive and educational.
Bonus tip: Don’t have a pet? Take the kids to an animal shelter to pet rescue dogs and cats.
The challenge will be to not take the furry friends home with you …
5.) You Will Have a Priceless Cultural Exchange
When we travel for leisure, it’s easy to remain in our own “cultural bubble.” We speak our own language, take limited tours catered to foreigners and we usually tend to go where the travel brochures point us to, or at least as far as our internet research shows us.
Staying with locals actually offers a very different perspective into what it’s like to live in a country or city. Your host family will know all the travel hacks you would normally spend hours researching! Locals can take you to the cheapest places to eat at, make hearty home-cooked traditional meals, go on adventures and destination hikes, teach you language skills (as well as slang you would never learn in structured courses) and, above all, show you what it’s really like to live day-to-day within their cultural circle.
As a traveler, there is nothing more special than really immersing yourself into a place and opening your mind to different beliefs and ways of life. This is where the magic happens: the self discovery, personal growth and worldly awareness we all seek; the holy grail of long term travel.
As an au pair, you can have all this as part of your job … didn’t we say it was the best job ever?
4.) You Can Learn a New Language
Anyone who has taken language classes will know this: You can spend hours in classrooms practicing grammar or phrases and listening to tapes, but when the time comes to have a conversation in that language, you go completely blank!
Here’s the thing: Nothing will make you learn faster than actually using the language on a daily basis! Language is such a dynamic skill to master, and as useful as courses can be, an actual exchange experience in a foreign country where you have the opportunity to really practice will definitely get you over the learning line.
There are numerous ways to learn. If you are an English speaker, you can teach the family English while learning their local language. If English is your second language (and the common ground between you and your host family), you will get invaluable English practice while also adding a new language to your skill set.
You can even play language games with the children, which makes learning fun and dynamic — think Scattergories, Pictionary, crosswords, hangman … the possibilities are endless.
3.) You Will Have a Flexible Dress Code
Who loves their tracksuit pants? (We do!) What if we told you that there is a job where sometimes you’ll be able to come to work wearing them?
There is! As an au pair, there will be times when you might be working in dress codes normally unacceptable in other, more structured jobs.
In your au pair job, you will handle so many tasks,it is impossible to wear a specific uniform for each role covered.
Let’s face it, not many other jobs give you the benefit of not having a formal dress code or uniform to adhere to. Some days you might be working in shorts and a T-shirt, while on other days you might be in a swimsuit taking the children for a splash. It’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta live it.
Want a job near the beach? Here is some location inspo for you to get you started.
Once you have decided your goal locations, you can narrow down your search and find your beach side au pair job by browsing positions here.
2.) You Will Gain Happiness By Helping Others
The best job is always going to be the job that makes us the happiest.
Let’s talk about happiness for a moment. Happiness is a sought-after emotion, and so much contemporary research has been done into discovering what it is that makes people happy. Unsurprisingly, the findings always go back to having experiences rather than possessions and the indisputable fact that people are happiest when they are helping others.
The job of an au pair is filled with happy moments, because you will be regularly performing tasks that help other people.
You’ll be helping parents raise their family and helping their children to develop into capable, kind and intelligent young people. There are so many ways to help, and this leads us back to all the skills mentioned in best job reason No. 7 – you really have a variety of ways to add to the lives of those around you as an au pair.While making others happy, you will also feel the joy; you’ll be surprised by all the ways you can really have fun while working, including kids’ activities that you still enjoy as an adult but had forgotten about.
1.) You Will Make Lifelong Friends
This has to be, hands-down, the best reason.
No matter how many perks life as an au pair offers, we can’t gloss over the lifelong friendships. At the end of the day, it’s never about where you are but who you are with; developing connections and meaningful friendships is really what enriches life.
It is not uncommon for an au pair to remain in touch with host families for many years or even for life.
There aren’t many jobs where you develop this kind of bond with the people around you; an au pair isn’t exactly a co-worker or an employee but more like an adopted family member and part of their close circle.
After being considered part of the family for several months, it can be really hard to say goodbye. You’ll leave with amazing memories of your time shared in connection with other people, which is something that stays with you forever.
What could be better than the loving bonds we form with other humans all over the world?
If you haven’t experienced life as an au pair, we recommend you give it a try!
If traveling to a different country is too big a step, there are interstate assignments you can embark on to get you started. While you’re in between assignments, you can also pick up extra babysitting, tutoring, house-sitting or pet care work.