Many English-speaking countries are promoting a new concept that makes it easier for young girls to learn the English language. As far as learning a language is concerned, it is one of the most effective methods. But its advantages are not limited to this, as it is a win-win situation for both the au pair and the host family.
What is an au pair?
An au pair is a young girl from abroad who wants to learn the English language as well as the culture of the English-speaking country. Through this enriching experience, she commits to take care of your children, to help you with your household chores while you agree to house, clean and feed her. You will then have to arrange a room for her to have privacy. An au pair must be an integral part of your family, who will serve as her host family, and you will have to make sure that she feels accepted as such. The au pair is in no way a household helper, servant or nanny, she is a family member. The duration of the stay will be defined in advance by direct agreement between the girl and the host family. It is important to note that the costs of the girl’s travel are not borne by the host family. However, they will still be able to help her if they have the means to do so.
How does the au pair system work?
An au pair stay is governed by a contract signed between the girl and the host family. The rights and obligations of each party are clearly stipulated in it. However, it is possible to break this contract at any time by giving two weeks’ notice, during which time the au pair will try to find a new family or organise her/his return trip. During this time, you can also apply yourself to choose another girl who will better meet your expectations. It is possible to break a contract without notice in case of serious circumstances, but if you have a problem with your au pair, it is advisable to have an honest conversation with her and try to find a solution together. There is no point in going to such extremes if things can finally be settled. The period of stay should be between 3 months and 12 months. On the other hand, the contract can be renewed and the stay extended for a maximum of 24 months in total. To avoid unpleasant surprises, you are advised to discuss with the girl the household chores that will be assigned to her and to indicate them in the contract. As an employer, the host family will also have to pay the au pair’s social insurance and health insurance costs, in addition to paying a small monthly pocket money. The amount of the latter, fixed in the contract, is a way for them to show their gratitude to the au pair.
How to become an au pair?
The age of the au pair should be between 18 and 30 years old. Indeed, since this program is similar to a job, the girl must be of age and be able to make and take responsibility for her decisions. Beyond the age of 30, integration into a new family, in a new environment with new rules becomes more difficult. She must be available for a whole year or more if the au pair contract is renewed. Host families who are satisfied with the services of their au pair do not hesitate to extend the programme contract. However, this extension will have to be done by mutual agreement. The au pair must also be a non-smoker in order to preserve the health of the whole family and have an intermediate level of English to facilitate the exchange. She will also need to have a current driver’s license in case she has to use the family car.
What are the benefits of this program?
Already if you are a host family, you will have at your disposal a trustworthy person who can take care of your children and help you on a daily basis. Moreover, the cultural exchange will be clearly beneficial to your children depending on the duration of the au pair’s stay. During their free time, they will be able to learn the language and cultures of the au pair and you will see your children develop new knowledge and skills. For the young girl, this program will have allowed her to visit a country, practice and perfect her knowledge of the English language, live unforgettable moments and have had an enriching cultural experience.