The Au Pair Concept
Au Pairs are young people aged between 18 and 27 who leave their home countries and their families to visit Germany for a predetermined period of time in order to learn the German language and to experience German culture. They live with host families who help them to do this. Au Pairs help their host families by looking after the children and helping with the housework and, in doing so, relieve some of the burden on their host „parents“. In return, the Au Pairs receive free board and lodging as well as a small monthly allowance. The host family insures the Au Pair and welcomes him or her into their home as a new, temporary member of their family.
An Au Pair relationship is a fair partnership, in which both the host family and the Au Pair contribute to the relationship and each receives something from the other party. The Au Pair concept promotes education, personal development and cultural exchange, thereby serving a social function and playing an important role in youth policy.
What does being an Au Pair involve?
Every Au Pair wants to learn more about the German language and culture – and yet every Au Pair is different. In order to ensure the most possible match of Au Pair and host family, it is a good idea to go through an Au Pair agency. The agency will require you to complete an application form.
There are also other requirements a future Au Pair must fulfil, as even working as an au pair is subject to certain regulations. Only young people aged 18 – 27 can apply to be au pairs. They must have a sound basic knowledge of the German language, without which it is impossible to communicate effectively with their host family.
Ideally, evidence of language skills should be provided in the form of certifications. The au pair must also provide a health certificate confirming their physical and mental health, as well as evidence of previous childcare experience. A friendly letter to the host family and some photos complete the application.
From all Au Pairs around 30 hours of help with housework and childcare per week is expected. Au Pairs look after the host family’s children, minding them, taking care of them, playing with them, helping them with their homework, accompanying them to various activities, and taking them to school or kindergarden and picking them up afterwards. They also help with all light housework, such as tidiying the children’s rooms, going shopping, doing the wasching and ironing etc.
In their free time, Au Pairs attend language courses and pursue their hobbies. Au Pairs are family members for the duration of their stay, and they should naturally be included in the family’s leisure activities and outings.