Aupairing can open great opportunities to allow you to work, attend school, live in a new country, learn a new language, and travel all at the same time but what is it actually like?
Aupairing is childcare! In my first family I kept the baby during the day while the other four children were at school and the parents were at work. I would also walk to grab kids from school, pick up groceries, or keep sick kids at home/bring them to the doctor. It was a very straightforward job. In my second job I would pick up the three girls from school on bike and then keep them at home through the evening until their parents returned from work. This meant I would play, cook dinner, shower, and prepare the girls for bed but not put them to bed. I would also keep them all day if they were sick or had school breaks. In general, the job is just keeping the children alive.
Depending on what country you are in the required hours change. In Germany, I worked thirty hours per week but in Austria I only worked twenty per week. The country has set guidelines that decide your pay, hours, and benefits so it’s not really up to the families very much. These hours can be spread over a maximum of six days because you are always required to have one day of per week . However, most weeks it’s only Monday-Friday because all of your hours are used then.
Generally, people do not aupair for the money. You do not make very much but all of your living costs are paid for like room, board, wifi, electricity, meals eaten out with the family, and travel with the family. Pay also varies by country so the standard in Germany is 260 Euros per month but in Austria it is was 425 Euros per month! Austria was great because I worked less and made more money! If you are an American citizen, working in the US can be beneficial because the family does decide your pay and benefits. Generally, this leads to substantially more pay. If you are looking to build your savings, I would not suggest aupairing but if you want to travel or learn another language it is great!
It might seem awkward to live with your bosses but I have really enjoyed it so far! Since you live with the family it is so much easier to become fully integrated in their family. With my families I truly became another child to them and they became second parents to me. You always have your own room and if you are incredibly lucky your own bathroom. I usually helped cook and clean up after meals but it was not expected of me. This depends on the family though because some will require that you cook. If the family had a movie or game night I would usually join in and do other things like that. I really just felt as if I was a member of the household and so I acted like I would in my own house in New York with my family.
In your free time you can do anything you want! I would meet friends, go to language classes, see concerts, or travel! You have lots of freedom so you can find a new hobby or finds groups of people to hang out with on sites like Meetup. I went to a board game club at a bar every Saturday night while I lived in Vienna and loved it! If you have read any of my other posts you might know that I am also in university full-time while I work and travel and so you also have time to do things like complete your degree. If the family was going on a day trip or visiting somewhere they would normally invite me along so I could even visit new places with my family in my free time! It’s really up to you what you want to fill your extra time with and you have plenty of options!
Aupairing is just like any other job. There are pros and cons and even with the best family you are going to have bad days. Sometimes the kids are in a bad mood or you’re in a bad mood or even the parents are in a bad mood! It happens to us all but it’a great job if you are truly passionate about caring for children and helping them grow.