Updated: May 8, 2019
I have been working as an au pair now for a few months in Italy, and I thought it would be super helpful for me to impart some of my new knowledge with those of you thinking you’d like to do the same! Becoming an au pair is actually a super cool life choice, it allows you to live in a different part of the world, rent free and spend time living like a local, there are so many positives you can read about in my article here about why I love being an Au Pair. Anyways, there were a few factors that now, looking back, I should have looked into or considered better, so here they are:
Privacy If you’re used to living on your own, being an au pair could be a rude awakening in regards to your privacy. Since you are living with a family (free of charge) you have to be respectful of them and their space. Host moms and dads might set curfews, or have you in a bedroom that anyone can access. At my first families house, I shared the room with the girl’s craft room, so they felt like they were able to come in whenever they wanted. For me, it’s not a problem, I’m rarely doing anything where i would need 100% privacy, I also know I’m a very open person and some wouldn’t be okay with that arrangement.
Pay Although you do get paid, and technically you shouldn’t have too many bills, The average pay for an au pair is only about 200-300$ a month. This adds up to about 7-10$ a day. For some, this might be sustainable, but personally, I saved up some money before I came. If you only want to come to experience and live each day, you might be able to get by, but I travel on weekends, and like to go out for drinks and such with friends that I meet! Those things add up quickly!
Location This is probably the most important thing to think about! When i was first searching, I was overwhelmed at the thought of living in any country I wanted, and honestly I tried to choose like 13. The websites usually limit you to 5, so really think about different factors that could affect your time there. Some things that I thought about wereLanguage Do people here speak English? Do you speak another language that you would like to practice?Is there a language you would like to learn? FoodWhat types of food do you LOVE to eat? You’ll be living like a local, so its a smart thing to consider what is the main diet in the area. This was a big reason I chose Italy! Other places to visit in the country or nearby This is important, because as awesome as it is staying in one place, it’s also nice to go visit other places on your weekends off if you have the money! Cost of Living This is important because of how much free time you’ll have, its vital to think about how much a coffee costs, or what the conversion rate is between USD and the country of your choosing. Right now I lose a little money every time I use USD because it is less powerful than the Euro. City sizesThis was something I didn’t initially consider but it SUPER important. Family The FAMILY and the children you choose will make or break your experience, I am telling you this because I KNOW. How many kids do you want to work with? What ages do you typically prefer What work would you be willing to do around the house or in general? Where will you be staying?
Hours This correlates with the previous point. Some families expect you to work from 7-7, which could be a long day. Some families, like the one i work for now, only expect me to pick up the girl from school and hang around until after dinner. There are obviously lots of options in between. Double check your schedule and what your family expects of you before you sign up for anything.
Visas This is KEY to living abroad, if you want to learn more about where you can go as an American, click here. In general, it is important to have a visa and know how long you can stay, and where. Typically families will have you register your residency in each place you stay. I really hope you found these tips useful and maybe take the next step towards becoming an au pair!
Do you want an adventure, long or short term? Do you enjoy being immersed in new cultures? Do you like hanging out with kids? If you’re interested in learning how to be an Au Pair, check out my GUIDE here. It’s free and super helpful!
From a happy Au Pair in Italy, Ciao!
Also of course, if you have questions please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail!