An au pair is an individual who provides domestic services, generally to a foreign family. The goal of an au pair program is to create intercultural understanding between the family and the au pair, and to expose the children to new cultural traditions. Au pairs can be found in many countries around the world. Generally, au pairs tend to be young females.
The duties of an au pair are mostly to provide childcare, though light housework might also be required.
An au pair generally receives a small salary for her services, and free room and board are almost always included in the compensation package.
Au pairs may also be required to drive children to activities, take care of pets, deal with other domestic helpers, or care for elderly family members.
Au pair agencies may include nonprofit organizations like InterExchange or for-profit entities.
Before choosing an au pair host family, be careful that the service you use is reputable, and check the family's references. Safety is of the utmost importance when signing up to live with a family across the world.
Au pair programs are popular in Europe, particularly in France, England, Italy, and Germany. Scandinavia is also a popular place for au pairs.
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