By Sabina Livia

Travelling abroad can be an expensive endeavour. But for young women, sometimes even men, eager to learn a new language and experience a different culture, the solution is very simple – becoming a nanny abroad.

There are a variety of programmes available for anyone interested in applying and the exact terminology used to designate the job can vary: nanny, au pair, and mother’s help.

A quick browse on the Internet will render numerous agencies that deal specifically with finding such jobs for young people. The most common programmes are the au pair ones, which literally means “equal to”.  An online agency is usually in charge with matching families and people wishing to become an au pair based on their extensive databases. Au pairs are not considered typical employees, but rather members of the host family. This means that, apart from taking care of the children, you will also have to join the family’s routine. You may be required to drive, run errands, and clean so consider these aspects before applying. Such programmes exist in numerous countries around the globe, but each nation usually chooses to regulate the matter in its own way, so if you have a specific country in mind, you’ll have to inform yourself about the local legislation and requirements.


Specific programmes for nannies and mother’s helpers also exist and these arrangements are more formal than the au pair ones, meaning that a contract has to be signed between the two parties.

Those wanting to become au pairs don’t need prior qualification and certification, although it is a plus on your resume. Nanny programmes might require a diploma of some sort, but this is not a must in all cases. If you happen to have any past experience or relevant qualifications, such as a First Aid certificate, compile a portfolio so you have something to show off to families.

After finding a family willing to take you in, make sure you discuss your arrangement in great detail prior to your departure. In general, au pairs work a certain number hours a week, plus a few evenings of babysitting and they are offered pocket money, a room, and meals. Make sure you are clear on all of this with your host family. Nannies and mother’s helpers will have to discuss the exact wages per week or month, holiday time, health insurance, job duties, and so on. Some families also offer to pay for the plane ticket, so make sure you inquire this as well.

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