Do you want to live the great American dream but can’t necessarily afford it? Your scholarship or part-time job doesn’t allow you to answer the call of “The Big Apple”? What if the solution is to become an au pair in New York (or boy)?! This is the ideal compromise for those who wish to go abroad to improve their English, discover a new culture, a new way of life while having a professional experience that will allow them to take full advantage of all the attractions of the destination country.
What is an au pair in New York?
An au pair or an au pair boy, because the profession is not exclusively reserved for women, is a kind of baby-sitter hosted by the family that employs her.
Au pair: what is his/her role?
An au pair’s role is to take care of the children, help them with their homework, supervise them, take their bath etc… She or he will also be required to perform household chores according to the needs of the family.
In exchange, the au pair will be provided with food and lodging and, depending on the case, will receive a financial compensation.
Please note that an au pair should not be considered as a full-time housekeeper or nanny. She should have free time to attend classes to improve her English, follow a university course or simply make the most of all the attractions of New York, the city that never sleeps.
Why is it called “au pair”?
Literally, the term “au pair” means “equal”. As mentioned above, an au pair, girl or boy, performs one or more services in exchange for benefits, usually housing and food.
The concept of au pair work has existed since at least the 19th century and is now legally recognised in a large number of countries, mainly in Europe and the Anglo-Saxon countries. The term “au pair” is used as it is (in French) to refer to young people leaving on this cultural exchange.
How to become an au pair in New York?
If you wish to become an au pair in New York or elsewhere, you can do all the steps on your side, it is free but risky. Indeed, you will have little or no guarantees regarding your host family. If for one reason or another it doesn’t go well, you will be completely on your own.
Go through a specialized agency
The best thing to do is to turn to a specialized agency. Although their services are (obviously) not free, it is necessary to count approximately 500€, it will be beneficial to you on many points:
- you have easier access to a large number of families and stays
- the families are selected and known
- you will have the possibility to change host families if it is not convenient for you.
- you will receive help with all the administrative formalities related to your stay (depending on your destination,
- you will need a special visa, for example with the USA who are applying for a J-1 visa)
What are the conditions for becoming an au pair?
In order to become an au pair in New York, several conditions are necessary.
First of all you must be between 17 and 27 years old and be able to leave for a period of 12 consecutive months.
Secondly, your level of English must be correct. Even if one of the objectives of this exchange is to improve your language level, you must still have the basics to be able to manage on the spot and to be able to exchange with the family.
As far as diplomas are concerned, the Baccalaureate and driving licence are generally the two certificates required. A clean criminal record is also essential.
Finally, most families require that the candidate be a non-smoker and of course that he or she already has experience in childcare.
Au pair in New York: the commitments of each one
A written agreement
In order to know the tasks of each person, to be clear with the employer, i.e. the host family, and to carry out your au pair assignment in New York, an agreement will have to be signed. It will indicate the rights and duties of both parties.
In order to avoid as many surprises as possible, it is necessary to discuss all the points and not to omit any of them. Even if there is no real contract for au pairs, as a general rule, the au pair in New York has a contract from 25 to 45 hours per week, while having free time during the day to participate in other activities.
In addition, the family must leave 2 free days in the week so that they can lead a normal life, have the opportunity to go out, meet new people, visit the city, build relationships. All this is part of the advantages of being an au pair!
When you are an au pair in New York, you will be provided with food and accommodation by the family you work for. The family will also have to pay you a salary, which is considered as pocket money. The amount is $196 (about €180). This money is used to cover personal expenses such as outings, hygiene products and also to pay for classes.
About studies, it is possible to receive a scholarship of about 500€ to be able to follow a university course. This is not an obligation, but it is a not insignificant clause of the contract that can be negotiated with the family.
Finally concerning the accommodation, it is important to know that it is not an obligation for the family to accommodate the au pair in a single room. The au pair may be required to sleep with the children.