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Spend your gap year as a family member in an American home

Friday 31st July 2009

Imagine a gap year with a place to call "home" in America, a flight, room and board, pocket money and vacation time. You will receive all of this for your involvement if you choose to spend your gap year as an au pair with AuPairCare USA!

By becoming a family member, you will be able to settle into the American everyday way of life. In one year’s time you will develop the skills to integrate into a culture different from your own; you will gain the self-confidence necessary to face new challenges. Full of pride you will reflect on your au pair gap year and say, "I did it!" Your mobility, flexibility, sense of responsibility and your international experience will be recognized and respected by others everywhere you go!

If you are between 18 and 26 years old, possess a genuine affection for children and have a year to spare, AuPairCare USA can help make your American dream come true.

An au pair’s responsibilities can be quite varied. They depend mostly on the age of the children in your host family. It is just as likely that you will need to feed and bathe the children as it is that you will have play dates at the park or local swimming pool with other au pairs and their children.

You might also take them to school or accompany them to various after-school activities; you can help them with their homework or play together.

Household chores related to the children (i.e. tidying up their room, cooking them lunch / dinner and washing their clothes) are also your domain.

AuPairCare USA offers you the ability to begin your au pair programme all year-round. Depending on your experience and individual requirements, you should begin your application process between one year and four months before your preferred departure date.

Gapwork Gap Year Jobs Tips: Au Pair Work

Working as an au pair is a great way to experience life in other countries on your gap year. "Au pair" translated into English means "equal to". So you are not actually an employee of the family in the way that a nanny would be, you live with them as an equal. In return for looking after the children and some light housework you get your board and lodging, and weekly pocket money. Au pairs don’t have childcare qualifications, unlike nannies, but they usually have some babysitting experience. Au pairing can be a challenge, you have to fit into family life in a foreign country.

You don’t have to speak the host family’s language fluently in order to be an au pair. Often the parents will want you to speak English to the children so they begin to learn it. Knowing some of the language is of course useful, and can help you to settle into your new home more quickly. When you sign up with an agency or apply for a position as an au pair, expect to show proof of any childcare experience you have, along with character references.

For more information on Au Pair work visit our Au Pair Jobs section.  Or you can find out more about a gap year in the USA in our America Jobs and America Destinations sections.