Few things are worse than finishing matric, wanting to see the world and realising that you have no money. The good news is that by being an au pair, you can work, study, travel the world and still get paid. Here’s how.
What is an au pair?
An au pair is a young woman who acts as a big sister and helps a family look after their children. Mignon Jacobs (20) from Pretoria, was an au pair in Milan, Italy for three months. She was working as an assistant at a pre-school in her hometown when she decided that she wanted to travel while still doing what she loves — looking after kids.
Her family was not supportive of her moving overseas to live with strangers. They were scared she might get abducted. But after realising just how much this meant to her, they gave in. Mignon says travelling around Italy was cheap. “I chose the cheapest flights, trains and buses to Venice, Rome, Genao and Paris. It gave it a more adventurous feel, like being on an old train steaming through the countryside of Genova.”
From Limpopo to the US
Limpopo-born Belinda Kelly (24) is currently au pairing in Bentonville, Arkansas, in the US. She lives with a family of six, and is primarily responsible for two girls aged four years and four months. Her duties include getting the older child ready for school in the morning, helping with homework in the afternoons, feeding the baby, making lunch and reading them bedtime stories at night. On her off days, Belinda likes spending time with her host family and meeting up with new friends.
Straight out of high school and onto France
Elizma Gryffenberg (18) matriculated in 2014, and eight months later she was on a plane to France to spend a year as an au pair. For Elizma, visiting France had always been her dream and the au pair program was the perfect opportunity. “I am constantly falling deeper in love with Paris and the vibrant life and culture. My highlight, so far, was visiting the Louvre and being able to wander the halls of a historical building that I had only ever read about in books.” She studies at a local school where she takes French lessons twice a week. When she is not at school or with the family, she spends her time in restaurants and historical sights discovering the city.
So, what’s the catch?
To qualify, you must be between the ages of 18 and 28, be a South African citizen, have a matric certificate, be single and have a valid driver’s license. But most importantly, you need to be someone who likes kids but may not have ones of your own at the time of applying. You will need to look after up to three kids, depending on how many children the host family has. Typically, an allowance of about R1500 per week is provided. Health insurance and return flights are sometimes included but this differs from host family to family.
South Africans can au pair in countries like the Netherlands, France, US, Holland, Sweden, Spain and Belgium for a minimum of a year and will need to pay for their own visas.
You can contact Carlas Aupairs for more information.
Office: (011) 822 9670
Cell: 079 749 2691
Facebook: Carlas Aupairs