In French, au pair means "on equal terms." As an au pair, you become part of a French family, helping them to learn more about your language and country.
- Invest in your dream
The first step in realizing your dream of becoming an au pair in France is to make an assessment of your past experiences, skills and personal qualities. Au pair employers seek responsible young women with a strong interest in French culture and experience working with children. If you do not yet meet the requirements, take some time to invest in French classes to baby-sit or to volunteer with children. Take every opportunity to demonstrate a conscientious work ethic to employers and teachers.
- Find a reputable placement agency or program
For your safety and well-being, seek out a reputable au pair placement agency or exchange program. Exchange programs often allow you to further your studies while you are working in France. If you are accepted, the agency or program personnel guide you through the process of obtaining a visa if you live outside the European Union. They help match you with a family, and they may even provide you with ongoing support during your time in France. The agency can also advise you on French regulations regarding length of stay, working hours and pay. As of 2014, French regulations distinguish between an au pair receiving a salary and a stagiaire aide familial étranger, a student working a limited number of hours for a family while participating in a cultural exchange program.
- Pack for the adventure of a lifetime
As you prepare to leave for France, be sure to pack a journal and photo album to capture this precious experience. Your agency may be able to refer you to other au pairs in your area who can advise you and help you adjust to your new home and job responsibilities.