The research process 1/4

I decided that I wanted to go through the steps of becoming an au pair, since it can be a lengthy process.  Let’s call it “The process of becoming an au pair”! This will be a series in four parts where I will discuss all the stages, tell you how I did it and give you some tips and tricks.


So, first and foremost, what is the research process? Well, before you can start filing an application, you need to know a few tings.

  1. In what country do you want to be an au pair?
  2. Are there any agencies traveling to your dream country? If yes, which agency do you want to help you along the way?
  3. Do you have the qualifications needed for getting a job as an au pair? Skärmavbild 2015-07-01 kl. 13.44.20

Of course there is a lot more to think about, but let’s start with no 1, shall we? There are many countries in which you can work as an au pair. The most common choice is the USA, where I’ll be going. To work as an au pair in the U.S. you will have to go through an agency, since the American authorities regulates the program. This means that working as an au pair in the USA without being a member of an organisation is illegal. But the au pair program being regulated is a positive thing, it means that the organisations and agencies have to follow rules that the government agreed on, which protects both the au pair, the host family and the agency from any misunderstandings.

So, going to no 2, which agencies are available from your country and which one do you feel most comfortable with? Remember that this is the organisation that will help you through the application process and hopefully after being accepted as well. When I made my choice, I found about 4-5 different agencies working from Sweden. Some seemed a bit unprofessional, while others didn’t offer me the things I needed to feel comfortable. In the end, I chose between two agencies: Cultural Care Au Pair and STS-Education. I had never heard of Cultural Care before, while STS was a common organisation since they arrange exchange trips during the summer break in Sweden. I read through each organisations websites thoroughly and found that Cultural Care had two big upsides: They only worked with the au pair-program and you didn’t sign up for anything until you accepted a family. I feel, personally, that a smaller agency working with just one thing helps with the focus on the applicants. A big organisation like STS, have so many people to take care about, that I somehow didn’t feel comfortable with signing up with them.

Skärmavbild 2015-07-01 kl. 14.20.02

So I started to research what I needed to qualify as an au pair. Cultural Care demanded that you had at least 200 h of childcare experience, either caring for a sibling or working at a childcare facility. I never got the chance to work with children professionally, except for a few times that I left out of my application. I have over 4000 hours of childcare experience since I help out a lot when it comes to my younger siblings, so that wouldn’t be a problem. The only things I needed to do was getting my driver’s license and finish high school. And wait 2 years for me to actually be ready.

Tips and tricks:

  • Figure out what you need and find the agency that can give you just that.
  • Make sure to do your research, some programs demand that you study at a university, while some doesn’t.
  • Ask neighbors and family friends if you can help them out with their kids. It doesn’t have to be a paid job to count.
  • Try to get your driver’s license as soon as possible, since the more driving experience you have, the more comfortable you will be in front of the wheel in another country.

Did this help? Do you have any more questions or things I should add, then just leave a comment!

Did this help? Do you have any more questions or things I should add, then just leave a comment!


2 thoughts on “The research process 1/4

  1. Pingback: The application process 2/4 | theaupairdream

  2. Pingback: The matching process 3/4 | theaupairdream

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