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Live in au pair vs live out au pair

In the realm of childcare and cultural exchange programs, au pairs have gained immense popularity as a flexible and affordable solution for families seeking assistance with child care and for young individuals eager to explore a new culture. One crucial decision au pairs need to make is whether to be a live in au pair or a live out au pair. Each option offers its unique set of advantages and challenges.

While this option is only available in some select countries due to regulation restrictions, we will explore the differences between live in au pair and live out au pair arrangements, helping you make an informed choice that aligns with your preferences and circumstances.

The au pair program is an international cultural exchange experience. It gives young people, typically between the ages of 18 and 30, the chance to live abroad and experience a new culture. An au pair will spend time abroad, learn about a culture different from their home country, and have the chance to improve their foreign language skills.
What is a live in au pair?

A live in au pair is a young person from a foreign country who resides with a host family and assists with childcare and light household duties in exchange for room, board, and a stipend. This arrangement typically involves a structured schedule with a set number of working hours and a monthly allowance. Live in au pairs become an integral part of the host family, participating in their daily life, sharing meals, and immersing themselves in the culture of the host country.

Advantages of Being a Live In Au Pair:

  1. Cultural Immersion: Living with the host family provides a deeper cultural experience as you are immersed in their day-to-day life, customs, and traditions. This can be enriching and eye-opening.
  2. Convenience: You don’t need to worry about rent, utilities, or groceries, as these are typically covered by the host family. This ensures financial stability and simplifies your living arrangements.
  3. Close Bond with Host Family: Living under the same roof fosters a strong connection with the host family, often leading to lasting relationships that extend beyond the au pair placement.
  4. Childcare Experience: Live-in au pairs usually have more consistent and direct interaction with the children, making it an excellent choice for those looking to gain extensive childcare experience.
  5. Safety and Support: Host families tend to provide a safe and supportive environment, making it an ideal choice for young individuals traveling to a foreign country.

What is a live out au pair?

A live out au pair is an au pair who does not live with the host family. Instead, they reside in their own accommodation and commute to the host family’s home for their designated working hours. Live out au pairs receive a stipend for their services but are responsible for getting their own groceries even though the host family is required to cover the costs. A nanny vs au pair is different as the host family is responsible for the au pair’s rent if they choose to live out whereas a nanny provides childcare as an employee for an hourly rate.

Advantages of Being a Live Out Au Pair:

  1. Independence: Live out au pairs have greater independence as they maintain their own living space, which allows for more personal freedom and privacy.
  2. Flexibility: This option provides more flexibility in terms of decorating your accommodation and the ability to structure your day around your work hours.
  3. Easier Transition: For individuals who may be uncomfortable with the idea of living with a host family, being a live out au pair offers an easier transition into the host country and culture.

Which option is best for you? Let's compare

To help you decide between a live in au pair and a live out au pair role, it’s essential to consider various factors that may influence your choice. Here’s a comparative analysis to guide your decision:

Cultural Experience

Live In Au Pair: As a live in au pair, you will have a more immersive cultural experience. Living with the host family allows you to engage in daily routines, traditions, and holidays. This deep cultural exposure can be a life-changing and educational experience.

Live Out Au Pair: While live out au pairs also have the opportunity to explore the host country’s culture, their experience may be less intense due to the physical separation from the host family. However, this independence can be appealing to some.

Childcare Responsibilities

Live In Au Pair: Live in au pairs are generally more involved in daily childcare routines and activities. You will often be responsible for tasks such as preparing meals, helping with homework, and ensuring the children’s safety and well-being.

Live Out Au Pair: Live out au pairs usually have defined working hours and responsibilities when they are at the host family’s home. However, they may not be as deeply integrated into the daily childcare routine as live in au pairs.

Privacy and Independence

Live In Au Pair: Living with the host family means you will have less privacy and independence. You may need to adhere to house rules and routines, which can be restrictive for some individuals.

Live Out Au Pair: Live out au pairs enjoy greater personal space and freedom. They have the ability to set their own rules and routines within their accommodation, providing more autonomy.

Compatibility with Host Family

Live In Au Pair: A strong bond with the host family is a common outcome of living together. However, it can also lead to potential conflicts if personalities and lifestyles do not align.

Live Out Au Pair: Live out au pairs interact with the host family primarily during working hours, which may lead to a more professional relationship. Compatibility may be less critical in this context.

Countries Where a Live Out Au Pair Is Possible

The possibility of being a live out au pair depends on the specific regulations and demands of the host country. In the Netherlands and the US for example, government regulations state specifically that the au pair must live in with the host family. While live in au pair arrangements are more common and widely accepted, live out au pair positions are available in some countries. Here are a few countries where you can consider becoming a live out au pair:

  1. France: Some host families in France opt to rent “chambre de bonnes” which are small studio apartments usually in the same building as the host family. Rather than the au pair having a single room within the host family’s apartment, they have access to their own kitchen and bathroom in this arrangement while still being close to their host family.
  2. Germany: German legislation advises host families to ensure proper integration into the family’s daily life. Generally, au pairs do live in with the host family, but it is an option for the host family to rent a small apartment on the au pair’s behalf in their same neighborhood.
  3. Czechia: Au pairs in Czechia can live out in apartments rented by their host parents. To ensure proper integration and true cultural exchange, they need to become active members of the family to fulfill their agreement to the au pair program.
  4. Spain and Italy: In Southern European countries like Spain and Italy, summer au pairing is a popular choice. In this instance, many host families open up a spare room in the house for the au pair to use for her 3 month stay. For longer stay au pairs, the live out option with the host parents renting a nearby apartment is common.

Should I live in or live out as an au pair?

Choosing between being a live in au pair and a live out au pair ultimately depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and the specific opportunities available in your desired host country. Live in au pairs tend to experience deeper cultural immersion and stronger connections with host families, while live-out au pairs enjoy more independence and flexibility.

Before making a decision, thoroughly research the regulations and demands of the host country and assess your comfort level with living arrangements. Ultimately, both options offer enriching experiences and the chance to build lasting memories while contributing to the well-being of host families and their children. Whichever path you choose, embracing the role of an au pair can be a rewarding adventure filled with personal growth and cultural exploration.