Monday, 30 June 2014

What is an au pair?

Hello everyone!

Many people have heard of the words "au pair" thrown around but have no real idea of what it means. To start off my new blog, I'm going to go back to basics and explain to you exactly what an au pair is, with help from the Oxford Dictionary.

au pair


A young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money. 

The words originated from French, where au pair literally means "on equal terms", and that's one of the things I love most about being an au pair. You are not an employee, worker or slave, you are simply an extension of the family (at least that's how it should be - we've all heard the horror stories but don't let those put you off)!

To expand a bit on the definition above, an au pair is a general helping hand when it comes to housework, cooking, cleaning and (most importantly) being with the children. Some au pairs are only ever with the children while the parents are busy, whereas others may work alongside the parent/s, helping out where need be. There are no official rules or regulations around au pairing but it generally goes something like this: The au pair will work for around 5 hours a day on weekdays, and will usually have the weekends free. They will be given weekly "pocket money" which usually isn't a lot but hey, when your food, rent, internet, power, water, etc. is already being paid for, you can't really complain.

The au pair experience is very different for everyone, so I can only tell you about my personal experience so far - and trust me, it's been a good one! I will make another post sometime in the next few weeks going more into detail about my experience so far, pros and cons, what I do etc., but for now, let me say this:
If you are like I was and have just finished high school, you don't really know what to do with you life or what you want to study at university (or if you even want to go to university at all) and you need to sort out your plans for the next year, I would highly recommend being an au pair. Yes, it's scary to travel alone to another country and yes, it's scary to live with a family you've only ever met on the internet, but it's also one of the most educational, rewarding and enriching experiences you will ever have. Doesn't that sound tempting?!

That's all I'm going to say for this blog post, but I will leave you with a photo of me and one of my adorable children I look after here in Spain, Marta.

Thank you so much for reading, I promise there will be lots more coming very soon!


  1. Hi Ellora,

    I found your blog a few days ago and have really enjoyed reading bits of it. I'm hoping to au pair in Spain in the coming September and was just wondering how you got into aupairing. Like whether you used an agency or website etc.

    Thanks so much, Jasmine

    1. Hey Jasmine :)

      So nice to hear from you - I'm glad you liked my post!
      So I used a website called AuPair World ( which is quite popular. It isn't at all an agency, more of a site where you make a profile (and so does the host family) and then you can search by region etc. and connect with host families through that. And it's free! There is a paid membership thing but I managed without it quite happily.

      My old host family in Spain are actually looking for a new au pair to start in September... If you want to contact me through my email (, I'd be happy to put you in contact with them!

      Ellora xx