Becoming an Au Pair is an exciting adventure yet how do you decide on which country to visit! Well, don’t fret, as we’ve done the homework for you. Let’s have a look at the top ten Au Pair destinations as determined by Au Pairs.
Au Pair Finland
Coming in at number ten is Finland, now known as the happiest country on the planet (just usurped Denmark). Like the rest of Scandinavia, the government seems to get it right when it comes to education, health care and better working conditions for its citizens. Therefore, it’s a favourite destination for Au Pairs. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by happy people? It’s infectious, right? So, expect to get a warm and friendly reception from your hosts and generally have a… well, happy, experience.
Add to these good vibes you have a country brimming with history and culture with world class museums, art galleries and ancient castles. Finland offers a great vantage point for the Northern Lights. Known as The Land of the Midnight Sun, expect some pretty strange day and night time hours to the north where the land is over the artic polar circle, known as Lapland.
So, if you’re after ease of life, culture, magnificent nature and pure bliss, then come the way of Finland.
Au Pair in Austria
Number nine is Austria… Austria? I hear you say. Yes, Au Pairs love it, I say. Austria is a small German speaking central European landlocked nation. Again, if you’re after some rich history and culture then this tiny nation is brimming with it. Known for its mountain villages, characteristic architecture and rugged alpine terrain, Austria can sometimes feel like you’re living in a fairy-tale picture book.
But the main reason Au Pairs love Austria is its location. You couldn’t get more central to Europe. Neither Eastern or Western Europe, Austria is situated smack-bang in the middle, making it the perfect base for those looking to explore the rest of Europe during their time off. But the reason why I love Austria? It’s where Arnie (AKA The Terminator) is from.
To become an Au Pair in Austria you must prove to have some German language skills or at least an interest in learning it. On top of that you must have proper insurance coverage and then you may apply at your local Austrian Embassy for an Au Pair Visa or residence permit if you plan on staying longer than six months.
If you’re looking for a fairy-tale existence and a central base to explore the rest of Europe then Austria is your place.
Au Pair in Norway
The region of Scandinavia also rates high on the quality of life scale. Hmm… starting to see a pattern here. Norway, in particularly, appear to have their stuff sorted. The Government knows how to look after its citizens with a quality healthcare, welfare and education. The place is clean, well maintained and is known as the safest place in the world!
Norway is also famous as being the best place in the world to spot the Northern Lights, and this should be on anyone’s bucket list. But I reckon the main reason Au Pairs love this destination is that the north pole is the home of Santa Claus! After meeting so many fraudulent Santa’s in shopping malls, to claim that you met the real deal is a big deal. And you can ski there, as Norway’s ski season can last up to a whopping six months!
For non-EU Au Pairs you will need to apply for a residence permit and a work permit for Norway. This can be done at the same time in one application form. For EU members, if you plan to stay over three months then ensure you register your details at your local police station.
So, if you’re looking for harmony, the Aurora Borealis and Santa, then head for Norway!
Au Pair in Denmark
At number seven is Denmark, which is not surprising as it’s known for its high standard of living and quality of life. As such, Denmark has consistently been voted the happiest country in the world! One of the reasons that the Danish are so happy is that they seem to have their work, life, balance sorted. The Danish value their time spent with family and friends over work. As such, Au Pairs will find themselves welcomed with open arms and treated as part of the family.
Add to this a rich culture, picturesque villages and amazing food and drink, it’s easy to see why anyone would want to live here. They also love to cosy up in winter, and call this Hygge time. Life is good in Denmark.
Denmark offers Au Pairs two options either through the Au Pair Program for EU members. And for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Chile citizens, they are required to apply through the Working Holiday Program. Work permits are granted for maximum one year.
So, if you’re looking get your Hygge on with the host with the most then set Denmark as your destination!
Au Pair Ireland
Top of the morning to ya… that’s what they say in Ireland… right? Ireland is a small… well, island that is brimming with culture. With a lush green landscape, ancient castles and the home of Guinness, Ireland has a lot to offer. Au Pairs love the Irish as they are a fun and jovial people and prove to be a blast as hosts. Wanna get your drink on? Well, the great city of Dublin hosts a staggering one pub for every 100 head of population!
It doesn’t take much to explore the whole country and Ireland has come stunning scenery. And, to be sure, to be sure, hire a car you can take the barge over to Wales and explore the UK too!
For Au Pairs outside of the EU you will need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. You can find more information through the working holiday maker program. Citizens from the US may apply for the Work & Travel visa, although participants should either be in post-secondary education or a recent graduate. More information can be found through the work & travel program.
Facts as Follows:
So, if you fancy a pint of beer at the pub and a singalong then jolly along to Ireland.
Au Pair in Switzerland
There’s a reason why Switzerland is consistently voted as having the best standard of living in the world. Switzerland may seem relatively small as compared to other European nations but it punches above its weight with its unparalleled landscapes, peaceful environments and cosmopolitan cities. it is safe, clean, you can get around easily by public transport and there are no language barriers. Switzerland is bordered by five countries which makes it the perfect central point for the au pair who wants to explore Europe on their time off.
Would you like to learn another language? Then take your pick because Switzerland has four official languages! These include French, German, Italian and Romansh… maybe don’t need to learn Romansh.
Switzerland offers au pair residence permits to EU citizens and au pair visas for those who come from non-EU nations. EU citizens must be between 17-30 years old and can work in Switzerland for up to two years. Au pairs from non-EU countries must be between the ages of 18 and 25 and can stay for up to one year.
Looking for peace, ease and serenity? Then make your way to heavenly Switzerland.
Au Pair in Germany
Coming in at number four is Germany. If you’re after some serious history and culture, then Germany is the top pics for Au Pairs in Europe. From the Alps in the southern state of Bavaria to the harbours of northern Hamburg, Germany has a lot to offer. There plenty of cities and small towns with cobble streets, ancient architecture and castles to explore. And Berlin is now consistently ranked as one of the coolest cities on traveler’s forums.
And if you’re there around October and appreciate your beer then be sure to check out Octoberfest, the world biggest and best beer festival.
Germany offers an au pair visa or work permit to non-EU/EEA nationals who are between 18 and 24. Au pairs must have a beginner level knowledge of German (you will have to take a test when applying for the visa if you don’t have a certificate).
If you’re interested in rich history, culture and beer then Germany is for you.
Au Pair Canada
Next up at number three favourite spot for Au Pair’s is Canada. Universally celebrated for its natural wonders, from its huge mountains to calm lakes, imposing glaciers to wild forests, Canada is a winter wonderland. If snow, skiing or snowboarding is your thing, then Canada could be the place for you.
Canadians are friendly and accommodating. Canada offers au pairs a chance to work while improving their English or French, spoking on West and East coasts respectively. As a bonus now, Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2017, so if you are travelling then it will mean spirits are high and there’s free festivities to enjoy. They also have the hottest president in the world in Justin Trudeau. Just a little perk.
Canada has a working holiday visa called International Experience Canada that gives people from 18-30 years old from 27 countries the right to work in Canada on short term contracts.
Just the Facts:
If you’re a lover of nature, skiing or snowboarding, then throw on your beanie and head to Canada!
Au Pair New Zealand
Runner’s up is New Zealand. It wasn't chosen as the location for filming “The Lord of the Rings” for nothing. New Zealand is made up of two main islands, appropriately named North Island and South Island, as well as a host of smaller ones. New Zealand’s North Island has an amazing range of breathtaking scenery, subtropical forests, beaches and offshore islands. On the South Island (Or Middle Earth) you have glaciers, lakes, snow-covered mountains and large flat plains. If you’re a hobbit nerd like me, you can even do tours of the real locations where they shot the movie!
Or are you an extreme activities junkie? If so, you will have an adrena-gasm… I just made that word up, as New Zealand is the extreme sports capital of the world! Where else can you go bungee jumping, surfing, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, sailing, swimming, parachuting, jet-boating, or caving all within a 100-mile radius?
Kiwi’s (New Zealander’s) are also super friendly so you’ll get a nice host family. As a result, the adventurous spirit of New Zealand, coupled with the warm hospitality makes this an irresistible au pair destination.
Au Pair’s will need to obtain a Working Holiday Visa to au pair in New Zealand. This shouldn't be a problem for anyone between the age of 18-30.
So, if you like to do crazy things like jump off a bridge with a piece of elastic tied around your ankles (or are a hobbit nerd) then New Zealand is the place for you!
Au Pair Australia
And so the number one most popular destinations for Au Pair’s is Down Under! This may be due in part it being the world’s only island continent and thus has an estimated 10, 685 beaches to choose from! Yes, there’s a reason why this is called the lucky country. With its vast and varied landscapes, unique wildlife, and white-sand beaches and great climate, Australia sure does tick a lot of boxes.
The beach is part of the culture and a way of life in Australia. As such, there’s no better place in the world to learn how to surf, with many of its popular beaches offering surf lessons at an affordable price.
And then there are the people in general. Aussies are known for their laid-back attitude and friendly nature, so the chance of getting hosted by a nice family is very high.
The other big draw card is the working holiday visa with the opportunity to extend your visa by one year in return for a few months of farm work “out-back”, which is a unique experience in itself! Australia offers Working Holiday (417) or Work and Holiday (462) visa to citizens of many countries who are between 18 and 30 years old. See more info on Becoming an Au Pair in Australia.
Now, if fun, sun and surf is your thing then Australia is the Au Pair destination for you.
So there you have it. As you can see there’s something for everyone, and these are just a fraction of all the countries you can be an Au Pair in. We hope we’ve made your decision making a little easier. Good luck and happy adventures ahead!