Learning a language abroad doesn’t have to be all about study, study, study and nothing else! There are several options open to language travel students who want to study abroad and work at the same time, whether it’s voluntary or paid work, and one of the popular types of employment you could consider is an au pair program.
As many people know, an au pair is usually someone who has come from abroad and stays in a family home. She or he will be given lodging and food in exchange for doing housework and/or looking after the family’s children. This means that being an au pair is really an affordable way of getting to experience life in a different country, and sometimes au pairs will be given a little spending money each week in addition to the lodging and food.
Many people who want to be an au pair will go through an au pair agency, but this isn’t the only way. You may not be aware that many language schools also offer au pair programs. The language school will have the details of families who would like to have an au pair stay with them and so the language school can act in much the same way as a typical au pair agency would do in making all the arrangements. But, being a language school, you will also have the opportunity to spend some time studying the language of the country you’re visiting. Your lesson schedule will be arranged up front, for example, it may involve spending one afternoon a week at the language school.
Combining an au pair program with study abroad is a great way to benefit from language immersion, and can be very cost effective too. Rather than paying to stay with a host family while you’re studying abroad, you get to stay with a host family essentially for free. You just have to spend a certain number of hours per day performing tasks that the family wants you to do in return for lodging. Usually your evenings will be free so you still have plenty of time to go out and socialise, and enjoy yourself.
As we mentioned above, if you want to be an au pair in a foreign country there are plenty of agencies who specialise in placing au pairs. But if you go through an agency and want to study a language abroad as well you would have to arrange this separately, so the whole thing could take double the time to arrange. If you go through a language school you know that both the au pair side of things and your study abroad program are taken care of, so it’s one less thing for you to have to think about!