An au pair (/oʊˈpɛər/; plural: au pairs) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family’s responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a monetary allowance for personal use.

Au pair arrangements are subject to government restrictions which specify an age range usually from mid-late teens to mid to late twenties; some countries explicitly limit the arrangement to females.

In Europe, au pairs are only supposed to work part-time, and they often also study part-time, generally focusing on the language of the host country. In 1969, the European Agreement on Au Pair Placement was signed, and it came into force in 1971.

Providing childcare is the main responsibility of an au pair, though the host family may also request some light housework. All tasks are defined in the official au pair contract and cannot be changed by the au pair or the host family.

The au pair receives free board and lodging, and is entitled to food and accommodation in cases of illness and holidays. She also has her own bedroom and key to the house.

The host family subscribes to health and accident insurance, as well as an insurance for potential repatriation costs for the au pair.

List of host countries: USA, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Here’s my personal experience as an Au Pair in Brussels, Belgium: My Au Pair Story