The term “au pair” is French for “on equal terms with”, and working as an au pair will usually be an enriching experience since your relationship with your host family will be based on mutual respect and love of children and family life. Au pairs are generally females between 18 and 30, but there is nothing to prevent young men from being au pairs and in fact this is becoming more and more common. As an au pair you do not require any special qualifications (as a nanny would) or any special psychological training. An au pair's duties normally include taking care of the children, perhaps a pet, doing light housework such as vacuuming and dusting, as well as helping with preparation of meals. You will usually have to pay for travel costs to get to your host family and any necessary language classes yourself.
The idea of being an au pair is not common in South Korea however. You’ll also have to prepare yourself for Asian society, which differs quite a lot from the West in terms of family life and personal interaction.
Koreans have a very hierarchical society by Western standards and don’t expect to be on first-name terms with your hosts. Telling white lies in order to avoid upsetting someone is very much the norm in Korea. Young people in South Korea are free to socialize and have boy- or girlfriends but curfews are very common. It is the custom for young women to share in household chores. The most common discipline technique with kids is using verbal reprimands; physical discipline is not common in South Korea. The mother is usually responsible for the majority of the childcare responsibilities but it is becoming more and more common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day.
English is compulsory in South Korea and is taught from elementary school through to university. English education in South Korea used to focus on written English but this is changing.
A typical South Korean diet includes rice and kimchi (pickled cabbage) and lots of vegetables as a traditional meal, but many people like western food such as bread, steaks, pasta and pizza. Vegetarianism is not common. Most homes have a telephone and a computer with internet access.
The best internet-based agencies for finding au pair work are:
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