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Online language courses for Au Pairs: Are they a valid option?

by Sammy-Jo on Oct 15, 2019
Online language courses for Au Pairs: Are they a valid option?
One of the requirements for many Au Pair programs is taking part in a language course. But not everyone has the time or the money to commute to and from a classroom on a regular basis. A solution for busy Au Pairs might be taking an online language course, but is that really a valid option? Or do you need to be present in a physical classroom in order to receive your language certificate? Let’s find out.

Are language courses mandatory?

Whether taking part in a language course is mandatory or not, depends on your Host Country. For example, language courses in Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands or Norway are not mandatory. They are, however, in Canada, Germany, Sweden or Spain, for example. If you would like to know whether a language course is mandatory in the Host Country of your choice, check out our wiki article.

Even if language courses are not mandatory in your Host Country, they are a great opportunity to meet new people and find friends with similar interests.

Benefits of taking an online language course

In these modern days, there’s almost nothing you can’t do from the comfort of your home. Learning a language is one of these things. Not only is it a lot more comfortable to be able to study in your pajamas, the process might also be a lot faster for you. Since you don’t have a fixed schedule, you will be able to study whenever you have a little free time. This way you will be more flexible, thus making it easier for you to schedule a little study session into your daily life.

Certification

There are many different types of certificates, but none are as highly valued by universities and employers as the ones that meet the standards of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). These certificates include the TOEFL, IELTS, DELF, TestDaF or DELE, to only name a few. Unfortunately, you can not get these certificates online. In order to receive these certificates, you will have to show up for the test in person.

Depending on how fluent you are in a language, you will be tested for different levels. The CEFR defines 6 different fluency levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2.

Who pays for the language course?

Yet another question that can be answered by saying: It depends on your Host Country. In some countries (e.g. France or Italy) the Host Family is not obligated to pay for the course. In others (e.g. Germany, Norway or the US) the Host Family contributes to the cost up to a certain amount. There are also some countries, where the Au Pair won’t have to pay a dime to take part in a language course, either because it’s free of charge (e.g. Sweden) or because the Host Family has to cover the cost (e.g. China or Denmark).

So, are online language courses a valid option? Well, sort of. You are sure to learn a lot during your sessions, but you will not receive official certification. If you want an official certification, you can still take part in an online language course, as they will help you in your preparation for the actual test. But remember that you will have to sign up for an official test, which means additional costs for you.

Whatever language course you choose, have fun! Learning the language of the country you’re living in will not only make your everyday life easier, but will also bring you closer to your Host Family’s culture.
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