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Language levels

In order to get a visa and take part in the Au Pair program, many countries require you to have a certain level of language proficiency.

In this article, we will show you what the general requirements are for becoming an Au Pair, depending on your country of origin.
We will also explain in more detail the different language levels according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. 

Alternatively, if you want to find out more about learning or improving your language skills, then click here: language courses for Au Pairs »
Reference for language skills for Au Pairs
Language skill requirements differ from country to country. While you will have an interview in English for the US visa, China as a rule doesn’t require to pass the interview in Chinese. Some embassies might ask as well for an official certificate of your language knowledge. Once you shortlist the number of countries you would like to go for an Au Pair program, contact their embassies in your country to find out the language requirements.

If you are planning to go to one of the European countries, there is a predefined model for evaluating language skills. It is called Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It has three levels from A to C defining the learner’s competence. Let’s briefly look into each level’s criteria. 

The Au Pair program
The Au Pair program is for young people, willing to live abroad for some time, and for all the families struggling to find a perfect child care solution. Read more!


If you are planning to go to a country in the European Union, there is a predefined model for evaluating language skills, which is called Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It has three levels, from A to C, which define the learner’s competence.
  • A - The A level is for beginners and basic users. It goes from the very basic understanding of the language (pronunciation, vocabulary, short phrases) to the formulation of very simple sentences
  • B - You understand how the language works and are able to produce simple texts and express your ideas. In most countries, a B level is required/recommended to be able to work or participate in any exchange program
  • C - The C level defines a very high knowledge of the language and the ability to communicate in a very spontaneous way. Depending on the specific level, a student with a C level may be able to read and write very complex and specific texts about many topics.
Let’s briefly look into the criteria of each level.

General level Specific level and description
A
Basic
A1
You can introduce yourself in a foreign language and catch the meaning of simple expressions
A2
You can understand more complex sentences and some expressions used in daily life. A2 is usually considered sufficient during visa applications
B
Intermediate
B1
You can catch the general meaning of sentences related to various basic topics and can write simple texts about personal interests
 
B2
You are able to freely elaborate on specific topics or understand complex texts
C
Advanced
C1
You can understand and use more elaborate language about specific topics and can produce clear texts on complex subjects 
 
C2
In most cases, there is no limitation for you in the language, as it has become also your second "mother tongue”

List of official language certificates

Here you can find some famous official certificates which prove the knowledge of a foreign language. Find out which one will be the best for you and search for an institution issuing the certificate you need.
  • German: Goethe Institut, TestDaF
  • English: Cambridge ESOL, Trinity, Pitman, London Test of English, LCCI IQ, TOEFL, IELTS
  • Spanish: ELE, DELE
  • French: DELF, DALF, Alliance Francaise
In order to take part in the Au Pair program and, in some cases, to get the visa to travel there, many countries have some language requirements that need to be met by the Au Pair. These language skill requirements differ from country to country. 
 
Below you can find two tables that show the different language requirements for each country, according to your country of origin.

Language requirements for Au Pairs from the European Union

If you’re a EU citizen and would like to become an Au Pair in a EU country, then you won’t have to meet any language requirements, since you will not need a visa to access the country.

Target Country Language requirements
Australia Good knowledge of English
Canada Basic knowledge of English or French
China Good knowledge of English
Iceland Good knowledge of English
New Zealand Good knowledge of English
Norway Good knowledge of Norwegian or English
Switzerland Good knowledge of language of the canton where you apply
Turkey Good knowledge of English or basic knowledge of Turkish
USA Good knowledge of English 

Language requirements for Au Pairs from non-EU countries 

Target Country Language requirements
Australia Good knowledge of English
Austria Basic knowledge of German - certificate
Belgium Basic knowledge of at least one of the three national languages (French, German or Dutch)
Canada Basic knowledge of English or French
China Good knowledge of English
Denmark Good knowledge of English, German, Swedish,  Norwegian or Danish
England/UK Good knowledge of English
Finland Basic knowledge of Finnish or Swedish
France Basic knowledge of French - in some cases, certificate
Germany Basic German - A1 certificate
Iceland No requirements - good knowledge of English is a recommendation
Ireland Good knowledge of English
Italy No requirements
Luxembourg Good knowledge of English or one of the three official languages of Luxembourg (Luxembourgish, German or French)
Netherlands No requirements
New Zealand Good knowledge of English
Norway Good knowledge of Norwegian or English
Spain Basic knowledge of Spanish or knowledge of English, French or German
Sweden No requirements - need to show interest in Swedish culture
Switzerland Basic knowledge of the language spoken in the canton where you apply -  if you are a native in any of the three official languages, you cannot apply in the region that speaks your mother tongue
Turkey Good knowledge of English or basic knowledge of Turkish
USA Good knowledge of English

Once you shortlist the number of countries you would like to go to, contact also their embassies in your home country to find out the specific language requirements. Some embassies might ask for an official certificate of your language knowledge.

Other embassies will test your language proficiency directly, for example you will have an interview in English for the US visa. On the other hand, China as a rule doesn’t require to pass the interview in Chinese. 

Attending a language course abroad

Reference for language skills for Au PairsAttending a language course abroad gives you the opportunity to improve your knowledge and make new friends. It will help you to become more confident while speaking the language as well as understand the country's culture and people. 
 
To find a suitable course, ask your Host Family to help you find a school nearby. You will have to discuss with your Host Family your working hours to be able to organize your activities during your free time. 
 
Courses are generally held 2-3 times a week. The Au Pair is supposed to bear the costs of the language course in the host country. 
In some countries, the Host Families have to contribute to the expenses for the language course. For example, in Germany, Host Families will pay a monthly amount of 50 euro for the Au Pair German course. If you are hosting an Au Pair in Germany, don't miss our tips related to Kindergeld
 



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