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Learning foreign languages


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. 

Language levels

“A” LEVEL

In general terms, the A level is for beginners and basic users. This level goes from the very basic understanding of the language (pronunciation, vocabulary, short phrases) to the formulation of very simple sentences. 
 
If you can introduce yourself in foreign language and catch the meaning of simple expressions, A1 is your level. If you can also understand more complex sentences and some expressions used in daily life, you can say that you are already A2. 
 
A2 is usually considered as sufficient during visa applications.
 

“B” LEVEL

Students on the B level understand how the language works and are able to produce simple texts and express their ideas. In most countries, a B level is required / recommended in order to be able to work or participate in any exchange program.
Students on the B1 level can catch the general meaning of sentences related to various basic topics and can write simple texts about personal interests. 
 
If you are able to freely elaborate on specific topics or understand complex texts, you can be sure that you are already on B2 level.
 

“C” LEVEL

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 specialized topics.
 
If you are on C level, your command of foreign language is close to native speakers' one. If you face little troubles while trying to fluently describe some specific case, you are probably on C1 level. If there is no limitation for you and a foreign language became your second "mother tongue" - you are on C2 and there is almost nothing more you can achieve in this matter.

List of official language certificates

Find below some famous official certificates proving the knowledge of a foreign language. Inform yourself 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
  • French: DELF, DALF, Alliance Francaise

Attending a language course abroad

Attending 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 this 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 held 2-3 times a week. As a rule, they start in September and January. The Au Pair is bearing the costs of a language course in the host country. Host Families in Germany 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.
 

See also