Welcome Parents

The Parents' Zone - a page dedicated to the parents of our au pairs

Has your child announced that they would like to head off to the USA on an adventure with Au Pair in America? We can understand you might have some questions and concerns. You probably want to know more about who we are and what we do. Your trust and confidence in our organization is important to us.

We hope you find the answers and information you are looking for here. We have tried to address the essential details you will need, but if after reading this you still have questions and would like to get in touch please feel free to email us at info@aupairamerica.co.uk

“After meeting the local interviewer and speaking to the local agency on the telephone, I felt confident that my child was in safe hands!” Maria Gonzales (parent)

About the program

Everything you need to know about who we are, the application process and the support your child will receive

Who we are

Au Pair in America is a legal cultural exchange program established in 1986 – the very first au pair program sponsor to be designated by the US government – So you know your child is in safe hands.

We are part of a larger, global organization called the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). Au Pair in America has offices in Germany, Poland and Australia with Head Offices in London (UK) and Stamford, CT (USA).

What is an Au Pair?

Au Pairs are international visitors who travel to the USA on a J1 exchange visitor Visa for one year, living with an American host family and caring for their children.

A Positive Life Experience

Being an au pair is much more than being a nanny. The time our participants spend in the USA has many positive effects. Our au pairs tell us their confidence and communication skills improve, they become more responsible and independent and learn valuable life lessons. By the time our au pairs return home they have gained a wonderful level of English, a better understanding of other cultures and have developed as individuals. Not least, being an au pair in America is a wonderful boost to a CV/ Resume!

What does an Au Pair in America have to do?

Au pair actually means en par or equal to in French, so it makes perfect sense that our au pairs are considered equal members of their US families. 

Au pairs receive room and board with their host family as well as weekly pocket money.  In return they provide 45 hours of childcare per week.

What Would a Typical Day Be?

This varies depending on how old the children are and the needs of each family.  As an example, the au pair wakes the children and gets them ready for the day including preparing meals and bathing them. If they are attending school the au pair will drive them and be there for after-school activities and dinner and bedtime. If the children are infants the au pair will care for them during the day. 

What are the main duties

Duties are children centred and au pairs are not expected to do heavy domestic work. They will however need to be prepared to do some laundry for the children and to keep their bedrooms and play areas tidy.

Time Off

The au pair schedule is a maximum of 10 hours per day and up to 45 hours per week. They are allowed at least one full weekend off per month and 2 weeks paid vacation. Once the au pair year is completed, they can take advantage of a “Travel Month” to explore the USA before returning home.

Studying

Part of the visa requirement involves au pairs studying at a local college or choosing an online course. The host family contributes to the cost of the classes and will help them with any transport needed. 

What is the Application Process?

The first step for applicants is to complete our online application and create a personal profile. They will then attend an interview with one of our local interviewers. We have a strong network of agencies partnered with Au Pair in America in 60 countries worldwide. These partner agencies have been carefully trained on every part of our selection, interview and application process.  We take great care to personally assess in-country agencies for their suitability, motivation and commitment to the quality of our program.

The Interview

Where? It usually takes place at the agency’s office but sometimes arrangements might be made for an interview to take place in a public location like a library or coffee shop.

What? The interviewer will begin with an overview of the program, a review of the application and then proceed to an informal interview. At least 30 minutes of the interview will be conducted in English. The interviewer is responsible for ensuring that anyone applying on our program has the adequate skills, experience, maturity and motivation to participate successfully. 

When the interview is over the applicant will be asked to complete a personality questionnaire. Any relevant medical history will be discussed and the applicant must provide a recent medical form and criminal record check.

Our Support Network

It’s support and safety first when it comes to our au pairs

Once your daughter or son becomes part of our program they are supported and cared for every step of the way: from application to departure and throughout their experience in America.

Participant Site

This is a secure and password protected site where applicants can access their online au pair profile, application documents and in later stages see interested families and pay the program fee securely.

Here is an overview of the different stages of becoming an au pair:

Application Process

Once applications are completed they are reviewed along with the personality questionnaires by our staff in London or Bonn. Our team may ask for further information or suggest positive improvements before deciding whether an applicant can be accepted onto the program.

Matching Process

Once accepted, the next step is finding the perfect family for your child. All of our host families have been carefully selected and screened for our program. Applications are circulated among the families and your daughter or son will start to see interested families in their secure, password protected participant site.

It’s a great idea for applicants to talk to as many families as they can before making a decision.

Program Fees

Nothing is to be paid to Au Pair in America until placement with a host family has been finalized. When placed, au pairs will be expected to pay the outstanding amount via their secure participant site where they will find their online invoice. Au Pair in America will never ask for payment via money transfer for example Western Union, Money Gram, cashier’s check or money orders. 

Visa process

Au Pair in America has dedicated staff to advise and assist with all aspects of obtaining the J1 Exchange visitor Visa. Our team will help with the paperwork and with booking the appointment at the US Embassy.

Flights

We take care of all flights to and from the USA. We also try to organize that au pairs fly together if possible and always let our au pairs know in advance if others are going to be on the same flight.

Our representatives will meet au pairs at their US arrival airport in New York and take them to a 4 * hotel just outside New York City for our 4  day Orientation program.

Insurance

We provide a basic insurance package to all our au pairs with options to upgrade. We recommend that au pairs consider upgrading their package for maximum coverage.

Orientation Program

Au pairs do not go straight from the airport to their host families. We make sure everyone is prepared and adjusts to life in America by first attending our 3-day Orientation Training Program. This is an essential and excellent introduction to life in the USA as an au pair. Our professional trainers offer advice and instruction on everything from childcare to cultural differences. There is also a Red Cross training course and optional AAA driving instruction. 

Host Families

The families on our program have all been carefully screened as per US Federal Regulations. A local Au Pair in America representative interviews the family personally in their home prior to their participation on the program. The family submits an application, an essay and photos, information on the au pair’s schedule and 2 references. The representative will also make sure the designated private bedroom is suitable for the au pair.

Community Counselors

All our Host Families are divided into “clusters” dependent on where they live. Each cluster is managed by a local Au Pair in America representative – the Community Counselor. The counselor will live a maximum of 1 hour’s drive from the au pairs in their cluster and is there as a mentor, providing support and advice to au pairs and families during the year, in addition to arranging fun social activities and events for everyone.

Emergency Help

Au pairs have access to a 24-hour, toll-free emergency helpline at our US head Office in Stamford Connecticut.

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