Are we different?

The Au Pair program is an opportunity to explore an American culture. Au Pairs enjoy the cultural  experience of  living with an American Host Family, and being able to study in an American University. But they also get a lot of cultural experience.

One of the greatest benefits of the Au Pair program is meeting new friends around the world and exploring different cultures.

Go Au Pair recruits Au Pairs from over 60 different countries. Right now I have  Brazilian Au Pairs, Chinese Au Pairs, Colombian Au Pairs, Salvadorian Au Pairs, Ecuadorian Au Pairs, Panamanian Au PairsSouth African Au Pairs, Ukrainian Au Pairs, Cameroonian Au Pairs in my cluster.

It is great that we all brought together by the best Au Pair agency and fantastic Au Pair program.

Are we different?

First of all, we all are similar -we all are friends and Au Pairs from Go Au Pair cluster in the Philadelphia and NJ area. We all share a lot of common: we participate at Au Pair program and have the Form DS-2019 and the J-1 Visa. We all have childcare experience and love kids. We all have the same desire working as an Au Pair in America and and interests of exploring the world. We have the same needs and we do a lot of things together like one big family.

Second, we all are different. We speak different languages, we have different colored skin and heritage, we follow to a different set of norms and behaviors, we practice different culture and religions.

Yes, we are very different people!  That is a benefit because being different further our own personal growth and expanding our world view. When Au Pairs meet these differences they learn the respect to other cultures. Also Au Pairs have an opportunity to learn about many cultures around the world and the values of tolerance and mutual understanding.

An Au Pairs program teaches Au Pairs to be open minds and hearts to other people and cultures and be responsible citizens of the world!

Free Winter Holiday Festival plus $1000 off discount for FRUA adoptive families.

Au Pairs from Go Au Pair and I love volunteering for the Pennsylvania Chapter for Families of Russian and Ukrainian Adoption (FRUA).  We volunteered  for FRUA families who have adopted children from Eastern Europe and Central Asia before. Au Pairs met many nice families, played with very special children and brought smiles to  kids faces. We became friends with FRUA and  are looking forward to helping FRUA with their Winter Holiday Festival.

FRUA  supports adoptive families and helps families celebrate their child’s native heritage. This year FRUA invites Adoptive Families to the FRUA PA annual Winter Holiday Festival on February 12, 2012 from 1:00-4:00 pm. FRUA will have a FREE Russian catered luncheon and professional performances from Father Frost and Granddaughter, as well as Russian vocalists.  There will be plenty of activities for the children hosted by the sponsor of this event, Go Au Pair agency.

Au Pairs from Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery County and part of NJ cluster will provide many activities for the children, games, face paintings, story readings, and helping with crafts. Several of the Au Pairs in the cluster are from Russia and Ukraine  and they will answer questions about Russian heritage and culture.

Go Au Pair agency is gladly providing FRUA with a huge cake, prizes, sweets and free subscription of  Highlights, the educational magazine for children. Go Au Pair also will give $1000 off discount to any adoptive families who will be there.

The annual Winter Holiday Festival is free and in addition, Go Au Pair offers any family in attendance a $1000 discount off of the program fees. If you are a family with adopted children from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, please come join us. The party will be located at at JCC Klein Brunch Community Center, 10100 Jamison Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116 .

Au Pairs’ Chinese New Year celebration

Au Pairs from Go Au Pair agency are going to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown in Philadelphia, which is the nation’s fourth largest Chinatown.

The Chinese New Year is the oldest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4710 begins on Jan. 23, 2012. Read more:

We will observe the Year of the Dragon with delicious foods, music and fun. We are going to learn Chinese heritage, traditions and culture. I may finally learn  how to use chopsticks :-).

The Au Pair program helps Au Pairs to learn the American culture. Au Pairs have many activities in historical and cultural places where they get together, get to know each other better, make friends and have fun.

But here is much more. This amazing program helps Au Pairs also learn about other cultures and celebrate holidays that are unique to Au Pairs countries. For example, an Asian au-pair can bring  the unique Asian culture and host family get to experience the world without leaving their house. :-).

Right now there are Au Pairs from 9 different countries: China, Brazil, Ukraine, Panama, France, Colombia, El Salvador, South Africa, Russia in Go Au Pair’s cluster in Philadelphia, Bucks County and part of NJ. We will  use the opportunity to celebrate many holidays, make up the events and learn more about different countries.

Our next meeting will be the Brazilian Festival with a costume party, Brazilian food cooking class, costume  and dance competition, Brazilian music and much more. Then we are going to volunteer for children adopted from Russia and learn all about Russian culture, tradition and heritage.

Chinese people say that a celebration of  Chinese New Year attracts prosperity, abundance, success and good fortune  into our life.  Come join us if you need good luck in the New Year!

Au Pairs having fun at the Holiday Light Show.

Last Saturday we had a great party at an Asian restaurant in Bucks County, PA with my new friends from Go Au Pair agency. 

It is me,  having fun with my friends, but it was just a beginning of our celebration.

After our Holiday Party, my Au Pairs friends and I drove to the Holiday Light Show in Shady Brook Farm. This was my first time at the light show. It was unusual and interesting for me. We drove in the car through a Holiday light show. There were many different lights and colors. It seemed that characters had just come out from fairy tales. It reminded me my childhood.

Then we joined the crowd who came to celebrate Christmas in the farm. The farm was specially decorated for Christmas. A lot of familiar characters and Christmas songs created a special holiday spirit. There were several fires where we could warm up and roast marshmallows. 

People enjoyed horse-drawn hayrides, bought Christmas trees and decorations, presents and food and took photos with a real Santa Claus.

It was a magic time. My friends and I took photos after photos to please everyone and to make unforgettable memories – laughing, looking around, and eating popcorn. It was a lot of fun hanging out with my friends at this miracle farm.

This farm reminded me of a magical island, where wishes could come true. I want to come back again. Thank you so much to our LAR Polina, who brought us there.

Tamara, an Au Pair from Ukraine.

The Au Pair’s Holiday Party.

It’s the season to celebrate! And so we did.

On December 17, us Au Pairs and our LAR Polina had our Christmas Party at Char Koon, a chinese restaurant in Langhorne, Bucks County, PA.

It was amazing! As soon as we got there we hung the Holiday decorations and cuddled with our blue primate buddy, we loved him. He states ” I love Go Au Pair“!

He now belongs to Judy, from China - Chic!. You can see the videos

We played, exchanged presents and had lots of fun talking about our incredible Host Families and our lives in The U.S.A.

Watch  me in our Party.

We even had a cookie buddy contest (mine is the one with Green eyes – A.K.A wasabi).We’re all having a great time and, though we miss our homes (in Brazil, Colombia, South Africa, China, El Salvador or Ukraine) we love it here.

But, wait!

There’s one thing that we must have at a party (aside from music, of course. Our playlist was full of Holiday tunes): The cake.

Well, I couldn’t end this post without thanking our Local Area Representative Polina for putting this party together. So, Thank You Polina!Loved hanging out with the girls…can’t wait for our next events. Stay tuned for info on the Chinese New Year and Brazilian Party.
See ya soon…

Bilingual children, Au Pairs, and maintaining a second language

Go Au Pair recruits Au Pairs from over 60 different countries and Au Pairs can be great for helping a child learn or maintain a practical knowledge of a second language. But what happens if a family is between hosting Au Pairs, or hosts an Au Pair who is not a native speaker of a child’s second language?

For children and adults who want to maintain and develop a knowledge of a second language, there are many resources on the internet that help.

For practicing conversation, the modern version of international pen pals are Skype pals – one can meet native speakers of the second language on Skype, for language practice. Many young people in other countries are eager to improve their English, so it is easy to find conversation buddies for practicing second language in exchange for practicing English.

For practicing reading in the second language, there are foreign newspapers and other periodicals that maintain up to date websites with news and articles in other languages. For listening comprehension practice, one can find listings of foreign TV channels’ live internet feeds and foreign radio stations streaming on the internet.

Even after your au pair leaves, command of a second language can remain as a lasting gift for your children.

A comprehensive listing of internet resources for practicing Ukrainian has been put together by Anna T., an au pair host mother, in this article.

An Au Pair means on par or equal to.

People are often confused about the word Au Pair. The Google search for the word “au pair” shows that people often misspell  this world  as “au par”, “au paire”, “opair”, “au per”

Many people think that au pair means a nanny.  An Au Pair doesn’t mean a nanny at all.

The word au pair is a French term, which means “on par” or “equal to, “ denoting living on an equal basis in a reciprocal, caring relationship between the host family and the children. An au pair will typically be a young woman and sometimes a young man from a foreign country who chooses to help look after the children of a host family and provide light housekeeping. The au pair is given room and board and is typically paid a weekly “pocket-money” salary. Au pairs generally stay with their host family for one year.
 Go Au Pair recruits Au Pairs from over 60 different countries, and very popular in the USA are Argentine,  Brazilian, Chinese, Colombian, French, South Korean, Mexican, Russian, Salvadorian, South African, Thai and Ukrainian Au Pairs.

According to Wikipedia , an au pair (plural: au pairs) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family’s responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a small monetary allowance for personal use. Au pair schemes are subject to government restrictions which specify an age range usually from late teens to mid to late twenties.

Every year thousands of young people from all over the world consider becoming au pairs.  These enthusiastic unique individuals come to the United States  leaving behind the familiarity of their homeland, their parents, siblings and close friends. They start a special journey in their young  years and become a part of a host family as an equal member of the family helping with childcare , studying and traveling. Usually it is very far away from their real home.

Welcome party for new Au Pair Phila!

A new Au Pair Phila from South Africa joined Go Au Pair Philadelphia, Bucks County and close NJ cluster last week.

Her host parents Burke and Nicole, who are with Go Au Pair seven years already, hosted a huge welcome party for Phila.

They invited a whole family, neighbors and Au Pairs from Phila’s cluster.

The welcome party was really welcoming and warm with a lot of smiles and wishes. Nicole, the host mom, cooked delicious homemade dishes and ordered a yummy cake for Phila.

The family had Au pairs from many countries, five Au Pairs were from Thailand. Now they welcome to their house a new Au Pair from South Africa. Their two kids loved Phila right away and the whole family is looking forward to a new family member and a friend for life!

Welcome to the family and to the cluster!

The Au Pair program is a wonderful cultural exchange experience for the host families and an affordable, flexible live-in childcare option.

Go Au Pair at the FRUA picnic

Au Pairs from Go Au Pair cluster from Philadelphia, Bucks County and close NJ recently volunteered for adoptive families at the FRUA picnic, at Limerick Community Park,  PA. 

The adopted children of FRUA‘s families come from all former Soviet bloc countries and republics, including Russia, Ukraine and many more.  FRUA believes that every child deserves a forever family and celebrates the rich heritage of our children’s birth countries.

Several Au Pairs were from Russia and Ukraine. Au Pairs  entertained the children, played games, taught them words in Russian, made crafts and had fun together.  We brought Russian toys and a lot of Russian food. Everyone asked questions about Russian culture and heritage. Although many children forgot their native Russian language, they were thrill to learn several words again,  like “Thank you” – “Spasibo”, or “See you later “- ” Poka”.

Go Au Pair helped make this picnic very special. The agency sent Au Pairs very  pretty T-shirts with their logo. All the Au Pairs were thrilled to wear this  fancy T-shirt and they looked amazing in it. The Agency also gave a huge $1000 discount off  the program fees for any family who had attended this picnic.

Volunteering is a great way to help the community around us. It also has many positive benefits for Au Pairs! They got a chance to meet new people, made friends and got to know American life better through volunteering.

This picnic was a great success, Au Pairs made many children and parents very happy at FRUA picnic!  The FRUA families were so glad to have us. They said to us again and again:” Thank you very much for coming,  you made this day very special. Please, come again, we are looking forward to seeing you at our Christmas party!”

“Thank you.”  “See you later”.  

SPASIBO! POKA!

Which country is the best au pair from?

From an Au Pair mom.

(Anna T., a host mother and an author of articles about hosting an au pair: How to hire an au pairHow to save money on an au pair programHow to welcome your new au pair.)

Does it matter which country is an au pair from?

 Go Au Pair recruits Au Pairs from over 60 different countries, and very popular are Argentine,  Brazilian, Chinese, Colombian, French, South Korean, Mexican, Russian, Salvadorian, South African, Thai and Ukrainian Au Pairs.

Faced with so many choices of au pair candidates, it is only natural for a host family to look for a way to narrow the search down. A question many au pair agency staff and local counselors hear from host families is, tell us

which countries the best au pairs come from.

 The real answer is – it depends. The best au pair for one family can be a bad fit for another family. A lot depends on the personality and experience of the individual au pair. But there are also some common traits and cultural values that shape candidates from different countries

Cultural differences, not to be confused with stereotypes, are the result of an upbringing in a different country, with its own culture, religion and values. For example, au pairs from many Latin American countries typically have close family relationships, and are very affectionate and loving with children, and believe in God. Au pairs from Asia take their job extremely seriously, and value education.

There are also differences shaped by the living conditions in a country, that are not cultural. For example, in some Asian countries it might not be common for young women to drive or own a car, so au pairs from those countries might be not very experienced drivers.

In some countries the economic divide between rich and poor is so great, that every middle class family has a maid, so an au pair from such a country might not have a clue about simple domestic tasks (but might be perfectly willing and excited to learn!).

In more prosperous countries it might be easier for a high school graduate to pay for applying to the au pair program, and less lucrative to do so for a college graduate – so the candidate pool from such countries might be considerably younger.

Another factor in family country preference is personal experience, or experience of others.
For experienced host families, their preference for a certain country might be shaped by their personal experience with the au pair program. After an unsuccessful match, it is natural to avoid candidates from the same area of the world, for the next few years, or forever.

Or conversely, after good luck with candidates from a certain country, it is natural to look to repeat the same experience. Ease, difficulty or speed of obtaining au pair visas also varies from country to country. This factor can also dictate country choice for au pair host families.

Au pair agencies keep statistics of the percentage of au pairs from each country who drive, who are under two qualified, who are college graduates, who obtain visas. If a family wants to narrow down the choice of countries, it can be helpful to speak to the agency representative when trying to figure out candidates from which countries might be the best fit for the family childcare needs.

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