Farewell to Valentine, 2017 au pair in Excellence Winner.

Valentine sent me long, meaningful answers. She left a couple days ago, but I will always remember her. It was great to spend time with her and volunteer together, stay longer after everybody left. I am sure, she is going to enjoy her time with her family again and as far as I am concerned, her Host Kids will visit Valentine in France, which is amazing – that means, they built a strong relationship! So here are some pieces of the interview: 

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“I am very proud to be the Au Pair of the year and it is something that I was not expecting! I like to think, that I am the way I am because of my host kids, they are the best so I try to be the best au pair and sister that they deserve.”
My favourite way to spend my free time was to either go see a movie at the movie theatre because it helped me with my vocabulary by learning new words and phrases or volunteering at a little co-op in town. It was something I did every Friday afternoon since January until mid June and I liked the job and I made some really good friends there!

 What I like about being an au pair in the USA with Go Au Pair is that there’s always someone you can talk to, they will listen to you and try to find a solution. I like the fact that they organize meetings that you can go to and meet other au pairs from different countries and who live not far from you. I loved when we all volunteered at the International Spring Festival in Lansdale this year and even my host kid who is 11 years old helped us that day which was great!

 

The most valuable lesson that I learned while being in the US as an Au Pair is to stand up for yourself, do not let people take advantage of you because there are lots of people out there who try to make you things you don’t want to do and don’t respect the rules. So talk about it with someone if you are not comfortable in a situation speak up and make things change.
The favourite part about being an au pair is that you sometimes get to create an amazing relationship between you and your host family. That’s what happened for me, I came here and found another family, the 2 little girls I took care of for almost 10 months are now like sisters to me.

The experience that I will never forget is when I left for 10 days to go visit California (Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego exactly) all alone, with only a backpack. It was amazing, I met so many incredible people there, did things I never thought I would and took so many pictures of the beautiful things I’ve seen to show my family once I go back to France!

 

“I would recommend being an au pair, because it is a great experience, not easy every day but you will be rewarded by so much love and happiness in your life, that it is absolutely worth it!”

Learn about different culture by cooking with your Au Pair.

Food is definitely part of our culture –one that we carry wherever we go. An Au Pair will bring her culture and her food traditions.

A great way to learn about different cultures is by cooking. Every country has own traditions and celebrations, and every holiday has its own food. Why not start cooking and sharing  a meal together with your Au Pair?  It’s a good way to become more familiar with your au pair‘s culture.

If you have French or Italian Au Pair you will learn soon that a traditional breakfast there is coffee and either baguette or croissant. The French often dip their buttered bread into coffee.

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You may learn that hot cereal or porridge, often made with corn and called “putu pap,” is the first meal in Souths Africa from S. African Au Pair .
And if you have an Au Pair from Mexico, she may prefer dishes like chilaquiles (below) and huevos rancheros, or sweet rolls and coffee for breakfast.Mexico Au Pair.jpg
Food is an important part of the culture.  Simply cook together your Au Pair favorite dish, d learn and have fun.

South African takes the world with help from GO AU PAIR

My name is Phila Sozombile from South Africa, I’m an Au Pair from Go Au Pair in Philadelphia.
 
At one stage I thought I would never survive the feeling of being thousands of miles away from home. For 21years I have lived with my close knit family and the thought of being away from them scared the death out of me. But being passionate about travelling, meeting new people and learning other cultures made me see the world in a whole different perspective.
I always thought that the only family I have are those related to me, people at home. Until I realized that I am a child of the universe, therefore the world is my home. I have been to places that I never thought I would be. In all of those places I’ve met wonderful people, people that make me feel at home.
 
Today I went to celebrate Chinese new year in China town Philadelphia with my friends (Au pairs) from China, Brazil, oGermany, France, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia and of course “ME” from South Africa. There is still more, we’re like the Rainbow Nation.
If I had to count them all it would take me hours. We had lots of fun, as we always do when we are together.
Here we are learning a Chinese New Year Song.
The point is, being away from your relatives doesn’t mean you are away from home/family. It is always home when there’s love. We are all sisters and our LAR Polina is like a mother to us. She has the best interest in our comfort and happiness.
We are family. We are living young, wild and free!!!
Now you tell me, what could possibly top that??? #wink#
Phila

Top ten reasons to consider working as an au pair

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolstoy

Every year thousands of young people from all over the world consider becoming au pairs.  Au Pairs are enthusiastic unique individuals, who decide to come to the United States and care for children. They consider to start a special journey in their young  years leaving behind the familiarity of their homeland, their parents, siblings and close friends for a long time- one year or two.

 Go Au Pair recruits Au Pairs from over 60 different countries. I have  Argentine,  Brazilian,  Chinese, Colombian, French, Russian, Salvadorian, South African and Ukrainian Au Pairs in my cluster.

Becoming an au pair is a great way to see the world, make new connections with friends and a special bond with the host family. An au pair has the opportunity to explore new places and learn the language, customs and the resident’s way of life, naturally.

But there are many other reasons.

I found this post top ten reasons to consider working as an au pair at Best AuPair Guide.

10. You’re ready to establish close – very close, probably – ties with another family.

9. It’s time for a change of pace – and place.

8. You need a good reason to take a break from college, or something productive to do before or during a career change.

7. You’re bored with life in your home country.

6. You need to get as far away from your family as possible (ok, this was one of my reasons – it may or may not apply to most!)

5. You love foreign accents – and food, and culture….

4. You need a challenge.

3. You’re ready to experience ‘real’ life abroad, without fanny packs and tour guides.

2. You want to actually learn a foreign language – not just your high school teacher’s version of it.

1. It’s time to put that passport to good use.

What is your reason to be an Au Pair?

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.

A Chinese Au Pair is a great childcare choice.

Go Au Pair recruits Au Pairs from over 60 different countries,  and recently  Chinese Au Pairs have become very common choice among host families from Philadelphia, Bucks County and close NJ.

A Brazilian, Chinese, Colombian, French, Mexican or Russian Au Pair?  Which country is the best au pair from?

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. Please read the post From an Au Pair mom.

Besides a cultural differences there is also a language preference. Many parents understand that having the ability to speak a second language gives their children an advantage in the global marketplace. Mandarin is now the most popular languages in the world.

As my host mom explained to me, Mandarin language was her reason to match with a Chinese Au Pair who will provide child care and at the same time can introduce a new language to her son.

If the family matched with an Au Pair from China, parents don’t have to pay for an expensive lessons. Chinese Au Pair can help children learn Mandarin through study and play.

Many  Chinese Au Pairs have strong English skills and teaching experience. Working as a teacher is a very typical career choice in China before becoming an Au Pair. They love playing with kids, making origami or crafts, having fun and giving piano lessons.

Chinese Au Pairs are family oriented and willing to help with house chores and to cook a delicious and healthy meals. Read the top ten reasons to consider an Au Pair from China

Since Mandarin is becoming the fastest growing languages being learned in schools in the United States, more and more host families now considering a Chinese Au Pair.

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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