The au pair program is a visa that allows foreign nationals to visit the United States and provide child care services to a host family. It is a wonderful opportunity for you to explore the culture of the US and share your country's history and customs with appreciative Americans. It is also a chance for the Au Pair to get the educational benefit of attending American colleges.
The program is administered by the US Department of State which has several requirements for potential candidates. Au Pairs must be:
-Between the ages of 18 and 26
-Conversant in English
-In good health
-In possession of the equivalent of an American high school diploma (12 years of education)
-Prepared to commit to a one-year visit to this country
-If caring for children under the age of two, experienced in caring for infants (200 or more hours of experience)
In addition to these requirements, there are several other characteristics common to a successful au pair:
-An interest in American history and culture
-The desire to share your own culture
-Maturity and responsibility to care for children with a minimum of supervision
-Love of children and enthusiasm about raising and teaching them
American is a mobile culture so a valid driver's license is often required by the host families so you can transport the children when needed.
Your Rights as an Au Pair
Under this program, you are not being employed as a servant but hosted as an honored guest in this country. Your host will not treat you as an employee. You will fill the role of a big sister or brother and treated as a member of the family. They will include you as part of family functions such as vacations or birthday parties.
You will be expected to work no more than 45 hours per week. The family will give you a private bedroom, meals, and a weekly stipend for your other expenses. Your round-trip air fare and some of your college expenses will also be paid for.
Most applicants are placed in major American cities or their suburbs, giving you tremendous opportunities for education, entertainment, and culture.
Your visit here will be sponsored by one of eleven organizations which are strictly regulated by the US Department of State to ensure that you receive the treatment you deserve. They offer many benefits beyond what the government requires such as counselors to help you adapt to American life, organized social activities, and insurance coverage.
This program provides a safe and rewarding way to visit another country and immerse yourself in its language, history, and customs. Your international experience can lead to future career opportunities and many au pairs form lifelong friendships with their host families.
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on AuPair , visit .