San Francisco, California - This year has brought many unforeseen challenges, especially to working families. Parents have had the difficult task of juggling children out of school, at-home learning, and hectic work schedules. For AuPairCare families, au pairs have been their saving grace.
Au pairs, part of the U.S. Department of State’s J1 Cultural Exchange Program, are young adults from countries around the world who live with American families and look after their children. In addition to providing live-in care, au pairs and families participate in an exchange of cultures, such as learning a new language or discovering unique customs and traditions. With au pairs and families spending additional quality time together over the past few months, successful program experiences have grown as participants come closer together.
This week, independent research firm EurekaFacts released a comprehensive report detailing the success of the au pair program. Surveying over 17,000 alumni au pairs and host families, the report finds unequivocally that the program delivers on its goals to increase mutual understanding between individuals, develop the skills of au pairs, provide child care support to families who need it and strengthen the U.S. economy along the way. Findings show that 90% of au pairs rated their experience in the U.S. as excellent or good. For American host families, 85% say that they are extremely or somewhat satisfied with their experience as a host family. The results speak for themselves and exemplify the positive impact that the au pair program provides for all participants.
AuPairCare host mom Melody of Menlo Park, California says of her French au pair, “Lea arrived right before the pandemic and transitioned into our family seamlessly. When the pandemic struck, we were faced with additional challenges presented from virtual learning and quarantining with the rest of the world. We struggled with this dramatic shift, and she helped us get through one of the toughest times our family has experienced. We will forever be grateful.”
While au pairs act as parenting partners, they also form long-lasting relationships with their entire host family. Host mom Carie of Fort Worth, Texas shares how her Mexican au pair is an important member of the family, “Pam is the best! She is not only a great au pair to our two boys, but she spent every morning doing ‘summer school’ with our little one. She has become an integral part of the family.” AuPairCare alumni Tina from Germany had a similar bonding experience with her host family, saying, “I had a great year with AuPairCare! I grew so much and as a person! I became part of their family, and they became part of mine. After my au pair year ended, I came back to visit my family three more times. They even came to Germany twice to visit me and to be part of my wedding. My "little" girl, now 12 years old, was our ring bearer and I was so happy to have them there! I am so happy and so grateful that we still have such a close relationship and that I get to see them every so often.”
Experiences like these explain in part how the program’s success helps to promote itself. Through the program, au pairs gain a better understanding of American culture, traditions, and customs, which in turn fosters greater knowledge and appreciation among Americans of the participants’ home countries. According to the EurekaFacts survey, 97% of au pair alumni gained a better understanding of American culture (traditions and customs) during their time in the U.S.
Whether it is au pairs developing important life skills, parents gaining support for the unique needs of their family, or understanding life through the lenses of a different culture, the au pair program is an invaluable experience for all participants.
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