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Hear From An Area Director: Cultural Exchange in Western Michigan

grand-rapids-au-pairs

AuPairCare serves families all over the country. The backbone of our team are the local Area Directors who assist au pairs and host families through their program years. Hear from an Area Director about the cultural exchange experience she’s sharing with au pairs in her region.

The year is 2016, the city is Grand Rapids, Michigan. The once so-called “dying city” has been the stage for ArtPrize, an incredible international art competition for the last 8 years. Grand Rapidians and all Michiganders are very proud of this event, and they should be! It is unlike anything that has ever been seen. For 19 days the whole downtown area is covered with all different types of art.

Recently the West Michigan au pairs experienced ArtPrize for themselves and they were very impressed! After watching “The Wizard of OZomeness” which was a superb street dance interpretation of the Wizard of Oz, the group visited a few other pieces, stopped at Grand Rapids’ famous Blue Bridge for pictures and enjoyed great food at a local restaurant. It was a fantastic time for bonding, laughter and many memories.

Several businesses in the area welcome artists into their spaces and become indoor venues for sculptures, paintings, live performances, but there is also plenty to see outdoors. There is a surprise in every corner and it is all completely free. Even the Museums that do not have ArtPrize pieces inside have lowered their admission fees during this time.

As an Area Director, watching the au pairs be so helpful and kind to each other is one of my favorite parts of the job. Seeing cultural events like ArtPrize through their eyes is another special perk. It brings back wonderful feelings from the time when I was an au pair myself.

Thais Phelps is an Area Director in Grand Rapids Michigan. For more information about au pairs program in Western Michigan she can be reached at tphelps[at]aupaircare.com

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