Au pair in the USA -
Questions about your host family
- How long after I apply does it take to match with a family?
- What types of families join AuPairCare to find an au pair and how do they qualify for the programme?
- Can I be placed with my friend in the same family?<
- Can I be placed in a certain state / area in the United States?
- Is it possible to work as an au pair for a shorter period of time?
- Can I leave the AuPairCare programme early?
- Will AuPairCare help me with my visa for the US?
- What if I have a problem during my stay in the USA?
- What if I become homesick?
Depending upon your au pair qualifications, it can take anywhere from three to eight weeks for you to match with a family. Once you are matched, you and your host family will agree on a U.S. arrival date. You will have at least four weeks after matching to prepare for your arrival.
What types of families join AuPairCare to find an au pair and how do they qualify for the programme?
AuPairCare families are usually hard-working, friendly, busy, and want the best for their children. They participate in the AuPairCare programme because they want dependable care for their children, and look forward to sharing their home with an international au pair.
AuPairCare carefully screens all families who apply to the au pair programme as all families must meet the U.S. Department of State's hosting requirements. After the families submit their application for an au pair, AuPairCare staff interview them in person and check their references. Host families must agree not to schedule the au pair to work more than 45-hours per week and not more than 10 hours per day. Families must also be American citizens (or permanent residents), and have a sincere desire to share their home with an au pair.
Unfortunately it is not possible to place you and your friend together in the same family. Our AuPairCare host families only need one au pair in their family. However, this way you get the chance to really get to know your host family, to truly immerse yourself in another culture and to experience the American Way of Life.
AuPairCare places au pairs nationwide and always in an area where there are other au pairs too. Our main objective is to help an au pair find a compatible host family. As an au pair you will be spending the next twelve months with them, therefore we encourage all our au pairs to accept a match based on the individual family rather than on their location. From experience we know that the success of a placement is not determined by the area where the au pair is living but how well the au pair gets on with the family.
While some places in America are probably more familiar to au pairs from movies and television, all parts of the country are interesting, and each has its own advantages. The United States is truly a diverse and fascinating country, and as an au pair you may be surprised to discover cities or regions that you didn't know about before. You will have a chance to visit other parts of the country during your 10-day paid vacation and travel month (after successful completion of the minimum twelve months)
Unfortunately it is not possible to work as an au pair for a shorter period of time in the US due to US J1 visa regulations. The minimum stay as an au pair is twelve months with the option to extend.
AuPairCare families rely on the au pair to be committed and to stay with them for the entire au pair programme. In the event that you terminate the programme early (not due to a medical emergency), you will be responsible for paying your own return flight home, which would otherwise have been paid for by the host family.
Furthermore you forfeit the chance of staying in the US for another month to travel as your visa will expire immediately after termination of the programme.
AuPairCare is an official au pair agency designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor your J1 visa. After you have matched with one of our registered AuPairCare families our staff will send you all the documents you need in order to apply for a visa in person at the US Embassy in London or Dublin. But don’t worry - our staff will assist you during the visa application to ensure you complete all the visa forms correctly. For up-to-date information on costs for a US J1 visa please see the US Embassy website for London and Dublin.
Moving to a new country, having a new family, and being responsible for children can be overwhelming at times! With the help of your local AuPairCare coordinator, host family and other au pairs in the area, you will quickly become comfortable and adapt to your new American community.
If you have a problem during your year with your host family it is very important to first try to sort it out directly with them. As always, communication is the key! However, if the problem persists or you do not know how to address it with your host family you can always turn to your local AuPairCare coordinator for support and advice. Your local coordinator will act also as a mediator between you and your host family. If the problem between the au pair and family cannot be resolved and was not due to the au pair neglecting her duties there is always the possibility of re-matching with a new host family. Nevertheless this should always be seen as the last resort after every other efforts to resolve the issue have been made.
Homesickness can be quite tough to deal with at first and some au pairs may find the first few months of their programme challenging. Our AuPairCare field staff understands this very well, and will be there to support and advise you as you adjust.
It also often helps to get out of the house during your free time and meet up with other au pairs in your area. Talking with them and hearing how they have managed to overcome homesickness, and how much they are enjoying their stay now in the US, can also help you remember why it is that you wanted to come to the US in the first place.
Remember, ups and downs are normal when living in a foreign culture. It takes time to adjust to another lifestyle but in the end it’s always worth sticking to it. Imagine the sense of achievement you will feel!