Mickey Mouse, Grey’s Anatomy, The Notebook… thanks to movies and TV we all have impressions of the United States of America. Yet nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of Manhattan’s unforgettable skyline, your first ride in a yellow cab, the ubiquitous hamburger joints, and vast expanses of prairie, the sweet strains of New Orleans jazz or the neon-lit excesses of Las Vegas.
What is an Au Pair?
An Au Pair is a “big sister” who lives in the United States as an extended member of their Host Family.
These young women provide child care services in exchange for room, board, a weekly stipend, and contributions towards education. Most Au Pairs participate in the Au Pair Program for the valuable cultural experience of living with an American family and are treated more as a member of the family than as an employee.
See what other Au Pairs’ experiences are like!
Check ou these video of S’lee and Mikaela who were Au Pairs in America.
Au Pair Requirements
- You must be 18-26 years old.
- Have a driver’s license.
- Have Grade 12 or equivalent.
- Have good childcare experience.
- Understand and speak English.
- Have a love for kids & be caring.
- Agree to commit for one full year.
- Be in good physical and mental health. Only non-smokers are accepted.
- South African citizenship.
- Unmarried & no kids of your own.
- If you have a childcare education or full-time experience looking after children for at least 2 years,you may qualify as an Au Pair Experience.
- No criminal record.
We are looking for open-minded, flexible, mature Au Pairs who have a positive attitude and like caring for children. Other experiences like First Aid training, girl/boy scouts, music, dance, sports, arts & crafts, local Au Pairing or experience working at a pre-school are examples of skills that would contribute to your childcare abilities and will strengthen your application. Childcare with children aged 2 and under is also very beneficial and will strengthen your application.
Highlights of the USA Au Pair program
Commitment to Quality, Personal Service and Support
Carla’s Au Pairs makes a commitment to providing top quality personal service and support the entire time host families and Au Pairs are participating in the program. Participants receive personal attention and continuous support. You are cared for & helped every step of the way.
The staff in USA is carefully trained with a focus on ensuring that host families and Au Pairs have the best experience possible.
Aftercare is very important. Remember, you get what you pay for – quality service and exceptional support while abroad – something that makes Carla’s Au Pairs truly stand out above other agencies! Just ask our Au Pairs and they’ll agree!
Professional and Caring Staff
Local coordinator serves as a resource and advisor to host families and Au Pairs. They get to know each family in order to assist in choosing the right Au Pair and to answer any questions that might arise. Local coordinators also welcome Au Pairs upon their arrival and stay in contact once a month to ensure things are running smoothly. You can always go to your local coordinator if you need any help, assistance or advice. She also arranges socials (cluster meetings) every month where you can go out, explore & meet new friends! The staff of Carla’s Au Pairs is also always accessible to you if you need anything. That is what makes us stand out – we believe in the personal approach & treating our Au Pairs as individuals, each with their own special personality & needs. We make it our priority to stay in contact with you during your Au Pair year.
How the application process will work
- After you’ve filled in all the forms and have all your documents ready, you need to email it to our office for processing. The sign-up fee is then due. We will then process your documents and send it to our USA partner.
- Once your file is in USA, you will be contacted by families who wish to match with you. The Profile fee is then due. You will have telephonic or Skype interviews and can decide which family you’d like to go to. It can take a few weeks, even months to match.
- Once you’ve matched with your host family the placement fee is due. We will then help you with your visa (about 2-3 weeks before you depart).
- You also need to arrange to attend the Au Pair Training/Orientation course held across the county. Cost is R1000 which includes course material, meals, snacks, refreshments & a certificate. This course can be done anytime during your application (before you match with a family as well)
- We arrange the visa documents for you and you need to pay the visa fee at any FNB into your nearest U.S Consulate’s account just before your scheduled appointment at the consulate.
- Your flights will be arranged and you’re off to your free 5-day orientation in New York!
- After your orientation is completed you will travel to your host family and start your adventure as an
Au Pair in America!
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Also, please enquire about the program costs involved.
Au Pair responsibilities
- Take the kids to school, play dates and pick them up afterwards.
- Assist with general child-related chores, such as laundry, tidying the children’s bedrooms and play areas.
- Prepare meals for the kids.
- Help kids with homework.
- Help prepare the kids for the day’s activities.
- Work for a maximum of 45 hours a week.
What is included in the Au Pair program
- FREE Return flights when completing your 12 months in USA.
- Visa assistance.
- FREE 5-day orientation training in New York!
- Basic Medical Insurance.
- Welcome pack with contact details of fellow Au Pairs in your area.
- Furnished bedroom in host family’s home.
- A counsellor within an hour’s drive from you.
- Monthly Au Pair meetings.
- $500 study allowance to study a 6-credit course of your choice at a college/university.
- A 13th month to travel in the USA OR the option of extending for another 6 months, 9 months or 12 months.
- 2 Weeks paid vacation during your year.
- Accommodation and meals with the family for the entire year’s stay.
- A minimum wage of $197.75 per week. If you have qualifications or have Au Paired in another
country before, you will receive more money per week. Please ask us if you think you qualify
- A very special Carla’s Au Pairs Pre-departure pack which includes useful & cool goodies such as a Pre-departure Manual (written by our experienced staff with the help of ex-Au Pairs), travel bag,travel document pouch, travel mirror, travel pillow, travel make-up bag, luggage tag & more!
Upon arriving in USA, you will attend an orientation week in New York City. This is included in the Au Pair Program. Accommodation & meals are provided – no cost to you! After completing your orientation, you will go to your host-family. You also get a free sightseeing tour of New York City – cool! All Au Pairs receive the Au Pair USA Childcare book written by early childhood educators, consultants and nurses. This independent study unit introduces Au Pairs to the stages of child development from infants to school-aged children, and to child-care topics, including communication with children, discipline, safety and basic first aid. Au pairs also participate in a one-week Orientation and Training Program designed and taught by professionals from the education and health-care fields.
General topics include:
- Child Development for Newborns to Age 12.
- Age Appropriate Activities.
- Culture Shock, Insurance and J-1 Visa and Program Regulations.
- First Aid, CPR and Rescue Breathing.
- Accident Prevention Awareness.
- Car, Fire, Toy, Indoor and Outdoor Safety.
- Basic Child Health Care.
Monthly Au Pair meetings
Au pairs attend monthly meetings organized by their local coordinator.Meetings can be informational, cultural or educational in nature, and are a great way for you to meet other Au Pairs in your community. Some meetings have included holiday parties, museum trips, and concerts, sporting events, volunteer projects, travel opportunities, charity walks and guest speakers on child-care issues.
International Airfare Provided.
Travel Arrangements and Accident & Sickness Insurance Included,
Accident & Sickness Insurance is also provided for all au pairs participating in the program.