Au pair in the USA
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. The USA is a huge country to explore, with 50 states to choose from, flanked by two oceans and covering an incredibly varied terrain. For five centuries, since the ‘New World’ discoveries of Christopher Columbus, people from every corner of the globe have come here in search of ‘the American Dream’.
Between them, they have created the richest, most powerful country on earth, and a fascinating melting pot of cultures and traditions. Vast plains, snow-covered mountain ranges, forested rolling hills, deserts, strange rock formations, soaring skyscrapers, stunning coastlines, impressive national parks and a thriving cultural scene; the USA has it all!!
What is an Au Pair?
An Au Pair is a ‘big sister/brother’ 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.
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. The local coordinators in USA are carefully trained with a focus on ensuring that host families and au pairs have the best experience possible.
Professional and Caring Local Coordinators:
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.
Orientation and Training for Au Pairs:
Au Pair Course in South Africa (Gauteng & Western Cape locations)
Here is a summary/outline of what the Au Pair course will look like:
- Opening and Welcome
- Ground Rules
- Break times
- Start and Finish times
- Day Program summary
- Introduction of trainer & Course Material
- Open Questions
- Getting to know each other
- In-house icebreaker & Introduction
Module 1 – Introduction to a Foreign Country
A Glimpse of The USA
Adjusting to the American Lifestyle
Culture Shock and what to expect
Module 2 – Coping Skills
Personality types – What is your personality
Basic house cleaning duties
Coping with Stress – you and the children
Module 3 – Basic Childcare
Basic Hygiene and Safety in and around the house
Baby and Toddler Care: From nappies to tantrums
Adolescence and Teens
The Sick Child
Fun Activities and stimulation – Different Age Groups
Module 4 – Cooking and Nutrition
Healthy eating habits
Infants – From bottle to Introducing Solids – Allergies
Healthy Snacks for Toddlers and Teens
South African traditional meals to prepare for your new family
Check out these videos from two of our Au Pairs in USA!
Mikaela Du Plessis
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.
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.
Au pairs enroll in classes, taking the equivalent of six credit hours for the year, while participating in the program. Au pairs receive up to $500 per year to use toward the Educational Component of the program. You can take interesting courses and make new friends at the same time!
Optional Month to Travel within the United States:
After successfully completing the program, au pairs have the option to travel throughout the U.S. for up to one month.
You can extend your stay for up to 2 years. You can either stay with the same host-family, or go to new one. If you have been an Au Pair in the USA before, you can go again! (If you have been back in SA for at least 2 years) That means that you can spend up to 4 years in the USA as an Au Pair. As long as you still meet the requirements! There are so many beautiful places you can visit & explore in the US. From East coast to the west coast, North & South – each state is its own little “country” on its own with an array of sights, natural wonders & cultures to explore! Think of the mighty Statue of Liberty in New York, Yellowstone National Park in Montana, and The Grand Canyon in Arizona, Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and the flashing lights of Las Vegas. Gorgeous beaches in California & the beautiful architecture of Chicago & Boston – to name but a few! The public transport system in the big cities is fantastic & it’s easy to get around. Local flights are not too expensive, so visiting another state is not hard at all!
Did you know that USA has 50 states & that each state gets represented on their flag as a star?
Au Pair Requirements:
- You must be female and 18-26 years old
- Have a driver’s licence
- Have Grade 12 or equivalent
- Have childcare experience
- If you have a childcare education or full-time experience looking after children, you may qualify as an Au Pair Experience
- Understand and speak English
- Have a love for kids & be caring
- Agree to commit for one full year
- Be in good health. Only non-smokers are accepted
- South African citizenship
- Unmarried & no kids of your own
- 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.
Au Pair Responsibilities:
- Take the kids to school, play dates and pick them up afterwards
- Prepare meals for the kids
- Help kids with homework
- Help prepare the kids for the day’s activities
- Assist with general child-related chores, such as laundry, tidying the children’s bedrooms and play areas
- 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 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
- 2 Weeks paid vacation during your year
- Accommodation and meals with the family for the entire year’s stay
- A minimum wage of $195.75 per week. If you have qualifications or have Au Paired in another country before, you will receive more money per week
- $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 year
How the application process will work:
- After you’ve filled in all the forms and have all your documents ready, you need to make an appointment with your nearest agent for your interview. The sign up fee for interview & registration 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 of 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).
- 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.
Carla’s Au Pairs is partnered with EurAupair, a Member of IAPA (International Au pair association) & one of the oldest, largest and most trusted au pair organizations in the United States.
Check out these blogs from two of our Au Pairs in USA!
Even though we live on a farm, the house is very modern. I practically do everything with the family, especially the kids. There’s so much nature around which I love, a lot of space to play with the kids, and because it’s remote, there’s no bad influence on the kids which makes them grounded and appreciate life more. The food is great: we have chickens that give us fresh organic eggs every day, we have a seasonal garden with organic fresh produce. It is a very loving community around here and with a generous family friend that lets us ride on her horses.
I decided to become an au pair in my last year of school when I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to become or who I really was. December 2012 was my first year as an au pair and also my first time being abroad! I was so excited and had all these dreams of living abroad. I remember the day I said goodbye to my family like yesterday…. I was so excited that saying goodbye was easy for me but really hard for my family. I had the idea that being an au pair will be like a year of vacation, traveling, making friends was going to be easy and working with kids was easy.