The lights of energetic Hollywood, the incredible beauty of the Grand Canyon, vibrant New York, the chic and luxury of beachfront Miami, and the bouncy Hawaiian “Aloha!” – The USA will not leave anyone indifferent. The Au Pair Cultural Exchange Program in the USA is one of the best programs where you can live in America for a year, learn excellent English at an American college and get to know the USA from the inside. Briefly, the essence of the program can be described as follows: you help the host family in caring for the children, and the family gives you $ 800 per month stipulated by the terms of the program and also provides free room, meals, health insurance, paid leave and college tuition.
What does an au pair do in a family?
Au pair – family member for the duration of the exchange program:
- a guest of the country gets an interesting experience, improves the language and learns a new culture
- and the host family shifts some of the household chores onto a helper and allows themselves a slightly more relaxed lifestyle.
At the same time, an au pair is not a servant in any way, although some families abuse the presence of an assistant in the house.
To avoid misunderstandings and conflicts, the program participant and the host family discuss the au pair’s responsibilities and schedule before their arrival. Then this is fixed in the contract.
Au-pair in the USA: what does it take to become an au pair?
Au pairs are waiting in the USA:
- between the ages of 18 and 26.5
- physically healthy
- unmarried and without children.
- a candidate shouldn’t have problems with the law.
- Other requirements are completed secondary education, a conversational level of English, and a driver’s license. Of course, compliance with formal requirements is very important, but you should also sensibly evaluate your relationship with children. Ultimately, the skills of communicating with them affect the family environment and the comfort of being an au pair.
For those who are determined to become an au pair, the first step is to register on the website of one of the official US agencies. The registration page might look like this. This is followed by an online consultation and a personal interview in the candidate’s country with an agency – a local representative company.
The next important step is choosing a host family. The candidates do it themselves. Finding a suitable host family in the United States is not difficult – thousands of families are waiting for their helper. Initial communication takes place at www.greataupairusa.com, where members and families pre-fill their profiles. A future au pair who likes the family writes a letter about himself, his hobbies, motivation to participate in the program, and plans for the future. Attaches photographs to the letter – not on a passport, but from life: with family, friends, happy and contented children. This is followed by correspondence, phone or Skype calls.
To conclude a contract, the candidate collects documents:
- police clearance certificate
- a copy of the passport, matriculation certificate
- medical certificate (certificate from the clinic)
- 2 passport-size photographs and, if possible, a driver’s license.
It is very important to get two references to validate experience with children.
The US agency then prepares an invitation letter, a DS2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) form, health insurance, and a SEVIS collection form. After the participant has covered the costs of paperwork, the American sponsor sends the original documents by courier delivery. At the appointed time, you need to come to the embassy to obtain a visa, before paying a consular fee of $ 160. The J-1 visa is issued within 3-10 days and is sent by courier delivery to the place of residence.
The J-1 visa is issued to foreigners participating in cultural exchange programs in the United States. The visa is usually valid for 1 year. But it can be extended for another year, for 6 or 9 months. J-1 also provides for the so-called grace period of 30 days. During this time, the visa holder can legally stay in the country, but can no longer work. But you can travel, spend time with friends, or prepare to enter an American university.