Au pair applicants who have extensive childcare training or experience, speak English very well, had first-aid and safety training, a driver’s license, have outstanding childcare references, and have a warm and friendly essay will always place quickly with a host family.
Child-care experience is what is most important to host families. Child-care
experience can include extensive experience caring for children in a situation that includes several hours at a time on a one-on-one basis for several months or years. Other acceptable child-care experiences can include care training internships in a kindergarten or school, tutoring or coaching, or baby-sitting. While these experiences do show an interest in children, an applicant with only 2 experiences that lasted for very short periods of time may not be accepted into the program as host families are looking for au pairs who have had longer term experiences. Host families want to know that their children will be in good hands and au pair applicants need to know the reality of caring for a child up to 40 hours
American families value someone who is hardworking, conscientious (especially
about child safety), flexible, level-headed, calm in stressful situations, warm, and
willing to interact with a child instead of just "watching" the child. An attitude of "how can I help?" is a great asset for an au pair to have.
Infant Care Documentation
The United States Department of State requires that all Infant Care Au Pairs have
at least 200 hours of “documented” infant care experience. Infant care experiences should be the first entries listed on page 2 of the application.
The letter is another essential component of the application. The quality of the letter's content will also be a factor in quickly matching an applicant with a host family. An applicant's letter should demonstrate certain qualities the applicant possesses:
The applicant's love of, interest in, and experience with children.
Honesty about the applicant's true nature and character, it is importantthat the applicant be honest about her intentions for participating in the AuPair program.
The applicant's level of English – the applicant should write the letter on her own, she can ask for help regarding content of the letter, but she should not ask for assistance with the English construction (other than utilizing a dictionary for spelling or word meaning). A host family wants to see an accurate representation of how well the applicant can write in English.
The applicant's dedication to the program - a host family wants to see that an applicant is ready to commit her time to their children and not to socializing at bars and being constantly away from home.
The length of the letter is important - a short letter indicates a lack of interest on the applicant's part or a lacking in English skills.
No mention of children
Mention of the applicant's love to constantly socialize in bars or discos
Mention of personal family problems
It is imperative that the applicant is smiling in her picture on the front of the application.
Americans smile quite often and view smiling as a sign of a friendly person. American host families may judge an applicant’s character and personality from their picture, so if the applicant does not smile, she may be perceived as not being friendly.
The au pair photo essay section should include at least one, and preferably more, pictures of the applicant taking care of children. Host families will be more tempted to choose an applicant pictured with a child in her arms than an applicant pictured with friends on the beach.
Host families will sometimes call the applicant's references in order to talk to
them personally about the applicant's childcare abilities.
If the person writing any reference Does not speak English, please have them write the reference in their native language. These references must also be verified and signed by a Worantex representative.
Background Check / Police Clearance
The background check/police clearance is also an essential part of the application. An application will not be accepted in the program until the original background check/police clearance has been received. Applicants can obtain a background check from the local law enforcement agency in her home city and it must be translated into English.
The Department of State requires that the Au Pair and the Host Family speak at least once by telephone before deciding on a match.
Weekly Au Pair Stipend (Salary)
The host family will pay the au pair a weekly stipend as per the State Department
regulations. The au pair will be eligible for two weeks (10 days) paid vacation time during the year. After the first two months, the au pair accrues one day of vacation time per month during the program year. The time that an au pair wishes to take vacation should be worked out with the host family in advance.
The weekly stipends as of July 2008 are as follows:
Au pairs and Infant Au Pairs $176.85
Educare Au Pairs $132.64
Au Pair Training Session
The training session involves 32 hours of training. The training covers first aid, child safety, child development, child-care practices used with children of different ages, and varying cultural approaches to child care. Au pairs will be in training sessions for most of the day, but they will have some time in the evenings to explore the city. The Training Coordinator will provide au pairs with lists of places to go, sights to see, and restaurants at which to eat. We suggest that the au pairs bring at least $200.00 USD to use as pocket money for their free time. Most meals will be provided to the au pairs during the training session (starting with the morning of their arrival)
Au Pair Foudation Minimum Application Qualifications
Be between 18-26 years of age
Be a secondary school graduate
Speak English proficiently
Be in good health
Have no criminal record
Have previous, documented child-care experience
Some University Study especially in Language and Child Development
An International Driver’s License
Non-Smokinga list of characteristics that families generally look for:
20 years of age or older
Basic first-aid knowledge
A driver’s license with a good amount of driving experience and single-parent families
Open-mindedness about race, religion
At least 200 hours of documented experience with children under the age of 2 years