The decision to become an au pair is a big one – and an exciting one! From learning more about the program to landing on American soil, Cultural Care Au Pair is happy to help you through each phase of the process. Get started with our 4 easy steps:
Step #1: Sign up for a free information meeting
In order to become a Cultural Care au pair, you’ll need to attend a free information meeting in a city near you. Information meetings are held on a regular basis throughout the year – you are welcome to attend one at any time.
This information meeting is a great opportunity to learn more about the program, meet local Cultural Care representatives and have any questions answered. Meetings typically last about two hours and, whenever possible, include a presentation from a former au pair who discusses their individual experience on the program.
If you are thinking about being an au pair and would like to find out more, there’s no better place to start than at one of our free information meetings. Sign up for one today!
Step #2: Complete your online profile
You can create your profile to start working on your application at any time, and it is required for the matching process.
A well-prepared and Au Pair Profile is the best way for you to present yourself to a future host family and show why you are right for them. The online profile asks you to list your childcare experience, as well as your work and school background. You will also have space to write about your personal hobbies, interests and talents.
In addition to the information requested in the online application, you will also need to provide:
- At least three non-family references
- A personal letter to the host family
- Photos of you that best describe you and your life
- A form completed by your doctor confirming that you are healthy enough to participate in the program
- Copies of your secondary school certificate, driving license and a criminal background check showing no criminal activity
We recommend including pictures that showcase your personality, so that host families can get to know you better. Always be honest and candid in your responses to ensure the family with whom you are matched knows your true personality and lifestyle.
Once we have all of your forms and interviews completed, we review everything and verify your references.
You'll also need to make a short personal video that will give prospective host families a better sense of who you are as a person, compared to just reading your application. Families tell us that they love watching au pairs' videos, and that they are one of the most valuable parts of the application when it comes to choosing their au pair.
Your video doesn’t have to be of professional quality, but a fun and informative video can go a long way in making your application extra special. And don’t worry – if you’ve never made a video before, we have online guides available to inspire your creativity!
Step #3: Match with your host family
The next step in your au pair journey is being matched with your host family! Cultural Care provides a highly-personalised and flexible process to help you find the perfect match.
With over 30 years of experience matching au pairs and host families, we can give you the best matching support out there, and make sure you have plenty of tips and advice throughout the process.
We will also equip you with a Matching & Interviewing Guide, which will help you put your best foot forward in your interviews with prospective host families.
Here’s how the matching process works:
- Once your application is complete, you will start the matching process
- Our team will work closely with you as well as Cultural Care USA in Boston and Denver to start finding you some great family matches.
- Host families will then review your full online profile to learn more about you and your personality.
- If a host family feels like you’d be a good fit for them, you will receive a request to connect. Please keep in mind that you can be in contact with up to 3 host families at a time. We provide you the most choice and support in order to find a match that works really well for you.
- As you talk to host families, we will be there to help guide you towards a great host family match.
- Once you and your host family have agreed to finalise your match, we’ll start planning your travel to the USA!
Remember, Cultural Care is here to help you navigate the matching process. Our job is to answer every question and address every concern – and of course, to help you find exactly the kind of host family you’re looking for!
Before you travel, we will provide you with training materials to help you feel confident and well-prepared for your time as an au pair. Our materials prepare you for the cultural differences you will encounter, as well as give practical training in childcare.
To complete your au pair training, you will attend our online Training School just before departing for the USA. At our Training School you will attend real-time, interactive classes with teachers in the USA. You will also complete CPR training and join virtual socials to connect with other au pairs who are traveling to the USA at the same time as you!
Step #4: Finalise your visa & travel arrangements
Next, Cultural Care will guide you through visa & travel arrangements.
Visa: The J-1 visa is the only legal way to spend a year in the USA as an au pair. Your J-1 visa will be valid for 12 months, followed by a 30-day grace period which allows you to continue travelling in the USA. We will provide you with all necessary documents for your visa application and guide you through the whole process. You will have to arrange a visa appointment at your local U.S. Embassy and attend a personal interview, after which your visa will be issued.
Travel: The Cultural Care team will arrange air travel to the USA from a selected airport in your home country. Most au pairs will travel on a flight with other au pairs departing from the same city! Your final destination will be the airport closest to your host family’s home and they will be there to greet you.
Then, your au pair adventure truly begins!