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Imagine exploring the USA. Imagine befriending people from all over the world. Imagine discovering a second family — and a second home. Imagine becoming an au pair.
What is an au pair?
An au pair is a cultural exchange participant between the ages of 18 and 26 who travels to the United States on a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa and stays for 12-24 months.
While in the USA, she or he lives with an American host family and cares for their children, in exchange for cultural immersion, travel and educational opportunities, and the adventure of a lifetime. “Au pair” means “on par” in French, which reflects the kind of relationship an au pair has with their host family: One that is equal, mutually enriching, and caring.
The au pair program was established in 1986 by the U.S. Department of State to promote cultural exchange between American families and visitors from around the world. In the past 30 years Cultural Care Au Pair has sent more than 125,000 young people to the USA to be au pairs, making us the largest and most experienced au pair agency in the world.
What does an au pair do?
According to the basic guidelines for the program, as listed by the U.S. Department of State, an au pair:
- Lives with a family for 12 months, with the option to extend 6, 9, or 12 more months
- Provides up to 10 hours a day or 45 hours a week of childcare
- Completes at least six academic credits or equivalent hours in formal educational settings at an accredited USA post-secondary educational institution
- Receives free room and board, a weekly stipend of $195.75, and up to $500 toward the cost of required academic course work from their host family
As an au pair, you’ll have opportunities to travel, learn, grow and make friends – but the heart of your au pair experience will be caring for your host children. As a trusted and loving caregiver, you’ll be responsible for keeping the kids safe, happy and active. Examples of childcare responsibilities include preparing meals for the children, dropping them off at/picking them up from school, playing with them, doing their washing, etc.
Why be an au pair?
If you love children and crave the opportunity to experience life in another country, the au pair program could be the perfect next adventure for you. As an au pair, you’ll gain the following: