My daughter came home from school one afternoon during her final year of school and said ‘mum, have you heard of an au pair before?’. She had seen an Au Pair in America poster in the school library and little did we know she would choose this option for her gap year. She loved it so much she even extended her time in the US for an additional 6 months.
After looking into the Au Pair in America program, Aisling was certain shortly after that this was how she wanted to spend her gap year. The application and interview process gave her the opportunity to reflect on her goals, skills, experience, and what she could bring to the role of Au pair. I believe this motivated her to build her skillset to be successful in the application process.
Although anxious about the idea of my daughter leaving home and moving to the US, the support from Au Pair in America gave me comfort. Au Pair in America supported the visa application and their processes and guidance helped us navigate the consulate expectations successfully with confidence.
I felt reassured knowing she would be living with a family. Moving into family homes and experiencing alternative family culture and values was a positive and exciting part of the program. I believe it is a great steppingstone for young people to gain their independence and learn how to step up as an adult without the added stresses of living costs such as rent, bills, food or moving out costs.
Engaging the Au Pairs to study is another benefit to the individuals. This encouraged my daughter to enrol in more study while living abroad. This was a great bonus as a parent to know she was still able to continue learning and studying in topics she was passionate about.
My daughter had wonderful experiences. The families were very inclusive, however, she also chose to embrace their lifestyles and support their parenting expectations. Her maturity to assimilate into the families made the experience more positive. As a young woman, she needed to be tolerant, adaptable, flexible and willing to embrace the children and their lifestyle. These skills were exemplified during her time. I believe this has given her a great set of work skills which have led to ongoing employment and aspirations. The experience gave her confidence and skills which have continued to help her through her career since returning home.
Yes, I had some very sad days during the weeks before she left. I knew I was going to miss her terribly. However, once she arrived, was settled and happy, I was fine. We had very regular contact via messenger and FaceTime. I felt reassured knowing we had 24/7 support from Au Pair in America if we ever needed.
I was able to visit her for Christmas and her host family welcomed me into their home. We explored the area where she lived and we’re fortunate to travel together. An amazing experience I would recommend. Both my daughter and I are still in contact with her two host families to this day and she has been able to return to visit them 2 years on. We hope to be able to welcome them into our country and home in the future also.
The Au Pair in America experience provided so much more than we expected. I would absolutely advocate parents to encourage their daughters to embrace the opportunity if possible!