Go Au Pair has added a cluster to the Northern Chicago Suburbs and Southeastern Wisconsin. With this blog, I hope that you get to know me, my community and most of all, how hosting an Au Pair can be an amazing experience.
Our cluster is relatively new. We used to be part of the general Chicago area group of Au Pairs and Host Families. The U.S. State Department regulations require that a local representative for an Au Pair agency must be within a 60 minute drive - so,with a growing number of host families north of the city a new cluster was formed.
What is a cluster you say? Well it is just what it sounds like. It is a group of families and their Au Pair who come together in a group. We do several get togethers throughout the year. Many are Au Pair only events which give them a chance to make new friends who have similar experiences. Still others involve the whole family. These are fun for all. Not to be missed.
Intrigued? Why not check out the Go Au Pair website.
I am sure that many people think that an Au Pair is just a nanny with a funny French name - a live-in domestic servant, meant for the rich only. That is certainly not the case.
Let's start at the beginning. The title comes from the French term au pair, which means "on a par" or "equal to". The relationship between Au Pair and host family is meant to be one of equals: the au pair is intended to become a member of the family, albeit a temporary one, rather than just live-in help.
The emphasis of the Au Pair program is on cultural exchange. The Au Pair is actually in this country on an exchange visa and not a work visa. Many families who bring an Au Pair into their home do so as a way to introduce their children to a different language and/or culture. Au Pairs become part of the family.
They live in the Host Families home, they often eat with the family, go on trips with the family etc... There is an education component as well. Au Pairs must complete six credit hours at an accredited school of high learning while in the USA.
What makes an Au Pair similar to a nanny is the emphasis on childcare. In exchange for room and board, an Au Pair is permitted to work 45 hours a week , but no more than 10 hours in one day caring for children.
Au Pairs do not need to have the same schedule each day and Host Families can change this regularly, provided it stays within the 45 and 10 hour limits. She (or he) can also perform light housekeeping as it applies to the care of the child. She can make their lunches and do their laundry. She can walk them to the bus and meet them on their return from school. Many Au Pairs are college educated and can help with homework or school projects. They can prepare dinner for the children and do baths and bedtime.
But they are also allowed to have plenty of time for fun and to explore the new area in which they live. Au Pairs receive 1 and 1/2 days off each week. During that time, or any time that they are not watching children or are in school, they can take in the culture of the new country they are now living in. Concerts, museums, shopping, lunch with their friends...
Being a Host Family or Au Pair is a memorable adventure in comforts of home.
The Au Pair program is overseen by the U.S. Department of State, which has designated agencies to match families with Au Pairs. Go Au Pair currently has over 300 Au Pairs available and you can review their profiles for free. View Available Au Pairs With Go Au Pair you will experience peace of mind by working with an agency that has supported Host Families and Au Pairs for more than 20 years.
You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (847) 655-9111.