Atlanta Area InterExchange Au Pairs Share Their Cultures!

If you talk to almost any au pair, she is likely to tell you that part of the reason she joined the au pair program is to travel throughout the United States and experience American culture. Many InterExchange Au Pair USA au pairs will share their excitement to celebrate their first Thanksgiving or see fireworks on the 4th of July or even experience Christmas in New York City. Learning about American culture and seeing places they may have only known about from television or movies is an exciting part of an au pair’s year.

Over the years I have met hundreds of InterExchange au pairs and have come to see many as an extension of my family. I have learned more about cultures, traditions, customs and even world geography and history than I could from any book or traditional classroom. So I thought … why not have some au pairs share all that is unique to them at a local school, bringing the students a rich cultural exchange experience while allowing the au pairs to share their cultures with the local community? And so “Culture Day” was born.

Representing Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic and France, our Atlanta cluster of au pairs sat on a panel at a local school. Students in grades 1 through 8 prepared all kinds of questions for the event. The students asked wonderful and interesting questions that covered topics including food, sports and holidays specific to each country. There were also questions covering world history where students asked each au pair about a significant historical event that occurred in each country. Even the teachers and faculty got involved asking questions about health care, government and each au pair’s favorite place she had traveled since being in the U.S. The students, faculty and teachers are still raving about the event and we are looking forward to the next “Culture Day” in September 2015! There are even some students now contemplating their own opportunities to travel abroad and experience another culture.

My challenge to other local coordinators and host parents is to encourage the amazing au pairs placed in your path to share their culture in your local community! Everyone will be “richer” for having the experience.

To learn more about the benefits of hosting an au pair and enhancing your family’s knowledge of the world and other cultures check out InterExchange Au Pair USA.

Welcoming Your New Family Member

For host families, welcoming an au pair into their home can be a tremendously exciting time. However, it is important for host parents to remember that this is also a period of great change for their au pair.

However, for a gesture to really stand out, it is important for host families to add a personal touch and do something that shows the au pair they have thought about his or her individual personality and interests.

Some great ideas to consider:

  • Placing a framed photo of your au pair and his or her family in your au pair’s new room
  • Include a picture of his or her new family/host family in your au pair’s room
  • Make sure everyone living in the house, especially children, understand and respect that the au pair’s room is her or his private space
  • Add bedding or a decorative pillows in your au pair’s favorite color
  • Decorate with a vase of her or his favorite flowers or a scented candle
  • Make room in the pantry or refrigerator for some of your au pair’s favorite foods or foods that are familiar to him or her
  • Add a welcome basket of toiletries and other personal items to your au pair’s bathroom

Preparing for you new family member’s arrival doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. Your au pair is looking to feel respected, comfortable and at home in his or her new environment. So, remember to keep it simple and make it personal!

What Is an Au Pair?

You’ve heard the word “au pair” before but you’re not quite sure what it is? A nanny? A babysitter? Where do they come from? What do they do? How do I find one?

For me, an au pair is my child’s hero, who flies in from an unknown world and teaches them a new language and how to make empanadas or sticky rice.

An au pair is much more than a babysitter or nanny, she or he is a new member of the family, just with a different accent.

In the metro Atlanta area there are hundreds of au pairs from the around the world who are sharing their culture with our children by living with local families. As the Local Coordinator for InterExchange Au Pair USA, I often hear families say they wish they had heard about hosting an au pair years ago. The flexibility of hosting an au pair versus other forms of child care is why so many local families are choosing to bring the world to their home with InterExchange Au Pair USA.

Au pairs are part of a vibrant cultural and educational exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Your au pair will also become a part of your family! You will become “host parents” and your family will look forward to sharing family meals and events with your au pair. Read more about the benefits of hosting an au pair.

Every au pair who comes to the U.S. must be sponsored by a U.S. Department of State-designated organization like InterExchange and must meet the following requirements:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 26
  • Speak English
  • Commit to at least 12 months with the host family
  • Receive training in child safety and development
  • Have at least 200 hours of documented infant child care experience if caring for a child under the age of two
  • Agree that they are not the sole person responsible for an infant under three months old
  • Have an international driver’s license
  • Complete at least six credits of college-level classes (or their equivalent) per year

InterExchange Au Pair USA screens and interviews all applicants to our program thoroughly to make sure that they meet these requirements. Learn more about our screening and matching process.

Information and Tips for the Upcoming Tax Season

InterExchange Au Pair USA and Local Coordinators get a lot of tax questions every year from au pairs and host families. Below are a list of tax info and tips for au pairs and their host families for the upcoming tax season from the IRS website. You can find out more here from the InterExchange Au Pair USA blog!

Remember, InterExchange staff and Au Pair USA Local Coordinators are not licensed tax advisors and cannot provide official tax advice. 

Please contact a professional tax advisor or the IRS to determine your individual tax situation. We also recommend J-1 tax services such as Taxback or RTTax.

1. The U.S. Department of Labor has determined that the au pair stipend constitutes “wages” because an employer-employee relationship exists between the au pair and his/her host family. These wages are therefore subject to federal taxation. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the government agency that collects federal income taxes. Read More »

2012 Au Pair of the Year

The 2012 InterExchange Au Pair USA Au Pair of the Year lives right here in Alpharetta Georgia.

Every November InterExchange Au Pair USA seeks nominations from Host Families all over the country for the Au Pair of the Year Contest. I am so proud that this year’s winner is one of our cluster’s very own, Ana Paulina!

Ana Paulina’s essay, as well as her host mom’s, is on the InterExchange Au Pair USA website. Make sure you read her story! 

Ana Paulina was awarded in Miami, during the 2012 InterExchange Au Pair USA conference. While in Miami, there was a lot of shopping, site seeing and beaching!

Next time you see Ana Paulina, make sure to congratulate her on winning the Au Pair of the Year award! And if you have any questions about how you or your au pair can enter the 2013 Au Pair of the Year contest, email me at: charper [@]

Welcome to Au Pair USA Atlanta!

Welcome to Au Pair USA Atlanta’s Blog! My name is Cara Harper and I am the Local Coordinator for Au Pair USA Atlanta.

I live in Mableton, GA with my husband Phillip and our 2 boys. I am honored to work with amazing families and au pairs bringing high quality, affordable child care to families all across the metro Atlanta area.

The Atlanta Au Pair USA blog is dedicated to bringing relevant information, local Atlanta activities and fun tips to au pairs, host families and prospective host families. The blog will give you access to anything you need to know about being an au pair, hosting an au pair and having a successful au pair year in the Atlanta area.

Au Pair USA Atlanta currently has a large and fun cluster of au pairs living with host familes in Atlanta, Buckhead, Decatur, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Marietta, Alpharetta, Cumming and Suwanne. Our au pairs come from countries around the world and share their cultures with their host families. Some of the countries represented in the Atlanta area are: Brazil, Mexico, China, Germany, South Africa, Serbia, France and England.

This month, our cluster is looking forward to creative ways to share traditions and cultures as we celebrate this wonderful time of the year.


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