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.