Why Did Georgia Choose Au Pair in America?

As cliche as it sounds, I thought a blog might be the best place to share my experience of both becoming and being an Au Pair.

I’ve found myself searching more and more for information about the experience but haven’t found anything that tells me what I want to know, so I thought what better than to write down my journey so that perhaps in the future others can use it as a reference.

I may as well begin right back at the start with what spurred my decision to become an Au Pair. I was fast approaching the end of my degree (from memory this started at the end of my third year of uni) and realised with a year to go that I wasn’t ready to face the reality that is dubbed “The Real World”.

I’ve always had a love of America after travelling there with my family when I was 14 (little known fact – I can name all 50 states in under five minutes) and since that first visit six years earlier I had always wanted to return. I’d also previously spent quite a bit of time during school holidays and summer holidays looking after children, general babysitting but also full time nannying. I wasn’t extremely experienced but from what I’d heard from friends, I had more experience than most.

After a short period of searching the web, I finally found what looked like a credible website, Nannies Abroad. The site boasted an impressive 21 years in the business putting it well ahead of all other New Zealand Agencies. On the site itself, there is a crazy amount of information which I found helpful, it tells your exactly what is needed to become an Au Pair, what it costs, what you get out of it and when you can depart, which is every two weeks from Auckland. The most reassuring fact of all, all Nannies Abroad Au Pairs have been successfully placed in America, a fact I have remembered throughout my application – Kiwis are in demand.

I delayed actually applying for the programme until I had actually finished uni in November – I didn’t want to fail anything and have to come back which would push back my departure date even further. I finally bit the bullet in December of last year and clicked the Apply now button which, to my surprise, took me to another website that I hadn’t seen before; Au Pair in America.

After some research, I found out there were actually federal regulations that surrounded au pairs who were working in the US and there were only 15 agencies recognised by the government, one of which is Au Pair in America. Their requirements go beyond what the federal regulations require, which meant I knew that while I was being thoroughly screened, so were my potential host families.

Just a quick glance over the requirements:

    • No more than 10 hours work a day and no more than 5 and a half days (45 hours) per week
    • One full weekend off per month (Friday Night to Monday morning)
    • Access to transport
    • Your own room and meals and semi-private bathroom
    • Two paid weeks off during the year – one decided by you, one by your family
    • $500US towards study while in the USA
    • 4 day orientation in New York
    • A Local Co-Ordinator within a one hour drive
      • $195US weekly pocket money

I found these both reassuring and fair, nearly US$200 a week as well as food, accommodation and access to a car, plus America is waaaaaaay cheaper than New Zealand. I guess we’ll see how I feel about it in a few months!