The decision to become an au pair is a big one – and an exciting one! From learning more about the programme to landing on American soil, Cultural Care Au Pair is happy to help you through each phase of the process. Get started with our 4 easy steps:
Step #1: Sign up for a free information meeting
In order to become a Cultural Care au pair, you’ll need to attend a free information meeting in a city near you. Information meetings are held on a regular basis throughout the year – you are welcome to attend one at any time.
This information meeting is a great opportunity to learn more about the programme, meet local Cultural Care representatives and have any questions answered. Meetings typically last about two hours and, whenever possible, include a presentation from a former au pair who discusses their individual experience on the programme.
If you are thinking about being an au pair and would like to find out more, there’s no better place to start than at one of our free information meetings.
Step #2: Complete your online application
You can create your profile to start working on your application at any time, and it is required for the matching process.
A well-prepared and personal application is the best way for you to present yourself to a future host family and show why you are right for them. The application asks you to list your childcare experience, as well as your work and school background. You will also have space to write about your personal hobbies, interests and talents.
In addition to the information requested in the online application, you will also need to provide:
- At least three non-family references
- A personal letter to the host family
- Photos of you that best describe you and your life
- A form completed by your doctor confirming that you are healthy enough to participate in the programme
- Copies of your secondary school certificate, driving license and a criminal background check showing no criminal activity
We recommend including pictures that showcase your personality, so that host families can get to know you better. Always be honest and candid in your responses to ensure the family with whom you are matched knows your true personality and lifestyle.
Once we have all of your forms and interviews completed, we review everything and verify your references.
You'll also need to make a short personal video that will give prospective host families a better sense of who you are as a person, compared to just reading your application. Families tell us that they love watching au pairs' videos, and that they are one of the most valuable parts of the application when it comes to choosing their au pair.
Your video doesn’t have to be of professional quality, but a fun and informative video can go a long way in making your application extra special. And don’t worry – if you’ve never made a video before, we have online guides available to inspire your creativity!
Step #3: Match with your host family
The next step in your au pair journey is being matched with your host family! Cultural Care provides a highly-personalised and flexible process to help you find the perfect match. We will also equip you with a Matching & Interviewing Guide, which will help you put your best foot forward in your interviews with prospective host families.
Here’s how the matching process works:
- When your application is accepted, it is handled by our offices in Boston and Denver where our Placement Managers review your skills and qualifications.
- Once they find a good match, they will connect you and the host family through your Au Pair Online Account where you’ll be able to see some basic information about the host family, the children and where they live in the USA.
- The host family will then review your full online application and look at your video to get to know you better.
- If the host family feels that it would be a good fit, they will call or email you for a phone interview.
- After the phone interview, you and the family each get some time to decide if this is the right match for you.
- Once you have a mutually agreeable match, planning for your travel can begin.
Remember, Cultural Care is here to help you navigate the matching process. Our job is to answer every question and address every concern – and of course, to help you find exactly the kind of host family you’re looking for!
Before you travel, we will also provide you with training materials that will help ensure that you feel confident and well-prepared for your time as an au pair—including an online Get Ready Workshop to prepare you for life in the USA. You will need to complete MyAuPairCourses a series of online courses on childcare in the USA before you depart.
Step #4: Finalise your visa & travel arrangements
Next, Cultural Care will guide you through visa & travel arrangements.
Visa: The J-1 visa is the only legal way to spend a year in the USA as an au pair. Your J-1 visa will be valid for 12 months, followed by a 30-day grace period which allows you to continue travelling in the USA. We will provide you with all necessary documents for your visa application and guide you through the whole process. You will have to arrange a visa appointment at your local U.S. Embassy and attend a personal interview, after which your visa will be issued.
Travel: Cultural Care will arrange air travel to the USA from a selected airport in your home country. Most au pairs will travel on a flight with other au pairs departing from the same city – and rest assured, programme representatives will meet you at your arrival airport to ensure a smooth transition process once you land!
All incoming au pairs fly directly to New York – from there, we’ll arrange transportation to the Au Pair Training School just outside of New York City, where you’ll spend a week preparing for your year as an au pair.
After your time at the Au Pair Training School, Cultural Care will provide transportation for the final leg of your journey – meeting your host family!