In this year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings of the best countries, cultural influence weighed heavily in the measure of the world’s greatest nations. The United States was rated the 4th best country overall and was found to be the number one most influential nation. The ability of U.S. citizens to contribute and participate in the global conversation continues to be a strength supported by international education and exchange programs organized through our Department of State.
In addition to providing families with quality in home child care, the Au Pair program is especially important as one of these foreign exchange opportunities. Au Pair in America is the first au pair program in the United States to have been established with the U.S. Department of State to help families find great child care solutions that improve our abilities to influence and communicate internationally.
Learning to keep an open mind as you represent and share your own purpose and beliefs is a challenge for many, but this becomes a skill that is second nature to parents and children with international au pairs as part of their family unit. American parents and children expand their interpersonal and global skills as they bond and interact with an au pair. They learn firsthand that the world is much bigger and much different than the community in which they live, and they learn to identify similarities and navigate differences.
Children growing up with the intercultural influence of au pairs in the U.S. are able to take these lessons and apply them to relationships in school and eventually the workplace. They develop teamwork and leadership qualities through questioning and sharing life with a caring au pair family member with a wealth of knowledge and experience from outside the American norm.
Au pairs participating in the Au Pair Exchange program through the U.S. Department of State similarly learn to navigate a new culture and learn to compare and contrast life in their homeland with life in America. When they return to their countries, they bring back a wealth of knowledge about American families, communities and culture and can share their experience with their compatriots. This is one way Au Pair exchange programs support international education and build a welcoming and open-minded reputation for the United States.
The skills participants gain with au pair exchange and in-home child care are highly sought after in the workplace in both private and government sectors. Whether world economies are strong or struggling, international business and government relationships depend upon the ability of individuals communicating similarities and differences in much the same way as families and au pairs exchange on a daily basis. The purpose of the conversation may have a larger impact, but the types of conversations and the skills needed to communicate effectively mirror the communications between children and parents and au pairs every day.
Kudos to everyone with the curiosity and courage to welcome the opportunity for foreign exchange into their home and thank you to each and every au pair that makes the journey. We’d love to hear your stories about the positive impact cultural exchange has had on your lifestyle and education. Please share a comment here or post on our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you!