How many of us wish that we had grown up speaking an additional language or two? How many of us have struggled to bridge language and cultural differences with a coworker? How many of us are nervous travelers, because travel takes us out of our comfort zone?
Advancing technology and global interconnectivity comes with many advantages, but it also deepens the available talent pool, creating a highly competitive environment. To find success in future endeavors, our kids must be prepared to work alongside, compete against, learn from and teach people from vastly different geographic and cultural backgrounds. Our children can expect competition from international candidates when it comes time to get into choice schools, when looking for jobs and throughout their careers.
The good news? Raising our kids with international au pairs is a great way to prepare them for the realities of a diversified modern world, with which many Americans are struggling. In today’s connected world, people that can speak multiple languages and fluidly navigate regional and cultural differences really distinguish themselves. Where so many of us struggle, individuals with these global skills are in high demand to facilitate communications between governments, businesses and organizations worldwide.
Children raised with au pair caregivers gain aptitudes through cultural exchange that benefit them long into adulthood. They learn about far away parts of the world, and learn other languages. They recognize that sometimes people sound different, look different and smell different. They learn about different holidays and foods and discover that perfectly normal things in America seem crazy to people in other parts of the world — and vice versa.
When you host an au pair to provide child care for your children, you provide a safe environment for cultural exchange and global learning for your family. Kids learn through observing, questioning, listening, making mistakes and being reprimanded. When you combine a child’s curiosity with a willingness to make mistakes, look foolish and be silly, you have a recipe for learning. It’s a great environment for au pairs — traveling with their own open minds and curiosity — and kids to learn from one another.
Any opportunity to gain experience and interact with people from different countries and backgrounds is a chance to improve your cultural dexterity and look beyond what divides us — to recognize what remains fundamentally the same. When you can appreciate people for their differences, when you can speak with someone in their native language and when you can help others make similar connections, you gain the power to transform the foreign to the familiar and build a network to bring the world together.