The Inside Scoop on All Things Au Pair in America
Interested in learning more about the world’s most experienced live-in cultural child care program, Au Pair in America?
Introducing Vera Danheiser, former au pair and current Au Pair in America Placement Assistant.
For a behind the scenes look at our au pair placement process, we asked Vera a few questions about her experience and about cultural exchange in general. Below are her honest responses.
Q. 1: Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Au Pair in America.
“I am a Placement Assistant here at Au Pair in America,” Vera said. “Originally from Germany, I am a former au pair myself!”
As Placement Assistant, Vera supports and advises au pairs and host families that are in the process of matching.
“I reach out to them to confirm matches or to check in and ask how their search is going. This helps families and au pairs connect with each other – and makes for a smooth matching process,” she said. “I also answer au pairs’ questions, provide support, and work with pre-match host families that know the au pair they’d like to match with.”
Q. 2: As a former au pair, how does your experience help when supporting au pairs and host families today?
“I was an au pair with Au Pair in America for a family in New Jersey,” Vera said. “I had a very smooth au pair year – which changed my life forever and helped me grow.”
Today, Vera draws on her own experiences to deliver a high level of support and compassion to host families and au pairs.
“I still can relate to our au pairs’ unique challenges to adjusting to life in the USA. This helps me particularly during consultations with new families because I can draw on my own experiences. I can answer from the side of an au pair, for example, when giving advice on how to ease that adjustment period.”
Q. 3: What is most rewarding about being a member of the Au Pair in America team?
“In my role I have a lot of contact with exceptional au pair candidates,” Vera said. “They are very eager to match with a host family, and often ask me for advice.”
Of course, from her own experience, Vera knows firsthand how exciting it is to match with a wonderful host family.
“To me, it is most rewarding when an au pair that contacted me finally finds a nice host family. I remember one time a newly arrived au pair specifically asked for me to thank me when she was in our office, just before her host family was about to pick her up… that was a very sweet gesture.”
Q. 4: Why do you think cultural exchange is so important?
“Cultural exchange is very important,” Vera explained. “It is the best way to create understanding between people who would have otherwise probably never even met.”
As the world becomes so globally connected with technology, finding information about another culture is easier than ever. However, Vera says this type of understanding isn’t enough.
“One can read as many books or watch as many documentaries about another country and culture as they’d like. But, unless one has actually experienced that culture, it is impossible to truly understand it.”