The Inside Scoop on All Things Au Pair in America
Are you curious about Au Pair in America? Wondering who works “behind the scenes” to provide you with the perfect au pair match?
Meet Gerri Cortese, an Au Pair in America Placement Coordinator and expert on the au pair placement process.
Gerri recently answered a few questions about her role and about cultural exchange in general. Below are her honest responses.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your role as Placement Coordinator.
“As a Placement Coordinator, I have the pleasure of guiding our host families through the au pair selection and matching process,” Gerri said.
Throughout the placement process, Gerri learns about each host family’s unique needs and preferences. This allows her to provide them with dependable, personal support and to help find the best au pair for their family.
“Outside of being a Placement Coordinator, I enjoy morning walks, tinkering in my flower gardens, trying new restaurants, and traveling (especially to Europe),” Gerri said. “I spend much of my time with my husband Vinny and am the proud mom of three grown sons – and boy, do I wish I had an au pair when they were little!”
2. There are many Au Pair in America “success stories.” Can you share your favorite?
“In 2016, an au pair named Jana arrived for orientation in the United States but found out at the last minute that her family was unable to host her,” Gerri said. “Our office staff went into overdrive to find a replacement host family right away.”
During that time, Gerri and her husband invited Jana to stay the night at their home – and, within 24 hours, she matched with a family in San Francisco. Excited that Jana’s dreams would come true after all, Gerri said goodbye – and told Jana she was always welcome to visit again.
“About 6 months later, I received a text from Jana. She was traveling to New York with another au pair from South Africa. I once again opened my home to her and am so glad that I was open to having them stay with us. At the end of their stay, they presented me with a license plate from San Francisco – and with Ghirardelli chocolates.”
3. What sets Au Pair in America apart from other child care options?
“What sets us apart is that our staff truly cares about our host family’s needs for safe, reliable, loving child care providers,” Gerri said. “We also want our au pairs to have the most amazing experience here in the U.S.”
She explained that Au Pair in America’s commitment to and close relationship with host families and au pairs is a major strength.
“Our staff is committed to the program and the care we provide to our clients – from day 1 with our recruitment of au pairs, through day 365 when we sadly say goodbye after their year stay. We are all passionate about this program. It shows on all ends of our incredible support teams.”
4. Why do you think cultural exchange is important?
“I think that cultural exchange has always been important to both Americans and our international visitors, but even more so today than ever before,” Gerri said. “It helps us to overcome pre-conceived ideas, impressions, and stereotypes about people from other countries.”
She added that cultural exchange also diminishes fear of the unknown.
“We hear so much about wars, civil unrest, natural disasters, sickness, and poverty in so many countries. Much of this is negative news. By opening your world or your home to cultural exchange, you create awesome lifelong memories and also begin to see the world in a brighter light – with much more understanding and compassion.”