The au pair program give au pair's and host family's the opportunity to build a long-term relationship for cultural exchange. Cultural exchange differentiates the au pair program from other options and enriches au pairs, host parents and children alike. Not only are host families able to learn about their au pair’s home culture, traditions and language, but host families are able to share American culture, habits, and customs with their au pair. This cross-cultural sharing helps create lifelong memories for both families and au pairs, building the foundation for a relationship that can last long beyond an au pair’s time with your family.
Here are some ways to promote cultural exchange that will positively impact au pairs and families alike
Au pairs are encouraged to share activities from their home country that they can do with the children. For example, teaching the children how to play indoor games, songs that they learned from their parents, or sharing their favorite book from school. Families should also share with au pairs their favorite games, activities, and books. You might find that you and your au pair share similar favorites or family traditions!
Make language learning a part of children’s daily routine. Helping children learn greetings, basic phrases and questions, the names of common objects, colors and foods is a great way to incorporate the au pair’s native language into your family’s daily life. Improving language skills or accent reduction is often a goal for au pairs and host families play a vital role in helping them achieve it.
Share both typical American foods as well as foods common in your area or with your family. Many people from outside the US are not aware of regional variations in American cuisine so having an au pair in your home is a great way to share! Including family or regional specialties is one way to help your au pair have a unique and memorable experience while with your family.Also, encourage your au pair to share foods common not only in their country, but also with the family or in their region.