Hosting an Exchange Visitor

Hosting an exchange visitor promotes global relations and diplomacy. Your au pair left their country, family, friends, language culture to live with you and experience daily life with an American family. Think about how you want them to speak about their time living with an American family when they return to their home country. Consider how you would want your child to be treated if they were to live with a host family overseas someday.

Please remember that you are taking on the role of their host “parent”. Your au pair may seek your guidance and assistance as they navigate living in a foreign country. They may get sick and need your help seeking medical care or may look to you for emotional support when homesickness sets in. You decided to host an au pair to fill a child care need, but hosting an au pair also comes with additional responsibility and time commitments.

Au pairs are young adults between the ages of 18-26 years old. Hosts should expect their au pair to display behavior common to this age group. No two au pairs are exactly the same. Au pairs are individuals’ unique personalities, strengths, needs and levels of maturity. Au pairs may be independent, social and confident. They may also be dependent, shy and unsure. Getting to know your au pair is key to facilitating a mutually beneficial exchange experience as their host.

Advice from LCs

HillaryHost Mom and Local Coordinator
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“ Host Families, please don't ever forget that your au pair is part of your family for the year. Treat them not as an employee, but how you would want your own child to be treated if they were to make the brave decision to go abroad and live for a year or more with a family. Show them trust, kindness and compassion… Au Pairs, allowing someone to care for your child involves so much trust and can be scary for parents. Give your host families time and patience to build their trust. Offer them grace. Abruptness and strictness is often driven by fear for their precious babies/children. Show them you love their children.”
EricaHost Mom and Local Coordinator
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“For host families and au pairs, my top two pieces of advice are 1) trust your gut, and 2) communicate! A year (or two) can go by super fast or painfully slow and taking the time during interviews and the first days and weeks of a match will really set the tone for the remainder of the program for both sides. Always prioritize the person over anything else.”