It’s the season to Welcome New Au Pairs!
When a new Au Pair arrives, it’s critical that s/he make a few Au Pair friends right away.
Only another Au Pair can understand the unique situation of a new Au Pair. Having someone who understands things from the unique Au Pair perspective can help a new Au Pair untangle all the commotion of her/ his first few weeks.
Usually, Area Representatives (ARs) and Local Counselors (LCs) help a new Au Pair connect with other Au Pairs in their cluster.
Even if there’s not a meeting scheduled immediately, LCs and ARs give the new Au Pair contact info for the other cluster members, suggest a few s/he should call, and even nudge the more seasoned Au Pairs to reach out and introduce themselves to the newbies. All of this effort makes a BIG difference.
But, if you’re an Au Pair in a one-person cluster, or the only Au Pair from your part of the world, or a new Au Pair in a cluster where everyone already has a full set of friends, it might be hard to make Au Pair friends through the Cluster alone.
Then what? A personal ad on Craigslist or the local paper’s website? I wouldn’t recommend this.
Instead, try these suggestions:
1. Look for other ‘Au Pair-like people’ at the school bus stop, at drop off, at pick up, on the sidelines of a soccer game, and on the playground.
“Au Pair-like people” are generally too old to be students, too young to be parents, and dressed in somewhat hipper/ more international styles than your average American college kid. I just met a new Au Pair at the bus stop this morning– first day of school for the kids, first week on her own for the Au Pair. Yikes!
2. Wear an Au Pair t-shirt or carry your Au Pair tote bag.
These items telegraph “I’m on an Adventure! Come talk with me!”
3. Hang out at Starbucks and speak loudly (to yourself, on the phone, whatever) in your home language.
Laugh a little and seem approachable. Ask the Baristas when the Au Pairs usually hang out there. Because they do. Every Au Pair group has a Starbucks they hang out in.
4. Download the AuPairsAround app to help connect with other Au Pairs in your area, from all Agencies.
The app was developed by an Au Pair Agency in the Netherlands, TripleC Au Pairs, but it has users from all over the world.
5. Au Pairs– what do you recommend?
Here’s the email with the original question:
We have hosted 7 au pairs, but have just moved to a new area with our wonderful current Au Pair. Our community counselor is new and ours is her only au pair for the next month. Our Counselor has contacted other community counselors from another agency to get our AP in touch with other au pairs — to no avail.
She met one au pair who said there are a lot of au pairs in the area through Cultural Care so we are hoping our counselor can perhaps figure out how to get in touch with their counselor. But I was wondering if you know of any online forums for au pairs to meet others in their area. I would love for her to start making friends here!