Getting Past Stereotypes– of Brasilian Au Pairs, for example

by cv harquail on April 29, 2011

When in doubt, use a decision rule.

It can be clumsy, or crude, or sometimes nearly irrelevant, but a decision rule usually helps when we have so many choices.

With choosing au pairs, we often employ decision rules that are good proxies for the information we really want but can’t quite get. For example, we use years of driving experience as a proxy for driving skill, and time spent away from home as a proxy for “won’t get too homesick”.

And, we use country of origin as a proxy for culture, and culture as a proxy for personal behavior.

This works fine, much of the time, to narrow down our choices to what we can manage to consider in more detail. These decision rules get us from 379 available au pairs to 25, and from 25 to 3 that we might phone. Which works.

Although, sometimes it doesn’t.

How many times have we wondered if the right au pair for us was out there, but his or her application never got to us?

Au pairs feel the same way– they want to find their best fit with a host family, and they want to make sure that any good host families consider them. So, it can be hard on au pairs who don’t fit our decision rules and proxies, but actually do — in fact — have the qualities we are looking for.

Case in point? Brazilian Au Pairs.

Dear Au Pair MomI am a big fan of your blog, this page and your community is helping a lot to understand the American family mentality before to have my aupair year. Thank you very much!!

I’ll talk a bit about me and after I’ll talk about a doubt that I want a advice if possible.

My name is Marisol, I am from São Paulo, Brazil and I’m 23 years old! Last year I graduated in business administration, but right now i decided to take a year off, and to do something different, and since i already have a lot of experience in working with children and I love them, being an au pair was just a natural decision for me, since it will give me an opportunity to do get to know another culture, explore new country and make new friends! I have worked with two families with four children aged 5-11 and I’m also helping my sister with her son aged 2. Furthermore, I am trilingual (Portuguese, Spanish and English), I have 2 years of experience as a driver (with manual cars by the way) and I am not looking for a specific city to be aupair.

So, my au pair profile is online has 3 months already (at one agency) and I just received 2 contacts until now and sincerely, I can’t understand why, because I think I have a pretty good “curriculum”. But I realized through feedback from host moms in references, by emails, or even during a conversation by skype that families have noticed the large number of Brazilian aupairs, but that they seemed to be so negative. No family speaks directly about this, of course, but the way they say leaves the impression that “we wanted au pair from another country, but the Brazilians aupairs are the majority so we do not have many options”.

Brazil is a huge country with 190 millions of people, on the schools they always motivate the young people to make exchanges outside of Brazil to have a good curriculum on the market in the future (also on the novels on tv they are doing this), and the AuPair Program is the most cheap exchange program too, so of course the demand of Brazilians AuPair will be high.

So, I want know what the host moms think about the high demand (amount??) of Brazilian aupairs actually!?! Is this a problem to the host families when they are looking for a new au pair? I’ll be very grateful for any advice or comments.

When should we parents relax our decision rules to consider other candidates?

When should we put aside stereotypes of one country or another, and look more closely at individuals?


Anna April 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

Hi Marisol,

I noticed that my agency in the past year has diversified its pool of countries, and now they don’t have a majority of Brazilian au pairs.

But I think that in general, Brazilian au pairs are successful, and that is why they continue getting au pair visas easily (in general) and families keep matching with them.

We love Brazilian au pairs. We had six au pairs, four of them Brazilian. And three of our successful matches were all Brazilian. The fourth Brazilian au pair, even though we initiated a rematch, was still a girl with good sweet personality. The two “bad” rematches we had (girls who lied) were the two non-Brazilian au pairs we had.

I find that we get along well with Brazilians. The girls from Brazil we had as au pairs were communicative, easy to live with in the same house, happy and positive, really loved children, were warm, were kind, non-judgemental (very important for our Jewish family of varying skin colors!), open minded, and respectful of our choices.

Of course there are drawbacks. Most of our Brazilian au pairs were not used to doing anything around the house, but once taught, in general dealt well with childcare duties such as doing children’s laundry or preparing their breakfasts. But they were not naturally helpful in running a household, like an adult member of the household could be expected to do.

There is also a stereotype out there of a Brazilian “party girl”. I appreciated the social nature of our au pairs and the fact that they made friends easily. If they are happy with their social life, they are happy in my house, and I am a happy host parent. It must be balanced with responsibility towards work, and so far all of our Brazilian au pairs were able to treat work with kids with responsibility and not let their social life interfere with the work.

Of course my husband is originally from Brazil, so maybe I naturally appreciate the positive aspects of Brazilian culture.

If you are not getting many families jumping at your application, I think it is time to look at your application and think what might be pushing the families away, and what you might add to it in order to make it stand out and wow american families.
Look at your photos, think about rewriting your essay, is there a recommendation you can add that can really make a difference? Maybe not even about childcare, but some other work you did?

Good luck to you.

Indi Au Pair to be April 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Hi, thanks for adressing this issue as it hits close to home.
I’m an Au Pair who recently just got her account (CC) and so far, in the week I’ve been with my profile up, I’ve gotten 3 matches. I REALLY liked the second one, as they seemed to be what I was dreaming for in a HF and even in a dreamed location, however, as my first match, they went out without contacting me. I called my local manager to check some other stuff about my application and she told me the family I really liked went without contacting me because “they wanted an European Au Pair, there was nothing wrong with you application” That was bittersweet because I felt like I was good but just born in the wrong place. However I’ve tried to get pass it as I know it’s not the last match and I do really have strong points in my app. I’m just hoping next time I won’t be left behind because of where I was born.
I’m mexican and I don’t know exactly how I was perceived. I’ve been in the US before and I have several American friends and they all have different takes on we Mexicans.
That situation influenced me in my decition to create a blog to showcase my commitment of being a great Au Pair. I suscribed myself to Great Au Pair as a way to be more reacheable to other HF other than the ones I’m being matched with tru the agency. However, when I was doing my research about agencys I noticed certain nationality was pretty common in certain areas of the US, like they were more inclined to hire you if you were born in X country.
Let’s just hope for the best!

Indi Au Pair to be April 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I wanted to add that, however, I do know that LCCs and agencys review thousand of applications and it must be a hard task to do so sometimes it may be easier to adapt to “convenient” nationalies or the like, same in HF cases. I appreciate their effort but as there’s nothing I can do to change those pov I’d do MY best to be the best me.

Carlos April 29, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Well if that’s the case with brazilian women, I don’t want to think about what mexican men like me have to go through… this is sad =/

Calif Mom April 29, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Trust me, Carlos, the host families who do this kind of a rough “filtering” of candidates based on nationality without looking at your other qualities are not families you want to match with anyway.

Seriously. There are families who take a deeper look; it may take you longer to find a great family than a German au pair who has impeccable daily driving in ice 11 months of the year, who cooks every day and runs a children’s soccer league in her spare time, you WILL find a family who appreciates your talents. Be patient!

I have daughters but hired a male sitter before the pre-teen thing hit.

I would LOVE for my kids to learn Spanish from a Mexican-speaker, but it has never worked out.

As for Brasilian au pairs, I could have written that first response. At risk of over-generalizing about host parents (ironically enough!) the parents whom I know who are uncomfortable with Brasilian au pairs tend to be a bit toward the ‘controlling’ end of the spectrum.

And I do think anyone who ONLY ever has au pairs from a certain part of the world is missing out on the variety that is the spice of life. Or maybe they have no imagination about how other cultures might enliven their households.

That said, having been burned by two au pairs from former Soviet states, I’m not going to dip my toe back into those countries. Sorry — we all have some baggage. I think that having some constraints is reasonable, but looking for au pairs who fit a very narrow definition of personality that will work for their family may setting themselves up to have a very long search.

Carlos April 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Thank you califmom. I must confess that I joined this site because I’m very concerned about the time that I’ll be waiting for a family. The agency keeps telling me that it’ll take around a year or so to get me a family, and I have to pay annual subscription, so I joined here to see if I can find someone interested in me, but reading your words helps me to be more patient, and to hope that there’ll be someone that really believes that not all mexicans are bad people… I know that we have such a fame… :/

American Au-Pair May 26, 2011 at 2:25 am

If you as the Au Pair are paying for the site. Then it is not a good agency. The HF should be paying. I would find a different website.

Indi Au Pair to be April 30, 2011 at 9:11 am

Thank you for your words, they’re very uplifting and encouraging.
It’s understeandeable to want to avoid certain said countries based on previous experience, I would do that to.

I would advice HF to loose some country restrictions just based on stereotypes that have not been proved first hand (ie a HF looking for an Au Pair for the first time) and focus more on the personality of the potential Au Pair by reading the app and the interview.

For the brazilian Au Pair, keep your hopes up. You sound like a good candidate after all and I’m sure the perfect family would find you and will be happy to welcome you into their house and family.

Jenny April 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm

As an ex-Brazilian au pair (I don’t think I’ve ever mention here thar I’m Brazilian) I must say I’ve only seen the “Brazilian issue” arise on Maybe there are more Brazilian au pair candidates now than there were 26 months ago when I became an au pair, but I had no trouble whatsoever finding a host family. I spoke with about 20 families, out of the 32 that added my profile to their lists, and in the end I was the one making a decision between two host families. It was undoubtedly the best decision I could make and I’m lucky to have two families now, one in each America and that’s wonderful. :-)
IMO, it does depend on how honest and through you’re in your application and, once you have an interview, it’s about asking the right questions and being truthful in your answers. As a way to make Brazilians “wanted” it’s also important to be true to what you claimed to be in your application/interview.
There are many many stereotypes about Brazilians (and everyone else) and, although I don’t fall under many of them, I’m sad to agree with many of the pre-conceptions people have about Brazilians in general. Of course, everyone is different, but stereotypes are there for a reason.
My host family wanted another Brazilian au pair and I told them to go for it (especially because my kids will continue to learn Portuguese, yaaay!!!), but keep an eye open for certain “behaviors.” Brazilians are hard working (I think that’s one of the stereotypes), and we must let the world now this by working hard and professionally as what we set ourselves to be, au pairs.
I’ve not been following the current soap opera OP mentioned, but I was told there’s a girl who became an au pair in the story and that will certainly get many young Brazilians thinking about au pairing. I say, give Brazilians a chance. lol I’d keep an eye open for the “red flags” most moms have talked about on this blog, but not pass on an au pair just for being Brazilian. There are many different cultures inside Brazil, one of my American friends who traveled to Brazil said traveling in Brazil is like traveling around Europe, each region has its own character and culture as if they were many countries inside one. I couldn’t think of a better way to describe my country and I believe great exchanges can happen in a Brazilian au pair/host family relationship.

Calif Mom May 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Jenny, I live in an area with a LOT of families who host au pairs, and the host parents around here, anyway–along with the counselors!–definitely stereotype the candidates. I was shocked at the first meeting when I was brand new to hosting when the counselor suggested several “types” — Brazilians and Germans are good drivers, Thai girls are very sweet but terrible drivers, etc. What’s funny is that the two Brasilian au pairs we’ve had who have extended with us were both phenomenal drivers. But one of them was extremely religious, never drank, and spent all day Sunday at church. That’s NOT what my counselor would have predicted! :-) We’ve also had the Brasilian from the coast, who was warm and outgoing and a party girl and we loved her too. The third Brasilian–who was a spoiled princess–was also a terrible driver. She didn’t last.

It’s the personality of the au pair, not the stereotype of her culture, that matters.

There are some shortcuts when searching for good matches, but no definitive answers. That’s what makes it all so hard!

But my point is that the stereotyping of Brasilian–or other countries’–au pairs is definitely NOT a phenomenon that started on this blog. No way. It’s out there.

azmom May 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

When we’ve looked via two different agencies, the number of Brazilian au airs were extremely high.

For us, having someone from Mexico, Brazil, etc is hard because AZ has such a crazy law – and it hasn’t been sorted out yet so I honestly fear that if they went out without their ID/passport, I’d get a call from the cops who’d have them in lock up. Unfortunately I live in a crazy state, which is a reason I decided against someone from those countries.

Carlos May 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I agree with you… It’ll also be very embarassing for the au pair to live that experience… :/
I’m mexican and I still don’t know what to think about that law

CO Host Mom April 30, 2011 at 9:12 am

We’re currently interviewing for AP #4, and we’ve never previously considered a Brazilian. The reason for that is we live in Colorado, and we have three school age children that must be driven to school and dance classes – including in the winter when the driving conditions are less than ideal. I think for a lot of families in areas that receive snow are hesitant to pick a Brazilian AP simply because of the lack of winter driving experience.

This year, though, we’re interviewing Brazilians. Our agency doesn’t have many from Brazil – maybe 10. Out of 320 available candidates, probably 200 of them are German – I wish we had more Brazilians to choose from! Although we still have concerns about the lack of winter driving experience (and maybe someone can give me some input on how to work around this), we want someone who is warm, friendly, and will have fun with our kids – we seem to be finding those qualities more in the Brazilians.

MommyMia April 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm

CO Host Mom – Kudos for stepping outside your comfort zone and trying another nationality – we have rotated through four, and found different qualities in each that we value, as well as different personality. Some have been a great fit for our family, others not so much, but we (and hopefully, our children) learned a lot. I’d just be upfront with candidates about winter driving conditions. There may be some who will be hesitant and scared to try, but if they have the willingness to learn, you might consider a few driving lessons with a driving school or your local automobile club may offer some courses. I grew up in an area with snowy winters, and learned to drive on icy roads. It wasn’t fun, and I was nervous lots of times, but if you have the knowledge of what to do if you should go into a spin, or how to get traction if you’re stuck in snow, it’s hot hard. (Of course, I moved to a warmer climate as soon as I graduated from college!) We always drive with our new au pairs at first to make sure they are up to our desired skill level before letting them drive our kids.

anonmom April 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Co Mom- I have to agree with you on the driving issue. I will not consider an AP from many warm climates, Brazil included for the driving issue. I need someone whose driving ability is ready to go the moment they arrive. Is is possible I will miss out on a great AP, yes, but based on my experience and that of some other HF, I won’t consider one. Another family I know had their AP rematch after her fisrt accident- they live in a huge snow state, and there was about 4 feet of snow at the time. While admirable that you are willing to consider one, it is great if you have the luxury of time.

intercultural coordinator April 30, 2011 at 10:21 am

This discussion of au pair cultural stereotypes prompts me to share the definitions between “stereotypes” vs. “generalizations”. I think we should have a clearly defined understanding of both terms when we speak about common tendencies across cultures.

When speaking about other cultures from one’s own perspective (cultural lens), one thing to get straight is the differences between stereotypes and generalizations. Generalizations help give insight to the behavioral tendencies of a particular group of people. Generalizations are not only useful but necessary for understanding human behavior. Stereotypes are similar to generalizations in that they both attempt to identify and categorize the tendencies of groups of people, however, stereotypes are damaging and disparaging because when taken to the extreme, they become exaggerated beliefs and concepts, and in extreme cases lead to bias, prejudice and racism. Stereotypes are used to apply to *every* member of a particular group without considering individuality and the uniqueness of each member of a society, and limit understanding, rather than broaden it.

Just as there are damaging stereotypes of au pairs from different cultures, there exist damaging stereotypes of American host families. Some examples would include, “American host families eat mostly highly processed, synthetically engineered food, and that’s why they have obese kids.” And, “Don’t believe that your host family will treat you like a member of the family, because they don’t have close family bonds like other cultures”. One more example of a stereotype is, “All American children are spoiled”. I’ve heard these stereotypical comments from au pairs as frequently as I hear stereotypical comments from host families, such as “Asian au pairs can’t drive well”, or Au pairs from Latin American countries have a mañana attitude, and are lazy”. All these comments are damaging to the entire cultural group of people that are being labeled.

I appreciate the respectful and informed dialogue that this blog engenders between LCs, au pairs and host families, and felt it was necessary to remind readers of beneficial use of generalizations versus the potentially damaging use of stereotypes.

Tahoe Twins Mom April 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I see a lot of respondents are tip-toeing around the real question, which is about stereotypes. Certainly, nobody will fess up tO having thoughts of stereotyping, for fear that they will come off as sounding racist. But without this honesty, I’m not sure many of the respondents can be very helpful to you. We are no longer in the program, due to a horrendous, near catastrophic situation with an au pair we thought woukd be a safe bet: a 21 year old norwegian. We thought she would be a safe bet because Norwegians are a lot like Swedes, and Swedish au pairs are considered the best in American lore. There are many jokes and tales people here tell about Swedish au pairs. But these stories are probably created by young, single men, joking with their friends about growing up, getting married, starting a family, and having an affair with a Buxom blue-eyed blonde; Elin Nordegren didn’t help curtail this stereotype. We have close Norwegian friends, so when our applicant came about meeting all of our requirements, we were excited! We also were looking for an au pair in the beginning of the new year, when there aren’t many Europeans, but there was an overabundance of central and south Americans, practically to a point of overload. After we found our Norwegian, I checked out the best matches from other countries, mostly other Europeans (very few to choose from), and many girls from central america. I have also heard, such as the previous respondent had, that brazilians are party girls. In fact, I read through many applications from au pairs who were very honest about liking to party. Many of these partiers were from other countries besides brazil, and I had been warned by other au pair host families that the same can be said about English, Australian and Eastern Europeans. Another stereotype about brazilians here in the states is that they are terrible drivers, nearly as bad at driving as the Chinese. My personal experience was with my housekeepers daughter, who could not pass her driving test in the US after trying 6 times, and she was born here! SPeaking of my Brazilian housekeeper, in annoyed me that she was constantly on the phone while cleaning my house, speaking to family and friends back home. I realized that since the timezones in central and south america are so similar to those here in the US, this will be an issue with me and any Latina au pair I choose, so I decided to eliminate that situation altogether by choosing a European. If you went to any playground here in California, you would see groups of Latina nannies sitting on the outskirts of the playground, chatting with each other and on the phone, largely ignoring their charges. A few things you can do to help your case is to explain that you are more mature and won’t let a social life disrupt the family. Come right out and explain that you are not a stereotypical Brazilian party girl, but only if this is true. Also, if you are a careful driver with no accidents and can take care and be resPectful of your host family’s vehicle, say so! Mention that you realize you may have to wait until your days off to speak with family or friends back home, and won’t text or call while working. Being proactive with these stereotypes will help you overcome them. Frankly, just the fact that you’ve asked this question makes me feel like I could have missed a great candidate. Good luck!

Calif Mom May 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

This is funny!

Where I live, Brazilians where I live are considered great drivers, always mentioned alongside Germans if you need a great driver.

And I’ve never heard anyone say Swedes are “the best”.

I’ve heard from Swedes that the Germans won’t make friends with anyone else. Our Brasilian au pairs had buddies who spoke Spanish and German and French. (Brasilians don’t always have Spanish as a second language…)

See how sloppy all this is?

Tara May 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm

If you hear and avoid pick some aupairs, considering the stereotipes around them, you will finish for choosing no one!

PA AP mom April 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm

In my mind, it’s not much different than an AP who won’t join a family because they don’t live in California, NYC or Florida. Everyone has their preferences.

aria April 30, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I think there’s a bit of a difference. I would compare a host family choosing their au pair based on her nationality to an au pair choosing between, say, a white, black, Jewish, and Asian family. IMO.

hOstCDmom April 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Aria – there are many HF who chose APs from a particular country because of the language spoken there – i.e. chosing only a Polish AP because she speaks Polish — and that is desirable because HP/HPs speak Polish and/or Hkids speak Polish, or HP want HK to speak Polish. Substitute any other language here – same point. Some HF want the AP to speak his/her native tongue with the Hkids (some of the time) and/or do language lessons with the Hkids. And by the converse, deliberately NOT chosing another candidate(s) because they don’t speak the desired language. Do you think that is racist or somehow discriminatory?

FifoMom May 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I see language as a skill necessary to being an au pair, such as driving or cooking. Choosing based on skill is not discriminatory or racist. For example, if you wanted somebody to speak Polish (or any other language), and a candidate who lived in Germany and learned to speak fluent Polish by themselves wouldn’t be eliminated simply based on that fact.

Anna May 2, 2011 at 11:48 am

Aria, we’ve had many au pairs say no to us, because we are Jewish.

German Au-Pair May 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm

And I don’t really see something wrong with that…it’s the same as a Christian family not choosing an Atheist oder Agnostic because they don’t share the same values/religion.
I actually considered a Jewish family and would have taken them right away (if the time hadn’t messed up our plans) but just because they told me they were very open minded and celebrated both Hanukkah AND Christmas with friends and family. I would have been very interested in a Jewish family but I wouldn’t have picked one who didn’t celebrate Christmas in any way, for example.
I also wouldn’t have matched with an extremely Christian family.
I don’t think choosing by country or beliefsystem is racist…it’s just honest and helping everyone to find the perfect fit.
Maybe it also prevents both parties from meeting interesting and great new people but I strongly believe that there is more than one perfect au pair/hostfamily for everyone out there.

Anna May 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Christmas is not part of Judaism, so a Jewish family that doesn’t celebrate Christmas in any way, is not extreme by any means.
Rather Jewish families that do celebrate Christmas are exceptions to the norm.

So if the consensus it that it is not wrong to choose a family based on their religion, as aria said, it is not wrong to choose an au pair based on their nationality – that’s how this thread started.

Carlos May 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm

The only reason why I will not live with a jewish family is because of the kosher diet, otherwise than that, I don’t see anything wrong… and I’m actually christian so, in my case I don’t think it’s a matter of religion

MsA May 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm

My previous hostdad was/is jewish and they didnt eat kosher at all. So I wouldn’t say no to a family just because of their religion. They may be not as strict as others ;) We also celebrated christmas and Hannukah.

Anna May 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Do you even understand what a kosher diet is? We keep kosher, and had many aupairs living with us with no problems; none of them were jewish.

Carlos May 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm

That was rude, and I think you’re taking this food matter too personal and confusing it with your religion. I would say no to kosher as I would say no to veggetarian… :/ that’s it.. and many au pairs like me think the same.. unless the family agrees in changing the diet to have an au pair which I doubt… :/

Steff May 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm

@Carlos ::: I think one of the things of the whole Aupair thing is having an OPEN mind. Towards pretty much everything– families overall, religion, location, diet etc. My point I guess is that because you don’t like / won’t match with a family who’s Jewish and keep a Kosher diet doesn’t mean other APs won’t be up for the experience. As Anna said, she has had plenty APs non-Jewish living OK with them even though her family is indeed Jewish.

All in all, just don’t take it personal & also don’t generalize APs. I too know many who would love to go into a Jewish family even when they don’t share the same believes of their future-hosts (Experience Hanukkah wouldn’t be too bad, now would it??) — of course, that’s not to say there aren’t many others that won’t do it, but there are all kind, you know? =)

anony April 30, 2011 at 5:58 pm

As for the original question- what do HF think about the amount of AP’s from Brazil, etc, here is my two cents:

In my opinion, the generalizations of some Brazilian AP’s can deter families from your profile. One way you may wish to get around that is to change your essay and include in your message that you understand many Americans may have negative perceptions about Brazilian AP’s, but that you have great experience with children, that you understand how to help out in a house- such as chipping in to do laundry, pick up the children’s things and pick up after yourself. Also there is a perception, at least in my area, that many Brazilian AP’s dress rather ‘provocatively.’ BY that, I have had some AP’s complain about how they are attired when they go out, and have heard complaints from HF about what they wear is not what is accepted by American standards. It is not to say these perceptions are right, or wrong, just that they are. In addition, you may want to consider something about your driving skills, and the fact that you understand an AP year is not a year to party. This may set you apart from the hundreds of Brazilian AP’s that some agencies seem to have in their pools.
Your education is also an asset, and one you should emphasize. You may want to emphasize your experience- not that you have it, rather that you have done x,y,z with the children- being specific and that you were the one in charge of the children without another adult being present.

As an aside, I will not consider an AP from many countries, including Latin American ones. Driving is a huge priority for me, and wintertime ice and snow driving are a huge consideration. For that reason, I researched the driving requirements, or rather the licensing requirements for many coutries, and prefer AP’s from countries that have stringent requirements and who are accustomed to ice/snow.

Lastly, I live in an area with a huge immigrant population, and with the risk of being flamed by some here, I won’t consider some AP’s from specific countries due to the high amount of people here illegally, as there is the concern an AP can come and ‘disappear’ in an effort to skirt immigration issues. (As there would already be a network here to fall into). Yes, this has happened for some families, and if I ignored the real possibility it would be like living with a paper bag on my head. I know there are many AP’s who come here with a specific goal as an ends to a means- staying in the US. They are not all from Brazil or Latin America, but if an AP has ‘something’ to return home to- such as continued education, a job, a fiance, etc, it helps in my mind when considering who to include as part of our family.

I wish the original AP poster all the luck in finding a great family, as she sounds like she would be an asset .

German Au-Pair April 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm

“BY that, I have had some AP’s complain about how they are attired when they go out”
I did start a post on that, but stopped…
Amongst other au pairs, the Brazilian ones don’t seem that popular…I’ve heard several times that the Brazilians (as well as Spanish speaking au pairs) don’t care to hang out with other au pairs and just stick to their own and don’t care to learn English (or speak it in their free time, if they’re already good at it)…I don’t know, if it’s true but not just amongst the au pairs but also amongst the High School students it’s common knowledge, that you don’t even try to befriend Brazilian girls.

Steff May 1, 2011 at 12:58 am

I didn’t think I will, but I actually agree with your post, and I think it all comes down to the different cultures too— Yes, every AP supposedly comes to the States with (at least) certain goals in common– one of those of course, perfecting/improving their English Skills. What I think— have seen, is how that means a whole different thing to each & every AuPair. I’ve seen Latin American’s APs sticking to their “clicks” because…well…I mean, that’s just what you do, or even how we were raised to be perhaps— we stick to what we know; & that’s people from our own country….

IMO, I think German (European girls overall) take the whole practicing their English 24/7 in the States more seriously than girls from Latin American countries— why I couldn’t be sure, but like you, I’d seen that happening— at the first free moment they get, you’d seen them speaking Spanish again, but that’s just natural I guess…you get to miss your language and roots, didn’t you too??

One last thing to add, German girls most of the times also come to the States with a better English Level than girls from LA countries, so some times, more often than you’d think, girls from Latin American just aren’t comfortable enough to speak English all the time– much less with girls with “great” English as many Germans have…

Just my two cents… ;)

German Au-Pair May 1, 2011 at 10:46 am

I haven’t had any experiences with that as I’m starting my year this summer. I just heard about this stereo type SO many times…actually I guess I’ve never heard a nice word from other au pairs (and my friend who did a High School year also told me to just not even bother trying to befriend them).
Of course speaking your own language every now and then must be nice but the most shocking story I heard was about a German au pair who accompanied some LA au pairs and they refused to speak English with her and told her right in the face that they had to speak English the whole week and didn’t want to talk English in their free time, too, so they just didn’t talk to her…
So I was really wondering what’s with all the stereo types when I read the post here…when the other au pairs have stereo types and the hostfamilies, too…
It’s just too bad for girls like the one in CV’s post, that they have to work so hard to be seen as an individual.
Are you German, too, Steff?

CO Host Mom May 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm

This was a big problem in our cluster a few years back. We had a large number of Brazilians, and they definitely stuck to themselves, and resisted spending time with the other APs. Also, they did not want to speak English with the European APs, including ours who finally stopped spending time with them because they would refuse to speak English so she could understand their conversations.

Steff May 2, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Well, that’s story was certainly a pretty bad one. What I would tell you, just don’t “judge” the situation before you get to see things first hand– with your own eyes. I for one, normally see APs from the same country sticking and seeking out for one another. Since before they leave their homecountry they are in the search of people who’s going to the same place they are who are from their same homecountry. German girls more than include hehehe!! :) I’ve talked with some, and they seem pretty nice, but every now and again you’d also only listen German from them, same as Brazilians & Portuguese and Latin american girls sticking to Spanish whenever they can. I just guess it happens, but hey, I’m not from Germany, actually from Latin America, yet I for one have befriended German girls just as much as I have Argentineans and Mexicans and from my own country…I don’t know Aussies tho…but you know? that’s the point. Try to be open to everything ourselves at least hehe :)

German Au-Pair May 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Steff, I somehow get why people would stick to people from their own country but to me it’s extremly disrespectful to only talk in your natice language when you have someone around, no matter where you are from or the other one is from.
It might be nice to be able to talk you language sometimes but the second someone who doesn’t speak it get’s in the scene, you switch, it’s just a matter of respect to me.

Steff May 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

please just don’t go to States thinking all girls are going to be like that, okay?? =) I bet there are real great girls who would never do something as rude, so just don’t close your mind hehehee :)

NJ aupair April 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Tahoe Twins Mom, early on in your post, you illustrate of the use of stereotypes very well. Assuming that ‘a Norwegian would be a safe bet because she’d be a lot like a Swede, and of course we all know Swedes are considered the best in American lore’ is disrespectful to au pairs from all other countries and cultures. Unfortunately, your stereotype (‘assuming you’d be *safe* with a Norwegian’) didn’t help you and your family in the end, as you indicate that it turned out in a ‘horrendous, near catastrophic situation’.

Let us not continue to lump au pairs into stereotypes, which are unfair, especially if host parents rely solely upon them to chose an applicant to care for their kids.

ap in nowhere April 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Driving skills and other stuffs are all things that you can work on it. Personality, values, etc are things that a hf will not be able to “fix”. I had no previous experience driving in winter but I had all other characteristics my family needed and we just extended for another year. I’m from a warm weather and I ended up in Vermont. I was scared about driving on icy roads, but I accepted the challenge. Just to mention, I took over 6 months to have a match and my profile was viewed by over 40 families.

Steff May 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

While I agree with you– a person in terms of values&habits is what it is and being in another country is simply not going to change that– I still wanted to chime in saying how perhaps you shouldn’t have said that first statement so lightly: “Driving skills and other stuffs are all things that you can work on it”– and I mean, yes, you are right, an AP can always work on her driving skills, but I most certainly don’t think that’s one of the criteria host-families can take lightly either– sure, AP can be an amazing person, remarkable values and simply a wonderful person overall, but for a second put yourself in their shoes, would you be willing to take that big of a risk -with your children’s lives, everyday in a car- with an AP who’s just willing enough to take the challenge as you did and learn/improve her driving in unfamiliar conditions once in the States?

It worked out for you and your Host-Children and HF, and I’m sure it has for a lot other girls, but then I guess there had also been cases when it hasn’t, and would not work even with practice, so yes, while it’s awesome it worked out for you, IMHO; HFs are actually entitled to seek-out for an AP who meets *all* their needs–whatever that is. If that includes a preferred nationality, then so be it. I was told– and afterwards proved it myself, how there is an AP for every family and a family for every AP— some families would dread Brazilians APs while some others would looove them…some would shy away from Germans “cold” personalities and seek instead for “warm” Colombians— it’s all a matter of our likes— (Not to say however, that all Germans are Cold and Colombians are warm…just so to speak…)

— An AP in my opinion is just not going to be completely settled and happy in a family who’s still a little wary about her nationality, so I guess for APs (& for HFs) it just takes some time, and patience and a lot of work to just find that “complete- well-rounded match” the agencies so happily sell us every years in the colorful full of smiles pinky pamphlets… :)

All in all, stereotypes are always going to be there whether we like it or not– double standards and so forth, but…I dunno, I guess instead of “fighting the flood” you gotta focus in show to the people you can how you are not just one of the bunch— just one of the million people you country, whichever it is, has, but something else…something special and different and unique that doesn’t “fit” in Stereotypes… I’m just saying…


CO Host Mom May 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Steff, you’re so right that driving isn’t a criteria that families can take lightly. Some families who have very young children or don’t need to have their children driven might be more inclined to match with an AP from a warm weather country and then take the time to teach them to drive in the snow. Our AP arrives in August, and the snow fall here can begin as early as September. Our kids need to be driven every day, so we have to have an AP that can get up to speed on winter driving quickly, which means we either need to find someone who has that kind of experience, or we have to be prepared to make alternate arrangements for driving the kids initially while AP learns to drive on ice.

Carlos May 1, 2011 at 1:51 am

And I TOTTALLY agree with ap in nowhere. I was just reading the other recent commented topic “Random au pair stories” and I found out that some of them are actually awkward or even awful experiences and I should say that that’s because HF don’t consider principals and values as a primary characteristic for their au pair or even THE primary characteristic for their au pair, being this one Brazilian, German, Australian, or Mexican

Returning HM April 30, 2011 at 11:41 pm

I’m actually amused reading this — we actually have particularly sought out Brazilian APs! We had several APs in our first stint as a HF, and the best ones hands down were the Brazilians, to the point that we actually only looked at Brazilian APs in our last couple of matches. We found our Brazilians to be the APs who were most loving and most involved with our family and our children. Yes, they were all young women who liked to go out with friends at night, but we encouraged them to make their own friends and have their own lives – and to share those friends and those lives with us. We got to know the friends of our Brazilian APs very well and often had several of them spending the night at our house on weekends and even had a few come on vacation with us over the years. We considered our APs truly “members of our family” and in fact, our last Brazilian AP (from 3 years ago) is coming back to the U.S. to visit us this summer for two weeks!.

The funny thing is, we lived in NJ for the whole time in our previous stint as a HF and required our APs to drive in snow…and our Brazilians APs all did so very well.

Oddly, we always were told that the group “to avoid” was German APs — too young, too inexperienced with the day-in-day-out nature of childcare, too inflexible — but we actually just matched with a young German AP for next year, in our return to being a HF, so hopefully this “rumor” will prove as untrue for us as the rumor about Brazilians turned out to be!

German Au-Pair May 1, 2011 at 10:58 am

Just wondering about te “too young” part…do you mean “too immature”?
Because even in Germany you could avoid the “too young” issue by picking an older au pair. Just saying.
But it’s true, most au pairs I know have gained their childcare experiences by doing interships in kindergartens for a couple of weeks and by babysitting which is hardly compareable to live in childcare.
Actually, thinking about it: every stereo type has a true core…I guess that applies to every country.

Returning HM May 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I don’t know whether people say “young” when they mean “immature.” I *do* know that most German au pairs come between graduating from high school and university, whereas most Brazilians come after graduating from college or other technical school. So the “average” German AP in the availability pool is usually about 18-19 yrs old, whereas the Brazilians seem to be older. But we are a HF who definitely learned that age DOES NOT equal maturity: Our neediest, least independent, and least capable APs were also our 26 year olds, whereas our best and most capable APs were our 22-23 yr olds.

This time around, we’re entering the Educare program, and the only APs available in this program were 18 and 19 years old. We picked a 19 year old whose recommendations all spoke to her “wisdom and sense beyond her years.” Who knows – maybe she will blow away the stereotype of the “young/immature German AP” just like our Brazilian APs did??! Here’s hoping!! :-)

German Au-Pair May 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Ah okay, thanks for explaining.
Your’re right most German au pairs seem to take this year out after high school. I know some who JUST turned 18 and are applying for this summer.
I also know some au pairs of whom I’d never every thought they were only 18 -but then again I also know those, who behave like they’re 15.
But you’re right, age is not a guarantee for maturity or the lack of it.
I wish you the best with your au pair but when her recommendations state THAT, there’s a pretty good chance they’re right about it.

5kids=aupair April 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm

I admit that I only target a few countries when I search. It is an easy way for us to narrow the pool so we don’t have to search through so many candidates. Age, Country, driving skills, swimming skills are our first cut. The pool has been so deep, we’ve never had a problem finding an au pair from that method. Yes, we’re generalizing/stereotyping and cutting off a huge portion of the pool, but it’s working for us. We wanted our kids to learn French, Japanese, Spanish & German, so we thought that was important. Also, this is year 6 of hosting au pairs and our coordinator used to be a very close friend, so I *heard* lots of stories (and knew a few of these problem girls) and they weren’t so favorable in terms of Brazilians. The first Brazilian au pair I met was amazing and did a fantastic job, but it seemed to me (from the stories) that she was “one in a million” and trying for a Brazilian like her was not a chance I wanted to gamble on.

That being said, now with Skype, I would be willing to open my search even more. I believe that with Skype interviews, you can really get to know the type of girl you’re getting much more so than just over the phone.

And to the male au pair, there are not many of you out there, so you’ll find the right family for you! I would love to have a male au pair, but my husband is against it. LOL

Carlos May 1, 2011 at 1:39 am

Thanks for your words! and too bad your husband is against hosting a male au pair, I’m a REAAAALLY good swimmer.. lol

Pops May 2, 2011 at 12:54 am

Carlos, which agency are you registered with? i think i might be able to help you out

Carlos May 2, 2011 at 3:57 am

Hi Pops, I’m with CulturalCare…
you can send me a message to if you want me to send you my profile!

momto2 May 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

I realize I am coming in at the tail end of a long discussion on the topic, but I have to say that we have fallen extremely disappointed with our experiences with two Brazilian au pairs to the point where we just don’t want to even consider another. The first one was definitely into the party scene and it impacted her job. Not only did her lifestyle conflict with our family’s personality, we found the way she treated us to be very rude and condescending. She carried an air of entitlement about herself, and always expected a ticket to every activity/vacation/outing/dinner we went on as a family, as though it was all part of the program to be entertained by us, and she would just sit there and text and make phone calls to all the other Brazilian aupairs in her network during the entire activity. She never bothered getting to know any of us beyond the superficial during her stay, which we found awkward. We finished our year, but were glad to be done, and we were very gun-shy about matching with Brazilian au pairs for a while after that. Our next au pair was not from Brazil and ended up staying two years and was a wonderful fit. We decided it was unfair to generalize all Brazilians as the same as the first one we hosted, and we felt it was unfair to expect that all au pairs from the same country as au pair #2 would all be wonderful, so we went into the matching process with no country preferences. We ended up matching with a Brazilaian au pair.

Our current Brazilian au pair has been with us for 7 months and her personality and sense of entitlement is just like our first au pair which we find very disappointing. And, as lightening has now struck twice at our house, we have decided we will not be hosting any more au pairs from this country. We don’t have the time nor the desire to host drama queens, and that is what we’ve ended up with twice now. And it is not just these two au pairs that leaves us feeling this way! You host one Brazilian au pair and you inherit a network of about 30-40 other Brazilian au pairs in the area. Everyday conversation is filled with complaints about how unfairly these girls are treated by their host families, etc., and it is really a sign of immaturity that we have not seen with other candidates we’ve hosted from other countries.

I am sure there are lovely people from every country represented in all of these programs, but when repeated negative experiences occur, you can’t blame host families from wanting to avoid more of the same.

NorCaMom May 3, 2011 at 1:36 am

I find it remarkable that your comment about inheriting a network of 30-40 Brazilians is/was a key complaint – where for my family, it has been one of our greatest pleasures!

Just goes to show that everyone’s experience is different, just like every AP and HF is different. We have had 2 Brazilian au pairs – extended a 2nd year with both of them – and are prepping for our 3rd Brazilian au pair to arrive in June. We absolutely LOVE the Brazilian au pairs, we love getting to know all of their friends, and have gotten so much enjoyment out of the entire process.

I am very happy that we have experienced only the tiniest bit of a sense of entitlement from an au pair – and that was our first, at the end of her extension year. 99.999999% of the time, our Brazilian au pairs have been fully participating members of the family, stepping in & stepping up to help whenever needed, loving our kids like crazy – and we love them dearly. And excellent drivers as well!

Calif Mom May 3, 2011 at 11:27 am

Yep, once you’ve had a Brasilian au pair, you’ll never need to compete for the local high school girls for Friday night babysitting again… :-) There is always someone responsible and caring around who can pitch in if you need some extra help. For us this has meant casual babysitting to fill gaps when au pair is out of town herself, or house sitting or even rides to the airport.

Our Brasilians have made friends with the au pairs in our ‘hood from a potpourri of countries, including Denmark, Germany, France, Columbia, and Australia. And yes, I mean make friends with, not just say hi at the after-school pick up, but actually go see movies together, etc.

The characteristic that works well for our family is open-mindedness. Maybe that’s why we haven’t experienced clique-y types too much? (Ooh! Just had a thought! the Australian we had was the worst about only hanging with others from her country. But she was not an adventurous, curious person, either. So is her behavior due to her nationality, or her personality? )

anonamommy May 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Calif Mom – on the subject of open-mindedness, you will love this. We just interviewed and AP, from Latin America with whom we matched, our 7th AP, and SHE asked US during the interview:
*what are our views on homosexuality, gay partnerships or marriage AND what do we teach our children (school age) about such topics AND would she be expected to actively support any particular worldview with this kids on this topic. She said that as someone who believes in openmindedness and equal treatment of everyone, and someone who is not opposed to a homosexual lifestyle, gay marriage etc. she felt that she could not live with a familily who did not share her views on this point and she had noticed that we were Christian on our application and she knew that some, but of course not all, Christian denominations were very much against homosexuality so she figured she should ask where we fell on this spectrum.
*she asked our views on other races, whether we had friends/our kids had friends of other races, how we feel about a black person marrying or dating a white person, how diverse our area was, etc. She said that everyone has their comfort level about how much they mix with people from different races, or even cultures, but that she felt very strongly that she could not spend a year with a family who was racist, or even had subtle, passive avoidance of other races. She (she is caucasion) wanted to be sure that if she made friends who were black or brown that they would be welcome in our home.
*what our practice of our religion was like and how did it impact our day to day life; would she be expected to actively support our religious views; would she be expected to pray with the children before meals; would we want her to attend services with us; would we be ok with an AP who did not share our religious views, did we have friends from other religions or athesist friends, were we ok with our children having friends who were not from our religious background. She said that she would never undermine or contradict us in our teachings of religion our children, if we indeed taught anythingk, but that she didn’t want to be expected to pray with our family or to actively communicate our faith or views on God etc. to our children, nor did she want to live in a home where Jews or Muslims or atheists were openly disparaged or spoken about pejoratively (yes, she used the words disparaged and pejoratively!).

I have probably interviewed 40 APs over the years…and nannies before that…and I have NEVER, EVER, NEVER had and AP raise these issues, or frankly ask any questions of substance about lifestyle or openmindedness. For our family, her views on these topics — which coincide with ours — and even moreso her confidence and willingness to raise them in an interview with a prospective “employer” (in a sense), knowing full well that they could really backfire or engender a very negative response to either her asking of the question or her views on the topics — confirmed instantly that she was the AP for our family. :)

NorCaMom May 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Oh my goodness – does she have a twin sister?? :)

cv harquail May 5, 2011 at 11:02 am

Wow. That’s really something– keep us posted on what she’s like as an au pair (sounds promising).

I may copy your comment and paste it in with a future post on Openmindedness, race, etc when matching. thanks so much for sharing this. cv

1st time HM May 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I strongly feel it is personality, not ethnicity that causes most mentioned issues here. I am a new HM (only 4 months in) and we have a Brasilian AP and she is not stereotypical as many say. On another note, she is also an extreme introvert and shy. She is good with the children and is a good driver, but struggles socially despite meeting many other AP’s in our area. Being a first time HM I am not going to let her “personality” predict my next match (to chose or not to choose another Brasilian) when we are ready to host another AP and will try my best to keep my options open despite some “character trait issues” that I feel we are ironing out here.

StephinBoston May 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

Very interesting discussion.. For the families that have been in the au pair program for a while, I think we’ve heard (and probably seen) it all..
I have very strict criteria that I give to my coordinator (we are with CC) and she knows not to put anyone that doesn’t match that in my inbox. That being said, none of those things are related to country of origin, we’ve hosted four au pairs, matched with the fifth now for August and so far we’re making our way around the world: Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Estonia and France. All have been great in their own way, and have been a fantastic addition to our family in their own way, granted some were better for our family than others but I don’t regret choosing any of them. So I think for me, I’ll keep narrowing down my criteria, but stay away from the generalizations/stereotypes that may keep me from yet another fantastic candidate.

Hula Gal May 3, 2011 at 9:59 am

As a host parent, I think after you have had a few years of hosting au pairs behind you and are more experienced about which cultures blend well with your family dynamic you begin to narrow your world of options. You do what you think is best for your family and that is the bottom line. We know that there are no guarantees that the German au pair will be a great driver, the Thai au pair will be great with babies, the Brazilian au pair will be great with school aged kids, the Swedish au pair will be Mary Poppins, etc. etc. This is when we rely on the interviews and our instincts. Some families love Brazilians, some love Germans, some love Northern Europeans, some love Latin Americans, some want to experience all different cultures and choose from a new country every year. I think there is enough love to go around that if you have a good application and have good interviewing skills you will eventually get selected. Don’t worry about where you are from and focus on having a strong application and good photos.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 3, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I have hosted two Brazilian APs- both were warm, loving, affectionate, out-going, hard-working, good listeners, assertive, and curious. My children felt extremely supported. One was a lousy driver when she arrived, but had a confident personality that made it easy for her to gain the good driving skills she needed. The other arrived as an excellent driver. Both had had routine access to a car before they arrived.

Now, when other HF or my LCC made noises (either directly to my AP or to me) about the way they dressed or the hours they kept, I stood firm. I care about the way in which they cared for my children, but when they left my house in the evening they were adults on their own. With rare exceptions (and certainly no more than my European au pairs) they were always ready to work on time. We have had the same attitude toward our other au pairs who didn’t come from Brazil.

When I look for an AP (having just matched again for end of the summer) I place the highest emphasis on childcare experience, but of course I live with The Camel, so I’m also looking for special needs experience. Next, it’s driving. Nothing to me is more of a red herring than a candidate who acquired a license within the past year. It’s the rare person who could be considered a good driver with less than a year under their belt. Finally, any candidate who smokes is automatically eliminated by me. (I sneeze enough when my neighbor 2 houses away smokes in her back garden, I don’t know what I would do if cigarette smoke were in mine!) Finally, we warn candidates in our preliminary email that The Camel weighs 25 kilos (about the weight of the suitcase they will be bringing) and if they can’t pick that weight up and carry it above their waists, then they should decline an interview with us.

Now, I don’t play an elimination game based on nationality, but I will tell you that most of the candidates we reviewed were from Germany this year (and most of them were Extraordinaires, including the candidate with whom we matched, and will be making $250 a week). Perhaps, it is The Camel that does the eliminating for us.

Carlos May 4, 2011 at 5:04 am


I really thought that it’ll take too long

Stéfani A. Felipe May 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I am Brazilian, and as the girl above (Marisol) I am on line 4 months already and just 4 contacts from Host Family!

The first host family decided to get an Au Pair from Europe, cause they take the half time that Brazilian girls take to get the visa. The second one gave up to get an Au Pair, they will start looking again next month, they said I am on the top of their list :p, the 3th have just ‘disappeared’ and said nothing, and the 4th one found a fluent english speaker, but they said I am very nice girl and they loved me, but a fluent girl was better cause they have a newborn.

So 4 months on line and just 4 contact. I am going to be crazy!!!! I have a lot of experience with kids, goods drive skills and my letter is nice, everybody says that. But I can’t understand why I still here in Brazil while my friends already gone, and some ones of them with a english worse than mine. So.. What is wrong with me?

It makes me sad, sometimes I want to give up!

Carlos May 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Don’t give up… I’m a male au pair and I have 2 friends, female au pairs that are already gone. I found out about the au pair program because of them.

There’s something really weird that I’ve been reading on this blog.
Everybody keeps telling that they get a family in less than 4 months and stuff… my friends took like 8 months to find a family. The first one applied on May ’10 and went to the states on Nov ’10.

The second one applied on Sep ’10 and left on April ’11.

They both waited all that time to get a match. The second one got her first match on february ’11.

What I’m trying to say is that when they sell us the idea about au pair they actually tell US or maybe just me, that getting me the perfect match will take around a year or 10 months. I don’t see why everybody keeps going crazy because you don’t get a match that fast. I’m actually surprised because I applied this April and I got my first match yesterday, I’m so excited about it.

What I want you to know is that there have been several girls and guys that wait very long to get a match, just like you, and that should be normal. For what I know what happened in my case is not normal.

Stéfani A. Felipe May 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Thank you so much, I appreciate your words!!

Congratulations guy! Where are you going? Are you with match or just being interviewed by the family??? By the way, Good luck with your process!! I wish you all the best things in the world!! I know you are going to be happy as your friends!!

Many hugs!

OB Mom May 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Interesting discussion, probably joining too late, but here’s my 2 cents.

It seems that many comments in these threads suggest that the AP applicants seem to forget that the AP agencies work for the HF, not for the AP. They are obliged to help us find the best AP more than for the AP to find the best HF (we pay a lot more $ than the AP applicants). I am hearing the same thing from my current AP that is trying to find a match for yr 2. She thinks that the agency isn’t spending enough time on her file.

Now I’m going to be brutal … if you aren’t getting good matches, perhaps you aren’t meant to be an AP. Not everyone is … I don’t want to say that you should retool your application because, as HF, we really want the applications to be a true representation of who you are and what your experiences are.

However, if you do want to improve the application, think about reading it from our perspective as parents. Perhaps also consider using all the multimedia tools available. I really liked having a video to get a sense of a person and who they are. Not a highly produced thing, but something that shows what is important to them about working with children. What would you do with our children if you were our AP’s? If you can show that your communication skills are good that may help.

Remember our children are our first priority and their safety (e.g. driving and swimming skills), well being (e.g. demonstrable love of children) and growth (e.g. cultural exchange) are the most important things to us.

Good Luck to all

Stéfani A. Felipe May 4, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Thank for your advice about the Video. Actualy I did not a good videao, cause I did not have camera in the time I applyed to Au Pair, and I really don’t know how to make a nice video, I am a little shy and very get nervous talking to a camera. But, I think I should try again! Maybe, my video is taking the potential host familyes away!!

But when you said ‘not everyone meant to be an Au Pair’ I really agree with you! But I don’t agree with your reasons to think it.

The time that some au pair takes to get a match does not set if her is able or not to be an Au Pair. Cause I saw many girls, PARTY GIRLS, LAZY GIRLS, STUPID GIRLS that get match so fast, but then when they are already in USA they show to the families that they are not able to be an au pair, the they took our (good Au Pairs) chance to match with a special host family.

So we are talking about a lot of rematchs, and a lot of families that starts to think that ALL THE AU PAIRS are the same as their bad previous au pair, and then they make a ‘BIG HANDBOOK RULES’ for the next poor gril, that maybe is a nice girl, and would never do the same things that the previous did. We are talking about ‘Stereotypes’.

I know a girl that slept while her little host kids were playing. It’s a thing that an au pair ever should do! It’s not safe and Guess what, her family asked rematch and she came back to Brazil, the agency expelled her from the au pair program. But now, she is applying to be an au pair again with another agency. Guess what, she have already an match! Is that fair? She already had her chance, but she spent it away.

So, I am sure, the time does not matter. Thank you to make me think about it with your coment. I feel better now, and I am sure my perfect fit is coming on!

Thank you again!

Steff May 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I felt like chiming in because you indeed sound like a girl who really wants to be an AP and actually would do a good job at it. What I will tell to you? Yep. There are girls who get oh-so many matches in a very little time frame while others don’t and it does seem “unfair” sometimes. I for one, only got two matches in the month my account was “up” and the second hostfamily was the one I loved and with whom I matched. I think I was one of the lucky ones because my family is amazing in so many levels and I just think we are “good” together, so…I don’t know, if I were you, I will just try to be a little bit more patient even when I do know how hard that can be. AND I actually TOTALLY second you making a video– a better video at that. In the first interview I had with my current hostfamily they actually commented on my video and how they’ve liked what I did there. I had to admit I liked that, and you know? Host parents actually look a lot to that because, at least in my opinion, the video is a GREAT way to tell the actual personality of the girl– of course that’s not a “bullet-proof” screen tool, but I think it is still very great because your future hostfamily can “know” you a little bit better. How well your spoken English is- if you are a happy person overall, if you smile a lot and are genuinely excited in being an AP or if you are just with the program as a way to get to the States and I really hope you know what I mean.
All in all, I honestly wish you all the luck in the world. You actually sound like a girl who would do a terrific AP so yes, GOOD LUCK and hopefully you’ll find a great match soon enough =)

OB Mom May 4, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Well, I am glad that you did not take offense. I don’t think that the time it takes to match is any sense of whether you will be a good Au pair or not. I was surprised to see someone’s comments above that said they were matched with 30 families and spoke w 20. That takes patience and dedication.

If you can communicate you HONEST qualities related to my main points, you will find someone. I even think that telling a host family that you follow this blog show a commitment to being a better Au pair that some might appreciate. But I want to repeat that hopefully the candidates stay true to themselves during the interview process and accept that some will just not match. I’m sad to hear that your acquaintance cheated the system bc those types of experiences naturally sours us host families perspectives.

Good luck!

Gabys Au pair CC May 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm

What is going on here? this is becoming a discussion?
Well, I am a Brazilian au pair and I am many months waiting for a good family who is loving and friendly as I am. I don´t want to be just an au pair but “part of the family”.
Modestly,I’m a good driver and swim well.
I really enjoyed the tips of the HMs, because I am a long time waiting for a family, some 30 have already entered and left on my profile, I have spoken with four by phone and nothing, but I will not give up, because I know God is the best for me and to all of you.
I would like to speak to the HF, I can not say the other au pairs, but you should not generalize, because we are very happy and I’m sure that even your children will be treated very well in our hands.
Yes, I like going out, meet others, but it never stopped me from doing a good job, mainly on my other jobs, because i know my responsibilities.
If anyone is interested in my profile, my BRZ is 104557 CC, we can talk via Skype and you can see if I am whether or not what you are looking for.

PS: thanks Returning HM for your words

Thank you all

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