We got this question from a potential au pair —
It is nice to find a place like these, at the moment im I am in the early stages of my application as Aupair in America. i have been reading a lot of posts, and it have been very interesting and helpful.
To be honest reading the perspective of HM and HD makes me feel more committed to my role and also gives me a little scared because my oral English skills are not the best, then I wonder there will be families with a willingness to help me in this?
I really want a family how incluide me as part of it and these is based in communication, so im concerned that my english skill afect this.
Every host family has a different need for their au pair’s language ability. Some people need an au pair who is fluent in English. Other families can manage with an au pair who starts with weak spoken English, especially if a host parent speaks the au pair’s native tongue, and/or if the children are tiny and not talking much themselves.
What parents need is an au pair who is willing and able to learn to speak English more fluently.
Some au pairs arrive in the US and sign up for English-As-A-Second-Language (ESL) classes right away. They throw themselves into learning. They get an electronic or paper English dictionary and carry it everywhere. They practice English with their au pair friends, with strangers, and with their host parents, and they make becoming more fluent a top priority.
Some au pairs sign up for extra English practice before they even match with a family. They find a site online, get some tapes & cds from the library, and practice reading American fashion magazines out loud just to get some practice with how the words flow.
Other au pairs arrive speaking English slowly and not well, are afraid to open their mouths and make mistakes, are embarrassed to be misunderstood or to be unable to explain themselves, and feel too nervous to really try. These au pairs are often more homesick, and less effective with the children and in the family, because they struggle to communicate.
Which kind of au pair do you think you’ll be?
Keep in mind, it’s not just about how fluent you are– it’s about how much you care about making a personal connection, the kind of connection that can best be made when people share some amount of a particular language. The kind of person who’d write a question like yours on a blog strikes me as the kind of person who cares about communicating and is going to take the chance and reach out.
What else should Natalia think about?