A Letter to the Au Pairs of America

Thank you for your work and working with children and families. Most of all, for caring. I hope your host family cares for you like how you care for them. The definition I found for you is:

An au pair is an unmarried young adult aged 18 to 30 years, who has no children and travels to a foreign country for a defined period of time to live with a host family. … The main purpose of the au pair placement is a cultural exchange, which gives the the au pair an opportunity to improve his or her language skills.

Moreover, The au pair is considered a full member of the family during the temporary period of the au pair stay. As such, he or she helps the family with childcare and can be asked to assume some light household tasks. In return, the host family provides free board and lodging, as well as pocket money. However, the au pair is neither a housekeeper, nor a nanny. Please go here for more: https://www.aupairworld.com/en/wiki/definition-au-pair

Au pairs in the USA must receive a minimum of $195.75 (!!!!!!!!! WTF?) pocket money per week, depending on the specific arrangements made between the host family and the au pair.

But YOU are way more than this. You are so much deeper and more meaningful. You are unseen and unheard. And, it is a cultural exchange program but is it a true exchange of culture and ideas for each and every Au Pair who travels to America? Yes and no. Experiences vastly differ from extremes of really great-good dreams, in-betweens to terrible nightmares. Is it an exchange program or is it low cost nanny service? Come on! This is NOT okay.

If you are an Au Pair living a nightmare as they sold you a pipe dream that you literally paid for just like your host family did, I hope you get justice and get what you truly deserve. You deserve better. I also hope that you get more than 195.74 a week for working 45 hours. I hope you feel like a full member of the family during your temporary stay. Do not be gaslighted and do not be taken advantage. Many Au Pairs are a part of a vulnerable population of American society and are being taken advantage of right before our eyes especially as they are learning a language. Not all Au Pairs (as experiences vastly differ) but many of them and this needs to STOP. It is not okay. Au Pairs are someone’s daughter and/or son, they are someone’s human being! Injustice and unfair treatment needs to change even if their stay is temporary. No one should be taken advantage of. Not like this. Wake up America. Wake up.