From my personal perspective – being Au Pair was one of the best things I ever experienced. I loved it and I still have weekly coffee dates with my ex host mom.
One of the reasons why I loved and had amazing Au Pair Year is – I believe – my expectations and way how I prepared myself.
Yes, I got in touch with few other au pairs, but that was mostly to check about area where I will be living. I didn’t compare myself or take their advice as something absolute. I knew what was I getting myself into, and I was prepared for days of working extra, for days when kids were unbearable and for times when I will not have it my way.
But also, I knew that I was doing my best.
I tried, pushed, worked my *buns* of and even if my hosts wanted to mistreat me, they couldn’t because I knew my worth. Not on cocky, I am better than anyone and I will not clean poop way, but in a way that I wanted to be respected and I wanted my work to be recognized.
In some of the stories in this post, I feel au pairs are right, but sometimes when I read their complaints, language they use to describe what is going on, and mostly how mistreated they were – I wonder is it maybe that their expectations are just too high?
Could it be that this new generation of au pairs is being entitled and not willing to actually make it work unless it’s their way?
Here I will share few bad stories, with permission from au pairs (names changed).
I am interested to hear your opinion about these stories in comment section.
BAD AU PAIR EXPERIENCE
First story and comments on it bellow comes from one of many au pair groups on Facebook.
1. Hi Everyone,
My post can be deleted if it doesn’t fit with this group without any problem.
My year end up as an au pair earlier because I got kick out from the house for stupid reasons.
I actually just got an attorney against the agency and I wanted to know if someone wants to share any of her | his stories about hostfamilies or agency?
I am looking for testimonies from aupairs who have been sent home for no reasons – for aupairs who have been consider as slave in the host families. I am in the USA right now and can meet in person if its around CT, NY.
Wish you luck guys for this crazy adventure.
Havea nice day.
M said: My family was shit and continuously broke the rules of the program, which was vocalized to my LCC on numerous times. I went into rematch and they got to stay in the program. Why?
Because CC only cares about the families, because that’s where the money comes from. They’ll send au pairs home in heartbeat with no support but bend over backwards to help the families because they provide the residual income for CC. It’s disgusting.
D said: The reason why I decided to go into rematch, it was because with actual host family I worked extra hours for 7 months. My shifts regularly lasted over 10 hours per day and well beyond 45 hours per week.
My host family didn’t pay me any overtime and they didn’t allow any additional free time in exchange for the extra hours worked.
Right now I’m taking care of 2 kids, one baby girl, she is 8 months old and a boy, he is 2.5 years old. I’m with my current host family since November 2014 (7 months).
Md said: do me a favor and sue the fucked up insurance too, I have no words for how badly they treat au pairs! they never treat us equally, some girls get everything paid, some don’t.
I need important blood work done every month, only for 5, around 100$ each time, but no no they won’t pay because its a monthly thing – okay great, so if I get seriously ill or need imporant medication for a couple of months you guys won’t pay? great thx, I got freaking unlimited medical costs and the extended insurance and they dont cover SHIT
F said: Finally someone decides to stand up and do something. As far as I know, almost 200/300 Au Pairs enter the country every week. We are definitely not protected with the ‘Au Pair regulations’ from the department of state.
I wish host families were studied and regulated the same way we are, because it’s pretty unfair for us to pay for this program and then leave just like nothing, and the families getting a refund. I’m really disappointed, the misleading advertising from Cultural Care and the lack of interest to all the girls and boys that come here to work and also have a good experience, is unbelievable.
I’ve been here since March and I only got told at my last meeting by my LCC that my host family was kicked out of the program and CC didn’t even have the decency to let me know, since I was back home when I matched with them and I had constant contact with CC but I guess they didn’t think telling me was important or anything…
Still pissed off at them for that. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be having this many issues!!!
2. Hey!! I would love to ask for advice…
I’m in my second year with my third family and I don’t feel comfortable here for a few reasons. First I have to say that this family is a wonderful family and totally respect the program rules, they try to make me feel part of the family, but right now, i don’t feel like it.
My issue is the schedule. I absolutely have no problem working my 45hs, specially because I knew that before I come to US as an aupair. But what bothers me is how they made my schedule, which is completely different than what they told me on skype. Right now I’m working from 12pm to 8pm mon – Thurs, from 2pm to 8pm fri and working Saturdays from 10am to 5pm. As I said before, they totally respect the program but this schedule is giving me a hard time when I try to hang out with other aupairs. In consequence I have only one friend who I can meet only on Sundays. It’s hard to do things during the week because I depend of public transportation and I can easily spend an hour on a trip to anywhere I’m going, so I’m spending most part of my free time alone in my room. I still can go to starbucks or to target, but alone?
I tried to talk to my host to see what we could change, I offer an option so I could have at least, my one day and a half on the weekend but nothing happened. I understand that the families choose the aupair program because they need the flexibility, but I also believe that the families should understand our side and be flexible. Before I match with them I told them that I like comunication, that I would love to be able to discuss what is better for everybody and I would love to be informed ahead of changes in our daily routine, and this is not happening.
Right now I’m feeling sufocated, frustrated, lonely, stuck in the house, feeling like I just work…. I’ve been thinking about give up and come back home because it’s been hard for me… I think the hardest thing being an aupair is live at the same place that you work… and that’s why go out and see people is so important, and I’m not having this here. But at the same time I decided to extend for another year because I wanted try o work more in my english and also explore more around me.
I was thinking about rematch because I know I can’t live like this, but at the same time I know that I have a compromise with them and they planned their lives based on that, but I also feel like is unfair with them stay here completely unhappy. But I also thing that rematch would be a good option because I still want to try, I want to continue and complete this program, the only problem is this is my second year and I don’t know if I’m gonna find a family, even knowing that I still have 10 months.
This situation is so hard because I’m having the same feelings that I had with my first host family even tho is a completely different situation. My first host family didn’t respect the program rules or me… It was the worst 4 months in my life. But luckily I rematcued I found my family in Texas.. they are just amazing, and I just left because I didn’t enjoy Texas and I wanted to explore different area.
I actually don’t know what to do. I know that I can explore better my time accepting that this is how my life is gonna be here, but Im sure that I won’t complete the program if I stay here.
So… I’m open to suggestions.. I’ve been thinking and trying to find solutions but I’m frustrated and I don’t see any solution… I still feel like even if we change the schedule I won’t feel comfortable here.
3. In this program
there are many au pairs treated literally like trash, starving, working extra hours, and many other examples, and yes, there are also girls that just came here to ‘party’ or made bad mistakes, but at the end of the day, all of us have to work 45hs a week for $196, the au pair is raising one or more children, doing household chores, making those kids happy and entertaining them day after day.
This is not just babysitting or childcare this is much more. We are moms, sisters, friends, teachers, counselors, and we also live where we work. So if a family or an Au Pair fail in the program, it must be, first of all, because the agency did not make sure that both parts were prepared for the ‘experience’. And to be fair, this agencies couldn’t care less about us. This is all about money. There are many good Lcc’s and host parents that actually help the au pairs, but not everyone have that luck, and it shouldn’t be like that at all.
The point is that there should be many more regulations for this programs. You don’t know what you will go trough until you come here.
Tell me what you think about this? Did you have bad experience as Au Pair or Host Parent?
Here are some tips to make sure you have good au pair year
This post is not to bash Au Pair program (which I think it’s awesome). It is here to remind all new au pairs that it’s not vacation! It will be hard, you will be homesick and probably even hungry if you are used to someone else cooking for you. The best thing about Au Pair program is that you are a grown up now. No one will baby you. You will need to take responsibility for your actions and you will have to work for great relationship with your hosts.
It’s up to you what kind of year you will have.
I have also heard from au pairs who had genuinely bad experiences and you need to know when it’s enough, when it might not be your expectations but really bad match that can be dangerous for you. Make sure to always be in touch with your LCC and ask for help if you need it.
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