USA FAQs
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE USA PROGRAM

How safe is the Au Pair Program in the USA?
How long can I go for?
When can I go?
Can I be placed anywhere in the United States?
Where will I live?
What is my Host Family like?
Will the family be safe?
Why do these families need me?
What are My Responsibilities as an Au Pair?
Do I earn any money?
What support will I have in the USA?
What if I have a problem?
What happens if I get sick or have an accident?
Can I return to New Zealand earlier than twelve months?
How can I make friends?
Can I travel while I am in the USA?
What qualifications do I need to apply?
Can I apply if I am under 18?
Can I apply if I am over 26?
What does the program cost?
What is the schedule for payments?
What is the ARK cancellation or refund policy?
How do I apply?

 

How safe is the Au Pair Program in the USA?
Our partner organization is AuPairCare is the leading au pair agency providing dependable and affordable in home au pair childcare services. Designated by the U.S. Department of State since 1989, AuPairCare has successfully placed over 30,000 international au pairs with caring American families.

The Au Pair Cultural Exchange Program in the USA is supervised by the US State Department and they have taken great care to protect the young women and the children - the two groups most affected - so they would not be exploited.

They set strict criteria such as the hours and conditions of work, the pay, and the selection criteria for both the host families and the young women

You are also assigned a supervisor who lives within an hour of your placement who deals with any problems and arranges monthly social activities.

How long can I go for?
12 months with an additional month for travel within the USA if you want it.
You can also extend for another 6, 9 or 12 months if you wish.

When can I go?
Every month throughout the year.

Can I be placed anywhere in the United States?
AuPairCare does not place you with a family. They only circulate your file to suitable families. You choose the family you are going to live and work with.

AuPairCare will circulate your file anywhere in the USA. You may request a particular region, and AuPairCare will make an effort show your application to compatible families in that region. Our main objective is to help you find a compatible family. It is more important to find a compatible family than match with a family because of where they live.

Where will I live?
You will live with the family whose children you will care for. They provide full board and you will have your own room.

What is my Host Family like?
Host families are professional working families. They are mostly from the upper socio-economic strata of the USA. Most AuPairCare families are typical American families - they are hard working, friendly, busy, and want the best for their children.

Will the family be safe?
ARK International have sent over 500 Au Pairs since 1996. We have never had a safety issue with a Host Family.

AuPairCare’s host families must meet the U.S. Department of State's hosting requirements. Families must also be American citizens (or permanent residents), and have a sincere desire to share their home with an au pair.
All host families have their references checked and their homes visited to ensure that the home is safe, comfortable and welcoming for an Au Pair. They are interviewed personally and the host family must accept and sign an agreement to follow all the US State deprtment criteria for working hours and payments.

Why do these families need me?
The families who want an overseas young person to look after their children want their children exposed to other cultures. They participate in the au pair program because they want dependable care for their children, and look forward to sharing their home and family life with an international au pair. If you want to read more about AuPairCare’s host families click here

What are My Responsibilities as an Au Pair?

  • You will need to supervise the children for no more than 45 hrs/wk and no more than 10 hours per day. This may involve half a day on Saturdays.
  • Your main job is to feed, bathe and play with the children. If the children are older then you will have to drive them to and from school and help with their homework. While you are "on duty" you will be expected to pick up after the children, do their laundry and prepare a light meal for them.
  • As an Au Pair you are not expected to do any heavy housework.

Do I earn any money?
Yes, you receive an allowance of US$195.75.
In addition you get free room and board just like an exchange student.

You also get a US$500 grant to do a course at any tertiary educational establishment.

What support will I have in the USA?
When you arrive in the USA you will attend a four-day Orientation meeting at AuPairCare’s Au Pair Academy based in the Sheraton Hotel in New Jersey.
For more information see http://www.aupaircare.com/au-pairs/au-pair-training

You will be assigned a local representative who will be your contact and support person while you are in the USA.

What if I have a problem?
You will be assigned an area director who will contact you within two weeks of your arrival. She will be there to support and advise you.

If you have a problem you can contact her and she will help you resolve it. You can also contact ARK International.

If you have a problem with your Host Family, your area director will first try to help you resolve it. If the problem cannot be resolved then your file will be recirculated for rematching with another family.

What happens if I get sick or have an accident?
You are covered by a comprehensive insurance policy suitable for the USA.

Can I return to New Zealand earlier than twelve months?
AuPairCare families rely on you to remain with them for the entire au pair program. In the event you leave the program early, you will have to pay for your own return airfare. If you leave before 13 weeks, in addition to your return airfare, you will have to pay US$375

How can I make friends?
As you will be placed in clusters with other au pairs from other countries you can have a social life almost as soon as you arrive in your host communities.

Your area director will also organise monthly activities for you and the au pairs in your area. Check out the AuPairCare Au Pair Café at http://www.aupaircare.com/aupairblog/

Can I travel while I am in the USA?
Yes, you have plenty of travel opportunities. The United States is truly a diverse and fascinating country, and as an au pair you may be surprised to discover cities or regions that you didn't know about before.
You can travel:

  • In the weekends
  • For up to two weeks during your year.
    During this time you will still receive your weekly allowance.
  • Within the USA for additional month at the end of your program.

You might want to get a look at some of the scenic wonders of America: the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Yosemite National Park, or the Rocky Mountains. Or maybe visit some of the more vibrant American cities - New York City, New Orleans, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, or San Francisco - each of them are very unique and offer their own personality. Or maybe you'd like to see a baseball game, check out a jazz club, visit an American Indian reservation, or tour Universal Studios.

It's the ideal way to finish off your year in the USA!

What qualifications do I need to apply?
You will need to:

  • be between 18 and 26 years old ( You can apply when you are 17)
  • have a full drivers licence 3 months before departure,
  • have a minimum of 200 hours childcare/baby sitting experience
  • Be able to provide child care references from 2 non relatives
  • have passed NCEA Level 1 or equivalent
  • be in good physical and mental/emotional health
  • be of good character with no criminal record
  • be a non smoker

Can I apply if I am under 18?
Although you cannot enter the USA until you are 18 you can start preparing to go away when you are 17 and leave the moment you turn 18. We currently have applications from several 17 year olds.

Can I apply if I am over 26?
Yes but you must enter the USA before your 27th birthday.

What does the program cost?
The program costs NZ$1,960.00
This includes:

  • Airfares from:
    -Auckland to your host family
    -Your host family to Auckland or London upon successful completion of your program
  • US airport taxes
  • Documentation for a J-1 Visa
  • Comprehensive medical, accident and travel insurance
  • An American Social Security Card
  • A shuttle from Newark Airport to the Sheraton Hotel in New Jersey
  • 4 nights accommodation at the Sheraton Hotel in New Jersey
  • 3 day orientation meeting in New Jersey
  • Preparation material
  • Administration costs

This does not include:

  • US Visa Fees. This amount is determined by the US Consul in NZ and could change.
    (As at January 2009 it was $235.80)
  • Domestic travel and accommodation in Auckland for obtaining your US Visa or prior to departure
  • Spending money during the Orientation Conference in New Jersey
What is the schedule for payments?
Payment 1 NZ$60.00 to be paid at the interview
Payment 2 NZ$500.00 to be paid for application documents to be submitted
and registered for on line application
Payment 3 NZ$700.00 sent with application documents
Payment 4 NZ$700.00
when matched with a family

What is the ARK cancellation or refund policy?
All monies paid are non-refundable.

How do I apply?
Fill out your details here and we will send you an application form.