When you’re out on the town from time to time you may spot a lime green balloon floating above a group of young ladies. The conversations likely revolve around the trials and triumphs of childcare and living abroad, from a slew of foreign accents and languages. Together they’re exploring a new part of Tacoma and learning a little more about American culture in the Pacific Northwest while leaving us with a few sweet sentiments of their own. The green balloon reads AuPairCare to help identify the group to new arrivals who may have recently flown into the country, thus kicking off their year-long work and culture exchange program. These young ladies come from all over the world, representing different languages, religions, cultures, lifestyles and personalities. And yet, they are united by a few common threads: a heart for children, an adventurous spirit and a temporary home in the South Puget Sound.
The adjustment can sometimes be downright chilling, as participants from warmer climates are welcomed to dreary Northwest weather. Some may even be traveling for the first time away from tightly knit families. In times like these, an au pair learns quickly to embrace her chosen host family and the monthly activities, an opportunity to come together and seek advice and encouragement from one another despite a world of difference between them. Work stories might include laundry lessons and culinary adaptations, school carpooling chaos, teaching tools and play dates, and their own classes at a local college. In exchange, the girls receive room and board, an educational allowance and a small weekly stipend, two weeks of vacation and a family they can call their own.
An important part of the girls’ J-1 program is the culture exchange, education and social experience. This means that after a work day filled with up to 10 hours of childcare and clean-up duty, it’s time to explore. So next time you’re out with the family, touring a Third Thursday Art Walk, enjoying a burger at Shake, Shake, Shake, or picking out your ball at Bass Pro’s Fish Bowl and Grill, when you spot the lime green balloon, give these girls a warm Washington welcome and a high-five.
Are you a family interested in learning more?! Contact your local au pair representative or email us at info@ExerienceTacoma.com and we’ll hook you up with a FREE application to start exploring a world of childcare options! Adventure on!!