The Au Pair program originated in France and is still very common there today. In fact, several of our French Au Pairs currently in the U.S. had previous experience as Au Pairs in other countries before they arrived. Babysitting is a very common way our French Au Pairs gain experience caring for children. In addition, there are Au Pairs from France who have worked as nannies, teachers and tutors as well.
The French drive on the right side of the road and receive their driver’s licenses at age 18. Driving is very common in France and the traffic laws are similar to those in the U.S. All of our French Au Pairs in the U.S. had their driver’s license before arriving.
English is taught to all children in France for seven years. Perfecting their English skills is one of the reasons French Au Pairs choose to come to the U.S. instead of other countries. It is also common for French Au Pairs to have studied a third language, which is most often Spanish.
What do Host Parents say about their Au Pairs from France?
Carri has been a Go Au Pair Host Mom since 2007 and recently said goodbye to their French Au Pair, Laure. Carri said that her family “had an excellent year with Laure.”
How well did your Au Pair assimilate into your home?
“Laure assimilated well into our household. I think our culture’s are similar – that being the independence of the French and the independence that Au Pairs can experience in American households. Other girls would go to their rooms or out with friends when they work time was over but sometimes Laure brings her laptop into our family room and hangs there with us throughout the night. It’s a great way to get to know them better – when they just spend time hanging around in your presence.”
What cultural differences did you encounter?
“We didn’t have any real cultural differences. This may be stereotyping, but I think a lot of French people smoke. At day’s end (when thru with work), sometimes Laure would go out to smoke (like at a park or away somewhere where she would take the car – not right outside the house). I never smelled it on her and she is great about not smoking in our house or around the kids so it doesn’t bother me. Had she said she was a smoker early on, I may have been worried, but as long as they are sensible it and it isn’t a big “need” for them then ok.”
Would you ever choose another Au Pair from France?
“I would definitely want all of my Au Pairs to be French but this time around, one of the stronger candidates was from Sweden so we went with her. Laure has been teaching our toddler French and because Julia [Carri’s daughter] is just learning to speak and totally understands both languages, I am enrolling her in French school throughout the school year. I would have loved to have another French Au Pair especially because I want Julia to know French, but we thought Amanda [an Au Pair] from Sweden was an excellent match for our family.”
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