Amid a sea of childcare options, many families in Savannah have opened their homes to au pairs, young international students who provide live-in childcare.
For some families, an au pair is something of a necessity — as with two working parents whose schedules fall beyond the nine-to-five hours of a traditional daycare. Others are attracted to the ease of having one-on-one care in the comfort of their own homes. No matter the case, the extra hands of an au pair provide care and stability in children’s lives.
The very words “au pair” used to have cachet, suggesting a certain lifestyle, but with the growing cost of other types of childcare, an au pair has become a competitive option, cost-wise.
There are broader advantages than the checkbook, too. Children who are raised with au pairs benefit from exposure to other cultures and customs, languages and global perspectives. Likewise, au pairs embrace a once-in-a-lifetime experience to live in the U.S., immersing themselves in the culture.
Organizations like Au Pair in America bring au pairs here to Savannah, where, beyond caring for children, they make the city their home — attending classes at local colleges, volunteering in community schools and learning about coastal Georgia’s rich history.
Ultimately, au pairs weave themselves into the fabric of their host families, and parting at the end of the program is always bittersweet. Then, for many host families, a new au pair comes, and the process of sharing cultures begins anew.
“Since I got here, I have never felt homesick because I am home already. My host parents treat me like family. They support me and find ways to support my interests. I really appreciate that and I love them from the bottom of my heart.” — Eve, Au Pair in America from Thailand
“Thia is a significant part of our family. She cares for our children as if they were her own. She is kind, compassionate and hardworking. She is our sunshine on dreary days.” — Kate Krupski, host mom to Kennethia (or Thia) from Namibia
“My au pair journey brought many personal benefits. It opened my mind, and I’ve learned to see a world full of difference. It has changed me.” — Amanda, Au Pair in America from Brazil
“We knew from the very beginning Sandrine was right for our family. She is honest, loving and trustworthy. She makes our daily lives easier without the hustle and bustle of a regular daycare. We really value the one-on-one care that Sandrine provides.”— Andrea Asendio, host mom to Sandrine from Brazil
“Being an au pair completely changed my life, I no longer have one younger sister and two parents, but now I have four younger siblings and two more parents. This is home.” —Neo, Au Pair in America from South Africa