Are you considering becoming an au pair in America? If so, move Washington DC to the top of your list. If you are a young adult hoping to experience US culture while providing childcare for a host family in the US, there is no better place than the capital of the United States.
To become an au pair in the US, you will need a J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa. According to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, “The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs.” This includes au pairs who provide childcare and take courses at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution.
As you will discover by the time you finish reading this article, au pairs in DC have access to outstanding university programs and language schools, as well as being in the cultural hub of America.
Au Pairs Are Sought After in DC
The District of Columbia and the surrounding states (Virginia and Maryland) are all within the top 20 destinations in the United States for au pairs. In addition to the prospective families looking for au pairs in DC, many families in Virginia and Maryland commute to the metropolitan city and need childcare as well. In 2017, 409 au pairs were living with host families in DC, but there were also 1,628 in Virginia and 1,210 in Maryland according to Office of Private Sector Exchange Designation.
DC is Home to Prestigious Language Schools
One of the main reasons young adults choose to be au pairs is because it offers a hands-on learning experience – especially when it comes to learning the language. When you come to America with a J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa, you will be expected to try to speak English by your host family. The program is designed to help these young adults develop their English skills and become fluent.
There is another element to the program than just providing childcare abroad. While you will pick up some English by living with your host family and communicating with them, you will also have the chance to study at one of the language schools in DC. Since taking courses is required to maintain your J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa, it is a great excuse to take an English class in DC.
For example, the premier Washington language school inlingua offers several language programs for au pairs to complete their 6 CEU’s (continuing education units) which are required by the US State Department. The combination of communicating daily with your native English-speaking hosts and attending English courses in Washington DC will have you fluent before you move on to your next destination.
Studying English in the US Opens Many Doors
Not only will taking accredited English courses Washington DC apply to your required hours of academic credit but studying English will also prepare you for moving on to something new after you move on from being an au pair. For instance, inlingua is home to an English test center where language learners can take the IELTS or TOEFL. Passing these tests are required for acceptance to higher institutions of learning as well as jobs. Additionally, inlingua offers Foreign Languages, Business English or Legal English courses in Washington DC for those au pairs already proficient in English.
DC Offers Complete Cultural Immersion
If you want to experience America, DC is the best place to do so. In addition to the multiple educational opportunities in DC, the capital is the cultural hotspot of the United States. From politics to food, DC is representative of American culture. Plus, the people of DC are representative of America as a whole – a cultural melting pot.
Tourist Attractions Galore
DC is home to many tourist destinations, so au pairs will never run out of new things to see or places to visit. DC is home to several amazing museums and many national monuments. Au pairs will quickly see why tourists visit DC.
Tons of Things to Do Year-Round in DC
In their off hours, au pairs will always find ways to occupy themselves in DC. With four true seasons, DC offers plenty of fun all year round. In addition to visiting the museums and the National Mall, many outstanding festivals and events take place each year. There are also sports teams to cheer on. Additionally, you will have dozens of options for live music, movies, and more.
Plenty of Ways to Keep Kids Busy
The job of an au pair is to offer families childcare. While au pairs do receive childcare training before they begin, it is always good to know you’ll be living in a city with tons of ways to keep kids busy. Your days will be filled with taking kids to area greenspaces and playgrounds and the National Zoo. Plus, taking the kids around DC tourist attractions will be a treat for you!
Close to Other Popular US Destinations
DC’s location is also great for au pairs living abroad who want to experience America. For example, you can easily hop on a bus or a train to visit New York City (approximately four hours away). DC is also home to three airports making it easy to fly to other popular US destinations or travel home. As an au pair, you may even travel some with your host family.
Make New Friends
Finally, a great reason to be an au pair in DC is that you will make new friends. As you learn English, you will feel more confident speaking with your host family and other native speakers. Additionally, you will be able to have conversations with people you may not have been able to before. As you explore the area, you will likely meet other au pairs. As you take your required courses, you will develop friendships with your classmates. Similarly, as you live and work in the US, you are building connections that will be helpful in the future.