As an au pair in the USA, it’s important to lean on the support services that can help you have a successful year abroad. Everyone from your fellow au pairs, to your host parents, to Cultural Care staff members, to your Local Childcare Consultant (LCC).
That last one is especially important—after all, your LCC is a critical piece of your au pair puzzle! Your LCC lives near your host family and is there to guide you through your year (or more) on the program. They’re there to help mediate any problems, to introduce you to au pairs in the area, to answer your questions (big or small), and to help you integrate into the community so you can have a happy and successful experience as an au pair.
One of the biggest ways LCCs help their au pairs? Through their monthly LCC meetings!
These LCC meetings are a way to give au pairs a forum to network, socialize and share information that’s important to them. At these meetings, LCCs are able to help au pairs form connections while checking in with them individually at each meeting—this allows LCCs to build relationships with au pairs in order to better support them.
LCC meetings can take place at the LCC’s home or outside the home—many choose to host their meetings at local spots like a bowling alley, restaurant or coffee shop. Sometimes the meetings include a fun activity, like swimming, ice skating, bike riding or hiking!
No matter where the meeting takes place, LCCs take this time to share new program information and updates for the group—and to check in with each au pair on how things are going with their host children, parents, community, classes and more.
Many au pairs find it helpful to talk to their LCC about their experiences because their LCC is a unique kind of support system—one that knows the ins and outs of the program and can honestly tell an au pair if there’s a problem, and how they should solve it.
Often times, LCCs who live close to one another will team up to host their monthly meetings together, which gives au pairs even more opportunity to meet new people, network, and make lifelong friends.
So between making au pair friends, getting all your program questions answered, building a solid relationship with your LCC, and having FUN, there are so many reasons to attend your LCC monthly meetings!
To help drive home just how important it is for au pairs to be engaged with the process and an active attendant at these meetings, we interviewed Marta Pena—an LCC who has worked with Cultural Care for 9 years! She says she’s a firm believer that “the only way to build up strong relationships is by connecting with people in-person.”
She continues: “That being said, if au pairs don’t attend my meetings, I won’t be able to build a relationship with them—and it will be more difficult for me to help them when in need, since I wouldn’t have the opportunity to know them personally.”
Check out Marta’s brief Q&A below:
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re from?
A: I am originally from Colombia, South America. I was an exchange student in California in 1982, and have been living in Boston for the past 28 years. I am a mother of two children, and a grandmother of a 6-year-old girl. My background is in Business and Marketing.
Q: Why is it so important that au pairs attend the LCC monthly meetings?
A: It is really the only way to connect with them on a personal level. And connecting with them on a personal level is so important to their longevity on the program and to having a successful year together with their host family.
Q: What do au pairs gain from the LCC monthly meetings?
A: They get to meet with their fellow au pairs from other countries, they get to share experiences and thoughts with other au pairs, and they also get to bond with their LCC, who will be the person to help them in the time of need. They also have the opportunity at these meetings to learn about cultural, educational and fun experiences in and out their community.
Q: Any stories of au pairs or monthly meetings that you’d like to share?
A: I had a great meeting back in May, where I hired a professional life coach to speak to my au pairs. We met at my house, and my group of au pairs loved the experience of being able to share about their personal lives, expectations, fears, goals, and, most of all, how they saw themselves in their role as an au pair. It was a truly wonderful experience.