Once you have decided that you want to go to America as an au pair, you have to make a decision on which agency you should pick. Do yourself a favor and research the agencies. Choosing the right au pair agency can at times make a difference on how you will experience your au pair year and beyond. Compare how much each agency charges YOU to become an au pair. Your out of pocket cost can add up and can be a difference maker in which au pair agency you choose.
Au Pair Agency
There are 16 au pair agencies as of now, but it does not mean that you would qualify for all of them. Some of the agencies cater to specific regions, languages or professions. For example, The International Au Pair Exchange – 20/20 Care Exchange, Inc. dba TIAPE –are currently accepting applications from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Cultural Care, Inc. d/b/a Cultural Care Au Pair, on the other hand, accepts applications from many other countries; providing a greater au pair pool and selection for au pairs and host families.
Some au pair agencies charge the au pair an airfaire supplement. Expert Group International Inc., dba Expert AuPair supplement cost varies by continent and is done in order to “equalize the expense to host families for each ticket.” For example, au pairs from Africa (all countries) and South America (no airfare supplement from Colombia) are asked to pay $400 towards their ticket. Whereas au pairs from Oceania (all countries) are asked to pay $500. The cost for other countries varies between $0-$500. Other agencies, such as, InterExchange, Inc., do not charge you extra as your round-trip airfare from your home country to the USA is covered by the host families program fee.
What are my costs to become an au pair? This is one of the most important questions. When you apply with an au pair agency, you will have to create a profile. Some au pair agencies charge you either nothing or a fee to be registered with the agency. Some agencies only charge you a program fee when you matched with a host family. The fee can range from $0 to about $700.
Even though au pair agencies like to advertise that au pairs will be covered by insurance (paid for by host family’s program fee), it does not mean that you can go to any doctor at any time. It is a traveler’s insurance that comes with its limitations. The unfortunate thing is that deductible payments can get expensive as well. Always call the insurance and confirm that they cover the doctor (being in-network) and medication (filing a claim with the insurance). Au pairs, before coming to America, are advised to see all necessary doctors; dentist, gynecologist, family practitioner, etc.
Au Pair Agency Size
This can make a difference in how many other au pairs are in the same area. However, if you are looking to find a host family in a specific area, a bigger city, no worries. Bigger cities and their surrounding areas will always be competitive with au pair agencies and you will therefore make (au pair) friends with people from different au pair agencies.
In today’s time, you have a lot of options on how to reach out to current and former au pairs to get their insight with au pair agencies and their local representatives. There are many, MANY Facebook pages that are geared towards future and current au pairs. Join them. If you don’t have a Facebook account, open one up for the time being. Get an insight on current conversations, concerns but also suggestions on how to make this a good, memorable year for you as well. But also realize, that some comments are written in an emotional state and not always reflect the agency but the au pair’s experience with a specific situation.
As I stated above, look at the whole picture! You need to calculate how much each au pair agency is charging you in TOTAL. Some may have no program fee but then have a lot of other out of pocket costs that add up to be more than another agencies application/program fee.
Written by Sam @ Au Pair Buzz. June 26,2018