Thursday, May 5, 2016
Salt Lake City, Utah truly is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground! With an abundance of parks, playgrounds, hiking trails and four ski resorts (with the “Greatest Snow on Earth”) all within 35 minutes of the city, activities are limitless. The city is brimming with museums, zoo, aviary, aquarium, gardens, shopping, farmers markets, gallery strolls and festivals.
Summer offers $5 concerts in the park downtown for the Twilight Concert Series, the Utah Arts Festival and Oktoberfest at the Snowbird Ski Resort. Park City is only a 30 minute drive into the beautiful Wasatch mountain range and offers Utah Olympic Park where visitors can bobsled or zip line. You don’t want to miss the famous Sundance Film Festival.
Salt Lake City also has an amazing global culinary scene with restaurants serving food from many cultures. A fantastic public transportation system, Trax, is available to take you anywhere within the city you need to go. For sports fanatics, the Utah Jazz, AAA Bee’s Baseball, University of Utah Ute’s football and our MLS team Reãl can all be enjoyed within city limits.
Salt Lake City is the ultimate family friendly city and is a wonderful place to live and play! For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit www.greataupairusa.com or call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative & request a free host family application. Au pairs call 1-775-636-8302.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Dear Au Pairs,
Welcome to the USA and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area! In this area you get three very different towns for the price of one. I have lived in Chapel Hill for the past five years, and I love it. The weather is mild, and the people are down home Southern friendly. There is always something going on and plenty to see and do.
Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina and the Tar Heels. UNC is a renowned university with an excellent medical system and hospital. Chapel Hill is a vibrant university community with just the right mix of a small town feel along with the diversity of the world. There are many shops, cafes, restaurants and night spots as well.
Right next to Chapel Hill is the town of Carrboro. Carrboro is a very ‘hip’ town that is artsy, and it is considered a part of the Chapel Hill community…so much so that the area is often referred to as “Chapelboro.” Every year in September, Carrboro has an amazing free music festival where you can wander the streets of the town and see many local musicians and bands perform…all for free!
Raleigh is home to the North Carolina State University Wolfpack. “State” is known for its veterinary school and engineering programs. Basketball reigns in this area, and there is an intense rivalry between all of the universities. Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina. In Raleigh, you will find the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, which has three theaters. It is also the home of the Carolina Ballet. Across from the performing arts center is one of Raleigh’s five entertainment districts, Fayetteville Street, with restaurants, shops and an ice skating rink. Raleigh is divided up into five different districts, each with it’s own unique flavor. In addition to Fayetteville Street, there is the Capital District (location of the state government and museums) Glenwood South (trendy restaurants) the quaint Moore Square (an historic area of Raleigh with shops and restaurants) and the Warehouse District (an entertainment complex).
Durham or “Durm” as it is pronounced (you will see bumper stickers around town instructing you on this fact) has an entirely different feel or vibe than Raleigh and Chapel Hill. While Chapel Hill/Carrboro is intellectual and artsy and Raleigh is sleek and upscale, Durham is edgy and trendy. It is home to the entertainment complex of the American Tobacco Campus, Durham Performing Arts Center and (of course) the Duke University Blue Devils. Duke is another world class university and medical institution and hospital system. You will also find Durham Bulls baseball here (and if you have ever watched the movie Bull Durham you will appreciate this). Also, not to be missed, is the beautiful and truly amazing, Duke Gardens, located on the Duke University campus.
Not only are there three well-known universities here, but there are also others you may or may not have heard of, such as Shaw University, Meredith College, St Augustine College, William Peace College, and North Carolina Central University. Durham Tech and Wake Tech are great community colleges that are good places for au pairs to take some of their courses. Durham tech offers free ESL courses that count for the 6 credits that au pairs must take for their J-1 program.
The Raleigh-Durham area is often referred to as the Triangle Area. This is because it is home to Research Triangle Park (RTP). RTP is a huge campus that houses a plethora of technology, science and biotech companies and other types of businesses, and as you might guess, is a major draw for employment in the area. RTP brings in people from all over the world to work in the various businesses and companies housed on its campus. It is literally shaped like a triangle and the cities of Raleigh and Durham and the town of Chapel Hill make up the points of the triangle.
Durham owes much of its wealth and history to tobacco. The city has since changed its motto from “City of Tobacco” to City of Medicine. Located halfway between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the pristine beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, both areas offer excellent opportunities to explore nature.
The museum of Life and Sciences has fascinating exhibits, where you can turn your motions into sounds, explore weather, design contraptions or flying objects, find creepy crawlies at the insectarium or get out into nature crossing rope bridges and exploring eight creative and unique tree houses.
There are so many events and festivals all around town that they are too numerous to list. Like I said in the beginning, there is always something going on, and nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina! You are going to love it here, start your application today.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015
The city of Atlanta has endless energy, big-city sophistication and warm Southern hospitality. Atlanta is a favorite destination among au pairs, visitors and those who call it home. Atlanta invites you to indulge in International cuisine, sample some of the best shopping in the South, enjoy the ever-growing list of events and festivals and create a cultural experience while reliving history and so much more.
If you’re interested in drama, Atlanta offers amazing theaters that regularly premiere shows before they head to Broadway in New York City! If art is more your style, Atlanta has a list of incredible museums you’ll want to explore. You will even encounter vibrant murals throughout the neighborhoods. However, to really understand the magnitude of the Living Walls project, you’ll want to set out on a quest to find as many as you can.
The city has multiple pro sports teams who call Atlanta home. American sporting events are an exciting experience! You can even stay late for a beautiful fireworks show at the end of the baseball games!
Buford Highway has a 30 mile stretch where you can experience appetizing international cuisine ranging from Mexican taquerias; Sichuan, Cantonese, and other regional Chinese cuisines; Korean bakeries and barbecue joints; Vietnamese pho parlors; and introductions to Malaysian noodle dishes, Filipino fried chicken, and curry-like Indonesian beef rendang. You can also take a tour or attend events at the Coca-Cola factory!
Atlanta is full of family friendly fun as well! Take a visit to the amazing Atlanta Zoo or the Georgia Aquarium. If you prefer to experience something different, visit after hours for behind-the-scenes tours, music and adult beverages. The aquarium regularly schedules adult/family overnights.
Get out and explore the great outdoors. From parks and public spaces to nature preserves and river activities, there is plenty in Atlanta for the outdoor adventurer. Hike Stone Mountain, paddle down the Chattahoochee river, take the kids to Piedmont Park or take a run on the Atlanta BeltLine. Whatever your taste for adventure or nature, Atlanta has a smorgasbord of foods, cultural events and activities in the great outdoors. Start your application to enjoy Atlanta’s southern hospitality.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015
GreatAuPair recently had four au pairs sign up to volunteer at the New York City Marathon on November 1st. They passed out water to the runners at the Mile Marker 17 fluid station, all while cheering on and encouraging the runners. When the event ended, they cleaned up the used cups, boxes and garbage. All volunteers were rewarded for a job well done with a jacket, hat and commemorative pin.
Volunteering at the event provided a meaningful and exciting cultural exchange experience that won’t soon be forgotten by these au pair participants. When asked about the experience the au pairs responded, “It was so exciting to see everyone together cheering for the runners. We experienced how energetic volunteers are and how nice the runners are. We got a lot of thank yous from the runners and that made us feel proud of what we did. We also got to meet a lot of new friends who were volunteering, not just au pairs. It was such a great day to be in NYC, we had never experienced something like that back home. There was so much energy! We were very happy to participate and we now have a great story to share.”
The feedback for this volunteer event was overwhelmingly positive. It was exciting for our au pairs to meet other exchange visitors while taking in the experience of such a big event in New York City. Hopefully, there will be more opportunities to follow in the near future!
If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities, contact your local childcare coordinator. You can also do some online research in your area of volunteer interest and bring your suggestions to your local childcare coordinator.
GreatAuPair is proud of the au pairs who volunteered for the New York City marathon. It’s events like these that provide opportunities for au pairs to get the most our of their au pair experience while making a difference in the lives of others in their community.
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Monday, November 23, 2015
As our children grow up in an increasingly global society, it is more crucial than ever to provide them with exposure to other languages and cultures. Although most of us do not have the means to travel with our children around the globe, we can bring a taste of the world into our homes. How is this possible? By hiring an au pair, you not only expand your family’s horizons, but you also provide a unique life-changing opportunity for a trained, qualified childcare provider, who is eager to experience life in the United States.
Meeting Your Family’s Needs
When responding to a research study I conducted to better understand what families valued most about hosting an au pair, 78% of host families responded that having an au pair met their needs for a flexible working schedule at an affordable price.
Unlike traditional childcare, the cost of an au pair is the same, regardless of the number of children you have. For families with more than one child, this presents significant savings. Au pairs also provide a greater degree of flexibility for working parents. While daycare centers operate during fixed hours and expect children to be picked up within a narrow window of time, an au pair can accommodate changing and flexible schedules without increasing the price.
How might an au pair meet your family’s needs? An au pair can help get children ready for school and drive them to school,
appointments, and activities (au pairs have an international driving license). They can prepare children’s meals, supervise homework, bathe, dress and put children to bed. They also can do children’s laundry and assist with light child-related household duties. An au pair’s responsibilities and schedule may vary to meet the unique needs of each individual family they serve.
Finding a Trustworthy Caregiver
As a parent, you know how crucial it is to select a childcare provider that you can trust, who will lovingly provide your children with safe, quality care. You want to make sure that the person who cares for your children is responsible, reliable, trained, and experienced. By using the services of a dependable, experienced au pair agency such as GreatAuPair, which offers carefully screened and trained au pairs, you are greatly increasing the chances of having a successful placement. GreatAuPair is dedicated to assisting families in finding the best live-in childcare, and will also be just as committed to helping the au pairs they place to succeed.
Selecting the Right Au Pair
Selecting an au pair who will fit in well with your family’s specific needs and home environment is important to the success of your au pair experience. GreatAuPair will provide the personal attention and support you need to choose the right au pair for your family. Often, technology plays an important role, by providing online matching and allowing families to see and interact with potential au pairs before choosing one. Making sure that all of your family members participate in the Skype video calls to your potential au pairs, gives everyone a chance to connect with the au pairs and weigh in on this important decision.
GreatAuPair Program Advisors are available to provide every family with personal attention, to ensure that they are selecting the best possible au pair. GreatAuPair Local Childcare Coordinators work locally with each individual family and they are committed to providing advice and support throughout the entire process.
Ongoing Support for Families and Au Pairs
After selecting your au pair and embarking upon this horizon-expanding experience, GreatAuPair will continue to provide you and your au pair with ongoing support and resources. This support includes orientation for newly arrived au pairs, monthly meetings and 24-hour emergency assistance, so families and au pairs can always contact a GreatAuPair representative when they need help. GreatAuPair program advisors and local childcare coordinators will offer the training, support and reassurance you need every step of the way. Through this wonderful experience your family and your au pair together will create lifetime memories and will be better prepared to engage in our increasingly interconnected world.
For more information about the GreatAuPair program J-1 visa, visit online at www.greataupairusa.com or call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative and request a free host family application.
Submitted by Dr. Barbara A. Manko, Penn State University/Beaver, PA
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