Author Archive

San Diego – Amazing Hidden Gem of California!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

With its miles of glorious beaches, ideal year-round weather and countless cultural and historical attractions, San Diego is one of the most visited cities in the world! If you’re on the fence about where to spend your program year, here are some of the top reasons to choose San Diego.

Balboa Park:

Like no place else in the country, Balboa Park offers a magnificent combination of art, architecture, history and agriculture all in one park. From wonderful concerts featuring the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, The Spreckels Organ, to tours through science, art and history museums, a day spent in Balboa Park is an unforgettable experience.


Coronado Island:

On the beautiful island of Coronado, you’ll discover a charming collection of shops, art galleries, fine restaurants and fun eateries surrounded by tree lined walkways, swaying palms and sparkling ponds. Across the bay is one of the best views of downtown San Diego. Developed 130 years ago as a haven for the rich and famous, this oceanfront community maintains an air of luxury. Admire the mansions, Duchess of Windsor Cottage and the Museum of History and Art, which highlights the relaxed and enriching atmosphere on the island.


Torrey Pines State Reserve:

Named after the Torrey Pine tree, this reserve is just north of La Jolla and is a lovely place to see indigenous wildlife in its native environment. With more than eight miles of trails, you can explore the serenity of Torrey Pines in the same atmosphere as the first settlers to California. Take a hike to Blacks Beach, popular with surfers. The Torrey Pines Gliderportoh is the only place on the west coast for visitors to go paragliding and hang-gliding.

San Diego Zoo:

One of the world’s most famous zoos, the San Diego Zoo offers hours of fascinating entertainment for people of all ages. Of the several thousand animals that live in the zoo, you’ll have an opportunity to see everything from Giant Pandas and Polar Bears to the Tasmanian Devil and African Wild Dogs—and so much more. The many hundreds of species include rare amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles and insects that come from all over the world and are cared for in their natural habitats. As you walk through the lush pathways and thriving gardens that frame the zoo, keep in mind that much of the flora are exotic plants and vegetation. Spend an afternoon or the whole day and gain an understanding of the many beautiful animals that inhabit our world.


Gaslamp quarter: 

The heart of downtown San Diego is the historic Gaslamp Quarter. It’s a fun and busy area where you can find: shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theaters, sporting arenas, conferences, concerts, Comic-Con and more. Head towards Horton Plaza’s outdoor shopping mall to find the likes of Macy’s, Victoria Secret and Claire’s or enjoy the baseball game at Petco Park.


Children’s Pool Sea Lions:

Another famous San Diego attraction is Children’s pool where you can observe seals and sea lions in their natural habitat. Silly, loud, ultra-lovable, and a little smelly, they are sure to bring a toothy smile to your face. Sea lions are often compared to being the dogs of the sea for a good reason. After all, they are smart, playful, and newborns are even called pups. They capitalize on San Diego coastline as prime real estate, colonizing rocky and sandy beaches during nesting season.


Beautiful Beaches:

San Diego is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. There are 70 miles of shoreline and a diverse selection of beaches to explore. If you like surfing, you’ll be in heaven; if you prefer getting lost in your thoughts on a secluded sandy stretch, you’ll also be in heaven. From La Jolla and Mission to Coronado and Pacific Beach, there’s a beach for you in San Diego.


For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit Families can call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative.  Au pairs can call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on skype at


Making Sense of Au Pair Visa Options in Ireland

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

aupairirelandIreland is the land of luck and a favorite destination for au pairs from all over the world.

GreatAupair has more then 100 Irish families seeking au pairs on our website at any given time.

In order to consider Ireland as your next Au pair destination you will need to determine if you qualify for any of the visa programs available to work there.

Au pairs from the EU,  Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein can enter Ireland as an au pair and simply register with the Irish police when they arrive.

Au pairs from the following countries may be able to au pair in  Ireland on a Working Holiday Authorization (WHA);

Our Au pair Visa page for Ireland is a good place to start when researching the available options for Irish families who are considering sponsoring a foreign au pair.

I have recently spoken with many American au pairs  who wish to visit Ireland as an au pair.  At this time there is a US Work and Travel visa that allows US citizens to work and travel there for up to 12 months. Additional information can be found at:

Unfortunately, the  BUNAC Work/Study Program is no longer an option for au pairs interested in working in Ireland.

If you are an American who has successfully au paired in Ireland please share your experiences by commenting on this post.

Making Sense of Au Pair Visa Options in the USA

Friday, January 15, 2010

aupairusaWe start our series, Making Sense of Au Pair Visas, with a look at the USA.

The USA’s au pair visa options are often deemed the most confusing by our users because the USA is the only country with such a formalized au pair program.

The USA is also the only country other than Switzerland to require the use of an agency for visa processing (J-1 Agency).

The three most common misconceptions about au pairs in the USA are:

1) That an au pair has a ‘work permit’.

2) That an au pair agency is a nanny agency that charges a placement fee.

3) Au pairs are foreign nannies.

Let’s take a look at these au pair misconceptions a bit more closely.


Nanny Activity Idea – Lollystick Snowmen

Thursday, January 14, 2010

nannycraftideasnowmanstickSnow day themes seem to be common place in January, and for those great au pairs and nannies looking for some inside day craft ideas our friends at Activity Village have a delightful one. Their Lolly Stick Snowmen are simple to create and make great gift tags, bookmarks, and even stick puppets.

You will need:

  • A wide popsicle (lolly stick)
  • White paint
  • Black pen
  • Scraps of black and orange card
  • Piece of thin ribbon.
  • Glue


Paint the stick white and put aside to dry. With the black pen draw on some dots for eyes, a mouth and buttons. Cut out a hat from the black card and a carrot nose from the orange card and glue on. Finally, tie a piece of ribbon around the stick as a scarf and stick it in place with a spot of glue.

This past weekend my children and I created an entire snow stick family.  Nannies, if you create this craft please send us a photo and we may post it here !

How to Write a Great Nanny Cover Letter

Monday, January 11, 2010

gastock_nanny893943Did you know that the Dear Family letter you write on your profile is essentially your nanny cover letter?

Your Dear Family letter is your opportunity to let the GreatAupair families you are interested in know why you would be the best nanny or au pair for them.

As an important part of your complete application, your letter should be a well written and personalized description of your unique childcare, aupair, and  nanny job experience.

Each day,  nannies contact our support department asking why families do not seem to reply to their profile. As a result, we have spent countless hours reviewing applications and comparing those who receive many inquires and the profiles of those nannies who do not see the same level of interest. The key is in having a complete, thoughtful, and well written au pair or nanny profile.

Generally a well written cover letter online (or accompanying your printed nanny CV) will be at least four paragraphs.

Here is a sample nanny cover letter outline:

Paragraph One:
Introduce yourself and thank the family for looking at your profile. Tell them why you want to be a nanny or au pair.