Author Archive

Honolulu – Tropical Paradise for Au Pairs

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

hawaii2 Do you want to live where most Americans only dream they could live? Islands ranging from a tropical climate, to snow skiing on the Big Islands 14 thousand foot peaks, Hawaii is one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world and seems too good to be true! If steady warm weather and only 90 rainy days per year is what you prefer, Honolulu is for you!


You have six beautiful islands to hawaii12explore. Each inhabited island has a different pace and culture, ranging from the city life of Honolulu on Oahu, to the largely native culture on Molokai. Where else in the United States can you both swim in warm water, snow ski and visit a volcano all in one day?


hawaii snorkeling


Honolulu offers a wide range of land and water based activities including sports, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, and even snow skiing or snowboarding.  A popular magazine named Honolulu the “fittest” city in the United States. The city offers year round activities such as Great Aloha Run, Honolulu Marathon, and Honolulu Triathlon.


Although Honolulu has no professional sports teams, it does have three venues for spectator sports such as baseball, basketball and volleyball at: Les Murakami Stadium, Neal Blaisdell Center Arena, Stan Sheriff Center and Aloha Stadium.

Howhawaii beach about a relaxing day at the beach? Waikiki is a beachfront neighborhood of Honolulu, located on the south shore of the island of Oahu. It was once a retreat only for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800’s. Today, the area is filled with large resort hotels and hosts many events each year, including surf competitions, outdoor performances, hula dancing and outrigger canoe races.


Help the kids find Nemo at Waikiki Aquarium! Listen for the extremely vocal Common Mynah bird at Foster Botanical garden, Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden, or Walker Estate!



How about a day with your host family visiting the Honolulu Zoo? There are over 1,230 animals to see! Afterward, take a ride on Waikiki Trolley to see the sites throughout Waikiki, Honolulu and East Oahu; or plan to stay for a Snooze at the Zoo. Yes, they schedule overnight camping with activities – imagine the sounds of the animals during the night!


hawaii trees2

Do you like natural history? The Bishop Museum displays the state’s largest collection of natural history specimens and the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific culture artifacts.


Head to the Ke’anae Arboretum and botanical garden, to see the most colorful and unique trees on the planet. The bark of the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree changes color as it sheds, so no two are ever alike and each is constantly changing. You can drive along the Hana Highway west of Maui to see them or visit the arboretum for free.


Hawaii Mall

If shopping is your passion then you are in for a treat! Ala Moana in Honolulu is the largest mall in Hawaii and the 7th largest shopping mall in the United States with a total area of 2,100,000 square feet! Make sure you wear your walking shoes!


Diamond Head Theater is dubbed the “Broadway of the Pacific” and is the oldest performing arts center where music lovers go to enjoy live theater.


hawaii8Honolulu Museum of Art is the largest of its kind in the state, with over 50,000 works of art and is housed in First Hawaiian Center, the tallest building in Hawaii. You can enjoy two cafés, gardens, films and concerts at the theater as well as take a studio art class or workshop. Some events and certain days offer free admission to all.


Want to work on a language? The Hawaii Japanese School – Rainbow Gakuen holds its classes in Kaimuki Middle School in Honolulu, serving overseas Japanese nationals. In addition, Honolulu has other weekend programs for the Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish languages.



No matter what you love to do, it’s impossible not to have fun here and create life long memories with your new host family! Come see what Honolulu has to offer!


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 1-512-360-0499, or contact us on skype at

Screening your Nanny with Criminal Record Checks

Thursday, December 31, 2009

tips_stock_background_checksGreatAupair utilizes several commercial and public records systems as well as third-parties in the performance of its records search services.

Click here for a list of the background and reference checks offered by GreatAupair.

If your candidate will be driving for you, we strongly recommend a motor vehicle records check. A state background check is a good overall report. And if a candidate has lived in only one county for the past 7 years then a county check would be the best to order.

Typically candidates move around, so a state check covers more territory. A federal check searches for crimes at the federal level in a particular state. Any criminal activity will show up in the state, county or federal reports. If the candidate has moved around between several states, we split the reports and do state in one area and county or federal in another. If you decide to do only one background check, then we recommend a state check.

Reference checks are recommended for any candidate.  If you are paid member, you can download our “reference interview questionnaire”  and do your own reference checking. We also recommend a credit check to get an idea of how financially responsible the candidate has been in the past.

For the best overall background screening of your nanny applicant we suggest ordering the following reports:

  • A county criminal record report
  • A federal criminal record report
  • A state criminal record report
  • A reference report
  • A credit check
  • A motor vehicle report


Become an Au Pair in the United States

Monday, December 21, 2009

Aupair in the USAAu pairs interested in coming to the United States will want to study the J-1 au pair visa program requirements.

This is a visa program where you live with a host family in the United States, providing childcare that is limited to no more than 10 hours a day and a maximum of 45 hours per week.

Au pairs are currently paid a stipend of $195.75 per week which is set by the US Department of State.

In order to qualify for the Au pair visa program, you must:

  • Be between 18 and 26 years of age. Be proficient in spoken English.
  • Complete 6 credit hours of classroom instruction during your year in the US. (The Host family pays up to $500 towards these classes).
  • Pass a criminal background check and psychometric test.
  • Pass an in-person interview.
  • And, if caring for children under age 2, you must have 200 hours of “documented” previous experience caring for infants.

Our recommendation is that you find a US host family first, and then the host family will sign up with the J-1 agency who services their area of the country.  You will then be directed to register with the J-1 partner agency that is located in your home country.

There are several au pairs who register with J-1 agencies before finding a host family, but this will limit your chances of finding a host family.

One of the rules for the J-1 au  pair visa program is that there must be a local area coordinator within 60 miles of the host family’s home. If you sign up with a J-1 agency before finding a host family, then you are limiting your search to families who are already with that same J-1 agency.

It is always easier to find a host family if you have not limited your options by signing up with an agency first. You will still be brought through the J-1 visa program whether you register before or after finding a host family.

These J-1 agencies take care of arranging for your visa and the required DS 2019 form.  They also provide monthly meetings and year long support to you and your host family.

If you have already been to the US on the J-1 au pair visa program, you are still able to return for a 2nd stay if you meet the following rules:

  • 2 years have passed since you left the US from your first J-1 visa stay.
  • You’re within the age range of 18 to 26.
  • You successfully completed the first program, which means: one or two years in the US, and having attended the monthly aupair meetings.
  • You successfully completed the education requirement of 6 credit hours of school classes per year.

J-1 Aupair Visa Program in the USA

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

gastock_aupair912826Some au pairs find that they are quite restricted when searching for  countries and visa programs that will allow them to work legally as an Au Pair. The USA is an attractive option because the US Department of State’s J-1 Au Pair Program is open to a number of  countries around the world.

The J-1 Au Pair program focuses on the use of accredited J-1 agencies who are responsible to oversee the guidelines set out by the Department of State.

Au Pairs interested in coming to the United States will want to learn about the J-1 au pair visa program. You can not apply for this visa directly at the US Embassy.

Instead, both the Au pair and the Host family process the J-1 Au pair Visa through one of the approved J-1 agencies.

Once you locate a Host Family on, the family will ask you to register with their J-1 Agency as a “prematch” with their family. (Please contact GreatAupair’s support department to confirm the agency you are registering with is an approved J-1 Agency.)

The J-1 Au pair visa program is the program that allows you to live with a host family in the United States, providing childcare that is limited to no more than 10 hours a day, and a maximum of 45 hours per week.

Au Pairs are currently paid an Au Pair stipend of $195.75 per week, which is set by the US Department of State.


Finding an Au Pair Using Your FastMatch

Thursday, April 16, 2009

findThe “My FastMatch” search system is the best one on the GreatAupair site for finding a nanny or an au pair.

This feature is designed to provide you with a list of potential candidates meeting your selected criteria.

The “My FastMatch” filters through the au pair and nanny candidates using the information you list in your profile against  the yes and no answers you provide to the “My FastMatch & Hot list” preference questions. (These are located on the Account Settings page.)

A few of the advantages over the “Advanced Au Pair” search is that the “My FastMatch” will:

  • Send you nightly updates of the new au pairs on the site who match your profile.
  • Match you according to all your listed languages (if more than one).
  • Allow you to match by as many nationalities as you care to list in your profile.
  • Match you by default to your driving, housekeeping and smoking requirements.
  • Allow you to search by a proximity distance from your home whether you’re looking for live-in or live-out candidates.

The “Advanced” search feature is recommended for families searching for elder care or housekeeping services and will allow you to search:

  • For up to 9 national preferences.
  • To list several languages and match you to all the candidates who speak at least one of those languages.
  • To search for candidates who will care for those with disabilities.
  • To enter a keyword search if you’re looking for au pairs who are already with an agency, or if you want someone who works with horses, or has experience with autism, or any other specialized talent.