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Thursday, January 21, 2010

This year in 2010

In case you've read this post of mine earlier, here's what I've promised to update on my plans. I tested water on my chances in this programme and got the following response.

AkiraSabine January 18, 2010 at 3:55 am
Hi HF (both repeat and new HFs),I’m 26 office exec and currently applying to do AP in USA. I have limited childcare experience which I gathered only lately. In order to meet the requirement, I’m helping my cousin to preparing milk, bottle-feed and burping her new born baby boy. I’m also doing part time as schoolwork coach at a local kids learning center in Malaysia. I wonder how my chance stands in my application with this experience. I have a sporty outlook and I think I fit well into the host family as a homework supervisor + afterschool activity partner to the children from the age of 7. I look forward to interests and skills sharing with kids on swimming(learning the butterfly stroke), tennis, basketball, guitar playing and baking. Besides that, I would be glad to teach them some Mandarin or Malay languages. I have a degree in food studies and be rest assured on nutritious meals for the kids. I was also a St.John committee member back in my secondary school.
I wonder how I stand in my chances with these skills, proposed activities and targetted age range of the kids? I would really much appreciate feedbacks from you, the US HFs.
In your opinion, would you or do you think any family are looking for an AP with such values for their kids?
Thank you in advance!

Host Mom A January 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm
Since you’ve only recently started to have contact with children, why do you want to be an au pair when there are other work exchange visas available? American hotels and resorts used to hire foreign employees on a 1-year work visa (don’t know if the recent collapse in the American economy has made those jobs more palatable to American employees or not).
I know this may seem very blunt, but personally, I won’t look at an application where there was absolutely no childcare experience prior to the decision to become an au pair. Being a schoolwork coach, in my opinion, does not prepare you in the least for the demands of getting kids ready for school or ready for bed day after day. You might find a couple of kids cute or funny in your current work setting, but you’re not really bonding with them and your not in charge of their discipline. Finally, if you don’t know how to drive, you’ll encounter very few host families willing to take you on.
Think about why you want to be an au pair, and if living with children is really part of the reason, then think about other options to achieve your goals.

Host Mom B January 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm
I have to agree with Sara on this one. I wouldn’t even consider an application without a significant amount of childcare experience. I also don’t consider anyone who only has childcare experience in their own family, i.e. cousins, siblings, etc. I want someone who has taken care of other children outside of their own family.
If you really want to be an AP in the USA, I would recommend looking for some childcare experiences. Work at a camp, in a preschool, at an after-school type program. Be a “nanny” of sorts in your country for a family. Then I think your chances would be better

AkiraSabine January 19, 2010 at 3:04 am
Thanks for the feedbacks! Just to add, I do have a driving license and have been driving since I was 18. Considering that I’m looking towards caring for kids from 7 years old and above, is it still that particular that I’ve garnered ample childcare experience in my hands?
As much as I agree that homework coaching does not help much as a solid experience, I do not think getting kids ready for school or bed is something difficult to grasp. To me, it’s like getting myself in order when I was younger with some kids’ tantrum and behaviour here and there. I don’t see as much a problem to this as it is to caring for infants or toddlers which I honestly admit I’m not comfortable with. I know where I stand and I am honestly not comfortable handling infants or kids below 7.
I observe that kids these days love to be treated as a friend / peer and it’s all about sharing and learning skills from each other on sports, crafts, musics. The era of having a big sis doing all the guiding and the kids only receiving and abiding by what’s told has ended and it’s now more of a two way interaction. They teach me what they’re proud to show off i.e the US they know better of and the big sis teach them languages, for my case Mandarin and Malay. I would say I am particular about discipline in kids and it is important that they’re instilled with good discipline when they’re kids.
Please be mindful that I’ve not thought to make big bucks or whatsoever in the US. In fact, the stipend’s not much and just about the same with my current pay here in my home country. The reason the AP programme appeals to me is the opportunity to experience first hand the way of life in an American family. The short course element also is a value added entity to this programme. I would say this programme is by far the best programme for cultural exchange right from the family unit compared to other work exchange programmes. I would be able to observe from my host siblings and experience myself the American edu system as well as weekends leisure activities by participating with the family. Other work exchange programmes tend to skew more towards the job in hand and the work culture of the particular workplace. Not too much of cultural exhange with the locals from the day to day life’s point of view and learning to dish up some local family favourites.

Did I sound too harsh in my second reply? Apparently, I haven't got further feedbacks till now though having checked the page hundreds of times.

Guys, do you think I have a chance here? Should you be a host family looking for an Au Pair for your school going kids, would you think my values meet at least your basic expectation?

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