Italian au pair Ileana arrived in Colorado last August to a very nice host family—but one that was not the best fit for her. No au pair wants or expects to be in rematch, but for Ileana, it was a learning experience and, in the end, helped Ileana find her “forever family” in her next match (also in Colorado). She and her host mom Kate, share a little bit about what they learned from going through a transition and why they make a great match.
Ileanna: advice for other au pairs in rematch
When I was in rematch, I was really disappointed because while I was waiting to travel to the U.S., I thought a lot “this family is the perfect match”. But it just didn’t turn out that way. My best advice is: don’t panic! Don’t look at rematch like it’s the end of the world; it’s just an opportunity to have better experience in the U.S. And rely on your LCC for help—my LCC Julie was checking in all the time to make sure I was ok and just to help me stay positive.
Kate: best tip for families in transition
When rematching, look for au pairs who have requested a transition. It’s a gutsy move and so it shows they, too, are unwilling to settle for less than a great host situation.
Ileanna: why the Barnard family is the best family for her
They are not perfect (no family is) but they are perfect for me. I feel good when I’m with them and we have strong conversation and communication. My host mom Kate is a role model for me. She is strong, and she really loves her kids, she has a nice personality and she is laughing all the time. She can be a mom and a friend in the same time. She is awesome. So is my host dad Joel. My two host kids—it’s impossible to not be in love with them. Also, they love to cook, and so do I.
Kate: my au pair checklist
When searching for an au pair, I look for a genuine love for children, the ability to multi-task, a zest for life, desire to explore America and be part of a local community. I want someone who can admit she is not perfect and who is humble enough to ask a lot of questions. Ileanna is a great fit for us because she has the most generous heart. She’s also hilarious and cooks great pasta! It doesn’t always happen but having a shared passion is a great way to connect.
Ileanna: my favorite part about being an au pair
I’ve made so many friends from different countries. Most important, I love being part of an American family. I’m still here but I already can’t wait to visit them in the future after I return home!
Kate: advice for families new to the au pair program
When you first meet your au pair, give her a hug. Make eye contact. Smile. And treat your au pair like family. This means asking about her favorite color, food, movie, time of day. Know the names of her family members. Showing that you care goes a long way toward gaining your au pair’s dedication and trust.
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