Many host families and au pairs discover that the special relationship they build with one another during their program year often stands the test of time. Cultural Care Au Pair has heard so many heartwarming stories over the past three decades of joyous reunions – both here in America and overseas – inspired by the unbreakable bonds of cultural exchange.
The power of human connection is a truly beautiful aspect of the au pair program; whether it’s host families visiting their au pairs abroad for weddings or vacations, host kids growing up and traveling to the native countries of their former au pairs, or even au pairs coming back to the USA to reconnect with their host families – like the story of German au pair Laura and her host family the Shaughnessys.
The Shaughnessy family of Hingham, Massachusetts welcomed Laura into their home and hearts in 2015. In just a few short weeks, Laura became an extended member of the family, instantly bonding with and caring for 7-year-old Huck and 5-year-old Lucy throughout the year.
With both host parents working full-time, Laura spent weekdays with the children and the trio soon became inseparable. Host mom Sarah recalls that countless times, she would come home from work to find her au pair Laura and daughter Lucy in stitches, laughing at videos they made together or photos of their adventures that day. Laura and the Shaughnessys were always huge advocates for cultural exchange during their time together – and both parties made a point of swapping traditions, languages and recipes when Laura was living with them. In fact, Laura taught both Huck and Lucy dozens of German songs and phrases – and to this day, Lucy can still remember and sing the German lullabies she learned as a little girl.
When her J-1 Visitor Exchange Visa expired and her program year ended, Laura returned to Germany – but not before she promised her host family she’d come back and visit. And before long, she fulfilled that promise.
On a Tuesday night last September, Laura met the Shaughnessys at the Hingham ferry. She missed her second family in America – and she knew she couldn’t go too long without seeing the people who helped shape her into the young adult she is today. Laura was greeted with giant smiles and warm hugs from Sarah, John, Huck and Lucy Shaughnessy. Her trip “home” included lots of reminiscing and local excursions – often times retracing the steps they took on Laura’s first journey to America.
“When we welcomed Laura in 2015, she really fell in love with Huck and Lucy and said she was coming back the day she left us. We’re thrilled to have her here, especially Lucy who wants to show her how she learned the monkey bars and Huck who wants show her the biographies he likes now at the library,” says Sarah Shaughnessy, host mom and Local Childcare Coordinator (LCC) with Cultural Care.
“Reuniting with Laura has already been an incredible experience. It really shows the positive impact a cultural exchange program like this can have on so many families, including ours. We’ll always be thankful for the lasting connection we have with Laura.”
Are you interested in learning more about au pair childcare? Visit us here.