Runner-Up for the Professional Au Pair of the Year Award

It can be hard to find just one, of all the exceptional women and men in our program, to become our PROaupair of the Year! We want to highlight all of those deserving of the award, and take a moment to appreciate their professionalism and dedication to their host families. 

Meet Preschool & Kindergarten Teacher Katharina, who graduated from Bethel Institution in Bielefeld, Germany before deciding to join the A.P.E.X. Social program! She hoped to gain further professional development, and experience a cultural exchange program like no other! Katharina's Host Mom of the last two years wanted to highlight why bringing Katharina into their lives has been such a rewarding and fulfilling experience for her family:

Dear PROaupair,

We would like to nominate our au pair, Katharina (Kat)  for Au Pair of the Year!!! She more than deserves this award!  There’s soooooooo many reasons why we love Kat, but if we had to narrow it down, here’s our Top 10 Reasons Katharina  deserves Au Pair of the Year!

Patience. Kat has the most incredible amounts of patience with our three children (7 yrs, 5 yrs and 8 months)! When our 5-year-old melts down, Kat always gets down at her level and speaks to her in a calm voice. She’s honestly got a better handle on her than we do as parents!


Embracing change. When Kat arrived in our home in August of 2016, it was her first time in the USA. She immediately embraced life here in Portland, Oregon making friends with locals and other au pairs. Kat joined a local choir group where she rehearses weekly and performs in concerts. She learned to snowboard for the first time and now proactively goes to the mountain on her days off to hone her passion. She truly has built a life for herself here!

Flexibility. Kat has really shown that she can “go with the flow”. While Kat has somewhat of a predictable weekly schedule, she’s proven to be able to “zig and zag” based on our family’s needs. We couldn’t be more grateful for her flexibility, a key ingredient to what we believe makes things work so well in our family.

Proactive nature.  It’s been amazing to see Kat develop more confidence as the months have gone by. She truly knows what our kids need, whether that’s a proper meal, taking them outside to “get their wiggles out” or finding moments for 1:1 time. She even proactively thinks ahead about dinner and doesn’t hesitate to go to the store and prepare meals (she is officially the “soup master” in our home…we love her minestrone soup made with a special German ingredient)!  

Gratitude. We truly feel that Kat enjoys the times we spend together as a family and that she’s grateful for the opportunities her time in the states has afforded her. Whether she’s exploring a new city on her weekend off, joining us for a family vacation in CA, learning to paddleboard or getting to experience our Jewish culture through family gatherings and food, Kat genuinely seems grateful for her life here in Portland. And, we couldn’t be more grateful to have her in our life!

Up for any challenge. When Kat arrived in our family, we were a family of four. But a few months in, we discovered that baby #3 was on the way! Kat didn’t hesitate for a second. She extended her year with us and was up for the challenge of caring for three kiddos! However, with a high-risk pregnancy, months of bedrest and a pre-term birth, the journey to growing our family was filled with ups and downs. Kat was there, by our side, for every step of the way. She spent weeks with me in the NICU learning to care for our preemie. Then, when were able to bring him home, she quickly figured out how to care for an infant with special needs, while managing two other high-energy kids! Without Kat, we couldn’t have gotten through this year. And, with gratitude, our little miracle baby is healthy and growing thanks in part to Kat’s loving care.

Reads the room. One of the skills that we think makes for a winning au pair is the ability to “read the room.” Kat has truly mastered this skill. For example, she knows when to step in or pull back in a family situation. She knows when it’s time to take the kids out to run around outside because they need to get rid of their energy. Or, she knows when they need “downtime” and instead organizes an art project in the kitchen. Her ability to know what we all need, in the moment, is a true gift!

Openness. Kat is an open book. She wears her heart on her sleeve (something we tease her about often as the girl can cry on-demand)! In all seriousness, we love and appreciate how open Kat is with us as host parents. Often, we will find ourselves hanging out in the kitchen after the kids are in bed chatting about the day or who she’s meeting up with. She doesn’t hesitate to tell us about friends she’s met or activities she wants to do. We hope that our own kids, as they grow up, are as open and willing to share with us one day!

Resourceful. Kat is the queen of googling! She is incredibly resourceful at finding out what’s going on in our local community for kids or adults. She doesn’t wait to be told what to do or where to go. She jumps in and does the research for herself! Go Kat! 

Kat has a love for our kids and family that you can really feel. She recently went back to Germany for the Christmas break and in the days leading up to her departure, you could sense that she was really going to miss them! We love how much Kat loves our kids and her life here in America. We love you Kat!


There's nothing which makes PROaupair more happy than seeing a warm and loving family paired with an outstanding professional au pair! Thank you to both Host Mom Janine and PROaupair Katharina for all you have contributed to making your time together a memorable experience!