Tell us some fun facts about yourself I am your cliché au pair who fell in love with California and never left! Well kind of... I am from Germany and used to be an au pair in Orange County myself eleven years ago. I met my now husband and when my first year was up, I went home to Germany for two years to finish school and then came back on a student visa. I then got my degree at UCLA, got married and had two wonderful children before I started my job as Area Director for apex PROaupair.
Tell us what you do in your job as an Area Director My primary focus as an Area Director is to make sure that the professional au pairs and their host families have the best experience possible. Having been an au pair myself, I try to draw on my personal experience and do everything possible to guide these brave young women and men so they can get the most out of this experience. I am also a parent so I can relate to the host families' needs which makes me a good resource to them.
What is unique about your city? I would definitely say our beautiful beaches and amazing weather makes our area very unique. The SoCal glitz & glam, as well as the ethnic diversity (amazing food!!), are also a bonus which my professional au pairs seem to really enjoy here in Orange County.
What fun events do you do with your professional au pairs? I try to show my professional au pairs the different sides of Orange County. Examples of some of the things that we have done are hiking "Top of The World" in Laguna Beach overlooking the ocean, whale watching, going to a Major League Baseball Game, the movies, and grabbing a bite or a drink at a local restaurant. Two upcoming events I am very excited about are a volunteering event at the Ronald McDonald House where we are going to bake treats for the families who live there and an event at an Escape Room, which will be a great team building activity!
What types of courses can professional au pairs take in your area? We are very lucky to have many community colleges in our area which offer every class imaginable. A professional au pair favorite seems to be the ESL classes, but some professional au pairs also take classes specific to their experience in childcare, or fun classes such as culinary arts. Whatever you might be interested in, there is probably a class for it here in Orange County!
What advice do you have for host families to ensure a successful au pair year? In my personal experience and from what I see in my professional au pairs, welcoming your professional au pair into the family is very important. If she feels like she is a part of the family, the experience is not only better for her, but even more so for the host family and children.
Why do you love being an Area Director? Being an Area Director for apex PROaupair gives me the opportunity to meet young, smart women who have the same background as myself. I love being able to speak my native language with them and share my own experience. Even though my time as an au pair was one of the best times of my life, coming from another country was very challenging. Those challenges taught me a lot about myself, and I hope to help my professional au pairs learn about themselves through the experience.