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What Donald Trump means for the Au Pair in America Programme

What Donald Trump means for the Au Pair in America Programme

Author -  Shelby Cooper

There’s no debating that Donald Trump being elected as the future President of the United States has shocked the world. 

The result has already raised concerns from some New Zealanders over participating in exchange programmes in the USA in the near future. In 2015, Trump vowed to terminate the J1 visa, the category type which encompasses the au pair visa.

A few Kiwi girls who had previously been eager to spend one year as an au pair, have raised concerns about the country becoming a “hostile environment” with Trump as president. Some who were looking at travelling to the USA are now claiming on social media that they wouldn’t go near the country within the next four years.

Less than 48 hours after the election, it would seem easier to shy away from going to the USA but we hope kiwis are even more motivated than ever to share our culture, instead of being afraid to go and experience “the real” USA. By boycotting America, it is just encouraging xenophobia. New Zealand, you’re better than that, and we accept and share the challenge with you.

For the past 30 years, thousands of Americans every year have been opening their homes to au pairs from all different cultures, backgrounds and nationalities. These au pairs have been helping raise the future generation of the United States of America.

And yes, the families are all very well screened. Au pairs also have 24-7 full back up and local support.

Rebecca Spijkmerman, a New Zealand returned Au Pair in America participant recalls going into a school in Maryland and seeing a painting of a map of the world - but New Zealand wasn’t on it. When she questioned it, one of the children told her that New Zealand was part of Australia. She helped rectify the map.

Whenever Spijkerman went into the capital she stated that she was “warmly greeted by anyone I crossed paths with, they love our accent and wanted to know all they could about New Zealand.”

“To be an Au Pair is a opportunity to bring cultures together, both can learn from each other.

The kids get the chance to learn about the world and country's through first hand experience and not through a text book or the Internet.” - Spijkerman.

Today Georgia Culling, who is a kiwi Au Pair in America, said “I’m currently in New England and for the majority up here people are gutted but it hasn't had any affect on my travel. I haven't been able to see how it is in Colorado but I can promise you that it would have no affect on life or safety there and I would bet that the same could be said for the other progressive democratic states.”

We work hard as a company to promote cultural exchange to families, au pairs and congress with full time lobbyists - to ensure the future of the cultural exchange visas.

Linda James, Director of Au Pair in America, UK, said today “The Department of State cultural exchange programs offer a safe, legal way for people around the world to learn about America and the Au Pair Program has many strong supporters throughout the US and its government. Representatives of our program will continue to work with these Senators and Representatives to advocate for the continued growth of the Exchange Visitor Program and other exchanges. We at Au Pair in America will continue to welcome au pairs - and American families will continue to open their homes and hearts to your au pairs.”

Now it’s time to wait and see what Donald Trump can actually do for America and what “change” he will actually make. We can’t judge his ability to lead the country when he hasn’t taken presidency yet. After all everyone, including Trump, want the best for America.

The international exchange programme still receives support from Congress. At this time, we don’t envisage any changes which would jeopardise the J1 au pair visa.

America, our Kiwi Au Pairs will continue to be an influence for future generations to come.

To anyone who is thinking of participating in the Au Pair in America programme, contact info@nanniesabroad.co.nz 


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