2017 Winners
November Special

 

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We are excited to announce the winners of our 2017 Host Family of the Year Contest!

Each year Au Pair International proudly holds the Host Family of the Year Contest to honor one host family who has been nominated by their au pair, for being an exemplary participant in this cultural exchange program. Past winners are families who have not only provided an example of American culture to their au pair, but have gone above and beyond to make them feel comfortable and just like a member of their family. This year we had many great candidates, and after much deliberation, we ended up having a tie for first place! Congratulations to the Kwok family and the Waldron-Yoshimura family for being this year’s Host Families of the Year! Please visit the links below to read the nomination letters for all of our winners.  

 

Congratulations to BOTH the Kwok Family and the Waldron-Yoshimura Family, Winners of our 2017 Host Family of the Year!

 

The Kwok Family of California - Nominated by Natsuki O. of Japan

KwokNatsuki O. of Japan nominated her host family, the Kwoks, because from the moment they selected her as their au pair they welcomed her as a member of their family. Not only did they have a welcome party for her, but their oldest child made a video to let her know he had picked her as their new au pair and was so excited to have her in their lives. The Kwoks included Natsuki in traditional American activities like Halloween and Superbowl parties. They also included her in family trips to Las Vegas, Hawaii, and San Francisco. She describes them as a caring family who always made her feel safe. Thank you to the Kwok family for being an exceptional host family and congratulations for tying for first place in this year’s contest! 

Kwok Read More


The Waldron-Yoshimura Family of California - Nominated by Ai S. of Japan

Waldron YoshimuraOur other first place winner, the Waldron-Yoshimura family, was nominated by their au pair, Ai S. from Japan. She knew she would fit in well with her host family as they have 5 children and several pets, and she too, comes from a big family. Ai appreciates how her host parents always encourage the children to pursue activities that interest them. She also admires that they make special one-on-one time for each child, despite their busy schedules. The Waldron-Yoshimura family immersed her in American holidays which they spent with other family members and friends. Ai chose to spend a second year as their au pair because she felt very comfortable with them, because of their kindness and she was invested in seeing the children develop and grow personally. Congratulations Waldron-Yoshimura family and thank you for making Ai’s American experience so wonderful! 

Waldron Yoshimura Read More


Congratulations to the following 3 host families, who tied for second place!

  

The Chalmers Family in California - Nominated by Louis D. of France  

ChalmersLouis D. of France nominated the Chalmers family to be Host Family of the Year because from the very start they welcomed him into their home and worked with him to overcome the language barrier. They also accepted him for who he was and involved him in activities that matched his tastes. He even had the opportunity to take his host children to Disneyland and Universal Studios! On their Christmas vacation, they traveled with him to France so he had the chance to share his culture with them. He is thankful for having been hosted by the Chalmers because they have instilled confidence in him. The Chalmers family tied for second place in this year’s contest. Thank you, Chalmers family, for providing Louis with a rewarding cultural experience! 

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The Cole-Fulcomer Family in Colorado - Nominated by Rebecca P. of Germany

BalloonsThe Cole-Fulcomer family also tied for second place in this year’s contest because their au pair, Rebecca P. from Germany, explained that to her, they aren’t even a host family anymore, but a second family. From the beginning, they welcomed her with open arms and made her feel at home. She got to experience a variety of sports games with them including a Rockies’ game and a Colorado Buffalos’ game. They also included her in family outings like hiking in the Rocky Mountains and taking a family vacation to Hawaii. One of the many great experiences an au pair can have while in the U.S., is taking an API sponsored au pair trip, and the Cole-Fulcomer family not only gave Rebecca time off for the trip, they helped her make travel arrangements. Congratulations Cole-Fulcomer family and thank you for your commitment to this cultural exchange program!

Cole Fulcomer Read More


The Gould Family in California - Nominated by Silvana D. of Brazil

GouldWe had so many wonderful nominations for Host Family of the Year that we simply couldn’t choose just one! In addition to our two first place winners, we had a three-way tie for second place! The Gould family also tied for second place, based on the nomination essay submitted by their au pair, Silvana D. of Brazil. Silvana said that from day one, the Goulds have shown her how much they love and care about her, and how important she is in their lives. Despite how nerve-wracking it can be welcoming a stranger into your home, they welcomed her with opens arms and have always respected her as a person and a professional. She is grateful to have become a part of their family because they are kind, and she has learned very much from them. Thank you, Gould family, for making Silvana’s au pair experience so memorable!

Gould Read More

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The Kwok Family of California - Nominated by Natsuki O. of Japan 

Hello aupair family! I'd like to nominate my host family for this contest.

My host family is two parents and four boys.They are considerate, bright, fun, cooperative and happy family.They always saids“Do not GAMAN(*endure), do not hesitate to ask any questions or anything.

First of all, when my family first chose me as a pair, the first son made a nice movie and let me know that I chose me. 

First, when my host family selected me as their au pair, the eldest son created a video for me in which he said they selected me. On the first weekend that I arrived in America, they invited their good friends and their neighbors and had a welcome party for me. In the neighborhood there are many families with children the same age as my au pair family, so there are many opportunities to play. I felt relieved because I then knew that the people around my host family are also kind and warm. I looked forward to my coming au pair life.

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The invite me to many neighborhood events like Halloween events, Superbowl parties, and pool parties. In Japan I wasn't very familiar with my neighbors, and I've had the American experience that I imagined, so this has been a valuable experience. Also, my au pair family has invited me on family trips many times. We went to Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Hawaii, San Francisco. We are going to camp in this summer. I had a Thanksgiving dinner with my au pair family's relative and we ate home made turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, and on Christmas the family also prepared many presents and we relaxed by playing games together and talking. During New Year, my host family's relatives cooked Japanese and Chinese New Year's dinner, and I could enjoy several ways of celebrating. I felt like my host family is making an effort to let me have many experiences. My host family also tells me lots of useful information and tells me their stories.

Next, compared to Japan, America has many more areas that are dangerous. My host family realizes this so they always worry about me because I do not really know about the dangers. When I go on vacation, go to downtown, or when I will arrive home late, they always ask if I'm OK and tell me that if anything happens I should phone them right away. Because I was born and raised in a safe an peaceful place, I always get a little scared and surprised when I hear any scary news. Compared to when I first came to America, I now feel much more that I have to do what I can to protect myself.

Because my host family has greeted and treated me as a real member of their family like this, not only did my understanding of American culture change, but my own way of thinking changed as well. I've felt that my host family is always working hard to make me happy and comfortable, so my own desire to work hard is bubbling to the surface.

Thank you for your consideration.

 

 

 

 

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The Chalmers Family of California - Nominated by Louis D. of France 

Hello I wish nominated my host family for the family of the year because I estimate that they deserves it and to try through my words to explain you why it is important that this family gains this year. 

Since my arrival on August 13th, 2016 the family did not stop making me discover her traditions and her life. 

First of all my history started when I arrived and that one week after I have been to the burning man. which comes from France sounds a shock of culture, but the family always was there, to help me through the barrier of the language which at the beginning was not easy and also the rules which to change completely for me. 

Return of Burning Man the life in California with the family was much more traditional for me because I had a planning already ready for the month, this planning is very clear and especially I must say well that the family is rather accommodating with my days off. 

The family knowing very clearly since the beginning of my contract my sexual orientation so they wanted to show me one weekend at Disney the day of the “gay day disney”, but also a weekend of dance, since they organizes one weekend a year with her group of dance beside Mendocino. 

Chalmers Photos 

I must say that with this family I do not have really the time to annoy me because each new experiment is completely different one from the other.  When I discover USA or when I show them my country at the time of Christmas and the new year, I was pleased to show them my country and my family. 

With this family I must say that the adventures and the experiment for an au pair can have, are followed but do not resemble itself I will also speak about confidence because I have more the feeling I’m with my family than with my boss. 

When I speak about confidence I speak about I could leave several times in weekend with the little boy who im in charge, at UniversalStudios for example, I find that this weekend with the boy and seem very important to create of the links with him. this little boy is very wise and very nice. I must say that we get along very well I must say that the family entirely trust me I succeeded in convincing the family to let me leave with him for three weeks to France only him and me. 

We spent three weeks together marvellous I do not know which family would have let leave them boy to the opposite of the world, his child six years old with the au pair of which the family has known for only nine months 

To let as much adventure realize for his child and the au pair that as much confidence creates, this family is inevitably wonderfull and especially the best, I will not give up I would not change of anything, my host family, is for all these reasons that I decided to remain a second year with them.

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The Waldron-Yoshimura Family of California - Nominated by Ai S. of Japan 

The best host family that I have ever known is the Waldron-Yoshimura family. I was born and raised in a big family, which consists of four children, including me. But this family is much bigger than mine. How big are they? They have five children, two cats, five chickens, and they also feed birds living in nature, too. The oldest child is named Emi. She is eight years old now and she likes to try almost anything with full curiosity. Also, she always helps me. Gia is the second child and she is turning seven years old in July. She is amazingly kind to everyone and takes great care of her younger siblings and her cousins. Gunnar is the only boy in this family and he is four years old. He adds his bright and colorful energy into this family and he also brings everyone joy. He likes to help cook, and loves Batman, Spiderman, and Pokemon as well. Rory and Shea are fraternal twins and they are two years old. They are always happy, positive and trying everything in their own ways. When they take care of me, they become like a real mother for me. Additionally, the cats are good additions to this family because the cats make the children happy, even if someone is crying. The children always stop crying when the cats are near. Moreover, the people who are coordinating and leading this big family to their fullest potential are Peter and Nicky. Thus, I would like to share how lucky I am to live and work as part of this family.

Polite but Positive, Energetic and Active!

One of the best qualities is how Peter and Nicky encourage the children to participate in various extra curriculum activities. Nicky and Peter give the children many opportunities to try new things, for example, soccer, swimming, kung-fu, ballet. They coordinate field trips, like watching baseball games or other fun things. These opportunities enrich children physically, mentally and developmentally. Furthermore, another thing that children cherish is “Your own time”, which is when each child spends quality time and plays with his/her parents. Children love their own parents the best. I understand because I also experienced this feeling during my childhood. Having a bigger family means the parents can devote less time to spend one-on-one with individual children, technically. However, if the parents spend even 10-15 minutes with each child one-on-one, they will be satisfied and nurture their attachment and relationships, like this family. Also, Nicky and Peter enjoy every seasonal American holiday. She likes decorating the entire house, so the children and I recognize what holiday is today or this month. He likes showing how to enjoy this holiday with a bunch of children. They celebrate these holidays, not only with their own family, but also they get together with other families, neighbors, and relatives. In addition, Peter and Nicky discipline their children well. So, all of five children are polite even the two-year-old girls, Rory and Shea. For example, I need to sign out when I pick them up from preschool. Rory and Shea always pass a pen not only to me, but to other parents. No one taught them this behavior, but they observe what people do, then they help other people nicely.

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Welcome to Everyone!

The Waldron-Yoshimura family is really open-minded. During my first year, Peter and Nicky invited me to celebrate every holiday, for instance, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas. I could enjoy the American holidays while spending time with their grandparents and both sides of their relatives. I had fun talking, relaxing, and eating delicious meals with them. This is why, in my second year, I always feel comfortable and I would like to introduce this family to my friends and other Au Pairs. I have even invited four friends to the house, and four more friends, including my siblings, have talked to the family on the phone. One of my best friends, named Mari, decided to visit this family from Japan. This was the biggest challenge for her entire life because she is an electric-wheelchair user and she needs help doing most of the everyday activities. Just before she came here, Peter and Nicky had minimum worries about her appearance with shorten limbs. All of the family was really welcoming and supportive for Mari too. The children liked her because after she went back to Japan, Gunnar asked me “Where is your little friend?” for a while. I am grateful that I can share this happy life with my friends and vice versa.

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The Benefit of Living with the Same Family!

Some Au Pairs want to work with another family in their second year and I am not of the same opinion. I would like to share the benefit that I have spent having the same family. The biggest reason is that I feel happy when I see children’s personal growth and developmental events, such as witnessing them lose their baby teeth. Then, I learned American cultural tradition, such as the tooth fairy story together. Almost two years ago, when I met this family, the twins were only seven months old. Now, they reached Gunnar’s age when I met him, two and a half years old. At that time, he occasionally called me and came into my room in the early morning. Each time, he was given words of caution by his parents, such as “this is her private room,” especially when I was off. One and a half years later, right now, Gunnar explains this rule to his younger sisters when Rory and Shea try to come into my room. I am grateful that the children visit my room, and more than happy when I see they are growing.

This is all about the best host family, the Waldron-Yoshimura family, that I would like to recommend for this nomination. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

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The Cole-Fulcomer Family of Colorado - Nominated by Rebecca P. of Germany 

My name is Rebecca and I would like to nominate my host family, because of a million different reasons.

Before anything else, my host family is amazing and it actually doesn’t feel like there just my host family anymore. After one year living together there feel like my second family, like I know them already my whole live. I hope that feeling stays even when I will be back in Germany, but I think it will never fade.

As I prepared everything to come to the USA I was really excited and a bit scared what it will be like to live so far from home. I knew I would like my host family, I already figured that out when we were skyping, but still…

When I look back there was no reason for that. There welcomed me with open arms and it felt like home since the first day.

My start here began, that there lost my luggage somewhere in Spain, so that I had no clothes or anything else, but after I told my host mom, she knew what to do and handled all the organization, so that I could get my things back as soon as possible.

There made me a cute welcome sign and I loved the room there prepared for me. 

At my first day here I met the grandparents and we went to a Rockies baseball game. I never went to a game before and it was a cool experience, my first American experience followed by many others.

My host family made it possible that I could experience the America I dreamed of. Baseball, Football with amazing seats and a real buffalo running around (Colorado Buffaloes), Christmas with stockings, Christmas elf’s, and family dinners, hiking in the Rocky Mountains and a family vacation in Hawaii.  I still can’t believe we really did this. In my first month there took me to Aspen to a balloon festival, so that we all could get to know each other better. 

There did let me take time of so that I could go on Au Pair trips and see as many different states of the USA as possible. (One of my goals why I became an Au Pair) My host dad was so nice to drive me, no matter what time or what weather, to the airport. If 3 a.m. or with snow and fog on the street, it didn’t matter to him. And I know nobody else, except my own dad who would do that for me. 

My host mom helped me whenever I had a question. She helped me with booking flights or hostels, or whenever I had a problem.

I also improved my English skills a lot in my time here. My whole host family made me feel confortable speaking English, even when I was afraid to do something wrong. There encouraged me and always helped me when I was looking for a word or tried to explain something, even when it sometimes ended up in charade. 

Now to my amazing, cute, smart, beautiful host children. I like to call them my 2 little sisters, even when theyre more than that. What can I say? My little Arabella turned one right after I arrived. I was here for her first birthday party. I was here when she learned walking, when she took her first step and when she spoke her first word. I have to say for me her first word was “Baum” the German word for tree. She probably didn’t know what it means, but I like the imagination that is was a German word, because in my time here I tried to teach her and my host family some German.

I have a really strong connection to both of my girls and because I am not only an employee here, but a real part of the family, it really feels like this. After work we eat together, play together, go outside or watch a movie and at the weekends we all do fun stuff as a family. That’s what’s so amazing about them. There treated me as a family member and I know, that’s how the Au Pair program is supposed to be, but sadly I know a lot of stories where its not close to that what I have experienced. I know my host family trusts me and I trust them, and when we have a problem we can talk about it until it’s gone. Naturally there are problems, but that’s family and the important thing is that you can talk about it and that your opinion is heard. 

After a couple months my host family told me that there planning to go to France in the summer to visit my host moms parents. And then they made the suggestion, if it wouldn’t be cool to go and visit my family in Germany too.

I always wanted my family to meet them and them to meet my family, because I told them both a lot about each other and they’re both my family. So it was set and we really did it. It was unbelievable to have my American family in my house and to show them my city and how I normally live. My brother made a connection with my host kids right away and my dad and my mom who normally never speak English, practiced a lot before we came and actually had a lot of conversations, even when I had to translate here and there. We all had so much fun together that the plan is set to go to the US next summer, so that my German family, who never went to America before can see where I lived for one year and to see my American family again.

When I think about leaving, I already miss them and I wish I could take all of them in my suitcase back to Germany. But even when it will be hard I know I always can come back. 

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