When Jesarela, a 26-year-old English teacher from Mexico, heard about the au pair program, she didn’t hesitate to apply. A program that encompassed taking care of kids, studying, sharing cultures, and travel? It seemed to check all the boxes she was looking for and included two things she loved most: kids and travel. Jesarela soon matched with her host family, where she’d be living in New York and taking care of 10-year-old twin boys.
Back in Mexico, Jesarela would spend most of her weekends hiking or walking outdoors, hanging out with her friends and always having a family get-together each Sunday where she’d participate in cooking, playing games and talking with her relatives. Now she dedicates her weekends to exploring her new city, traveling around the U.S., visiting famous landmarks and making new friends from all over the globe. She’s even taken up some new hobbies like joining a reading club, journaling, and going to the gym. Even though she misses her family and favorite comfort foods like tacos, burritos, carne asada, and tamales, she has grown to love pasta, pizza, bagels, croissants, and sushi here in the States.
We asked Jesarela what she thought were the main cultural differences between Mexico and the U.S., and she said,
“In Mexico we are very close to each other, warm and friendly people. Here in the U.S. people are very friendly, but not as much showing or expressing love as I’m used to in my home country and with my family.”
Jesarela also noted not seeing your family for a long time is probably the hardest part of being an au pair in the USA, although she loves her American host family and has embraced them as her own.
Jesarela loves sharing Mexican traditions, history, lifestyle and cooking with her host family. The family will often pick up Mexican ingredients for her so she can cook some of her favorite comfort foods from home. Jesarela also created a day called “only Spanish”, which happens every Friday. On those days, she and her host kids try to speak Spanish only. “It’s super funny and enjoyable”, she says.
In her local community, Jesarela loves taking her new friends from other cultures to Mexican restaurants and events related to Mexico or Mexican traditions. She also loves comparing languages and holiday traditions with her au pair friends from all over the globe. It’s equally important to Jesarela to teach others about Mexico as it is to learn about other parts of the world during her cultural exchange year in the U.S.
Jesarela arrived in July 2022 and is already thinking about extending her stay in the U.S. What makes her love being an au pair the most?
“That I feel part of the family, like the big sister. The boys are very used to me and I’m used to them. And we’re always exchanging traditions and festivities.”
If you’re looking to add a “big sister” role model to your family, Jesarela is a prime example of how family oriented and warm-hearted Mexican au pairs often are. With a strong familial bond, proud cultural background, and open-mindedness to learn about new cultures and traditions, hosting a Mexican au pair could be the right fit for your family! Get started finding your next au pair by applying for free!