Meet Au Pair USA’s 2023 Super Au Pair: Fatima!

When Fatima first arrived in the U.S. in August 2022, she had no idea how much the Au Pair program would test her resilience and strength. After two matches with families that were not the right fit in her first year, she wasn’t sure remaining another year in the U.S. as an au pair was the best decision for her. She was nervous and scared to interview again. She contemplated returning home. But, Fatima reminded herself:

I’m not a person who gives up easily.

Then Fatima met Brian and Sarah Bellinkoff. They were a new family with one son, Levi. From the start, their conversations were full of laughter, and Fatima felt an immediate connection. After their second interview, Fatima found herself chatting with her soon-to-be host family more and more. Host mom Sarah extended a match offer, and Fatima happily accepted. In six weeks, they’d officially be living together.

Fatima’s arrival was warm and welcoming. When she arrived in L.A., where the Bellinkoffs live, Brian and Sarah showed her all around. Sarah took her to the library, the farmer’s market, and other local spots in the neighborhood. The Bellinkoffs have continued to include Fatima in their weekend plans, visiting The Bridge museum, the Santa Monica Aquarium, multiple beaches, and even Florida to visit Brian’s family. Fatima has loved meeting the Bellinkoff’s extended family and still talks to Grandma often.

Au pair Fatima with her host parents, host child, and host grandparents.

Cultural exchange hasn’t stopped with Fatima learning about California and its surroundings. As a Jewish family, the Bellinkoffs have introduced Fatima to their culture through Shabbat dinner every Friday and including Fatima in their holiday plans, like celebrating Hanukkah together. Fatima has experienced many firsts with her American host family, like eating one of her now favorite foods: the pastrami sandwich. But she isn’t the only one being introduced to a new culture. The Bellinkoffs have also been exposed to Fatima’s Muslim and South African culture. Fatima often bakes South African dishes for her host family, like malva pudding. Her host mom loves it! Once or twice a week, she also cooks South African dinners, like chicken curry and dumplings.    

“It’s been pretty amazing to be honest.”


Fatima’s host family has been so grateful not only for her delicious meals and warm heart, but also for the support they’ve received in helping to raise their son.

“It does take a village to raise a child. We don’t have a whole village, but we do have Fatima. And for us, that’s enough.”

Brian Bellinkoff

As for Fatima, she’s in no rush to complete her second program year, with six months left to go. Fatima and her host family still have plans to go camping together this spring. After returning to South Africa this summer, Fatima wants to explore France, perhaps as an au pair in Paris. She is also currently working towards obtaining her TOEFL certificate (Teaching Others English as a Foreign Language), and considering becoming an English teacher, maybe in South Korea or Vietnam.

Despite some bumps along the road early in her au pair program year, Fatima says,

(Being an au pair) is an amazing opportunity to see the world and get outside your comfort zone.

Congratulations on being our 2023 Super Au Pair, Fatima!

Marisa Lonic

Marisa is a lover of all things cultural exchange. She and her family have hosted au pairs from Brazil, Germany, Colombia, Spain, and Ecuador. As a mom of four and the founder of Mama Work It, she helps working moms juggle mom life, work life, spouse life, fill in the blank life through her books, courses and coaching programs.