The Language of the Au Pair Program

The au pair program has its own set of jargon.
Image courtesy of the Steele-McCafferty Family

It’s no secret that the au pair program promotes foreign language learning, but sometimes the common phrases used by au pair agencies can seem like a new language too!

Here’s your quick guide to the most common words and phrases from the au pair program.

Au Pair

A young adult from outside of the U.S. who comes and lives with an American family and cares for their children.

Au Pair Stipend

The money an au pair receives in exchange for their childcare services. The weekly au pair stipend is paid directly to the au pair.


The group of host families and au pairs that a Local Coordinator supports in a local community.

Departure Date

The date an au pair returns to their home country.

DS-2019 Form

The form issued by InterExchange Au Pair USA that allows an au pair to apply for a J-1 au pair visa. The form displays the dates of the au pair’s program duration.

Education Stipend

The money a host family must contribute to their au pair’s required academic courses.

Extension Program

Au pairs may apply for a one-time program extension for an additional 6, 9, or 12 months and can stay with their current host family or find a new one.

Host Family

An American family who welcomes an au pair into their home and treats them as an equal member of the household.

In-Home Orientation

A meeting in the host family’s home between the host family, au pair, and Local Coordinator within two weeks of the au pair’s arrival.


Au Pair USA’s non-profit, parent organization.

J-1 Visa

The cultural exchange visa that au pairs obtain to participate in the U.S au pair program.

Local Coordinator

An Au Pair USA employee who lives in the community and actively supports host families and au pairs throughout their program year.


The application review and interview process through which host families and au pairs get to know each and mutually agree to match together.

Placement Specialist

The ultimate matching expert who helps support host families and au pairs to find each other.

Program Advisor

Educates new host families about the au pair program and helps them get started.

Program Year

The time that an au pair is in the U.S. with their host family.

Regional Supervisor

An additional point of contact who works closely with Local Coordinators to provide support to host families and au pairs.

Joy Lo

Joy is a huge advocate for cultural exchange. She's lived across the U.S. and various countries around the world including the UK, Australia and Indonesia. She has a unique perspective on working and thriving in other cultures. She's been a contributing author on Au Pair USA program.