PBS: Au pairs gain historical and cultural knowledge in U.S.

Nearly 300 au pairs participating in the State Department exchange program traveled to Washington, D.C. last month as part of a course on U.S. culture and history, according to a recent article in PBS.

While au pairs can enroll in any course held by an accredited U.S. college or university to fulfill the academic requirements of the au pair program, many choose “Learning Across America” sponsored by CUNY’s Borough of Manhattan Community College, according to PBS.

The college describes the course, “Learning Across America,” as an opportunity to “explore the history, geography, landmarks, arts, and customs that characterize North America.” Prior to their visit to D.C., students researched the history behind many D.C. memorials, among other topics.

Christina Ernst, who teaches “Learning Across America,” describes the au pairs enrolled in her course as follows:

“[The au pairs] represent a worldly group of young people who are aware and intelligent about international issues, and they know how to think in a different way than American students their age.”

Detailing her motivations to participate in the au pair program, Robyn-Lee Malan, a 26 year old from South Africa, told PBS:

“You can always read about another country, but it’s another thing to experience it.”

Alisa Alaca, an au pair from Germany says she “has become more open-minded about the world” through participating in the au pair program.