Culture Care Au Pair Agency (former EF)Inhumane and blindly one sided. To avoid at all costs.

I am reviewing this company from the other point if view, that is as a former au pair. Anyone who might have in mind being a au pair, please read carefully. Unfortunately I was an au pair in 2002, when I was only 18 and when it was called E.F. au pair. I was supposed to spend a year in Pennsylvania.
This company literally ships au pairs from Europe to America as if they are starved 3rd world-ers. Before you leave, their brochures and informative material let you think that you actually kind of matter in the whole experience. Let me tell you how it really is.
As soon as you arrive, they drop you in some misused college, which falls apart and has cockroaches infesting it. After some days of "training", you are sent over to the host families all over the states.
Now, I reckon that at the time I was an au pair I was young, I could have done things a lot better and that probably that sort of experience wasn't ideal for me - but most of those families couldn't care less about bringing in cultural diversity, they just want a very cheap live-in baby sitter, who'll work 6 hours a day for peanut money. Fine with the money, you go in as an aupair, but this is to explain you how open to multiculturalism most of them truly are (I say MOST, I had the impression that some of the other families were actually good people). If you have problems, there is a local contact from the company. In my case, it was a shady person by the name of Terry Bell.
Anyhow, this person was siding 100% with the host family (of course, they were the paying customers), she seemed to be good friends with the HM, and I have been accused of the most absurd things on a family's whim. Such as: "compromising "the family's email account (they were using the previous au pair's email as their own! I had logged out once in order to send an email myself, and obviously, they did not know the password to get back in). But any rational discussion was impossible, they seemed all utterly tech ignorant (including ms. Bell) and didn't get it, so I was "grounded" from the internet and sent to use the internet in the library when they could take me themselves (I was supposed to be using the car, but I was never allowed to move around by myself). I was polite and sincere through all that, I have to say, and to this day I don't know how I made it through. But thankfully, I got back home asap.
Ms. Bell only fully showed her true colors when I was "transitioning" and had to stay at her place. She dropped the circumstance half smile she had kept when she was around the HF, and was just plain mean. She kept us "transitioners" in a dusty storage room, with a cat and a couch to sleep on for a week. She ignored my presence those few time I was walking out of there to go to the restroom. She told me to grab food from the kitchen, but considering that they always ordered and that all they had was toast bread and soda, this is all I ate during all those days. I was starving. Of course, I was very young, far from home and in a very awkward situation where everybody seemed to treat me like a worthless immigrant (and I come from a quite important family in my country) ... honestly, I didn't have the courage to even ask for food! When I finally had my ticket back home, and I had to talk to my family to share the details, she forbad me to send an email or make a 1 second call to tell them the number to call me on. I had to dictate letter per letter the email in my language to her 15 year old daughter. Ridiculous and outrageous. The whole experience was inhuman and humiliating.
Thinking that all those american parents who send their 21 year old to drink in Europe, and expect all the world to revolve around them. And thinking like younger Europeans are treated over there, makes me sick to my stomach. My experience with EF aupairs (now Culture Care) was a real and true nightmare, I advise aspiring aupairs NOT to use them, and now that I am in my 30s and am able to look back with a mature look, I think that person should be sued. I am NOT even interested in what their PRs are going to replicate, it's going to be mere words vs facts.

Jan 06, 2015

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