Lisa treats her host family to homemade cupcakes.
Lisa treats her host family to homemade cupcakes.
Photo courtesy of Lisa D.

Adjusting to new foods and eating habits can be overwhelming for newly arrived au pairs. This adjustment period is normal and part of the cultural exchange experience. It’s perfectly normal for au pairs to be nervous when it comes to eating new foods. You may want to ask your host family to take you to the grocery store and explain what and where things are. You can also use this opportunity to show your host family some of your favorite foods. We encourage you to attempt to cook and share dishes from your own culture with your host family.

  • Schedule: What time are meals generally? Do you have flexible meal times on certain days?
  • Meals: Is dinner always a family event? Does your host family expect you to join in? Who does what at mealtime? What dining habits and etiquette does your host family expect from you? What habits are they trying to teach their children?
  • Snacking: Is there anything off limits in the kitchen? Will you be free to help yourself to whatever, whenever?
  • Guests: What are the food policies when you have guests?
  • Who does the grocery shopping and when?
  • Does your host family expect you to cook and how often?
  • Are there any other home food policies or allergies that you should know about?
  • What foods do the children like to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks?

Next: Phone Use »

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation