Au pair program opens up the world

Melanie Inzunza is an interviewer and ambassador for Scotia Personnel, a branch of Au Pair in America

Melanie Inzunza is the ambassador for Au Pair in America in Vernon.

Melanie Inzunza is the ambassador for Au Pair in America in Vernon.

Melanie Inzunza is from Vernon, but she met her husband while living in a beach house in Hawaii, all while getting paid to be there.

Inzunza nannied in Hawaii in 2005 while a member of the Au Pair in America program.

“This is a perfect experience for people who aren’t attending university,” said Inzunza.

Eight years later, Inzunza is an interviewer and ambassador for Scotia Personnel, a branch of Au Pair in America.

Au Pair in America is based out of London, and is part of the American Institute of Foreign Study.

Applications are done with Au Pair in America, and then they get sent to Scotia Personnel, the Canadian agency that sets people up with foreign exchanges around the world.

“There is more than just nanny jobs available. People can work in foreign hotels, teach English, look after elders and be camp counsellors for the summer,” said Inzunza

The camp counsellor position runs anywhere between nine and 15 weeks in the summer, but they have been filled for this year.

“It is a great opportunity for people to leave the Okanagan and live in a different part of the world,” said Inzunza.

Au Pair in America provides live-in child care opportunities for people ages 18 to 26 in cities around the world.

The requirements are that applicants must have a full driver’s licence, a minimum of 200 babysitting hours and strong references.

After a lengthy screening process, applicants fly in to meet Inzunza, the only interviewer in B.C.

The process is fast-moving, and nannies can be matched up with families within two weeks after applying.

Once selected, the nannies are flown to New York for three days of training. From the Big Apple, they are flown to their respective locations.

“It only costs the nanny $500, the flights are covered, you get health insurance and a work visa. You even get two weeks paid vacation, plus you get a month to travel across America after your year is completed,” said Inzunza.

Once the applicant is off living abroad, they are part of the Au Pair in America network. There are places in each city the nannies can meet up with other people ion the profession.

“It was honestly the best year of my life. I got to meet so many great people. I am still in touch with other nannies eight years later,” said Inzunza.