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Complaint - Au Pair in America
I would like to register a complaint against Au Pair in America agency. I was a new host mom and they talked me into hosting a girl from Thailand. I know there are girls from this country that are generally very good, I am not saying anything against Thai aupairs! What I want to complain about is the information I received off their website and the placement counselor who worked with me in Stamford CT also gave me the wrong information (or, rather, did not fully disclose 2 main issues I had with my Thai au pair: lack of driving skills and very very poor English!). The agency made me think that there were NO issues with either of these 2 skill sets that I very much needed and told the agency this, several times!
Also, if you look at their information on Thailand, they never say anything about driving skills (a warning should be here, a full disclosure that au pairs from this country rarely get the opportunity to drive, thus their skill set is limited) and their ability to SPEAK (oral skills) English is very poor:
- Thais drive on the left side of the road, so will need practice in the U.S. (MY COMMENTS: IF THIS WAS THE ONLY ISSUE WE HAD WITH THE DRIVING - GERMANS ALSO DRIVE ON THE LEFT SIDE, AND THEY ARE GREAT DRIVERS!)
- The agent in Thailand has each Thai au pair participate in a 10 hour pre-departure driving preparation course at a local driving school. The course consists of daytime driving, driving in suburbs, city and on country roads and driving an automatic vehicle. (WHAT? MY AU PAIR DID NOT HAVE ANY TRAINING OR DRIVING COURSE - THIS AGENCY HAD TO INSTITUTE THIS PRACTICE SINCE THEY RECRUIT SO MANY THAI AU PAIRS AND MANY MANY HOST FAMILIES HAVE BROKEN THEIR MATCH WITH THAI AU PAIRS WHO DO NOT DRIVE!)
- The driver’s license in is available at age 18 and is not difficult to obtain. Approximately half of Thai women obtain a driving license. (THAI AU PAIRS ONLY GET THEIR LICENSE WHEN THEY APPLY TO THE CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM - CHECK THEIR DATE ON THE LICENSE - IT IS PROBABLY A FEW MONTHS OLD!)
- To obtain a license, candidates must pass a written examination and a practical test.
- The International Driving Permit is available.
- Some families are able to provide a car in which to practice. It is uncommon for a young woman to have her own car. (THEY ARE UNDERREPORTING THIS PRACTICE, MOST YOUNG WOMEN DO NOT OWN CARS, AND IF THEIR FAMILY OWNS A CAR, THEY DO NOT DRIVE IT)
- Most cars have automatic transmission.
English Language Skills
- English is compulsory in Thailand. City schools begin at the age of 6, urban schools begin at the age of 12.
- Most of the courses focus on Grammar in writing and comprehension. Schools often have native speakers to teach English conversation courses. (MY COMMENTS: THIS TRANSLATES INTO NATIVE SPEAKERS DO NOT SPEAK GOOD ENGLISH, WHICH IS WHY THAIS DO NOT HAVE GOOD ORAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS - THIS IS DOUBLE TALK AND FOR A NEW FAMILY, THEY WILL NOT KNOW THIS)
Au Pair in America was a huge disappointment - they told me if I wanted to match in the next 6 months my only choice was an au pair from Thailand - they also told me there was no issue with driving or English. They were so wrong.........Host parents beware!