Many people wonder why volunteering is important- to Americans, or just in general. Your Local Area Representative (LAR) might even schedule volunteering as a cultural event.
In fact, volunteering is such an integrated part of American culture, many Au Pairs name volunteer work as an important aspect of their year, because it offers insight into U.S. culture.
Why Volunteering is Important to Americans & U.S. Culture
Volunteering is, in fact, a reflection of the spirit of the USA.
This is why volunteering is so important to Americans, even if it’s not obvious on the surface. Americans have a strong sense of culture and unity. We also have a strong history of volunteerism that stems from the first U.S. colonies; working together was essential for survival.
Service is a value that’s closely-tied to patriotism in the USA. Many Americans value the ability to help others improve the world around them. On social media, you’ll see hundreds of trending “pay it forward” videos. People get a sense of self-satisfaction from the smallest actions, such as paying for the next person’s food in a drive-through.
There are many health benefits to volunteering, including counteracting stress, combatting depression, and improving self-confidence and sense of purpose.
So, not only is volunteering an important way to help others, but it’s also good for the volunteers!
Au Pairs Get Cultural Exposure from Volunteer Work
It’s easy to see why volunteering is important during an Au Pair’s stay. By participating as a volunteer, Au Pairs learn a core American value, which greatly contributes to their understanding of U.S. culture.
Additionally, volunteer work supports successful placements. Because volunteering contributes to well-being and makes people feel good, it can also have a positive effect on the relationship between Au Pair and Host Family.
1. Sense of community
People get a sense of community from volunteering. By nature, volunteer work means that you’ll meet other people, learn about the situations of those in need, and work together as a community to help others.
This sense of community and belonging are vital to a successful Au Pair year. When you feel you belong somewhere, you’re less likely to become homesick.
2. Work ethic & sense of purpose
Volunteer work imparts a strong work ethic and sense of proactiveness. This type of work ethic can enhance an Au Pair’s work and improve the relationship between Au Pair and Host Family.
Additionally, many people get a sense of purpose from volunteering. Having a sense of purpose is essential to a successful year.
3. Experiencing more of the USA
Rather than just experiencing the Host Family’s home, the surrounding area, and a sampling of tourist locations, volunteering exposes Au Pairs to a wide variety of different types of people with different needs.
This type of exposure is important to gain a true understanding of life in the USA. It also helps Au Pairs understand the current issues facing U.S. society, and how Americans respond to those issues.
4. Bonding with other volunteers
In addition to a larger sense of community, volunteers have a common purpose. This can lead to long-lasting friendships. By volunteering with your Host Parents or other Au Pairs, you can enhance your friendship.
Volunteering is also a great way to make new friends. If you live in an area with very few Au Pairs, or if you’re not sure where to start making new friends, volunteer work might be the solution you need.
5. Bonus points for your resume
You may learn a new skill as a volunteer. And who knows? You might decide you want to pursue something new because you like it so much.
The skills you learn while volunteering is another big reason why volunteering is important. Plus, it looks great on your resume, especially if it’s relevant to your field of work or study. Think about ways you can volunteer in areas that contribute to your future career path.
Leaders of volunteer organizations also make great references. If you do enough work with a single organization, they might even be willing to write you a letter of recommendation for a future job.
Au Pairs Say Volunteering Has Made an Impact on Their Year…
Many Au Pair clusters get together to do volunteer work. At first glance, a volunteer activity may not seem like a cultural event, but it’s actually an important part of the Au Pair’s experience in the USA.
Au Pairs agree that volunteering is important and invaluable. Here’s what our Au Pairs have said about the significance of volunteering together:
“I was so excited to meet new people and spend time with them. It also was a great opportunity for me to find new friends.” – Yuliia, Ukraine
“I was a volunteer at the school for the deaf. From there I learned that every child is a unique angel.” – Ophelia, China
“For most of us, the only motivation was to do something different and help someone else, but at the end of that day, I realized that being a volunteer is so much more than that… It’s unbelievable how you give a little bit of your time to others, and they can give you so much energy and so much happiness.” – Monica, Colombia
Volunteers can teach families about the Au Pair program, too!
By volunteering with your LAR, you are representing Go Au Pair. You have the opportunity to help spread the word about this life-changing program!
Many parents learn about the Au Pair program at volunteer events. One mom said, “I had never realized how skillful and competent these young women are with kids, on the one hand; and playful and cheerful on the other.”