Written by Dayna Charalambous, CHI Au Pair
Being a seasoned Host Mom and a Local CHI Coordinator, Christina Busso can probably write a short story novel. Christina has been a coordinator with CHI Au Pair for over six years. She has also been a host mom to 13 Au Pairs (and counting!). Christina and her children still keep in touch with seven of the former Au Pairs; in fact, three of them have even come back to visit!
So, we asked Christina what’s it like to be a Host Mom and Local Coordinator.
Instantly, Christina laughed and explained that being in the dual role has really helped her and her family have an open mind when it comes to different cultures, the au pair adjustment period and understand that no two Au Pairs are alike.
Christina has two children — her son Alex, who is 11 and her daughter, Caroline, who is 7 (she would correct you to say 7 and a half!). When the children were younger, Christina’s main focus was to find an Au Pair who was caring and attentive. As the children progressed into the roaring 2’s and 3’s, adolescence and pre-teen, her family’s needs changed. Christina notes this to be a very important factor when considering an au pair, “As the children grew older, driving has become more important and it is because of the Au pair Program that the children have been able to engage in so many activities after school. From time to time they have taken tennis and golf lessons, swimming lessons, different clubs (science, art, etc.) after school. We have also been able to maintain weekly music lessons and boy and girl scout programs. Without an Au Pair, I can’t imagine how we could have done that.”
Speaking as a Local Coordinator, Christina mentioned how much her children have enjoyed meeting other Au Pairs during the cluster meetings over the years. She welcomes her children to participate in some of the monthly cluster meetings. Christina also adds, “Sometimes we open our home to an Au Pair in a rematch. Our guest room sometimes turns into a bed and breakfast! And honestly, we don’t mind…”
It is always interesting to ask, how does one become a coordinator? The Busso family were no strangers to the Au Pair program. Christina and her husband participated in a similar cultural exchange program and had such a wonderful experience, they wanted to pay it back two-fold! Being a host mom and coordinator is an experience for sure!