Nonto and her Community Counselor, Diane Wallace

and thank you Nontobeko (“Nonto”) for submitting your essay on what your cultural exchange experience has meant to you.  Nonto’s essay is an inspiration to all of us who are fearful of taking that next step into the unknown.  I’ve always said that the au pairs are the bravest group of young women I’ve met; they cross oceans to learn a new culture as well as share their culture with us.  Here is what Nonto had to say about her time in the U.S. as an au pair with Au Pair in America.

Cultural Exchange Experience


My name is Nontobeko, known as Nonto. I am 21 years old and I originally come fromSouth Africa.

I came toAmericain September 2010 and after an amazing year I decided to extend for another year with the same family.


Leaving home at the age of 19 was scary! But I was up for the adventure.

Being an au pair was a great opportunity to find myself.. To truly know who Nonto is.

I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had not taken this opportunity offered by Au Pair in America.


“When one leaves their common ground, they discover who they really are”

This is a quote I read and personalized.


I completed senior year in 2009. All my friends where applying for college and I was putting together my portfolio.

I was applying for the experience of my life!

My dad wasn’t too keen on the idea that I would be thousands of miles away, “all by myself.”

Well I just told him to have faith in what he has taught me and since he can’t reach me he can always say a prayer for me and that will definitely cross the ocean.

Just like a soccer coach who spends so much time teaching the  team skills, strategies and the game itself, has faith in what he has taught them when he sends them out into the field for a soccer match/game! Their true skills and talent will show themselves in that open field full of challenges and opportunities.


Being inAmericahas taught me that it’s okay to be different, opinionated (in a respectful way though) and proud.

To be proud of your country irregardless of the issues or problems it has.


This has helped me look at my country in a different way. Today I can truly stand and say that “ I am proudly South African!”


The Cultural Exchange Experience gave me a chance to build great, diverse relationships with people from all over the globe.

Meeting au pairs from different countries, hearing about their cultures, experience and why they decided to be an au pair is really interesting.

“Diversity broadens ones way of thinking”


Being an Au pair is more, much more than just providing child care… I got to live with an American family, who has made me part of the family, and learn first hand about American culture.

It’s one thing reading about something or seeing it on tv, and its another thing being there and experience it yourself.



 I got to travel. I saw a lot of beautiful places. I wish I could see all the 50 states. But I am grateful I was able to visit the few that I did. If it wasn’t for this Cultural Exchange Experience that is offered by Au pair inAmericaI would not have had experienced so much in a different country at such a young age.


Thank you Au pair in America!


I would, without a doubt advise girls to do this. It’s an opportunity of a life time!



Nontobeko S Masilela