Understanding Au Pairs’ Perceptions of English Language Proficiency and American Acculturation: A Phenomenological Study

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Higher Edu and Learning Technology

Date of Award

Fall 2022


This phenomenological study examined factors that prompt women whose first language is not English to seek work in the U.S. as an au pair, as well as the various challenges and benefits of that service, as well as the relationship between building proficiency and fluency in English and the experience of living with a host family and attending community college classes as related to their views of how doing so integrated them into the culture and society of America. I sought to uncover the factors that motivate the au pairs to improve their skills in the English language, while also adjusting to culture In the United States and how this aligns with the experience of living with an American host family and taking ESL coursework at a community college. I employed qualitative research methods to explore the characteristics, motivating factors, advantages and challenges of au pairs working toward improving English language proficiency and integrating into American society and culture while living and working in the U.S. Specifically, a multiple case study method of qualitative research was used to explore how au pairs acquire English language proficiency and integrate into American society and culture. I selected participants using purposeful sampling of au pairs, between the ages of 18 and 26 and who speak Spanish as their first language


Tony Lee

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education