Being an au pair is something that made sense for Max Kaus, who has always been surrounded by children. He grew up with three younger siblings, as well as coached soccer — noting that watching kids grow and learn something new has always been really rewarding.
Kaus is originally from Germany, and after graduating high school in 2015, he began a dual program where he worked and went to school at the same time.
When he realized that his apprenticeship wasn’t the right fit, he decided to apply to be an au pair. Kaus had a friend who worked as an au pair, so they helped him begin the process.
“This is really something I like, because those kids — I mean, they show you their love in so many different ways,” Kaus explained.
Before settling in Virginia, Kaus began his work in Connecticut and then Oregon. Now, he is in Fairfax Station and an au pair through Cultural Care Au Pair, an au pair agency. He has been in the U.S. now for about two years.
Kaus has even kept in touch with the children he used to look after — which makes him feel appreciated, and that he definitely has more than one “home away from home.”
“Seeing them grow, having like another place to call home. I mean, me myself, I’ve grown so much over the past two years. It’s incredible what like being away from home, living with other people, what that can do for you,” he explained.
Kaus noted that being an au pair is usually seen as something that a woman does — male au pairs have even been coined as “bro pairs” as a fun saying.
Outside of working and volunteering, Kaus enjoys being outside. Whether that is through hiking or simply being outdoors, he finds that nature is a place he can get away from anything on his mind — though that really happens for him when he volunteers.
Several local au pairs recently volunteered with Homeward Trails Animal Rescue to help the shelter prepare for their “Clear the Shelter” event. Kaus volunteers there two days a week — and is considering adding another day to be there throughout the week.
“Just being around dogs kind of takes something away from me — I don’t worry about anything, I’m just happy,” Kaus said.
He said his favorite part about working with Homeward Trails is getting to be around the dogs, particularly when he is able to interact with them outside of the shelter. Kaus said that the shelter has an area that is set up like a living space, where people can interact with dogs as if they were in a home environment.
He explained that it does takes some of the dogs a moment to warm up. For him, patience is key, as he does not know the exact situations these dogs are coming from.
“They’re super scared — some of them. And it’s just like, ‘No, I don’t want to deal with anyone right now I just want to get out of here.’ But then after that hour, they just lay down next to you, they start like letting you pet them and all that kind of stuff,” he said.
Kaus also serves as an ambassador for Cultural Care, which means he welcomes new au pairs to the area and gives them their first taste of what it is like to live in the U.S.
When not working or volunteering, Kaus is a sports fan, especially basketball. His favorite team is the Clippers.