AIFS in Germany is a full subsidiary of the American Institute for Foreign Studies (AIFS), based in Stamford, Connecticut. AIFS and its family of companies organize cultural exchange programs throughout the world for more than 40,000 students and young people each year. The German AIFS office is one of the leading Au Pair, Work and Travel, Summer Camp and Student Exchange Program organizations in Germany.
(Click on the AIFS-logo on the right to get on the official German homepage)
Even though I can only speak for the Au Pair department:
AIFS is THE organization for a stay abroad!
The homepage has a very good structure and is full of information texts, -videos and -pictures so that it's never boring to get informed about their program. You can also order brochures with information to every program for free.
When you decide to take place in the Au Pair program of AIFS and start to complete your application form you get a local placement manager who contacts you. You can ask him/her any question and he/she supports you in your intention. Those placement managers have always spent time abroad so they know about getting into such a big adventure.
During the time I filled in my application form my Interviewer and the office in Bonn were always there for me when I had questions or needed help.
AIFS also organizes preparatory meetings in many cities in Germany where you can meet former and future Au Pairs and can interchange experiences, worries or anticipations.
After my family match I got a guide from AIFS with very good tips for the next months in Germany and my stay in New Zealand.
All in all I feel really safe and protected with the backing and support of AIFS.