Rainy days and cold winter temperatures can be hard for Au Pairs who are home with little kids all day. Here are a few tips from the APIA website that can be helpful to fill the time and fun for everyone. For more ideas try these great links below.
Fishing at home (for children over 3)
Look around the house and spend some time with the child finding things that will stick to a magnet. Tie a piece of string to a stick. At the other end of the string tie a magnet. Put paper clips and other things that are magnetic in the “pond.” Or cut out paper fish and put a paper clip on each one.
Make a life-size paper doll (for children over 3)
Have the child lie down on a large piece of brown wrapping paper and draw an outline around the child. Let the child use crayons, markers or paint to put clothes and a face on the “doll.” It can also be a collage by cutting out fabric pieces for the clothes and yarn, string or even styrofoam pieces for the hair. In warm weather go outside and trace the child on the sidewalk with chalk and then color in clothes and hair.
Paper Butterflies: Fold a piece of paper in half. Open the paper and drop small amounts of paint on half of the paper. Fold the paper in half again and rub your hand across the paper to spread the paint colors that are inside the folded paper together. With the paper still folded, cut out the shape of one side of a butterfly. Unfold the paper to see both sides of the butterfly. Allow the paint to dry, then draw the body and add antennae if you wish.
Children as young as three would love a Secret Hideout. This can be created out of a corner of the playroom, under the dining room table or in a large appliance box, or by constructing a hiding place with blankets. Eat lunch in the hideout for a special treat. Imagine you are being discovered by pirates, or that your hideout is on a desert island. The same structure can be used in many different ways. School-age children might enjoy building a hideout themselves (with your help). Cut a swinging door and windows into a large box from a refrigerator or a stove. Decorate with paint or markers. Furnish with small furniture or pillows. If there’s some extra fabric around you could even add curtains.
Deciding to extend is an awesome idea! Renewing your visa may not be the right decision for you. The office can be helpful in providing how-to instructions. If you are going home, please request the instructions from your community counselor.
Here are some things to consider:
- Renewing the visa is risky and not necessary to extend your term as an Au pair.
- The Au pair will be granted an updated DS2019, which gives a legal purpose for being within the USA. Au Pairs do not need a new visa to have a second extension term.
- It does mean that you can only travel to certain places in the second term. Canada, Mexico, and some adjacent islands are allowed.
- The decision to give the new visa is entirely left to the embassy official. They do sometimes deny the renewal. When this happens, the Au Pair cannot return to the USA to finish out her first term. There is nothing that APIA can do to change this.
- The age of the Au pair matters. if you are almost or over the age of 26, this is a high risk.
- The timing of renewing the visa is also difficult. Au Pairs should plan to spend at least two weeks to obtain the new visa.
- The visit home has to be taken as vacation days or The host family has to agree to allow days off from work that are paid.
- The weekly stipend should be paid regardless of using vacation time or being granted additional time off.
- Your request to extend must be already processed.
- You will need the new DS-2019 in order to renew your visa.
- The extension request is made in your 8th month, after your 72 hours of education are submitted to the Community Counselor.
- Travel flights home should be made after the new DS-2019 is obtained. The home office is not able to work around your travel plans.
***Several times last year, Brazilian Au pairs were caught waiting for the visa to be returned to them after it was granted. They missed their flights home and had to go into rematch because the host family could not wait for them not knowing how much longer it could take. And, in other countries, the visa was denied due to the risk that the Au pair would not return back to her country. These families had to go into rematch because the Au pair could not return to finish her first term.
IMPORTANT NOTE – You cannot apply to renew your J-1 visa while in Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean if your current J-1 visa is expired. If you apply for the J-1 visa during your visit to one of these destinations, you must wait for it to be issued before you return. If your visa application is denied by the American consulate, you are not allowed to use automatic revalidation to return to the U.S. You will be required to travel to your country of citizenship to apply for a new visa in order to reenter the US
Trying out or participating in various sports can be very exciting, especially if this is your first time experiencing certain activities. However, you should also know the risks and be prepared.
Is it risky to do sports without the sports insurance?
Yes. If you have to pay your own hospital bills for a broken bone, you might be shocked at how much that would cost. This website has some cost estimates.
Here are a couple examples:
- Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (that does not require surgery) it could cost up to $2,500.
- Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (requiring surgery) it could cost $16,000 or more.
- Everyone needs to understand how the medical coverage works for sports related injuries. There is a list of “high-risk sports/activities” that are not covered with the basic or upgrade medical insurance plans. Those activities are ONLY covered with the Sports Insurance Package.
The Sports Insurance was available pre-departure and may also be purchased at any time during your year. It takes effect within 48 hours of your enrollment and it is good for 12 months. The cost will be the same ($90) whether you have a month left or your whole year ahead of you. I recommend you pay for it early on, if you didn’t already purchase it. You never know when an opportunity might present itself and you don’t want to miss out on an adventure. You also don’t want to take a risk on getting injured and being responsible for the bill on your own.
Below is a partial list of sports that are only covered with the sports insurance package:
Football, Rugby, Scuba diving, Ski-doo, Wakeboarding, Skydiving, Parachuting, Rock climbing, Zip line, Skate boarding, Rollerblading, Roller skating, Ice Skating, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowmobiles & Snowshoeing. View the full list on your insurance brochure.
Note: Injuries sustained while partaking in these sports are covered with purchase of the Sports Insurance ONLY.
How to register for the Sports Insurance
Contact your CC, if you are unsure which insurance package you have. To sign up, submit a completed copy of the Sports Insurance Enrollment Form along with payment to Au Pair in America. It takes three days for your coverage to begin. If you think you will be doing any of these sports, you should get it now.
First appeared in Cynthia Chan’s Maryland Blog. Written by Cynthia Chan
Common problem: “It’s the end of my au pair year and I have sooooo much stuff! It’s going to cost me a fortune in extra baggage fees.”
This post is about one way to prevent that problem.
I know it can be tempting. There are so many beautiful things and great sales out there. But in 2020, I challenge you to take a moment before each purchase and ask yourself:
- Do I really need this?
- Do I want it enough to pay extra baggage fees to get it home later?
- What experience could I have with this money instead? For example, you might ask yourself, “Would I rather have these designer shoes or a ticket to a concert?”
Being an au pair can be an amazing time in your life where you have the opportunity to try new things and see new places. The more money you save for travel, the more of those unforgettable moments you will have to carry home with you.
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.