Monthly Archives: November 2012

Happy Diwali!

Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and is celebrated with the lighting of lamps and candles, and lots of fireworks.  It is regarded as one of the most important festivals of the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated across the nation with great pomp and excitement. The festival is mainly associated with lights as it is called the festival of light. The name Diwali signifies ‘rows of lighted lamps’. Diwali is a five-day festival, beginning on the 15th day of the Hindu calendar month of Kartika (Ashwin). Diyas and candles are placed on rooftops, rooms, and kitchen and even in the bathrooms. On this day, people worship Lord Ganesha, the foremost of all Hindu Gods and Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity. It is time to exchange gifts and sweets with friends, relatives and neighbors.   Diwali in 2012 will start today, Tuesday, the 13th of November, and will continue for 5 days until Saturday, the 17th of November.

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Take a peek at the YouTube video to learn more:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMguvWvA5Yk

Taking An Education Course Is Important!

picture of teacherThe education component of the Au Pair program is a requirement of the State Department of the United States. The State Department gives authorization for all Au Pair programs to exist.  When an Au Pair does not achieve her requirement, this puts all Au Pair agencies at risk. Completing your education hours is an important part of being an Au Pair and is required by your contract with Au Pair In America.  Taking a course will provide yet another level of experience during your year and yields many skills that you can use to further your personal goals. You may also make new friends and professional contacts! I hope you enjoy your educational courses. If you need assistance finding a course or have questions, please call or email your counselor.

Some Important Tips:

Any course can be taken as long as it is taught from a college, university or technical college. Only those schools approved by the State Department can be accepted. All of the schools listed on your resource page on the Au Pair website are accepted http://www.aupairinamerica.com/state/georgia.asp

  •  Your counselor can clarify any questions about a school.
  • Volunteer hours do not count towards your educational credits
  • Weekend courses do count if the course is a part of a college or university.  Some places offering weekend courses are not accredited. Ask your counselor before signing up.
  • The only online course currently being accepted by the State Department is the UCLA Au pair advantage online course. NO other online course can be accepted.
  • 72-80 hours of education are required for standard au pairs.
  • 144-160 hours for Educare au pairs.
  • For a second year au pair, 36-40 hours is required for a six-month extension and 72-80 hours for a nine or twelve-month extension.
  •  Credits, hours and CEUs are different. Count the hours you are in a classroom this must be 72 hours.
  • At the end of your course, send your community counselor your documents showing the name of the school and the hours that you have achieved. Check your certificate. Some certificates do not show the number of hours. If the hours are not present on the certificate, you will need a letter from the school stating how many hours you have achieved. This information is needed by your counselor to insure your certificate is giving to you and to prevent issues with your flight home.
  • All education must be achieved one month prior to the end of your Au Pair term. Send all certificates or proof of your classes to your community counselor.
  • If you plan to extend, your education needs to be finished four months before the end of your term. This is the time that the information to extend is sent out to you.
  • Host families reimburse tuition costs and costs of related materials (books and supplies) up to $500 for the first year. EduCare companions are reimbursed up to $1000 for the first year. If it will cost you more than $500 (or $1000 for EduCare) to meet the requirement, you must pay the additional expense, so plan carefully.
  • Your host family is required to provide transportation, including gasoline, parking, or public transportation costs (if applicable) to and from classes in your community. The cost of transportation is in addition to the $500/$1000 allocated to tuition and related fees. It is your host family’s responsibility to provide transportation or cover the transportation costs until you complete your educational requirement, even if the $500 education allowance has already been spent.
  • To extend your first Au Pair term, you will need to have proof of 72 hours. Send the documentation to your community counselor as soon as possible. You should plan to have your education requirement finished at the time you request an extension. This happens approximately three-four months before the end of your first term. Au pair In America requires 72 hours to be able to extend your au pair term. Without 72 hours completed one month prior to the end of your term, Au Pair In America will not accept your application to extend and you must go home at the end of your first year.

If you want to extend and have not completed all of the hours, but you do intend to have them finished before at least two months prior to the end of your first term, you will need to do the following:

1. Register for a class that will complete 72 hours of education at least two months before the end of your first term. All proof of education must be given to your counselor before your deadline to extend. As soon as your counselor can check off for the education requirement, your request to extend can be approved. All requests to extend must be submitted to the State department NO later than 30 days from the end of your year.  Without the education requirement finished, you will not be able to start the interviewing process for your extension.  

2. Send documents showing proof of your registration to your community counselor as soon as possible.  This allows the office to submit your request to the State Department and upon the approval, you can begin to interview with families.  You must have a match before your year ends. 

Your counselor is the best person to ask questions about your education requirement. Courses and colleges are constantly changing. Your counselor is always researching new and exciting courses that are appropriate for you.  If you are aware of a new resource, please let your counselor know!

 For more information about your education requirement visit http://www.aupairinamerica.com/resources/life_in_the_us/education.asp#1

Election Day in the USA!

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This day is a special day for all USA citizens. It is an honor to vote and one that we celebrate! Regardless of political party associations, US citizens are very proud and passionate about the ability to vote. Ask your host parents or other citizens what it means to be able to vote. I’m sure that you will have interesting and meaningful conversations to reflect on long after your au pair year ends!

The way in which people vote, depends on the state in which they live. In Oregon, all votes are cast by post and all votes have to be received at a given time on Election Day. In the state of Washington, nearly all people vote by post and the envelopes containing the voting papers have to be postmarked with the date of Election Day. In other states, people vote at voting stations, where long queues can form.  Here in Georgia we go to our assigned local voting place.  Many are in schools, firehouses, and community centers.

 The election process is somewhat complicated here in the USA. A president must win a majority of the electoral votes not the popular vote. For simple information about the USA political system go to http://bensguide.gpo.gov/9-12/index.html