Yearly Archives: 2018

Holiday Tips for Host Parents

Holiday Season in the USA will be a very special time for your family and Au pair.  It can also be a time when the Au Pair may need a little extra support. Consider these tips: 


  • Missing Home
Certain people and places are missed and our traditions and activities seem “different” right at a
time when an Au Pair would welcome something familiar. My observation has been that an Au
Pair’s emotions are close to the surface during the holidays. The enormity of this year away from
home hits her and sometimes throws her into a self-protective mode. You can help her through
this unfamiliar territory by talking to her about what your specific family activities will be (when
the candles will be lit, the stockings hung, the gifts exchanged, the meals prepared and eaten, the
relatives arriving, etc.) An especially thoughtful touch is to ask her if she has any favorite holiday foods or
traditions that could be incorporated into your celebration.
  • What are your expectations?        
Talk to your Au Pair specifically about what has to be accomplished and get her involvement and
interest. Remember her mother has probably taken this responsibility in previous years so don’t expect her to
just “know” what needs to be done. Give her some clear, agreed-upon assignments, make her feel a part of
things and let her know her contribution is needed and appreciated. Try to cut a little slack and then be pleased with progress!
  • Discuss the change in routine and roles 
The parents are home and this is unsettling to the children as well as to the Au Pair. Some different work
expectations may be needed since the kids may prefer to hover around the parents. This can make an Au Pair
feel unwanted and unsure of what is expected of her. If she is thrown off balance she may not see other things
she can do instead of the usual. The high emotions and energy of the kids at this time of year seem like
craziness to her. Assure her that things are temporary and will be back to normal soon! Suggest things she can
do to help and encourage her to roll with the punches and just enjoy the general fuss. And host parents need to
 remember that no matter how stressful those long holiday days are, the rules of how many hours an Au pair
 can work are mandated by the State department. No Au pair is allowed to work more than 10 hours each day
or left in sole charge of the children for more than 10 hours.
  • Only in America!
The quantity of gifts given to the children and the excesses we enjoy of gifts, food and decorations are
overwhelming to most Au Pairs. This often causes them to withdraw as they attempt to catch their breath and
to evaluate the differences.
  • New Year’s Eve in the USA
Socially you should remember the holidays are a time when Au Pairs want, and need, to be with their
friends. This helps their survival mechanism when they are missing old friends back home. New Year’s
Eve, especially in America, is a special occasion to an Au Pair so open communication is very important as you
decide on New Year’s Eve plans. If possible, use a different babysitter on this important night for her.

Thanksgiving in the USA

Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday, dates back to the first European settlers in North America.  After much hardship, illness and hard work, the Pilgrims were finally able to celebrate a successful harvest which they shared with their Native American friends who had helped them through their difficult beginning in America.  Today this day is set aside to feast and to give thanks. This is something we can all share, as we too celebrate our cross-cultural friendships. Enjoy the turkey and all the trimmings!

                                                                                                                                               The early settlers at Thanksgiving:Thanksgiving


The most recognized American Thanksgiving by Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving





A modern day Thanksgiving. Modern Day Thanksgiving


Some activities to share with the children :

Maple-Nut-Berry Popcorn Balls ( for children ages 3 and older): Add some chopped walnuts and raspberries, blueberries or blackberries. Add enough melted butter to lightly coat popcorn. Stir. Pour maple syrup over the warm popcorn and stir until all the corn, nuts and berries are covered. Shape the sticky corn into balls and place on a plate to refrigerate until the syrup hardens

Looking For A Low Cost Halloween Costume?

Have fun on Halloween or at your Halloween party. Dress in a low cost costume!

Consider some of these ideas:

Use a black make-up pencil and draw cat whiskers and a black cat nose.

cat makeup for Halloween

Pin socks on an all white outfit and goes as dryer lint

Halloween makeup can be purchased at most stores like Target, Walmart and drug stores. Use the makeup to look like a scary creature dressed in black. halloween witch makeup

Read on for more great ideas from

Looking for a cheap, easy, fast, funny costume this Halloween? Try one of these ideas, sure to be a hit when trick-or-treating or at parties.

1) Dress up as you normally do. If someone asks what you are, tell them you’re a werewolf. If they ask why you have no hair or fangs, explain that it’s not a full moon.

2) Get a bag of white balloons and a box. Put the box over your head and cut out holes for your arms. Paint the box a bright color and the word “soap” across it. Then tape the bubbles to the top of the box around your shoulders and head.

3) Tape a bunch of green or purple balloons all over yourself (wear green or brown clothing underneath). Go as a bunch of grapes.

4) Wear brown clothes. Get a package of fall silk leaves for decorating (you can get 50 in a pack for about a dollar at craft stores). Tape them all over your arms and on a hat. Get a stuffed bird and perch it on your head. Go as a tree.

5) Wrap yourself in a roll of orange felt. Cut armholes and put an orange ski cap on your head. Go as a carrot stick.

6) Safety-pin a bunch of cheap watches and costume jewelry on the inside of your coat. Go as a con man.

7) Get a large box and paint it white, green or tan. Make a hole at the top for your head and armholes. Glue on some magnets and some post-it notes with shopping lists and phone numbers. Go as a refrigerator.

8) Get a roll of orange yarn and a few bags of roasted pumpkin seeds. Glue them all over a cheap orange sweat suit. Go as pumpkin guts.

9) Wear a t-shirt displaying your favorite brand of soda. Get a foil pie plate, punch two holes in it at either end, and run string through it. Put it on your head like a hat and tie it. You’re a bottle of your favorite drink.

10) Glue some (clean) garbage all over a sweat suit. Go as a trash heap.

11) Throw a white sheet over your head, and cut a hole for your head to come through. Wear a yellow hat and paint your face yellow with make up. Go as a fried egg.

12) Get a poster board, make up a funny advertisement and paint it on. Hang it around your neck and go as a billboard.

13) Put on your rattiest clothes and get a toy shopping cart. Fill it with junk. Go as a shopping cart/bag lady.

14) Dress like a mailman. Get a stuffed dog and sew it’s mouth to your pant leg.

15) Get an gorilla costume. Get one of those headbands with the springs on it, but remove the silver balls from the end and glue on tiny toy air planes. Carry a little Barbie doll in an evening gown and you’re King Kong.

16) Get a large box. Cut a hole for your head and arms. Wrap it with gift wrapping paper and put a big bow on your head. Make a large gift tag out of construction paper that says, “To: Women, From: God.” This year, you can honestly say you’re God’s gift to women.

17) Wear all black and a pair of dark sunglasses, or glasses with a rubber nose. Get a strip of fabric you can fashion into a sash (like a beauty queens) and use fabric paint markers to write, “Bless you,” across it. You’re a blessing in disguise.

18) Get a box and paint it white. Make holes for your head and arms. Paint or draw black spots on it and go as a die. If you have a partner, make two and go as a pair of dice.

19) Get an old black sweat suit. Get yellow fabric paint and paint a double-line down the middle, vertically, front and back. Glue some tiny toy cars up and down your front and back and go as a highway.

20) Get a clear plastic bag, and a bag of assorted colored balloons. Step into the bag and make leg holes and arm holes. Fill it with balloons half-blown up, while you’re still in it. Tie it off at the neck. Get a piece of paper as a label and write,”Jellybeans” across the front. You’re a bag of jellybeans.

21) Get a bunch of Barbie dolls and a black sweat suit. Attach the dolls randomly all over the sweat suit. You’re a babe magnet.

22) Get a medium sized box. Cut a hole at the bottom for your head, and a large, square opening in the front. Put pipe cleaners as antennas and glue soda bottle caps on as knobs. Put it over your head and wear all black. You’re a TV announcer.

23) Wear a black sweat suit and randomly attach single socks all over your clothes. You’re the sock thief from the drier.

24) Get some yellow yarn and brown pom-poms. Glue them all over an old sweat suit. Put an old colander over your head as a hat. Go as spaghetti and meat balls.

25) Wear a clown costume top and paint your face. Get a large box and paint it a bright color. Make a hole for your waist and put it on as if the bottom of a skirt. Go as a jack-in-the-box.

26) Glue a bunch of newspapers to old clothes. Go as paper mache in progress.

27) Get a bunch of small, single-serving sized cereal boxes. Glue them all over some old clothes and bring a big, rubber knife. Go as a cereal killer.

28) Get a box, cut arm holes and a hole for your head. Wrap it in pretty patterned gift paper. Stick a bunch of tissues coming out of the neck, and put on a hat covered with tissues glued all over it. Go as a box of tissues.

29) If you’re very pregnant, paint your belly with orange face paint and draw a pumpkin face on the front. Wear a shirt that opens in front and just fasten it above the belly so the pumpkin protrudes. When you put your arms down around your belly, you’ll look like you’re carrying a jack-o-lantern.

30) Paint your car or bicycle tires with black paint. Lay old clothes front-down on the street and drive over them. Let them dry, put them on and go as road kill.

31) Tie a sneaker to the top of your head, wear all pink and paint your face pink. Go as a piece of gum.

32) Get two large pieces of foam and strap them to your shoulders so one hangs in front, the other in back. Stuff some lettuce leaves coming out of them (or green felt), and on the underside of one glue a big, round, red or brown piece of felt that sticks out of the sides. Go as a sandwich.

33) Get a round piece of cardboard and cut a hole in the center of it. Get a large foil tray and cut a hole in it, as well as a table cloth with a hole in it. Put the cardboard over your head, then the table cloth so it hangs over your body, then the tray. Place lettuce leaves coming out from around the neck hole. You’re a head on a platter.

34) Wear a raggedy old pair of shorts and t-shirt, and go unshaven if your a man. Mess your hair up. Get a garden tiki torch from the party supply store. Go as a recent loser from Survivor.

35) Dress as a dog and put a cardboard cone around your neck to keep you from scratching for fleas.

36) .

37) Glue cotton all over a light blue outfit and carry a water gun to squirt people. You’re a rain cloud.

38) Get a pair of angle wings and put them on your back, dressed in your pajamas, fuzzy slippers and bathrobe. Carry around a coffee cup. Your the “Angel Of The Morning.”

39) Cut out a cardboard shape like a surf board and cover it with fake spider webs. You’re a web surfer.

40) Dress in a business suit and carry around a big jar filled half way up with thumb tacks. Go as the “tacks collector.”

41) Get a devil costume and throw over it the ugliest thrift-store blue dress you can find. Be the, “Devil In A Blue Dress.”

42) Tape a bunch of white colored balloons to a a skin-colored body suit. Wear a shower cap and carry a scrub brush.

43) Wrap your body in aluminum foil and top your head with a beret. You’re a french kiss.

44) Get a rubber pig’s nose and wrap yourself in a blanket. Go as a pig in a blanket.

45) Make a green pumpkin shape out of felt and hang it over yourself. Paint a face on it. Go as Jack O’ Lantern.

46) Get a bag of moss from the craft store’s floral isle. Glue it all over some old clothes and hat and go as a chia pet.

47) Pin underwear to your torso and go as a chest of drawers.

48) Dress like a cat; carry a black bag stuffed with fake jewels overflowing. You’re a cat burglar.

49)Attach gum wrappers, small pieces of pink clay to represent gum, soda cups and popcorn bags and a few kernels of popcorn to a black sweat suit, and go as a theater floor.

Plaster yourself with name tags, using a different name on each, and go as a someone having an identity crisis.

Halloween in the USA!

Halloween in the USA!            Happy_halloween_design_background

Halloween, the last day of October, has a special significance for children, who dress in funny or ghostly costumes and knock on neighborhood doors shouting “Trick or Treat!” Pirates and princesses, ghosts and witches all hold bags open to catch the candy or other goodies that the neighbors drop in.

Since the 800’s November 1st is a religious holiday known as All Saints’ Day. The Mass that was said on this day was called Allhallowmas. The evening before became known as All Hallow e’en, or Halloween. Like some other American celebrations, its origins lie in both pre-Christian and Christian customs.

Today school dances and neighborhood parties called “block parties” are popular among young and old alike. More and more adults celebrate Halloween. They dress up as historical or political figures and go to masquerade parties. In larger cities, costumed children and their parents gather at shopping malls early in the evening. Stores and businesses give parties with games and treats for the children. Teenagers enjoy costume dances at their schools and the more outrageous the costume the better! Certain pranks such as soaping car windows and tipping over garbage cans are expected. But partying and pranks are not the only things that Halloweeners enjoy doing. Some collect money to buy food and medicine for needy children around the world.

Symbols of Halloween

Halloween originated as a celebration connected with evil spirits. Witches flying on broomsticks with black cats, ghosts, goblins and skeletons have all evolved as symbols of Halloween. They are popular trick-or-treat costumes and decorations for greeting cards and windows. Black is one of the traditional Halloween colors, probably because Halloween festivals and traditions took place at night. In the weeks before October 31, Americans decorate windows of houses and schools with silhouettes of witches and black cats.


Pumpkins are also a symbol of Halloween. The pumpkin is an orange-colored squash, and orange has become the other traditional Halloween color. Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a Halloween custom also dating back to Ireland. A legend grew up about a man named Jack who was so stingy that he was not allowed into heaven when he died, because he was a miser. He couldn’t enter hell either because he had played jokes on the devil. As a result, Jack had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day. The Irish people carved scary faces out of turnips, beets or potatoes representing “Jack of the Lantern,” or jack-o’-lantern. When the Irish brought their customs to the United States, they carved faces on pumpkins because in the autumn they were more plentiful than turnips. Today jack-o’-lanterns in the windows of a house on Halloween night let costumed children know that there are

goodies waiting if they knock and say “Trick or Treat!”   halloween buckets        

Information obtained:

Why do I lose an hour on November 4th? Interesting facts about Daylight Savings Time


Daylight Saving Time ends on 4 November 2018.   

Clocks will go back one hour on Sunday 4 November at 02:00. This means your devices will automatically reverse an hour at the strike of 2:00 a.m.,making it 1:00 a.m.

This information was obtained in an article entitled Daylight Saving Time 2018: A Guide to the When, Why, What and How (

On Sunday, Nov. 4, most Americans will set their clocks back an hour, as daylight saving time (sometimes erroneously called daylight savings time) comes to a close, and most of the United States will “lose” an hour of daylight. These spring and fall clock changes continue a long tradition started by Benjamin Franklin to conserve energy. (This year, however, the Sunshine State is aiming to stop the change and remain in DST year-round, according to a Senate bill and news reports.)

Below is a look at when daylight saving time starts and ends during the year, its history, why we have it now and some myths and interesting facts about the time change.

How Did It Start?          

Benjamin Franklin takes the honor (or the blame, depending on your view of the time changes) for coming up with the idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy, according to David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time” (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005). By moving clocks forward, people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting. At the time, Franklin was ambassador to Paris and so wrote a witty letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784, rejoicing over his “discovery” that the sun provides light as soon as it rises.

Even so, DST didn’t officially begin until more than a century later. Germany established DST in May 1916 as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came onboard shortly thereafter. And in 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time.

Though President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep daylight saving time after WWI ended, the country was mostly rural at the time and farmers objected, partly because it would mean they lost an hour of morning light. (It’s a myth that DST was instituted to help farmers.) And so daylight daylight saving time was abolished until the next war brought it back into vogue. At the start of WWII, on Feb. 9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established daylight saving time year-round, calling it “War Time.” [Learn more about the crazy history of Daylight Saving Time]

After the war, a free-for-all system in which U.S. states and towns were given the choice of whether or not to observe DST led to chaos. And in 1966, to tame such “Wild West” mayhem, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act. That federal law meant that any state observing DST — and they didn’t have to jump on the DST bandwagon — had to follow a uniform protocol throughout the state in which daylight saving time would begin on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October.

Then, in 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, expanding the length of daylight saving time to the present timing.

Why do we still have daylight saving time?

Fewer than 40 percent of the world’s countries observe daylight saving time, according to However, those who do take advantage of the natural daylight in the evenings. That’s because the days start to get longer as Earth moves from the winter season to spring and summer, with the longest day of the year on the summer solstice. During the summer, Earth, which revolves around its axis at an angle, is tilted directly toward the sun (at least its top half).

As Earth orbits the sun, it also spins around its own imaginary axis. Because it revolves around this axis at an angle, different parts of our planet experience the sun’s direct rays at different times of the year, leading to the seasons.

Credit: BlueRingMedia /

Regions farthest away from the equator and closer to the poles get the most benefit from the DST clock change, because there is a more dramatic change in sunlight throughout the seasons.

Research has also suggested that with more daylight in the evenings, there are fewer traffic accidents, as there are fewer cars on the road when it’s dark outside. More daylight also could mean more outdoor exercise (or exercise at all) for full-time workers.

Energy savings

The nominal reason for daylight saving time has long been to save energy. The time change was first instituted in the United States during World War I, and then reinstituted again during World War II, as a part of the war effort. During the Arab oil embargo, when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stopped selling petroleum to the United States, Congress even enacted a trial period of year-round daylight saving time in an attempt to save energy.

But the evidence for energy savings is slim. Brighter evenings may save on electric lighting, said Stanton Hadley, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who helped prepare a report to Congress on extended daylight saving time in 2007. But lights have become increasingly efficient, Hadley said, so lighting is responsible for a smaller chunk of total energy consumption than it was a few decades ago. Heating and cooling probably matter more, and some places may need air-conditioning for the longer, hotter evenings of summer daylight saving time.

Hadley and his colleagues found that the four weeks of extra daylight saving time that went into effect in the United States in 2007 did save some energy, about half of a percent of what would have otherwise been used on each of those days. However, Hadley said, the effect of the entire months-long stretch of daylight saving could very well have the opposite effect. A 1998 study in Indiana before and after implementation of daylight saving time in some counties found a small increase in residential energy usage. Temporary changes in Australia’s daylight saving timing for the summer Olympics of 2000 also failed to save any energy, a 2007 study found.

Part of the trouble with estimating the effect of daylight saving time on energy consumption is that there are so few changes to the policy, making before-and-after comparisons tricky, Hadley told Live Science. The 2007 extension of daylight saving time allowed for a before-and-after comparison of only a few weeks’ time. The changes in Indiana and Australia were geographically limited.

Ultimately, Hadley said, the energy question probably isn’t the real reason the United States sticks with daylight saving time, anyway.

“In the vast scheme of things, the energy saving is not the big driver,” he said. “It’s people wanting to take advantage of that light time in the evening.”

Who observes daylight saving time? (and who doesn’t)

Most of the United States and Canada observe DST on the same dates. But of course, there are exceptions. Hawaii and Arizona are the two U.S. states that don’t observe daylight saving time, though Navajo Nation, in northeastern Arizona, does follow DST, according to NASA.

And, every year there are bills put forth to get rid of DST in various states, as not everyone is keen on turning their clocks forward an hour. This year, Florida’s Senate and House passed legislation called the Sunshine Protection Act that would ask the U.S. Congress to exempt the state from the federal 1966 Uniform Time Act. If approved, Florida would remain in DST year-round. In order to allow Florida’s year-round DST, however, the U.S. Congress would have to amend the Uniform Time Act (15 U.S.C. s. 260a) to authorize states this allowance, according to The New York Times.

And in California, voters may get to decide: In this fall’s statewide ballot, voters can vote for or against Proposition 7 that would attempt to repeal the annual clock changes. If the Prop gets approved, that would mean the Legislature can act to eliminate the time changes, possibly leading to year-round DST, according to Land Line magazine.

Other states have also proposed exemptions from the federal time act. For instance, Sen. Ryan Osmundson, R-Buffalo, introduced Senate Bill 206 into the Senate State Administration Committee in February 2017, which would exempt Montana from daylight saving time, keeping the state on standard time year-round, according to the bill. Three bills put forth last year in Texas aimed to abolish DST for good: House Bill 2400, Senate Bill 238 and House Bill 95, according to the broadcast company kxan. Nebraskans may be off the hook for clock changes as well. In January 2017, state Sen. Lydia Brasch, a Republican of Bancroft, proposed a bill called LB309 to eliminate daylight saving time in the state, according to the bill.

Some regions of British Columbia and Saskatchewan don’t change their clocks. These include the following areas in British Columbia: Charlie Lake, Creston (East Kootenays), Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Taylor; In Saskatchewan, only Creighton and Denare Beach observe DST, according to NASA.

Most of Europe currently observes daylight saving time, called “summer time,” which begins at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends (winter time) at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in October. However, even the European Union may propose an end to clock changes, as a recent poll found that 84 percent of 4.6 million people surveyed said they wanted to nix them, the Wall Street Journal reported.

If the lawmakers and member states agree, the EU members could decide to keep the EU in summer time or winter time, according to the WSJ.

The United Kingdom moved their clocks forward on March 26, 2017, and back again to standard time on Oct. 29, 2017, according to the U.K. government. They performed this same ritual on March 25, and will again on Oct. 28, 2018.

The DST-observing countries in the Southern Hemisphere — in Australia, New Zealand, South America and southern Africa — set their clocks an hour forward sometime during September through November and move them back to standard time during the March-April timeframe.

Australia, being such a big country (the sixth-largest in the world), doesn’t follow DST uniformly: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory follow daylight saving, while Queensland, the Northern Territory (Western Australia) do not, according to the Australian government. Clocks in the observing areas spring forward an hour at 2 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in October and push back an hour at 3 a.m. local daylight time on the first Sunday in April.

Russia instituted year-round daylight saving time in 2011, or permanent “summer time,” which seemed dandy at first. But in the depths of winter, sunrise occurred at 10 a.m. in Moscow and 11 a.m. in St. Petersburg, Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time,” said. This meant Russians had to start their days in the cold, pitch-dark. The permanent summer is coming to an end, however, as now Russian president Vladimir Putin abolished DST in 2014, according to BBC News. As such, the country will remain in “winter time” forever, or until another law is passed.

Myths and Interesting Facts

  • Turns out, people tend to have more heart attackson the Monday following the “spring forward” switch to daylight saving time. Researchers reporting in 2014 in the journal Open Heart, found that heart attacks increased 24 percent on that Monday, compared with the daily average number for the weeks surrounding the start of DST.
  • Before the Uniform Time Act was passed in the United States, there was a period in which anyplace could or could not observe DST, leading to chaos. For instance, if one took a 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, West Virginia, to Steubenville, Ohio, he or she would pass through no fewer than seven time changes, according to Prerau. At some point, Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks.
  • A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Psychologyshowed that during the week following the “spring forward” into DST, mine workers got 40 minutes less sleepand had 5.7 percent more workplace injuries than they did during any other days of the year.
  • Pets notice the time change, as well. Since humans set the routines for their fluffy loved ones, dogs and cats living indoors and even cows are disrupted when, say, you bring their food an hour late or come to milk them later than usual, according to Alison Holdhus-Small, a research assistant at CSIRO Livestock Industries, an Australia-based research and development organization.
  • The fact that the time changes at 2 a.m. at least in the U.S., may have to do with practicality. For instance, it’s late enough that most people are home from outings and setting the clock back an hour won’t switch the date to “yesterday.” In addition, it’s early enough not to affect early shift workers and early churchgoers.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Sept. 9, 2016, and then updated by Stephanie Pappas with information about energy use during daylight saving time. It was also updated in March 2017 to include bills put forth in the United States to eliminate DST in certain states, and again in 2018.

Safe Driving Tips For Au Pairs.


These issues are ones that often happen for Au pairs. Use caution and don’t let it happen to you!

Driving late at night is dangerous because of drunk drivers on the road. In Georgia, after 3am for every five cars that pass you, three of those five drivers have been drinking alcohol. Host families often have car curfews because of this reason.

If you have one beer or one glass of wine or one mixed liquor drink and you drive within one hour—you will test positive for alcohol and can be charged for a DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol). Age 21 is the legal age to drink alcohol in the USA. If you do drink alcohol while out, use Lyft or Uber to safely return home.

Driving in the rain or on wet streets increases your likelihood of having an accident.

Make a system for checking behind the car before backing up. Use the rear view mirrors, but also look behind the car before getting in. When in a driveway, look for children, dogs, shrubs or toys. Most Au pair accidents involve backing up.

When entering a busy street or highway from a parking lot, look for the nearest exit with a traffic light and go there to enter the street. Trying to cross a busy street with no signal is dangerous.

At intersections, look twice before pulling out.

If someone is yelling or honking at you to enter a busy street or intersection, ignore them and wait until you are confident. Accidents happen when you are pressured to move when you are not ready.

Parking a big American car in a small American space is difficult. Practice parking in small spaces outside your host family home with trash cans. Your host family will respect your efforts to be responsible.

Do not hold/talk with your cell phone while driving. This is a law in Georgia. Do not listen to earphones to hear music from your cell phone while driving.

Traffic along busy shopping malls requires special caution. Go slower and do not try to change lanes. Avoid these areas at holiday times.

If you realize you are about to miss your turn, let it pass by. You can safely turn around and go back, but trying to make a last minute maneuver will cause an accident.

Never turn your head to speak to another person in the car. Children will cry and misbehave, but you must keep your eyes on the road ahead.

If your car runs off the road, don’t panic. Turning the steering wheel sharply to get back on the road will cause the car to turn over or cross into the on-coming traffic. Instead, slow down and travel off the road until you can safely and slowly return back to the road.

While traveling in a neighborhood, use caution and go very slowly. Dogs and children can quickly dart in front of you.

Never let the gas get lower than half a tank. Running out of gas can put you and your host family children in danger. Use your own money and give the receipt to the host family.

Many intersections now have automatic cameras that take pictures of everyone going through the light. If you enter the intersection on a yellow light, and it turns red while you are beneath it, you will be ticketed. Never slam on brakes when approaching the yellow light. Slow down and use caution to stop appropriately.

Be mindful of school zones. The fine for speeding here is very high.

Be mindful of school buses. When you see the yellow flashing light, prepare to stop.

When you see that a police car is pulled over on the side of the road. Merge into the other lane or slow down to make sure the police officer is safe. This is called the “Move Over Law”.

UCLA Online Course is available for Au pairs with Au Pair In America

American Studies Online
American Studies Online is a 19-week online course offered by
UCLA Extension that is part self-paced, part instructor-led. The
course is offered through a customized, media-rich computerbased
classroom that participants will access to read lessons,
write, share resources, network with one another and collaborate
on special projects- all designed to further their understanding of
U.S. culture. Topics include U.S. history, arts in the U.S., U.S. literature,
career counseling, and optional English language exercises.
Participants who successfully complete the program receive 6
academic units and earn a certificate of completion from UCLA
Extension. Participants also will have access to a UCLA Extension
transcript if they would like to apply their coursework to a degree
program at another college or university.
Community Involvement
The community involvement component of APIA Advantage is
comprised of Global Awareness, volunteering, and cultural and
historical activities. Au pairs will relate these experiences to their
academic coursework in American Studies Online. The community
involvement requirements must be complete by the end of the 19-
week online course.
Global Awareness
Global Awareness is a program designed to bring multi-cultural
understanding and appreciation to pre-school, elementary and
middle school children. Global Awareness enables au pairs to
visit children in different settings in their community to share
their culture, customs and language. As part of APIA Advantage,
a minimum of one Global
Awareness presentation is
Volunteering is a great way for au pairs to connect with Americans
in the communities where they live and gain valuable experience
for the future. When choosing volunteer opportunities,
au pairs should take into consideration what will fit with their
schedule. Some may choose to participate in one long-term volunteer
opportunity while others might choose various short-term
Au pairs can volunteer at any location that is of interest to them.
Some possibilities are soup kitchens, libraries, nursing homes,
food banks, religious organizations, hospitals, fairs, recreation
centers and museums.
Historical and Cultural Activities
An essential part of gaining knowledge and appreciation for
America is learning about its history and culture, making it an
important component of APIA Advantage. Au pairs can visit historical
sites in their local area or while traveling in the U.S. These
might be museums, monuments, battlefields, national parks, etc.
Additionally, au pairs must take part in activities related to American
culture. There are many great cultural activities for au pairs to
experience either on their own, with friends or their host families.
Examples include attending a baseball game, trying traditional
American foods, learning an American style of dance and taking
part in holiday traditions.
How to Enroll:
An Educational Partnership with UCLA
APIA Advantage: An Educational Partnership with UCLA
is exclusive to Au Pair in America.
1 High Ridge Park H Stamford, CT 06905
APIA Advantage
UCLA Extension
APIA Advantage includes American Studies Online, an academic program offered by UCLA Extension,
as well as a community involvement component developed and monitored by Au Pair in America.


2018 Weekend Education Classes

*Au Pairs are allowed one weekend course for half their requirement.

*If the class is remote, Host Families pay for the class and what is included.   Au Pairs pay for transportation, food, & lodging. 


Albany, NY                             College of St. Rose, at Silver Bay-

AP chooses subjects, see course descriptions. Lodging and meals are included in the average cost of $285. Each weekend plus homework, provides an au pair with 3 credits.


Brookville, NY                       Long Island University                     

Weekend classes focusing on one topic.  They offer transport from the train station at a certain times.  Please see course descriptions. Average class cost of $250 and is based on receiving up to 3 credits.   Lodging and meals are not included but can be purchased for $100.


New York City, NY               Cultural HiWays/ Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

Learning Across America.  Classes meet on three weekend days spread out for several weeks with a break before the travel portion of the class.  Class focus and tour locations include Niagara Falls, NYC, Montreal, Amish Country of PA, Boston, & Washington DC.  Au Pairs earn either 32 or 40 hours with attendance for all classes & the tour, and completing the homework assignments.  Prices range from $279 – $485 depending on number of classes and tour location.  This class is exempt from the one weekend class rule because it occurs over several weeks.


New York City, NY               UCLA Extension                      

Performing Arts (Theater/ Broadway, Music) or Visual Arts (Art Architecture, Photography) class offerings.  36 hours per class, Friday -Sunday for 295 +100 in fees.  72 hours for both classes (get approval from CC first before registering) for $500 +215 in fees.  No housing or meals included.


White Plains, NY                    Pace University         

3 course offerings – American Studies through Film, Cross Cultural Communication, American Humor, Tourism.        20 credit hour class:  9-5 pm Sat & Sun for $200.  40 hour credit class:  weekend class & research essay requirement for $365.  No housing, but free parking.



Purchase, NY                          SUNY Purchase                                    

Explorations in American Life and Language – courses focused on English language in business and culture classes.  Weekend options: 20 hours or 40 hours towards your U.S. government education requirement.  No housing available, but short term parking available.


New Rochelle, NY     Iona College       

2 class offerings –American Pop culture and The Real You-Fulfilling Your Dreams.  Each class has a 2 or 3 credit option depending on completing a multipage assignment.  2 credit class costs $225, 3 credit course costs $350.  Lunch served both days, class runs from 9am – 5:45pm each day.   No housing available.


Boston, MA        Bunker Hill Community College

Please see course descriptions.  Average cost of $295 + $60 in fees is based on up to 45 hours.  Discount for signing up for two weekend classes, but you need to get approval from CC before registering.   No lodging available, but website refers to local hotels.


Boston, MA                Bunker Hill Community College         

2 classes offered – Discover Boston and Make a Difference.  Receive up to 45 hours for a 3 day course, $295 + $60 in fees.  Up to 90 hours for both classes (get approval from CC first before registering) for $500 +115 in fees.  No housing provided, however local recommendation listed on site with discount code.


Fairfield, CT              Cultural HiWays/ Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

Learning Across America.  Classes meet on three weekend days spread out for several weeks with a break before the travel portion of the class.  Class focus and tour locations include Niagara Falls, NYC, Montreal, Amish Country of PA, Boston, & Washington DC.  Au Pairs earn either 32 or 40 hours with attendance for all classes & the tour and completing the homework assignments.  Prices range from $279 – $485 depending on number of classes and tour location.  This class is exempt from the one weekend class rule because it occurs over several weeks


Stamford, CT              Cultural HiWays/ Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

Learning Across America.  Classes meet on three weekend days spread out for several weeks with a break before the travel portion of the class.  Class focus and tour locations include Niagara Falls, NYC, Montreal, Amish Country of PA, Boston, & Washington DC.  Au Pairs earn either 32 or 40 hours with attendance for all classes & the tour and completing the homework assignments.  Prices range from $279 – $485 depending on number of classes and tour location.  This class is exempt from the one weekend class rule because it occurs over several weeks.


Morristown, NJ          Cultural HiWays/ Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

Learning Across America.  Classes meet on three weekend days spread out for several weeks with a break before the travel portion of the class.  Class focus and tour locations include Niagara Falls, NYC, Montreal, Amish Country of PA, Boston, & Washington DC.  Au Pairs earn either 32 or 40 hours with attendance for all classes & the tour, and completing the homework assignments.  Prices range from $279 – $485 depending on number of classes and tour location. This class is exempt from the one weekend class rule because it occurs over several weeks.


New Brunswick, NJ                Rutger’s University                      

Classes tailored to Au Pairs.  Topics include American Food, Childcare topics etc.  8:30-4:30 on Saturday & Sunday.  $390 for 3 CEUs, includes materials, breakfast, and lunch.  Certificate upon completion.   No housing but onsite parking, free shuttle from NJ transit train station.  See website for full details.


Massachusetts Bay Community College / East Coast Adventures         

“Journey through North America” class – class room learning and trip for 3 CEUs.

Montreal, Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, Quebec City & Washington DC.  APs responsible for visa/ passport requirements for any travel to Canada.  See site for dates & pricing.  This class is exempt from the one weekend class rule because it occurs over several weeks.


Washington, DC        Cultural HiWays/ Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

Learning Across America.  Classes meet on three weekend days spread out for several weeks with a break before the travel portion of the class.  Class focus and tour locations include Niagara Falls, Nashville, NYC, Amish Country of PA, & New Orleans.  Au Pairs earn either 32 or 40 hours with attendance for all classes & the tour, and completing the homework assignments.  Prices range from $279 – $485 depending on number of classes and tour location.  Classes meet on Trinity Washington University.  See website for more details.  This class is exempt from the one weekend class rule because it occurs over several weeks.


Washington, DC        University of the Virgin Islands            

American History classes, Exploring DC with a walking tours, Sign Language, Personal/ Career Development, Movie making, Understanding politics etc.  Saturday & Sunday for 20 hours/ 2 CEUs for $275.  Class occurs at the Smithsonian Museums.  See website for details.  Additional classes in Maryland.


Washington, DC        George Washington University           

Women’s Business Leadership. Focused on leadership, mentorship, professional communication, & goals.  Pre and post class assignments.  36 hours towards requirement.   $360 early registration price / $375 late registration price  + $25 materials fee.


Washington, DC        University of the District of Columbia Community College

Learning to live your American Dream.  45 hours for 3 day weekend class $295 + $60 (materials and registration fees).  80 hour class (get approval from CC first before registering).  $500 tuition and $115 in fees.  No housing or meals available through the school, but discount at local hostel with a discount code. Details on class website.


Richmond, VA        University of Richmond

Under Language and Culture Studies:  and Under Cultural Studies

Under humanities-culture


Please see course descriptions. The average cost of $325 is based on 3 credits. Less expensive, shorter one day opportunities are available for less credits.  No lodging available but, website references to local hotels at a special rate.


Chapel Hill, NC    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Adventures in Ideas:  Weekend Seminars”   Lectures and optional meal.  Several offerings focusing on Global Urban Life, American Christianity, African American Music, Mapping the Ancient World etc.  See website for more details.  Tuition by deadline $110 – $125, late registration $125 – $140.  Meals $15-20.  Discounts for multiple registrations.    No housing or transportation available.


Charleston, SC    Trident Technical College

Southern culture, history, language, landmarks.  Learning takes place in and out of the classroom.  Includes graveyards (ghost stories).  Late Friday – Sunday.  30 hours, for $325.  Registration includes fees for events, but not food or lodging.  Hostel information available on site.


Tampa, FL              Hillsborough Community College             

Multiple classes, see website for details.  40 hours each.  $295 Tuition + $50 materials fee.  Late registration penalty is $50.  Multiple class discount (get approval from CC before registering) up to 80 hours for $500 + $115 in fees.  Housing is not included in price of tuition, but can be arranged as a convenience.  Housing cost depends on length of stay and accommodations chosen.  See site for details.


Nashville, TN             University of the Virgin Islands           

Psychology: The power of Language and Thoughts.  This course will focus on control and mastery of emotions, impulses and actions to achieve personal goals through mind mapping and visualization.  Successful completion of the course requirements will earn the student 40 hours or 4 CEU’s.  $335 course fee for on time registration.


Chicago, IL    Cultural HiWays/ Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

Learning Across America.  Classes meet on three weekend days spread out for several weeks with a break before the travel portion of the class.  Class focus and tour locations include Chicago and New Orleans.  Au Pairs earn either 32 or 40 hours with attendance for all classes & the tour, and completing the homework assignments.  Prices range from $279 – $459 depending on number of classes and tour location.    Classes take place in downtown Chicago at Loyola University.  Airfare to/from New Orleans is not included in cost of tuition.  See website for more details. This class is exempt from the one weekend class rule because it occurs over several weeks.


Chicago, IL                             Roosevelt University       

Receive up to 45 hours for a 3-day weekend class for $295 + $50 food, materials and activity fee & $10 registration fee. No lodging available, but website refers to local hotels.

In addition to the class-time hours during each intensive weekend class, students will also complete additional supervised academic work including pre-assignments before the weekend of class, and faculty-mentored project hours after the weekend class at Roosevelt to receive their completion certificate


Boulder, CO               University of Colorado see “course descriptions”

This intensive weekend course for au pairs focuses on the business of tourism. Participants explore tourist destinations and visit local businesses and attractions for analysis and discussion. As a final project, teams develop a tourism campaign promoting Boulder to people from their home countries.  $450 includes tuition, activity fees, Friday dinner, Saturday lunch, Sunday lunch, Saturday bus pass.  36 hours earned which includes pre-and post-assignments.  Class is held 6 -9pm Friday, 9-5 Saturday and 9-4 on Sunday.  Travel to/from airport and hotel package options available. See site for full details.




Salt Lake City, UT                 Utah Valley University            

Learning to live your American Dream.  Some au pairs have complained this class focuses heavily on the Mormon religion that is prevalent in Utah.  80-hour class (get approval from CC first before registering).  $500 tuition and $115 in fees.  Housing option available for additional fee – $150 per student for 3 nights in a shared bed or $200 per student for your own bed.  Includes transportation from SLC airport and all other transportation.


San Francisco, CA                  Alliant International University

50% class time / 50% city experience via museums etc.  Pre- class assignments as well as post class assignments required to receive certificate.  2 courses offered, up to 45 hours each- $295 for one or $500 for both if registered at the same time. (get approval from CC first before registering).   No housing or meals available through the school, but discount at Fischer’s Hostel with use of code:APW2017 (code digits reflect calendar year)


San Francisco, CA                  University of the Virgin Islands

Photography class offered periodically.  Check site calendar for upcoming classes.


Los Angeles, CA                    UCLA Extension                      

American culture and history with a focus on entertainment and the arts focusing on either performing arts or visual arts.  Friday – Sunday class, $405 for class, materials/ activities, & registration fee.  No housing provided, but lodging locations recommended by school upon registration.


Los Angeles, CA                    University of the Virgin Islands

Sign language course, 4 CEUs.  Lodging available that includes a Saturday night hotel stay in the registration fee.  See site for more details.


San Diego, CA                        University of California           

50% class time / 50% city experience via museums etc.  Pre- class assignments as well as post class assignments required to receive certificate.  2 courses offered, up to 40 hours each – $295 for one or $500 for both if registered at same time.  (get approval from CC first before registering). This class involves more written assignments than San Francisco class.  Housing and meals available for an additional fee

Weekend Course Offered By Cultural Highways

 Learning Expresscourses are offered by the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) and allow au pairs to travel to amazing American cities and share in a learning experience that’s both fun and informative.  Learning Express courses are a perfect solution for au pairs with busy schedules since they allow them to fulfill their educational requirement in one weekend!


To view the upcoming schedule of Learning Express courses, please click on the link below.

Au Pairs – Upcoming WEEKEND Courses in Great Locations!

*Please note that BMCC continues to add new courses to its Learning Express program so make sure to check the schedule regularly!

Dear Au Pair,

How great would it be to travel to an amazing American city and share in a learning experience that’s fun and informative? It would be even better if you could do so over one 3-day weekend while earning 36 hours of educational credit.

Well, that’s exactly what the Learning Express courses offered by the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) provide you!

BMCC’s Learning Express courses take place in must-see cities combining classroom sessions with field trips designed to explore your surroundings.  And what you’ll study makes Learning Express courses even more appealing, like music in Nashville (“Music City USA”), fashion in New York City (the world’s fashion capital), and Girl Power! (the women that left their mark on America’s capital) in Washington, DC!

What better way to earn educational credit than by combining travel to great cities with the opportunity to learn some of the unique stories they have to share? Learning Express is your passport to that very experience!


Andrea McMains, MSW