Yearly Archives: 2020

Avoid Falling Victim to Scammers

There are always people out there who are looking for ways to trick people out of their money and personal information. There have been several new scams recently, so we are going to explain ways to identify scams and how to protect yourself.

SCAM #1 – A caller says they are a contact tracer and you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and asks you to pay for a test kit.

  • Contact tracers will not ask you for payment.

What to do? Do not give any payment information to someone who calls you on the phone.

SCAM #2 – Calls asking for your PIN, password, personal information or a payment.

  • Your bank will not call you and ask you for your PIN number or password.
  • IRS and Social Security Administration will not ask you for payment or personal info over the phone. Government agencies usually handle issues like this by sending a letter.
  • The number shown on caller ID can be manipulated, don’t take that as a sign that a call is legitimate.

What to do? Whenever you are in doubt, hang up and call the bank (or company) directly using a number you already have for them.

SCAM #3 – Email asking you to click a link to verify your personal information or share your password or PIN.

  • Be very suspicious of emails asking you to click links.
  • Scammers are very good at creating official looking emails and webpages.

What to do? Whenever you are in doubt, go directly to the website (not using the link in the email).

SCAM #4 – You see an offer online telling you to send them some money and they will double it or a pop-up ad says that you have won a great prize and just need to give them your information.

  • When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

What to do? Do not give your personal information or any money to people you don’t know.

SCAM #5 – You receive a call and you are told to stay on the phone while you go transfer or withdraw money from the bank and if you don’t you will be arrested or your bank account seized.

  • They are using the idea that this is an urgent situation to make you act quickly without thinking to avoid the consequence they have told you.

What to do? Do not follow their instructions.

Whenever you are in doubt, do not do as the caller or email asks. Check with your host parents or community counselor.

One other note: It is very important to keep your social security number private. There are very few situations where you will need to share this (bank, IRS, motor vehicles). Those are times you are taking an action and need to provide it. There is not a legitimate time where someone would be calling you on the phone or emailing you asking for that number.

Image: Canva.com

Facts about Flu Vaccination! What Every Au Pair Should Know.

The information contained in this article was obtained from The Centers for Disease Control And Prevention. For more information, please go to https://www.cdc.gov/flu/

The best way to protect yourself and your host family against influenza (flu) is to get a flu vaccine. Flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, or even death. CDC recommends everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccine.

Au pairs can get a flu vaccination at many locations( urgent care centers, Pharmacies, Doctor’s office, Public health centers.) Costco and your county health clinic may offer the best cost.

The average cost is 20 to 40 dollars. Au Pair insurance will not cover the cost of flu vaccination. Most host families will gladly pay for your flu shot.

 

What are some key reasons to get a flu vaccine?

  • Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu illnesses, hospitalization, and even death in children and young adults.
  • While some people who get vaccinated still get sick, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness.
  • A vaccine is cheaper than the illness. The average cost for a patient with flu is minimal $1000.00
  • 3.7 days to 5.7 days is the average length of time someone is not able to work due to being sick with the Flu.
  • Having a complicated Flu illness could end your Au Pair term early.

Misconceptions about the Flu Vaccine:

Can a flu vaccine give you the flu?

No, flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle (i.e., flu shots) are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ (killed) and that therefore are not infectious, or b) using only a single gene from a flu virus (as opposed to the full virus) in order to produce an immune response without causing infection.

Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?

No. Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalization or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults.  Most people suffering from flu illness miss 4 to 7 days of work and will spend $250.00 to 1000.00 dollars in health care costs (http://theweek.com/articles/471450/cost-getting-flu-by-numbers.) Therefore, getting vaccinated is a safer and less costly choice than risking illness to obtain immune protection.

Is the flu vaccine safe?                                               
Flu vaccines have a good safety record. Hundreds of millions of
Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years.
Extensive research supports the safety of seasonal flu vaccines.
Each year, CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for
flu vaccines. More information about the safety of flu vaccines is
available at www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccinesafety.htm.

What are the side effects of flu vaccines?
Flu shots: Flu shots are made using killed flu viruses (for inactivated
vaccines), or without flu virus at all (for the recombinant vaccine). So,
you cannot get flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may
occur include soreness, redness and/or swelling where the shot was
given, low-grade fever, and aches. If these problems occur, they are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible. Almost all people who receive flu vaccine have no serious problems from it.
When and Where to get vaccinated?       
You should get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, as long
as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout
flu season, even in January or later.

 

Comprehensive List of Online Resources for Education

 

Online Education Options for Au Pairs:

Education:
Your course will be approved if these things are met:
1. Comes from an accredited college, university or technical college approved by the DOS.
2. The college, university, or technical school must be an American school.
3. Starts before the end of December 31, 2021
4. Have a screenshot of the number of hours you will earn.
5. Provide a certificate or a screenshot of the page that shows you have completed the course.  If you choose not to pay for the certificate, it is possible to AUDIT the course for free. You will need to provide screenshots that prove that you completed the whole course. These must be EMAILED to your community counselor. 
6. All classes must be finished by the end of your 11th month….30 days before the end of your year. Please submit all certificates at the time you finish them by emailing them to the counselor at her APIA address. Don’t wait to send all at once. 
7. 72 hours or 7.2 CEUs must be achieved in order to extend a term.
8. Au pairs in their extension term must also earn 72 hours for a one-year extension or a 9-month extension. 36 hours or 3.6 CEUs for a 6-month extension.
9. Special 6-month extension requires 36 hours or 3.6 CEUs.
10. The education allowance is available to assist with earning certificates or paying tuition for a class. It is not paid directly to the Au pair. Maximum of 500.00 per year for the first term or a 12 month or 9-month extension.  Maximum of 250.00 for a 6-month extension. This allowance is only for education and is paid directly to a college.

ALL CLasses must be from an accredited, USA college or university! 

Some classes are grouped together and are called a ” Specialization”. This means that each course within the specialization group must be taken and will give a specific amount of hours. Please count each course’s hours to total up how many you will achieve.

Most Popular Search Mechanisms: NOT all classes found will be approved by the State Department. Check with your counselor BEFORE you sign up! 

www.coursera.org

www.edx.org

www.ed2go.com/

https://online-learning.harvard.edu/catalog

Most Popular Courses:

The Science of Well Being – www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being

Dog Emotion and Cognition – www.coursera.org/learn/dog-emotion-and-cognition

Interior Design – www.ed2go.com/courses/arts-and-design/graphic-arts/ilc/introduction-to-interior-design

Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism Industry – https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-hospitality-and-tourism-industry

Computer Science for Business Professionals – https://online-learning.harvard.edu/course/cs50s-computer-science-business-professionals?delta=0

How to Write an Essay – https://www.edx.org/course/how-to-write-an-essay

Tricky American English Pronunciation – https://www.classcentral.com/course/tricky-american-english-pronunciation-8274

Fundamentals of Supervision and Management – www.ed2go.com/courses/business/soft-skills/ilc/fundamentals-of-supervision-and-management

This course is from the University of Pennsylvania and yields 40 hours.  It is self-paced. You can do the work whenever you have time. There is no specific class time.

English for Career Development – https://www.coursera.org/learn/careerdevelopment

Improve your English Communication Skills – https://www.coursera.org/specializations/improve-english?

Photography – www.ed2go.com/schoolcraft/online-courses/secrets-of-better-photography/

Culinary Arts – https://classroomaupair.org/intro-to-culinary-arts/

Best Course for 5 Hours:

Fairfax University of America – Online Museum Courses https://www.fxua.edu/sls/programs/non-intensive-esl/#museum-classes

Best ESL/TOEFL Courses:

The University of California at Irvine offers a series of classes: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/intermediate-grammar

International Language Institute – DC – www.ilidc.com

LADO – DC Metro Area – www.lado.com

UCEDA – https://uceda.edu/toefl-preparation/ or https://uceda.edu/aupair/ for ESL classes, too.

EFI Online – https://www.eng4intl.com/daytime-evening-classes-overview/toefl-ibt-prep/

Kenton County Adult ESL – https://www.kentonesl.org/

Community College of Allegheny County – Grammar Refresher – https://www.ed2go.com/ccac/online-courses/grammar-refresher

Zoni Language Center – Intermediate Conversations – www.zoni.edu/intensive-english-program/

Hudson County Community College – English Skills for Real Life Situations – https://classroomaupair.org/english

Prince Georges Community College – ESL – https://www.pgcc.edu/go/adulteducationesl/

Fairfax Universtiy of America – https://www.fxua.edu/sls/programs/non-intensive-esl/

Georgia Tech Language Institute – https://esl.gatech.edu/additional-programs/short-courses

 

International Language Institute – www.ilidc.com

https://www.ed2go.com/courses/language/languages/ilc/speed-spanish

https://www.coursera.org/specializations/learn-spanish

More Popular Choices:

Teaching English courses:     https://www.coursera.org/learn/tesol-writing

Learning Across America and Learning Express – https://www.learningacrossamerica.net/find-your-class

Classroom Au Pair – www.classroomaupair.org

Psychology Classes:

Yale University:   One course gives  15 hours           https://www.coursera.org/learn/introduction-psychology?recoOrder=5&utm_medium=email&utm_source=recommendations&utm_campaign=Kl0YwECzEeuTnfsZ4aha4w

Penn State University:  five courses in the specialization giving 80 hours.           https://www.coursera.org/specializations/positivepsychology?recoOrder=8&utm_medium=email&utm_source=recommendations&utm_campaign=Kl0YwECzEeuTnfsZ4aha4w

Wesleyan Unversity 38 hours     https://www.coursera.org/learn/social-psychology?

 

 

Tie Dying is fun for groovy Au pairs! 

 Tie Dying is fun for groovy Au pairs!

 This is a very fun activity to share with your preschool and up age host children, just remember to wear gloves. This is best done outside. PRO TIP : The dye will change the color of anything it touches, even skin so use caution! 

  1. All items must be made of 100% cotton. Check the label and confirm 100% cotton. You can use worn items that have a stain or need a new life! Pale colors can be tie-dyed if you choose coordinating colors. Pillowcases, t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags- All great choices!
  2. Wash your item before tie-dying it. The item can be wet or dry for the dye.
  3. Check out this web site for details about creating specific patterns on your garment. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/293226625713649961/?autologin=true&lp=true 
  4. Make a place to tie dye– A  table with a plastic table cloth or large trash bag works great. Lay a couple of paper towels directly under the item to absorb the run off dye.
  5. Make your pattern by folding, twisting, or wrapping the item and rubber band it together very tightly. Use a lot of rubber bands.  Remember that inside the folds will be left white.
  6. Use two or three coordinating colors for the best results. If you use more colors it will bleed together and make a brown color.  Wear plastic gloves or you will be tie-dyed too!
  7. Place in a zip lock bag and leave for 24 hours.
  8. Take out of the bag ( wearing plastic gloves) and lay in the grass or hang in some way off the ground and wash off the excess dye with a garden hose. The dye will change the color of most porous hard surfaces- like driveways, so grass is best.
  9. Wash the item by itself once using cold water. After one or two times of wearing and washing by itself,  you can wash along with other clothes. The item will not bleed onto other clothes.
  10.  Enjoy your creation for years to come!   * For our projects we used Tulip brand tie-dye kits  that can be found at many retail stores or on-line.

Here are a few of the Au Pair projects!

Tie dyeIMG_4142 IMG_4144 IMG_9486 IMG_9489imagejpeg_0IMG_4145

Au Pair Favorite Free Online Courses!

A Few of our favorite On-line Courses for FREE!!!

1.Yale University: The Science of well-Being.

This course challenges you to be happy and let go of ideas that keep us from being our best!

https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being?recoOrder=10&utm_medium=email&utm_source=recommendations&utm_campaign=pe_VgN6AEeqBo8m8_7foAg

2. Georgia Institute of Technology: Improve your English Communication Skills.                           This is a four-part course that will give about 15 hours for each course, If you finish all of them, it is 60 hours.

https://www.coursera.org/specializations/improve-english?recoOrder=3&utm_medium=email&utm_source=recommendations&utm_campaign=pe_VgN6AEeqBo8m8_7foAg

3.The University of Pennsylvania: English For Career Development. This is a 40 hour FREE course! 

https://www.coursera.org/learn/careerdevelopment?recoOrder=11&utm_medium=email&utm_source=recommendations&utm_campaign=pe_VgN6AEeqBo8m8_7foAg

4.The University of Californa at Irvine: The pronunciation of American English Specialization.

This is a four-part course that gives about 20 hours per course. 80 hours for the total specialization.

https://www.coursera.org/specializations/american-english-pronunciation?

5. Yale University: Introduction to Psychology. This course provides 15 hours.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/introduction-psychology?recoOrder=10&utm_medium=email&utm_source=recommendations&utm_campaign=pe_VgN6AEeqBo8m8_7foAg

 

 

 

Social Distancing with your Host Family
Social distancing is for the benefit of everyone who lives in your community starting with yourself, your
host parents, friends and anyone you may normally have contact with. We all must do our part, even
if you are young, or otherwise healthy, your activities can increase the risk for others. As guidelines
may vary in different areas of the country it is important to discuss any changes to the social distancing
recommendations in your state, city or town with your host family. As au pairs it is important to
remember the following:
• Keep a distance of at least 6 feet (nearly 2 meters) from others when in public.
• Avoid large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others when in public.
• Practice good hygiene –avoid touching your face, wash your hands, especially after touching any
frequently used item or surface, sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
• All Au Pair in America regulations still apply for your childcare schedule.
• Discuss the schedule with your host parents and clearly define what is child care for you and what is
personal/family time.
• Talk with your family about social distancing. Everyone in the household must agree to practice social
distancing in the same way.
• It is important that you follow the rules in place for your household, not doing so may put your match
in jeopardy.
• Social distancing does not mean social isolation. With online and social media tools we can all stay
connected.
• Contact your counselor if you need advice about how to stay connected with friends and other au
pairs.
• There will most likely be a continuation of certain aspects of social distancing for the coming months,
even after the more strict guidelines are lifted. If we all practice social distancing as directed, it will
benefit all of us and allow more of the normal day to day activities to come back and continue.
We are all in this together!
(800) 928-7247 | www.aupairinamerica.com

Social Distancing: Free Virtual Escape Rooms

Libraries may be closed due to COVID-19, but many librarians are coming up with creative ideas to keep people entertained and promote literacy. One of those creative ideas is free virtual escape rooms. With a variety of themes, some may be fun to do on your own, others as activities with the kids.

Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA created this Hogwarts Virtual Escape Room. She shared this tutorial on how to create your own virtual escape room, which seemed to spark the creativity of many other librarians.

Some amazing librarians all over the country have been busy creating virtual escape rooms with a variety of themes.

Special thanks to the Humboldt County Library in Winnemucca, Nevada for gathering info on many of these escape rooms. Follow them on Facebook for their storytimes and weekly Facebook Live Science Time on Fridays.

Image: Canva.com

Social Distancing: 5 Apps to Plan Your Future Trips

Being spontaneous and just traveling to a place and deciding what to do as you go along can be fun. But, there are benefits to doing research and planning before your trips. These ideas are to help you make general plans. You shouldn’t book any tickets or make any financial commitments until you know when travel will safely resume.

Planning can help you:

  • Save money
  • Make the best use of your time
  • Fit in more adventures
  • Visit places you might not have heard of before

It also extends the joy of the travel time. Planning all the thing you will do, gives you something to look forward to. We can all use things to look forward to right now.

If you are looking for travel inspiration and ideas or a place to keep your travel ideas organized, Pinterest is a great place to start. You can browse other people’s travel and bucket list pinboards. You can create your own pinboards for places you want to go and ones you have already visited.

These three apps are all trip planners and offer the ability to research places and create your own itinerary. Each one has its own look and feel and slightly different features. Download them and see which one is the best fit for you.

Road trips can be the ultimate adventure. You set your own pace and stop to see what you want. The journey can be as much fun as your destination.

  • Road Trippers is an app that helps you plan the ultimate road trip. It helps you determine your route and find interesting stops along the way.

We won’t be stuck inside forever. Once travel resumes, be ready with your plans!

Photo: Natacha R. from France

Social Distancing: 5 Online Adventures for Kids

Reading, playing, and doing art projects are always great ways to entertain children and keep them physically active and learning. It’s a good idea to limit screen time. But, in this time of social distancing, technology can play an important role in allowing kids to see and connect with the world outside of their homes. Many online resources are popping up to create those opportunities.

Here are five to get you started:

And if kids have questions about the coronavirus, Live Science has created an ultimate kids’ guide to the new coronavirus that has lots of information and is appropriate for school-aged kids.

Social Distancing: 10 Things You CAN Do Right Now

Social distancing is important right now to help slow the spread of coronavirus. This means avoiding places where you come in contact with lots of people (schools, movies, restaurants, museums, concerts, parties, etc.)  I am sure you keep hearing a lot about the things you should not do.

It’s also important to have ideas of things you can do. There are plenty of activities you can do at home and away from crowds.

While we can’t control many things going on right now in the world, we can choose how we deal with it.

“She turned her can’ts into cans
and her dreams into plans.” 
– Kobi Yamada

 

Here are 10 things you CAN do right now:

  • Stay connected with your friends and family via social media, texting, and Skype.
  • Go for a walk or run on your own. As long as you don’t go to a populated place, it’s fine to go out for some exercise.
  • Enjoy nature. That could be sitting outside in your backyard on a nice day or walking on a nature trail.
  • Read a book or listen to an audiobook or podcast. Getting lost in a story is a great way to take your mind off of things. Or if you pick a non-fiction book or podcast you may learn something new. You could even create an online book club or podcast discussion group with friends.
  • Do yoga. Yoga can be a great way to relieve stress and maintain your fitness. There are many free yoga videos on Youtube. Sign up here to receive daily emails for 30 Days of Yoga.
  • Take virtual tours of museums online.*
  • Make memories in the kitchen.* Cooking recipes from your home country is a great way to share your culture with your host family and give yourself a taste of home. Cooking classic American recipes is a way to continue your cultural exchange. You can find lots of recipes online. Also, you will be able to share that taste of America with your own family by cooking some of these recipes after you return home at the end of your program.
  • Have an online watch party with friends. When you watch a movie alone do you miss talking to a friend about what’s happening? Pick a time and a movie and from your individual homes you each stream the movie on Netflix at the same time. You can text or do a group chat during the movie.
  • Make top 10 lists of your favorite things like movies, foods, songs and more. Share and compare lists with your friends. You may find out some things you didn’t know about each other and get some ideas for new things to try.
  • Research and plan trips to places you want to visit while in the U.S.* This time of social distancing won’t last forever. Use this time to do some research online and make plans. This will help you make the most of those trips when you get to take them a few months from now. It will also give you something to look forward to.

*Future blog posts in this series will have more detailed information on these topics.