Monthly Archives: January 2022

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW about traveling outside the USA in 2022
Traveling outside of the USA is risky.
The USA has in the past closed the borders between some countries and the USA when a new variant is discovered. If you travel home or to another country and then the USA closes that border, you will not be able to return to the USA to finish out your year. This happened with South Africa over Thanksgiving. The border was closed in one day. There was no time for anyone to return back to the USA. Many Au Pairs could not arrive to start their year and others who had returned home could not come back to their host families. A lot of matches broke.
If you go home and have the virus, you must meet your country’s quarantine requirements before returning. Your host family may not be able to wait for this and might need to enter a rematch to find a new Au Pair. Because a family is required to pay the weekly stipend for these weeks, very few families can hire a temporary nanny while also paying the weekly stipend. 
Think carefully about leaving the USA. You could jeopardize your ability to be an Au Pair. If you are going to travel internationally, inform your CC. Your CC will be required to make sure  your host family is aware of the risks associated with traveling outside the USA. 
No one should return home with less than 4 weeks left on your first-year visa.
No one can travel outside the USA in the second year except those adjacent islands that have an automatic revalidation agreement with the USA, Canada and Mexico.
If are traveling against the advice of APIA- getting your DS2019 form signed takes 3-4 weeks.
Even if you are returning to your home country the rules still apply. You will need your DS signed for travel. 
You should have this form filled out and your DS2019 form sent to the office 4-5weeks ahead of any travel. If you need it faster, you will need to pay for expedited postage through UPS to get it to the office and to receive it back.
You must send the original and you cannot re-enter the USA without the DS2019.
 You must research if a visitor’s visa is needed to enter the country that you are going into.
Please check the travel checklist for year 1 or 2 for more steps that need to be completed BEFORE you travel outside the USA.
These can be found always be found on our blog site. Here are the links for year 1.

How do you talk about something that is concerning you with your host family?

Tips for Communication During Conflict with Your Host Family.

How you approach an issue of concern with your host family will often determine the outcome. A thoughtful, respectful approach will prompt success, but an aggressive, demanding conversation is likely to harm your relationship. American culture is supportive of positive solution-focused communication. Talking about concerns is hard, but well worth the effort.

  1. Talk in person/ face to face: texts and chats can be misunderstood. Our body language helps us to succeed in communication. Respect the family’s privacy. AVOID talking/texting negatively about the family with a neighbor, family friend, or another family relative.
  2. Choose a good time to talk: Ask for a time to talk when the other person can hear you and you will have enough time to get to the resolution. AVOID catching the host parents on their way out of the door or after a long day at work. Wait until you are calm.
  3. Are you doing your best? Before bringing a concern into a conversation with your host parents, think through your role in their family. It may pay off to build your relationship first. Ask yourself: have I demonstrated my value to the family dynamic? Being able to demonstrate through your behavior that you are… trustworthy, safe, use good judgment, prioritize your Au pair schedule, dependable…. will serve to help you in the discussion about your concern.
  4. Plan: Think about what you want to say ahead of time. State clearly about one problem and how it affects you. Do some research with your CC. Ask for information about program rules and norms. Be realistic.
  5. Listen: Give the other person a chance to tell their side of the concern completely. AVOID interrupting to defend yourself. Really try to hear from their perspective. Let the other person know you want to understand from their side, and you would be happy if they could see your perspective too.
  6. Role model that YOU are listening too: You may not agree with the other perspective. Tell the other person you see that your behavior affected them or the importance of what you are now asking for. For example: “I see that when I was 30 minutes late, it made my host child feel scared and it lead you to think that I did not prioritize my au pair role.” State that you are glad that this information is being discussed together and that you are happy that it will make your relationship with the family better. You really want to find a solution and appreciate the feedback.
  7. Give Information but stay on track: AVOID letting the conversation move to a general discussion of your unhappiness. Be specific. If you are saying a lot of different instances for example” when you were late last week …and when you said I cannot take the car… and when the children yelled at me…. and I had to take the dog out too… and then you didn’t ask me to go with you all to get an ice-cream.” it will be hard to single out a solution!
  8. Talk about your perspective: Avoid telling the other person how they are or are not, feeling. This can make them angry or offended.  Making them angry is not an effective way to find a solution together. It is ok to talk about how the behavior made you feel. Talk about the most difficult things. If you are not able to get them out in the open during this conversation, no solution can be made. For example: “When you don’t involve me in your plans outside my work schedule, it makes me feel like an employee not really an important part of your family.”
  9. What is the solution? Americans have a saying: “don’t be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution.” How do you see a solution for the concern? Be specific:” I would feel better about my relationship with the family if you did ask me sometimes to go with you. I understand you are not able to ask me every time. I would appreciate occasionally being asked to join in the family fun times”.
  10. Follow-through: The hardest work is over! You have successfully talked through a concern and made it to the end with a solution in place. Agree to set up regular talks that both parties can express a concern and move through the steps you have taken today to make your relationship the best that it can be! Yes, it might feel awkward today, but soon your relationship with the host family will be better than ever!