Monthly Archives: May 2015

APIA Flag Day Contest

Flag Day 2014 Winner Olena from Ukraine

Flag Day 2014 Winner Olena from Ukraine

UPDATE: The 2015 Winners have been posted. Click here to see the creative results!

Flag Day is celebrated in the US on June 14th. In celebration of Flag Day, Au Pair in America is asking our au pairs to submit their creative interpretations of their country’s flag.
Three Winners will be chosen for the most creative creation and prizes awarded! You can take a look at past year’s entries on the Global Awareness website. Good luck!

Details: Submit to gaapia@gmail.com by June 10th. Entries must include your name, country, and counselor’s name. Winners will be announced on July 16th.

Education Requirements for Au Pairs

Photo: www.gotcredit.com (Flickr)

Photo: www.gotcredit.com (Flickr)

Click on this link for the latest info on au pair education requirements. 

Required Credits

Au pairs are required earn at least six academic credits during their year by completing classes/courses at accredited US post-secondary colleges and universities. 

6 academic credits = approximately 8 CEUs = approximately 80 classroom hours

Universities and colleges use several different systems for credits, and au pairs use any combination of academic credits, CEUs, or hours as long as they add up to the required number of hours. (The absolute minimum is 72 classroom hours.)

Accredited Schools

For a list of classes approved for your DC-area cluster, click on this link.

If you want to take a class from a school not listed on the cluster blog, check with your Community Counselor first to make sure it is accredited. Otherwise, it will not count toward your education requirement.

Choosing Classes

Be flexible. Remember that your childcare responsibilities come first. Class schedules need to be arranged with your host family and around your childcare duties. Your favorite class may not be available when you are. Schools vary in what they offer, but most offer a wide range of choices and offer day, evening, and Saturday classes.

The APIA Advantage UCLA Course is the only State Department approved class with an online component. No other online classes are accepted.

Tuition

Your host family will pay an education allowance of $500 to assist you in completing your education requirement. There are a few ways to get your credits for just your education allowance, but choices are limited. Normally au pairs will contribute some of their own money ($200+) towards their education.

Transportation

Your host family will provide transportation, including gasoline, parking, or public transportation costs, to and from your classes in your community until you complete your education requirement.

Travel Classes

Au pairs should only take one “weekend/travel” course for their education requirement. These courses usually meet for one or several weekends and involve travel. They are clearly marked on the Au Pair Education Options post. Using only “weekend/travel” courses to meet your education requirement could result in the denial of your extension application (should you decide to extend.).

Education Proof

Submit any of the following as proof of your education:

  • Letter from the school on letterhead
  • Completion certificate from the school
  • School transcript

All proof of education must state your name, school attended, course title, start and end date of the course, and number of credits/hours earned. If your community counselor does not have proof that your education requirement has been completed, you will not receive a completion certificate upon your return to your home country and you forfeit the opportunity to extend.

Extending

In order to extend, you must show proof that you have completed the education requirement no later than 30 days before the end of your first year.

If you are still in the process of completing your education, you must obtain proof from the school stating that the course(s) you are taking will conclude at least 30 days before the end of your year and the number of credits/hours/CEUs that you will earn.

All proof of education must state your name, school attended, course title, and number of credits/hours earned. Completed verification should be given to your community counselor. Your extension request will not be processed without this proof.

Privacy, Personal Information & The Internet

fb-twitter-youtubeJust a reminder about how important it is to respect your host family’s privacy and not share personal details and information.  This applies to all kinds of situations, including: personal conversations, email and social websites.

For your own safety, it is a good idea to be careful what personal information you share about yourself as well. You should not be giving out information like your telephone number and address to people you don’t know.

Once you post something on the internet (even if you later delete it), it can show up elsewhere.  Unless you have specific permission from the host family, you should not post pictures of them, their children or their home on the internet.

If you have a blog or website where you post in your native language, remember there is translation software.  So, even if you say it in your native language, be sure it is not something you will regret.

May Host Family Tips

Illustration: www.onewaystock.com (Flickr)

Illustration: www.onewaystock.com (Flickr)

Several host families have asked me to share more about our experience as host parents. Of course every day is different and no two host families or au pairs are alike, but here are some ways we have found to successfully communicate with our au pairs.

1. Weekly meetings: We meet every Sunday evening with our AP to discuss schedules, the children’s behavior, and other issues. This helps my husband and me communicate as well, so we think it’s important for both host parents to attend these meetings. (We’ve also had meetings during the work week with my husband using Facetime from his office.) 

2. Schedule: We use the weekly meeting to go over the upcoming week’s schedule and discuss future changes (vacations, etc.). An online calendar is critical for our planning purposes. Cozi works for us, but Google Calendar is great too. We schedule everything online for the kids- school drop-off and pick-up, playdates, haircuts, doctors’ appointments, etc. All 3 of us can access the calendar and know who is responsible for each event.

3. Texting: I work from home, and it’s easier if my kids don’t see me during the day, so my AP and I text a lot with each other. For example, if I need a snack, I’ll send our AP a text and give her time to take the kids to the basement or outside before heading to the kitchen.

4. Compliments: We use our meetings to compliment our au pair on areas we’ve found her to be particularly successful (even the smallest thing). This is really helpful when we need to address an issue that isn’t as positive. 

5. Rewards: We look for ways to surprise our AP. Has she been great about entertaining the kids during a snow day? Did she soldier through a bad round of strep throat? Do we know she’s excited to see an upcoming movie? Starbucks gift cards, pedicure gift certificates, and movie gift cards go a long way to helping an AP feel appreciated and loved. (You can find discounted movie and restaurant gift cards at Costco.)

For more ideas, check out the Tips for Current Host Families on the APIA website. 

May Au Pair Tips

Illustration: www.onewaystock.com (Flickr)

Illustration: www.onewaystock.com (Flickr)

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and before too long, the kids will be on summer break. Here are a few things to think about as we look toward summer.

1. Weekly meetings:  These are a perfect time for you to sit down with your host parents and review the weekly schedule, the children’s behavior, and other issues. APIA strongly encourages these meetings. If they’re not happening at your house, let me know and I’ll speak with your host parents.

2. Schedule:  Summer is almost here. What does that mean for you? Now is the perfect time to review your work schedule and family agreements and think about how life might change this summer. Bring up questions you have about these changes in your weekly meetings.

3. Smart phones:  Smart phones are great tools for staying in touch with your host family, finding directions, scheduling playdates, keeping track of your schedule, and taking pictures of your host kids to share with their parents. However, remember that you should never use your phone for anything else during work hours. Don’t do it.

For more tips for having a successful year, check out the ABCs document on our Facebook group page.