Monthly Archives: October 2017

Celebrate Halloween 2017!

JWI_HalloweenOwlHalloween (or Hallow e’en) is a celebration observed in a number of countries including the United States on October 31st.  Halloween 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.

The most popular Halloween activities include trick-or-treating attending Halloween costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfiresapple bobbing, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.

For more information and a “how-to” video on carving a pumpkin, click here.  Find more pumpkin carving ideas, scary snacks, and other fun Halloween activities on the APIA Halloween Fun Pinterest board.

Halloween can be a lot of fun but it is also a time when safety should come first. Here are some tips for Monday:

Adult supervision is essential. Always accompany the children if they are going door to door to trick or treat

Try tick-or-treat-friendly homes. Ensure the children only visit houses with lights on. And, you might also suggest the houses they visit have some sort of Halloween decoration on the porch.

Stay outside. Make sure the children don’t go inside someone’s house. They can trick or treat on the porch.

Remain visible. Dress the children in bright costumes or have them wear reflective strips or carry a glow stick or flashlight.

Quality-check treats. Check the candy before they eat it. Throw out any candy that is not in its original wrapper or looks like it has been tampered with.

Say “no” to strangers. Remind the children to never accept a ride or go anywhere with a stranger.  

Click here for more Halloween safety tips and a fun word game to help teach these tips to your host kids. 

2017 Halloween Safety Tips

Going trick or treating? Check out these tips from the CDC to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters.

Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.

Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.

Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.


Download the CDC’s Halloween Safety Scramble to review these safety tips with your kids.

Education Requirements for Au Pairs

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.


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.


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.

If the class is remote (out of town), host families pay for the class and what is included; au pairs pay for transportation, food, & lodging.

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.

DCC cluster au pairs should use this link to submit their education proof to their Community Counselor, Catherine.


Image: NEC Corporation of America (Flickr)

Image: NEC Corporation of America (Flickr)

In order to extend, you must show proof that you have completed the education requirement no later than the end of your 11th month. 

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 no later than the end of your 11th month 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.

2019 Au Pair Education Options

Photo: William Warby (Flickr)

Photo: William Warby (Flickr)

  • APs 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 (72 classroom hours is absolute minimum allowed).
  • For a summary of State Department education requirements, click on this link.
  • Before you sign up for a class, remember to talk with your HF to make sure that the class will fit with your work schedule.
  • If the class is remote (out of town), HFs pay for the class and what is included. APs pay for transportation, food, & lodging.
  • Most courses require homework to receive class credit.


Georgetown University Evening and Weekend English

  • Details: Conversational English courses (weeknights), ESL Business English courses (weeknights), and Advanced TOEFL Test Prep course (Saturdays)
  • Credits: 3.2 CEUs for 8-week summer course; 3.6 CEUs for 9-week fall and spring course
  • Cost: $480 for summer course; $540 for fall & spring courses (10% Early Enrollment Discount)
  • Placement: Mandatory placement test
  • Location: Georgetown, DC (Take shuttle from Dupont Circle Metro)

International Language Institute (ILI) English Programs and other foreign languages

  • ESL and TOEFL Prep Au Pair Promotion- $500 Tuition for 72-75 hours
    • Day Classes (Monday-Friday 9 am-2:10 pm; earn 75 hours in 3 weeks)
    • Evening Classes (Tuesday-Thursday 6:40-8:45 pm; earn 75 hours in 10 weeks)
    • Saturday Classes (Saturday 9 am-1:05 pm; earn 72 hours in 16 weeks)
  • Other foreign languages
  • Cost: $75 one-time application fee + tuition (usually offers 10% discount for Au Pairs)
  • Schedule: Weekday, evening, and weekend courses offered year-round; foreign language classes begin 4 times per year
  • Placement: Testing offered daily
  • Location: Dupont Circle (Dupont and Farragut North Metro)

LADO International Institute English courses

  • Details: Intensive, Semi-intensive, TOEFL Prep, and TEFL Prep classes
  • Credits: 7.6 or 7.2 CEUs for Intensive 4-week program; 7.2 CEUs for Semi-intensive 8-week program, 3.6 CEUs for 8-week Saturday program
  • Cost: $85 one-time registration fee + tuition (10% APIA tuition discount usually offered)
  • Schedule: Weekday, evening, and weekend courses offered year-round
  • Placement: Testing offered daily
  • Locations: DC (Archives, Gallery Place, Metro Center), Arlington (Rosslyn Metro), Silver Spring (Silver Spring Metro)

Mentora College Intensive ESL Program

  • Details: Intensive 4-week program (ask about a 30% APIA scholarship discount)
  • Location: DC (McPherson Square and Metro Center)


BMCC Learning Across America

  • Details: BMCC offers au pairs two ways to earn educational credits:
    1. Learning Local: Attend class at Trinity University in DC and then take a study trip to the destination (usually Niagara Falls or Amish Country).
  • Credits: 40 hours/4 CEUs, 36 hours/ 3.6 CEUS, or 32 hours/3.2 CEUs
  • Cost: Varies by class (check for additional housing and transportation costs)
  • Schedule: Learning Local classes meet on Saturdays and Sundays. Study trip dates vary and may include weekdays. Learning Express classes meet over one long weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Carefully check class descriptions dates and times.
  • BMCC continues to add new courses to its Learning Across America program so make sure to check the schedule regularly!

George Washington University School of Business Women’s Business Leadership

  • Details: GWU’s School of Business Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Women’s Leadership Seminar series
    • WBL 101: Intro to Women’s Business Leadership (Fall- Nov 2 and 3, 2019)
    • WBL 102: Personal Leadership Journey (Spring- March 7 and 8, 2020)
  • Credits: 3 credits/ 36 hours
  • Cost: $360 early registration; $385 regular registration + $25 for workbook
  • Schedule: TBA (also pre and post-class assignments)
  • Location: George Washington University (Foggy Bottom Metro)

University of DC Community College Au Pair Weekend Class

  • Details: Learn important skills for dealing with the cultural and personal challenges that international visitors in the U.S. often face and also learn about Washington, DC.  
  • Credits: Receive up to 45 hours for a 3-day weekend class 
  • Cost: Varies by course (housing not provided)
  • Location: 801 N Capitol St NE (near Union Station)

University of the Virgin Islands International Program (based in DC and other locations)

  • Details: Courses that meet for multiple times for several weeks, weekends, or months (include Accent Reduction, ESL Small Talk, Sign Language, art classes, business classes, and more).
  • Credits: Between 20-40 hours (2-4 CEUs) and varies by course
  • Cost: Varies by course; create student account to register and pay
  • Locations: Throughout DC Metro and other locations

Other Classes located at Universities all over the US, including California, New York, Florida, Virginia, Hawaii and others. Click here for more information.


UCLA Extension American Studies

  • Credits: 6 credits
  • Cost: $500
  • Schedule: September 23, 2019 – February 3, 2020. Course #364702. Registration opens July 29, 2019.
  • Location: Online (Note: This is the only online class approved by the State Department and is only available to APIA Au Pairs.)


Below is a list of accredited DC-area schools you may wish to research for class options. However, they tend to be more expensive and do not have special programs designed to fit into an au pair’s typical schedule.

American University Nondegree Student (over $1000 per credit)

Corcoran Arts Continuing Education classes (around $1000 per credit)

Georgetown University Visiting Non-Degree Student (over $1500 per credit)

Montgomery College Work Force Development & Continuing Education (must pay non-resident fee)

Prince George’s Community College classes (must pay out-of-state tuition)

This blog post was last updated on 07/13/2019.