Tag Archives: driver’s license

Handling Problems or Poor Customer Service

Places like the MVA and Social Security office can be challenging for Americans, so I can understand how difficult it could be for an au pair to run into problems there.

If you encounter a problem in one of these locations or at other places like college enrollment,  a store, bank, etc., here are some tips:

  • Remain calm and polite, even if the person you are dealing with doesn’t. You don’t want to be viewed as being unreasonable or out of control, because that will not help your situation.
  • Ask to speak with a supervisor, if you are being told something that goes against the procedure you have been told (by your counselor, host parent, Au Pair in America or a previous encounter with the office you are visiting).
  • Ask for the name of the person with whom you are speaking. It is a reasonable question and can help if you need to reference this conversation later. It also adds some accountability for the person who gave you the answer.

If the supervisor is still unable to help you, please discuss the problem with your host parents and/or your community counselor. Maybe there has been a change in the procedure. If there has not been a change and you just got unlucky with the person with which you were dealing, you may find success going back another day.

Dealing with Problems or Poor Service

name tagI recently received a suggestion from a host mom whose au pair had encountered numerous problems at the MVA.  The mom suggested that I share some tips with au pairs on how to deal with problems like these.

Places like the MVA and Social Security office can be challenging for Americans, so I can understand how difficult it could be for an au pair to run into problems there.

If you encounter a problem in one of these situations or at other places like college enrollment,  a store, bank, etc, here are some tips:

  • Remain calm and polite, even if the person you are dealing with doesn’t. You don’t want to be viewed as being unreasonable or out of control, because that will not help your situation.
  • Ask to speak with a supervisor, if you are being told something that goes against the procedure you have been told (by your counselor, host parent, Au Pair in America, or a previous encounter with the office you are visiting.)
  • Ask for the name of the person you are dealing with. It is a reasonable question and can help if you need to reference this conversation later. It also adds some accountability for the person giving you the answer.

If the supervisor is still unable to help you, please discuss the problem with your host parents and/or your community counselor. Maybe there has been a change in the procedure. If there has not been a change and you just got unlucky with the person with which you were dealing, you may find success going back another day.

Changes to the Maryland Driver's Handbook

changeFrom the MVA website:
Beginning October 2011, the knowledge test you must pass to get a non-commercial Class C learner’s permit will be based on information in the new Maryland Driver’s Manual. The new Manual includes basic knowledge on driver safety for new drivers, including: traffic laws of this State; highway signs regulating, warning & directing traffic; and safe driving practices.  The improved graphics, full-color design, and brief paragraphs provide an easy read of only 39 pages – packed with core driver safety facts.

I have updated the links (on the column to the right) to include the New Driver’s Handbook in English, Spanish and an audio version. Paper copies are available in MVA offices.

There is now one booklet instead of two. The yellow booklet that contains the information on who needs a driver’s license and who does not, which I have given out to be kept in the car, will probably not be available after September.

What to keep in the car for proof now?
I have obtained a copy of the Maryland Law regarding International Drivers. The information is copied directly from a booklet which all police officers have in their squad car. The idea is that it shows them where to look up the law and once they compare your paper to that section of their booklet, they should realize that au pairs are allowed to drive on their country license (for up to one year.) Sometimes, they will still choose to write you the ticket for not having a Maryland license. If that happens, don’t worry. You can go to court and the judge should drop the ticket, as long as you are in your first year and have a valid license from your home country in your possession.

I have uploaded this document on Google Docs. You may access it HERE and print a copy for each car the au pair drives.