Tag Archives: pandemic

Travel Outside of the U.S.

Au Pair in America is discouraging international travel during the pandemic for multiple reasons. Here are some resources to help you understand the process and risks, so you can make an informed decision.

10 Things to Know Before You Go

  1. Read APIA Travel Advisory due to COVID-19
  2. If an au pair decides to travel outside of the U.S., she and her host family need to understand and accept the possible risks.
  3. The following au pairs should NOT travel outside of the U.S.:
    • Au pairs who arrived on National Interest Exception (NIE) visas. (Those are single entry visas.)
    • Au pairs in their travel month
    • Au pairs on a special 6 month extension
  4. As you make your travel plans, please review the appropriate checklist(s) from APIA:
  5. Au pairs must mail their original DS-2019 along with a Travel Validation Request Form  to APIA, at least 3-4 weeks prior to international travel.
  6. Year 1 au pairs should plan international travel to return to the U.S. prior to the date their visa says it expires. This can be different from your actual program end date.
  7. Au pairs must find out if they will need a visa to visit another country. This can be different for au pairs than for host parents. You must check with the consulate of the country you are planning to visit, find more information HERE.
  8. The CDC requires a negative PCR test to fly into the U.S. Investigate where you can get this test and how much it will cost before you travel.
  9. When you return to the U.S. you should follow CDC and local guidelines regarding quarantine and testing.
  10. There is always some risk with traveling outside the US, as re-entry is at the discretion of the port of entry agent. Au Pair in America is not responsible for additional costs or travel arrangements should a delay in returning to the US occur.

Photo: Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

Education Update 2021

Updated Aug 10, 2021Due to COVID-19, Au Pair in America has temporarily given approval for online/virtual classes, with a few conditions. Au pairs must still produce certificates or other acceptable documentation confirming the completion of the class. Classes must be offered by an accredited U.S. college, university or other post-secondary school and completed by 9/30/21. As of right now, the expectation is that after September, au pairs will resume in-person classes. This is always subject to change, depending on COVID numbers and whether local schools are offering in-person classes. If you have any concerns about in person classes, please contact Christine or Lisa.

If in doubt, ask your counselor to check if the school is accredited. All class hours must be completed by the end of your 11th month in the program if you wish to extend.

Online Class Websites – These platforms will list online courses all over the country. These courses come from a variety of sources and some are not accredited. You must be sure you are selecting a course that is from an accredited university.

*This class would be great for au pairs who have already taken or plan to take a PGCC Transition ESL class when things go back to normal. Those classes usually earn 50-60 hours, so this could be enough to complete your education requirement, in combination with one of those classes.

Photo: Nenad Stojkovic

Preparing for Cold Weather

We’re in that time of year where Maryland temperatures start dipping a little lower. It can be 70°F (21°C) one day and 40°F (4°C) the next. This is a time when many people begin to opt for indoor activities instead of outdoor ones. With the pandemic, we may be rethinking that this year. CDC guidelines state that outdoor gatherings and activities are generally safer than indoor ones.

I recently heard a Scandinavian saying about this…

If you come from a warmer climate this may sound impossible to you. As a person who often complains of being cold when the rest of my family is comfortable, I definitely understand. But, I think this winter I will need to rethink that. I will need to push my boundaries of cold tolerance in order to be able to still see a few friends or family members outside or dine at an outside seating area. I encourage you to give outside a chance too.

One thing I have noticed in my years of working with au pairs is that the temperature difference is much easier on those who have a gradual adjustment. It allows your body time to adjust to the lower temperatures. So, that’s the good news for all of you who are already here. Your body is already getting adjusted, give your mind a chance to stay open to enjoying the outdoors.

The next thing to do is get yourself the proper clothing and accessories. Start shopping for cold weather clothing: sweater, coat, gloves, hat, scarf, long underwear & boots. Ask your host family if they have some you can use and then start looking out for sales and checking thrift shops for the rest. Take a look at what you already have and think of ways to layer it. A long sleeve t-shirt under a sweatshirt may be as warm as a jacket. A pair of leggings or tights under a pair of jeans adds a lot of warmth.

It may also help to remind yourself that people in other parts of the U.S. and other countries experience much colder temperatures than we do and are still able to enjoy the outdoors.

Pick your activities carefully. If you are sitting next to a fire pit or doing physical activity you will feel warmer. When you take the kids to the playground or out in the snow, don’t sit on the bench and watch. You will feel warmer and have more fun if you are actively involved and having fun with them.

If you have tips on enjoying the cold weather, please share them!

CONTEST: The first au pair in our cluster to message Christine or Lisa with their favorite cold weather activity will win a prize!

Image: Canva.com