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Below you will find some links to resources other au pairs have found useful both before their arrival and during the year.
If you have a legal or serious medical problem, you should notify your Counselor. If your counselor is not available and you cannot wait for his/her return, you may call the 24 hour emergency service at 1-800-928-7247. If you need medical treatment and are unable to sign a consent form, Au Pair in America has a signed release on file for treatment (included as part of the agreement signed by you at the time of your application to the program).
Au Pair in America and EduCare in America are programs designated by the Department of State to sponsor an au pair/companion on an Exchange Visitor Program intended to provide its participants an opportunity to "learn about American culture, improve English language skills and to assist host families with child care while living with American families as a guest member 'on par' for a 12 month cultural exchange."
Since 1986, the program has evolved, and legislative authorization remains an essential element that continues to distinguish this program from other in-home child care options. The government has issued regulations that establish the framework for recruitment, placement and monitoring of au pair/companion and host family relationships.
The regulations are included in the Host Family Guidelines for a Successful Year available on your host family site. The Code of Federal Regulations can also be found online - au pair regulations are sited at section 62.31.
The Social Security Administration will issue a "Valid for Work Only With DHS Authorization" social security card to any au pair/companion participating in a Department of State authorized au pair program. To apply for a restricted working social security card, an au pair must go in person to the local social security office in her community. She can go three days after her arrival in the United States with the following documents:
Social Security will verify the au pair's status in SEVIS before a social security card number can be assigned.
If there is a discrepancy with information, the social security office may deny the au pair a social security card and would request a manual verification of data, which would take additional time.
If the social security office says that they cannot issue a social security card and returns the application and documents, please call Fiorella Ciralli at Au Pair in America, (800) 928 -7247, ext. 5087, or email email@example.com for further assistance.
If your passport was stolen, the first thing you should do is to file a police report. If you lost it, then you don't need to tell the police. In either case you should call the Stamford office to speak to the Compliance Officer. Then you should contact the consulate (or embassy in DC) of your home country and get the process started to replace your passport.
If you lose your passport, you have also lost your visa. To replace your visa, you must return to your home country once you have received a new passport and go back to the U.S. embassy and apply for another visa. You must go in person. There is no guarantee that you will receive another visa, so this is a big risk. With no visa, you cannot travel outside the U.S., but you can stay in the U.S. to finish the program.
It is best to use a different form of identification and leave your passport safely at home. Make a copy of your passport and visa and keep it in a safe place.
Classes in First Aid and CPR are available all over the country through the American Red Cross. Au pair in America will pay for the cost of a class providing you have at least six months left on your visa and you are taking the Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED class. Explore the classes in your area and check with your counselor on how to sign up.
Look for the Red Cross Chapter closest to you to find their course schedule at http://www.redcross.org/where/chapts.html.
Lost your insurance card information?
Contact the insurance team at (800) 303-8120, prompt 5 or 203-399-5130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name, ID number, and your Host Family's address.
You can also go to your portal using the following link, https://www.mycisi.com/CISIPortalWeb/pub/login.aspx?PT=GEN, input your information and access your insurance card.
All au pairs are covered under a medical insurance policy arranged by Au Pair in America. The cost of this policy is covered by the program fees that the host family pays. Details of the medical insurance, including the policy number, dollar limits of coverage, and exclusions are available in the Insurance Brochures, which you can download below.
Insurance and Claim Filing Process Outline
This is a brief outline of the insurance and claim filing process. Please consult the brochure provided for detailed policy information or contact our insurance team at (800) 303-8120, prompt 5 or 203-399-5130 or email email@example.com
Liability and Property Insurance
Download the 2018 Liability and Property Insurance information(To read these documents, you will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader if you do not already have it.)
Need to file a claim?
Click here to get the form.
Click here to get the form if you are an au pairs from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Cultural Insurance Services International
1 High Ridge Park
Stamford, CT 06905
For claim submission questions, call (800) 303-8120, prompt 5 or 203-399-5130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
List of Preferred Physicians, Hospitals and Medical CentersAccess a listing of preferred physicians, hospitals and medical centers in the U.S. If there is no participating provider in your area, then you may use any physician or hospital.
For au pairs who arrived or extended in 2018 or earlier, click here.
Medical and Liability Insurance
Download the 2019 Medical and Liability Insurance information(To read these documents, you will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader if you do not already have it.)
For au pairs who arrive or extend in 2019, click here.
After you enter your zip code, you will be asked to Select a Plan
Choose "Passport to Healthcare Primary PPO Network"
Have you decided to travel or stay up to 30 days longer in the US after your program end date?
If so, you must have medical insurance coverage for this period. Insurance is required if you do not select the first available departure date after your program end date or if you do not already have the Travel & Sports insurance package or comprehensive insurance coverage, and if you cannot provide proof of other insurance coverage. Au Pair in America can provide you with an extension of your current Insurance Plan at a minimal cost.
The extra month of insurance coverage will extend all your current benefits: Medical Coverage for each accident or illness; Team Assist Emergency Medical Coverage; and the Personal Liability Benefit. (Please note: Some limitations and exclusions apply. Refer to your Plan of Insurance summary for further information.)
Additional benefits of extending coverage:
We will provide this coverage at a cost of $175.
All au pairs must fulfill educational requirements while in the U.S. The links below will provide you with an overview of these requirements.
Au pairs can fulfill the educational component in different ways. The choice you make will depend largely on the educational opportunities in your community and your work schedule. To meet the requirement, it is possible you will need to supplement the education allowance with your own money, so plan carefully.
Facts about the education requirements:Standard au pairs and au pairs on the Extraordinaire program are required to take 6 credits (or the equivalent of approximately 80 hours in the classroom) over the course of their year. EduCare Au Pairs are required to take 12 credits (approximately 160 hours). Credits must be earned at an approved, accredited program or institution.
Standard au pairs and au pairs on the Extraordinaire program who extend their visa are expected to take an additional 3 credits for a 6-month extension and 6 credits over a 9- or 12-month extension. EduCare Au Pairs must take 6 credits for a 6-month extension and 12 credits over a 9- or 12-month extension.
6 credits = approximately 80 hours in the classroom = approximately 8 CEUs
You can use any combination of hours, credits, or CEUs as long as they add up to the required number of hours. As an example, if you are taking a 3-credit course that meets 3 hours a week for 15 weeks, that course is 45 hours. If you are taking a course that grants CEUs (continuing education units), each CEU is equal to 10 hours of instruction. Non-credit courses are counted by the number of hours spent in the classroom.
Your counselor will be able to advise you on what is possible in your area. You can also review your options by reviewing the educational listings for your state. Click here to view those options.
Auditing classes: Auditing allows students to attend a class with limited in-class participation, non-graded assignments, and no final grade. If auditing is available to the au pair, the cost may be less than for a credit course. Each individual college or university has its own audit policy.
CEU: Continuing Education Units is a nationally recognized method of quantifying the time spent in the classroom during professional development and training activities. Ten hours of instruction = 1.0 CEU.
Choosing classes: Be flexible. Remember that your child care responsibilities come first. Class schedules need to be arranged with your host family and around your child care 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.
Completion of the education requirement: Education is an important part of your year in America. Take advantage of the opportunity and don't forfeit your eligibility to extend and/or return to the U.S. as a return au pair. After returning to your home country, if you have completed the education requirement, you will receive a certificate of completion for participating in the program.
Continuing Education courses: These classes are usually non-credit and are offered at some colleges and universities. These courses are designed for a purpose other than working toward a degree, usually for personal enrichment or career-specific skills.
Extending: In order to extend, you must show proof that you have completed the education requirement at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution. To extend, your education requirement must be completed no later than the end of your 11th month. One or more of the following documents can be used to verify that you have completed your education:
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.
*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 of your program and the number of credits/hours/CEUs that you will earn. If you are registered for a course that has not yet begun, you must submit proof of registration indicating that the course 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 be given to your counselor before your deadline to extend. Once your course is concluded you must send proof of the course completion to your counselor.
Non-credit classes: Non-credit classes are offered at some colleges and universities. These courses are designed for a purpose other than working toward a degree, usually for personal enrichment or career specific skills.
Online courses: Online courses do not meet the educational requirement for au pairs.
UCLA APIA Advantage Course: APIA has partnered with UCLA to create a 19-week interdisciplinary online course for 6 credits. This course has been specially-approved by the U.S. Department of State to meet the educational requirement for au pairs.
Unlike a typical online course, the blended online format of the APIA Advantage course allows au pairs to have face-to-face contact with their local communities. As a requirement of the course, au pairs are required to do a Global Awareness presentation, volunteer at a local organization, and participate in historical and cultural activities. To find out more about the course, please visit UCLA Extension, or ask your local community counselor for details.
Placement tests: Many English as a Second Language (ESL) classes have placement exams. Some schools may require the TOEFL or other placement tests at the time of registration for other courses as well.
Post-secondary accredited institution: A post-secondary institution offers at least a one-year program of college-level studies. An accredited institution is an institution officially recognized by a regional or national accrediting commission of schools and colleges. To verify the acceptability of a school, you should either ask your community counselor or contact the Education and Program Services coordinator at 1-800-928-7247 ext. 5028 or email email@example.com.
Proof of Education Completed: You may submit any of the following to your community counselor as proof of your education.
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.
Recognition: If you are taking a course for academic credit, you will receive a grade and an official transcript. If you are auditing or taking a non-credit course, recognition is at the discretion of the instructor.
TOFEL: For information about the Test of English as a Foreign Language, click here.
Transfer of Credits:If you are taking a course for academic credit and want to transfer credits home, it is up to the university in your home country to determine if they will accept that credit or not. It is the responsibility of the au pair to contact her home university if she is interested in transferring credit.
Transportation:Your host family is required to provide transportation, including gasoline, parking, or public transportation costs (if applicable) to and from classes in your community. The cost of transportation is in addition to the $500/$1000 allocated to tuition and related fees. It is your host family’s responsibility to provide transportation or cover the transportation costs until you complete your educational requirement, even if the $500 education allowance has already been spent.
Tuition:Host families reimburse tuition costs and costs of related materials (books and supplies) up to $500 for the first year. EduCare companions are reimbursed up to $1000 for the first year. If it will cost you more than $500 (or $1000 for EduCare) to meet the requirement, you must pay the additional expense, so plan carefully.
Still have questions? Ask your community counselor or contact the Education and Compliance Administrator at 1-800-928-7247 ext. 5028 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Baseball is called the “National Pastime” of the United States because it is so popular. There are thirty teams spread across the country, and many people have their own favorite “home team.”
The game is played by two teams. When one team is in the field, the other team takes turns at bat. A baseball player first bats at the ball and then runs around the bases in an effort to score. Points, called “runs,” are scored when a player on the batting team touches all the bases (including home plate) without being tagged or put “out” by a player on the fielding team. The team scoring the greater number of runs in nine “innings” wins the game. Each inning is divided into two halves: top and bottom. Both teams are allowed three outs per half inning.
There are 9 men on a team: pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder and right fielder. All the team members take a turn at bat, except for the pitcher, who does not bat on some teams.
The diamond, or “infield,” is named for its diamond shape. This area has a base at each corner. Runners move counterclockwise around the bases, starting from “home plate” (also called “home base”).
Each play starts at the “pitcher’s mound” in the center of the diamond. When the pitcher throws the ball, he must have one foot on the white rubber plate on the pitcher’s mound. The catcher crouches behind the batter at home plate. The “outfield” is the area beyond the infield – outside the “baseline,” the area where the batters run from one base to the next, and inside the “foul lines.” Foul lines define the area that is okay to play in. A “fair” ball is a ball that stays inside the foul lines. A batted ball that lands outside fair territory or touches fair ground, but rolls outside the foul line before reaching first or third base is a “foul ball.”
Each batter tries to reach first base safely, then advance around the other bases and score a run. A batter can be out in any one of three ways:
A base runner makes an out in one of five ways:
Each team bats until it makes three outs. An inning has been played when each team makes three outs.
The batter stands in the “batter’s box,” one of the rectangles marked on each side of home plate. If he does not swing the bat at a pitch, the “umpire” (like an official or referee) calls it either a “ball” or a “strike.” A ball is when the pitched ball does not cross home plate between the batter’s armpits and the top of his knees. A strike would be when the ball does cross home plate between the batter’s armpits and the top of his knees. A ball hit into the foul area counts as a strike, unless there are already two strikes; in this case, the player continues to bat. If the pitcher throws four balls to one batter, then the batter can “walk,” meaning he can go to first base without hitting the ball.
The batter runs as far as he can when he gets a “hit.” He hits a single if he stops at first base, a double if he reaches second base, and a triple if he runs to third base. A “home run” or “homer” is when the batter makes it around all the bases to home plate without being out. In many baseball parks a fence encloses the outfield. It is an automatic homer when the ball is hit over this fence on a fly. A home run scores one run for the batter and a run for each player on base. If the bases are “loaded” (a player on first, second and third base) and the batter gets a home run, it is called a “grand slam,” the team gets four runs, and the fans get very excited because it doesn’t happen very often.
LeaguesEach team is part of a league. There are two leagues, the American League and the National League. Each team tries to win the most games in their league. The teams that win each league championship will play each other in the “World Series.”
Youth baseballThere are minor differences in the rules and there are fewer innings, but the game is basically the same.
Au Pair in America wants to celebrate you – the participants in our program who make it a success!
“Celebration Awards” are special recognition awards given to those who have shown a true commitment to the spirit and mission of the Au Pair in America program. Awards can go to host families, au pairs, community counselors, or anyone involved in the Au Pair program. Nominations can be made by any of the above!
“Celebration Awards” offer a chance for individuals to be recognized for outstanding performance in the areas of childcare, character, relationship as a family member, cross cultural understanding, personal growth and commitment to the program as a whole.
If you would like to nominate someone for an award, simply fill out and submit the nomination form linked below. Nominations are reviewed to ensure the nominees are in good standing. Au pairs will receive their “Celebration Awards” at cluster meetings, while all others will receive theirs via mail with a letter explaining the award.
Nominate someone who goes above and beyond! It’s a great way for them to know they are being acknowledged and appreciated!
Click here to download the Celebration Awards Nomination Form.
Clothing and Shoe sizes: http://www.csgnetwork.com/clothingwomenconv.html
Weights and Measurement: http://www.texloc.com/closet/cl_conversion.html
Cooking Equivalents: http://www.globalgourmet.com/cgi-bin/hts?convcalc.hts
Almost everyone experiences culture shock when they come to a completely new environment. Everything is different: the language, the food, the plumbing, the people.
The experience of culture shock comes from not knowing what to do or how to do things in a new environment, and not knowing what is appropriate or inappropriate.
One of the most difficult parts of experiencing culture shock is that we often are unaware that we're affected. We recognize that we are sad, lonely, and generally irritated that everything is going wrong, but we don't know that it is a normal reaction to being immersed in a new culture. The feeling of culture shock generally sets in after the first few weeks of coming to a new place.
Some telltale signs of culture shock are:
Immunity to culture shock does not necessarily come from being open-minded or full of good will (essential characteristics for a successful au pair), though these qualities do help with a speedy recovery. Some people are affected by culture shock more than others, but most au pairs go through an attack of it and then make a full recovery.
Although one can experience discomfort from culture shock, it is also an opportunity for learning and acquiring new perspectives. Culture shock can help develop a greater understanding of self.
Here are the usual stages:
First Stage: You may feel terrific. You know enough English to get along, the places are interesting, the people are kind, and it is clear that a wonderful experience is at hand. This time is called the "honeymoon" stage, as everything encountered is new and exciting. You may notice that other au pairs who have been here longer tend to complain. You may feel a bit superior to your peers who obviously did not make as good an adjustment as you have.
Second Stage: You may be sensitive to otherwise minor problems in daily life. In this stage, there may be feelings of discontent, impatience, anger, sadness, and feeling incompetent. You are no longer an interesting foreign visitor, but a regular member of the family, and you may feel ignored or taken for granted. At this stage when au pairs get together, they often criticize Americans, saying that heir host parents are always busy and that the children have bad manners, have too many toys and are difficult to control. This is the hardest phase of culture shock.
Third Stage: You regain your sense of humor and enjoy your mastery of American language, customs and cultures. You may not like everything about the country, but you've found enough things to enjoy and learned to live with the rest. You begin to realize that a year is a very short time and that there are so many things you want to do while you're here. You may start to establish new goals.
TheFourth Stage is reverse culture shock. This occurs when you return to your home country. You may find that things are no longer the same as you remember. Or you may find that nothing but you has changed. You will have grown during your stay in the U.S., and you may find that your friends and family are just the same as they were when you left. They may be unable to understand the new you.
How to Reduce and Cope with Culture Shock
Some ways to combat stress produced by living in a new environment are:
Online TrainingAn online audio/visual driver's training course with narration is available at: http://www.virtualdriveofamerica.com
American Road SignsTest your knowledge of American road signs with this fun online game: http://www.quia.com/de/nhsign.html
How to Get a U.S. State License
Au Pair in America requires every au pair to have a valid home country driver's license in order to participate in the program. Au Pair in America also requests that every au pair obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). If you are allowed to drive on your home country license in the state you are living in, you must carry both your home country license and your IDP at all times. As legal IDPs are only available in your home country, if you have arrived in the U.S. without an IDP and your home country license is in a language other than English, you must carry an official translation of your home country license with you. Your home country license, along with an IDP or English translation of your home country license, may be sufficient for you to drive legally in the U.S. when you first arrive. Please confirm this with your host family and/or the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, Au Pair in America strongly recommends that you obtain a local state driver's license as soon as possible. Requirements and testing procedures vary from state to state. To find the requirements for your state, follow the link to the DMV for your state. Start by clicking here.
Winter Driving Tips
You are likely to find ice and snow on the roads in many parts of the country. There are some basic rules to remember to stay safe in the car in difficult driving conditions:
Wet Weather Driving Tips (from www.AAA.com)
Car Safety Kit
Recommended items to have in the car in case of emergency:
Freeway and Highway Driving Safety
Entering, exiting and traveling along a freeway or highway requires different driving skills than driving in town.
A football field is 100 yards long. The line dividing the field in the center is the 50 Yard Line. There are other lines marking the field off into 5 yard sections. There is a Goal Post at each end of the field, in the End Zone, one for each team.
Each team has an Offense and a Defense. When the Offense of one team is on the field, the Defense of the other team is on the field. The Offense has the ball and tries to score by getting it across the Goal Line - the line where the playing field and the End Zone meet. The Defense tries to stop them.
The Offense gets four tries to move the ball 10 yards toward their own goal post. These are called Downs. If they make the 10 yards or more, they get another four tries to move the ball another 10 yards. If they don't move the ball 10 yards in four tries, the ball goes to the other team, or the team “loses the ball.”
When a team loses the ball, their Offense leaves the field and is replaced by their Defense. The other team's Defense leaves the field and is replaced by their Offense.
Play is started by the Offense and Defense lining up facing each other. The Offense faces the direction of their Goal Post. The Quarterback passes (throws) the ball to one of his team mates. If he catches it, he runs toward the End Zone. If he makes it across the Goal Line, his team scores a Touchdown and gets six points. The team then gets a chance to earn an extra point by kicking the ball through the Goal Posts or two points by passing or running the ball into the End Zone.
If the team mate catches the ball, the Defense runs after him and tries to tackle him (grabbing him and causing him to fall to the ground). If he is tackled, play starts again at that point where the ball is. If the team mate doesn't catch the pass, the ball is dead and goes back to the previous starting place.
Sometimes a player of the Defense catches the pass. That's called an Interception. He then runs toward his team's goal and may score a Touchdown for his team. If he intercepts the ball, the other team's players will try to tackle him. Even if he is tackled, his team now has possession of the ball. His team's Defense leaves the field, replaced by their Offense. The other teams Offense leaves the field, replaced by their Defense.
A Football Game is made up of 60 minutes of play time. The 60 minutes is divided into four Quarters of 15 minutes each. At the end of two Quarters, there is a break called Half Time. On the Scoreboard you can see the minutes and seconds running out. The team with the most points at the end of four Quarters wins.
The Super Bowl is the final game of the Football season when two teams play each other for the championship. The game takes place in late January or early February. For some people the TV commercials are the best part of the Super Bowl.
Guidelines for Eating Smart
If you want to lose weight, here are some ideas to help you do that:
Credits: The International Food Information Council Foundation and http://www.bluecrossma.com
Stay in touch with your Community Counselor
Be a good buddy
Take responsibility for your actions
Respect the privacy of others
Follow house rules
Be considerate of your host parents
Set a good example
Shower or bathe regularly
Take care of yourself
SlangAmericans use all kinds of idioms, expressions, sayings and slang. Here are some sites to help you understand what people are saying.
This site offers a detailed list of expressions and idioms organized in different ways to help you find what you want: http://www.idioms.myjewelz.com/
Still can't understand? For specific individual slang words, try this site. The quiz format will help you understand and speak like a native: http://www.manythings.org/slang/slang2.html
TranslationIf you need a translation try these free on-line translation services:
Babel Fish: http://www.babelfish.com/
Date Rape Drug"Roofie" is a sedative that is extremely dangerous, especially when combined with alcohol, causing blackouts and even death. Au pairs have been victims in the past. To avoid becoming a victim:
Drinking Age: It's the Law!As you know, it is illegal to buy or drink alcohol (including beer and wine) in the United States if you are under 21 years of age. If someone buys alcohol for others who are under 21, it is the person who is buying the alcohol who will be in trouble with the law. It is not a chance worth taking. Do not put your friends into an embarrassing or dangerous position by asking them to buy alcohol for you if you are under 21!
Street Safety:Common sense, alertness and a few basic precautions are the key to remaining safe around town or when you are traveling.
What follows are some basic guidelines for you to review:
Remember the THREE BASIC RULES of safety no matter where you are:
It is possible to wire money internationally from most banks in the U.S.You can also choose to use one of these two popular services:
The fees are different, so you may want to compare the cost before choosing a service!
"The flexibility the program affords us is outstanding. With other child care options, I always felt I was accommodating their schedule instead of my own."
Jill, host parent New Jersey
Au Pair in America, 1 High Ridge Park,
Stamford, CT 06905
(800) 928-7247 direct - (203) 399-5161
Au Pair in America, 37 Queen's Gate,
London SW7 5HR
+44 (0) 20 7581 7322