My American classes: au pair advice for the education requirement

August 22, 2016

One very exciting part of an au pair’s year is taking classes in the USA. There are so many different ways to fulfill the education requirement, and our au pairs are experts in making the most of this opportunity. Read more about the kinds of classes au pairs are taking, what schools they have attended and what their advice is for other au pairs!

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Julia, au pair from Germany, took a class at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She had a lot of fun and even traveled to Niagara Falls as a part of her studies. “It was stunning, and I was so happy to experience in person all that we talked about in class.”

Alisa Karavdic, au pair from Germany: @alisakrvdc
School: Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Class: Figure Drawing

Class highlights:
The class was definitely a highlight of my year here. I learned step-by-step how to draw a human figure and its details, and I didn’t need major experience in drawing. My teacher, as well as my classmates, were great people. We motivated and inspired each other creatively so I found great joy in attending the class twice a week.

Advice to other au pairs:
I would advise au pairs to try out new things. I saw this year in general as a wonderful experience in finding out more about myself. So be open and try out new things!

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Giorgia, au pair from Italy, took weekend classes at the San Diego Alliant University. She found her classes super interesting, and enjoyed visiting the city. “Most of all I liked meeting au pairs from all over the world!”

Camila Ansaldo, au pair from Argentina
Schools: University of Hartford and Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut
Classes: Social Psychology and Media Management

Class highlights:
Even before coming here, my host mom helped me look for options. I finally decided on a class University of Hartford offers, because they have a great art school and it worked well with my schedule. My first semester I took a Social Psychology class because it worked well with my schedule, and they have a special fee for au pairs. Once I finished my Psych class, I did more research on other schools, and now signed up for a class at a school I really like (Trinity) that is related to my major (Media Management). I also found that the fee is not much higher than my previous experience, but they don’t advertise it as an au pair or audit class.

Advice to other au pairs:
I suggest au pairs do some research before coming so they don’t have to pick a class last minute and can enjoy the experience. If they are not interested in taking full-semester classes (which I encourage them to do, it’s a great way to meet people and keep busy), travel courses are a great way to travel and are very cheap. They are usually 3 credits so you can be done with two travel courses!

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Valentina, au pair from Italy, saved some of her own money to attend a class she was really interested in.

Valentina Massini, au pair from Italy
School: Massbay Community College in Wellesley, Massachusetts
Class: Journey through North America

Class highlights:
I liked it because the class took place on only 6 Saturdays, and then I could choose from two trips (my choices were Montreal, Quebec, Philadelphia, DC, Niagara Falls)

Advice to other au pairs:
This class was kind of expensive (my family paid for 500 USD and I contributed an additional 400 USD!) So, if you love to travel and want to do a class like this, you should save some of your own money.

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Thai au pair Pornsawan attended Northern Virginia Community College to take English classes. She says, “We were all from different parts of the world and our diversity helped us share experiences and thoughts about learning new languages and cultures. More importantly, we were able to share food! I made new friends and I am still talking to them outside of the classroom.”

Jessica Louise Currie, au pair from Australia: @jessicacurrie_
School: The College of Saint Rose in Silver Bay, New York
Class: Silver Bay Au Pair courses

This class requires a weekend trip to Silver Bay, NY where you eat, sleep, and study all at the same place. I found this very convenient and less stressful that breaking study weekends up and traveling to and from home to studying. Throughout this weekend I attended 10 different classes and enjoyed them all. The energy from the teachers and peers was fantastic. I agree that the au pair courses are a great option because you are able to relate to the other people that are attending the course with you, and you are able to meet more friends from all over the world, which encourages you to learn about different cultures.

Advice to other au pairs:
Look forward to the classes—they are a great way to make more new friends that you are able to see regularly and keep in contact with even after your class has ended. Also, be sure to start researching classes well in advance so you can find something you are interested in and that works with your host family’s schedule. A great way to help save money for your course, if needed, is to set aside a small amount of your pay each week.

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South African au pair Lauren Jacobs enjoyed her English classes in the USA and shares, “My teacher was so wonderful. And my classmates love to make jokes and laugh—they always made me feel comfortable and encouraged me to just be myself.”

Au pair: Telma Patricia Da Santa from France: @my.american.story.aupair
School: Southlake Campus of College of Lake County, Vernon Hills, Illinois
Class: Introduction to Business

Class highlights:
This class takes place every Thursday from 6:30pm to 9:30pm, and even though it’s three hours of class and sometimes I am tired from the day with the kids, I enjoy it because it is a new experience. When I will go back to France I want to earn my Master’s degree in Marketing and Business, so this class will really help me learn more basics and terminologies, especially in English.

Advice for other au pairs:
Pick a class that you like or want to discover. And if you have an idea of your future area of study, choose something in relation to it, because it can really help you for your future studies and for your future career.

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Lina, au pair from Colombia, took English classes at the Colorado School of English. She says: “I really love my class in CSE because after long days taking care of my host kid, it is a great space for to share with my classmates, have fun, enjoy and learn in the same time!”

Au pair: Jagoda Kucharska, from Poland: @jagii_
School: Alliant International University in San Diego, California
Class: American Dreams

Class highlights:
This class was about our experience in the U.S. and what to do to get the most of that. We also learned about U.S. politics and history and, of course, about San Diego. We got to see the city, and we were a part of a parade to complete a voluntary component. I’m really glad that I took these classes. I got to see the beautiful city. I met new amazing people from all around the world.

Advice to other au pairs:
My advice for new au pairs would be to start looking at school options even before they leave for the United States. I searched online for options in my host family’s area so when I came and got to know my schedule I knew what I could do. It seems that if you have whole year to figure it out, that it’s a long time. But really it is better to start gaining your credits as fast as possible so you don’t have to stress about that at the end of your year.

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Jacqueline, au pair from Germany, took classes at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and traveled to Niagara Falls as a part of her studies. She met a lot of au pairs through the class, and can’t imagine a better way to fulfill her credit requirements. “The travel part is the best part of those classes and perfect for au pairs!”

Milena Auvray, au pair from Switzerland
School: Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York, New York
Class: American Sports

Class highlights:
I really enjoyed how the class was very interactive. We learned the rules of American football and baseball and at the end, they had us play both games.

Advice to other au pairs:
Consider what you want or what is important to you. People who want to experience a real American college should do some research before they come here. Find out what colleges are near their host family, what classes they have, what requirements they have for enrollment and by what deadline you have to register.

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Rebecca, an au pair from Australia, took a DIY string art class at the Kirkwood Community College with her best au pair friend Tina. “I loved that we were able to do something creative that will be a forever reminder of my second home here in Iowa City!”

What do you love about your classes in the USA? Do you have any advice to share with other au pairs? Tell us your story!


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