The education requirement for au pairs can be a bit of a fig leaf.
Most of the time, an au pair’s education is an after-thought.
It hurts to say this, being a professor myself, but I know that it’s true.
Because au pairs need to meet the requirements of the J-1 Visa and because for-credit classes can be so costly, we host parents (and au pairs) often find ourselves scrambling for education credits that are affordable, legitimate, and worth our au pair’s time.
It’s not just the cost of education credits in the USA that makes it hard for many au pairs to take serious courses. Unless an au pair can benefit from English conversation and composition, there are few other options.
Classes that are easy enough to understand in a second language may be conceptually boring, and …..
…. au pairs who have already spent time at University might be too far advanced for the classes that they can afford at a community college. Host parents and LCC’s have gotten accustomed to recommending that au pairs take classes mostly for the social elements.
But what about au pairs who are academically ambitious?
Especially, what about au pairs who want to pursue (or continue to pursue) an actual degree?
We had one academically ambitious au pair who took a macroeconomics course during her year with us, augmented the material with a textbook in her native language. She planned to ‘test out’ of the subject when she returned to University. Another au pair remained enrolled in her University back in France, and took correspondence courses from home the whole time she lived with us.
Both of these au pairs were with us before the widespread availability of online, for-credit classes– so it’s got to be easier now. Right?
Are there many au pairs who want to pursue meaningful education or significant amount of credits during their year in the USA?
If you’re an au pair, what’s worked well for you?
If you’re a host parent of an academically ambitious au pair, what’s helped support your au pair in his/her studies?