Au Pair Education Requirement: Any new strategies for meeting this?

by cv harquail on June 23, 2017

School’s Out For Summer!

Edgemont_Elementary_School,_Montclair_NJ_(2006)You could feel the excitement from each and every kid that streamed out of Edgemont School yesterday, as they brought armloads of art projects and long-forgotten sweaters out to their parents and caregivers at pickup.  And lordy don’t I know that feeling… there is no greater pleasure than hitting the “post” button when I enter students’ grades, close out the faculty webpage, and shove all the leftover papers into my file drawer.

Even while school kids and professors celebrate, Au Pairs get anxious.  By this point, a lot of fall-arriving Au Pairs have only a few months left to meet their education requirements. The idea that they’d find an easy, inexpensive, and interesting class that could fill the requirement is starting to look a little “overly-optimistic”, shall we say.

Still, I always hold out hope that *somebody’s* cracked this nut in a new way.

Have you?

  • Beyond ESL classes and the local community college, what have your au pairs / you been trying?
  • Who’s found something good online?
  • Who went to a weekend class that seemed worth the time?

Please share, ’cause this mom’s struggling —

Dear Au Pair Moms — Please help with some new ideas for filling the education requirement! We live in a huge city but we are really struggling to find anything affordable and anything that meets other than multiple times a week in the middle of the day. Plus our current AP absolutely doesn’t need ESL. Has anyone discovered something great?

edgemont-6th-grade-1963See also:

Can’t seem to fill the Au Pair Educational Requirement. What to do?

Options for Fulfulling the Au Pair Education Requirement: Online Classes?

Your Au Pair Counselor As A Local Expert and Resource


WCO HostDad June 23, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Both of our au pairs have really enjoyed doing the weekend classes through aupairweekend. Neither had great things to say about the actual classes, but we live in a small town that is a 4hr drive to the nearest big city, so it’s a treat for them to check out another state/city even just for a few days. And the price works out well too. It’s about $500 for the classes, so we pay that. And then our au pair just has to pay for flight/hotel. We have a local college, but tuition is extremely high for au pairs, so it hasn’t even been a consideration for any to this point.

ChiHostMom June 23, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Besides the local community college where we had an au pair work on a certificate towards graphic design, we’ve had:

1. Weekend travel classes (classes in Chicago and a trip to Niagara Falls Canada)
2. Weekend class on American history and/or Chicago

Both of these options have been great for APs who want to go back to school when they get home.

3. APIA has an online class with UCLA that the APIA APs can take and it was a fair amount of work but it worked with the the schedule and interests of that AP. There was a lot of American history (which wasn’t well explained to someone who had never learned it), and a fair amount of homework. She extended and took a weekend class which she enjoyed more.

ChiHostMom June 23, 2017 at 5:14 pm

I should add that APIA doesn’t allow online courses that are not their own course – accredited or not.


cv harquail June 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm

ChiHostMom — just confirming / clarifying… if an au pair wanted to take an online course from, say, Rutgers University, APIA wouldn’t accept that?

ChiHostMom June 23, 2017 at 6:19 pm

That’s what we’ve found. One of our APs was able to get the main office via the LCC to allow an online course given that very little was offered during the summer and she needed to take a summer course.

It’s rather crazy in my opinion. The reasoning was that the APs wouldn’t meet or interact with other students. I argued that they get more interaction in an online class than a large lecture hall, but…

NJ Mom June 25, 2017 at 11:44 pm

We were told that no online classes were accepted which we found odd considering that more and more classes for american students are being offered online – and the educational requirement is suppose to give the AP a taste of the american college experience.

Some APs would sign up for a class, get the certificate, but not actually attend the class… so I don’t see how an online class is “less interaction”.

FormerNYAupair June 23, 2017 at 5:46 pm

As a former Au Pair, I also recommend Travel Classes. If you take two, they are a little more than $500, but you also get to see two cities and ‘only’ have to actually take two weekends worth of classes. The online class ChiHostMom mentioned gives you all the required CPs for exactly $500, so for an Au Pair on a very tight budget, that may be the answer. Did you ask about AuPair classes in nearby community colleges? In the town next to where my host family lives, they offered various classes to Au Pairs (the classes met once a week for 1.5h during the course of a semester) for a reduced rate. Also, your LCC should be a point of reference in this matter – as far as I remember, it’s part of their job to help you find a doable education program for your Au Pair, isn’t it? Either way, fingers crossed, I hope you’ll figure something out!

Something Clever June 23, 2017 at 8:36 pm

The last 3 Au pairs that we’ve hosted attended a weekend class about American history and culture. It was in San Diego. Our current AP attended in March this year, and this time it was 4 days. Previous iterations were only 2-days, but I think they had to make them longer in order to keep the accreditation. The APs had to do work before and after the weekends, which took a bit of time, but wasn’t that difficult. I think this work generally consisted of writing essays.

Something Clever June 23, 2017 at 8:38 pm
WorkingTWINmom June 28, 2017 at 12:11 pm

My aupair was in the same class! We live in central California and ended up making a family trip out of it and drove her down.

Tina Rychalsky June 24, 2017 at 8:21 am

Weekends courses are also offered in Boston, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Salt Lake City. Aupairs can complete the equivalent of 6 credits for courses A&B for $500 plus registration fee and materials/food/activities fee (there are 3 meals included per course and many activities and excursions included for each course as well).
The website is (AuPairClasses. org)
There is hope for fall aupairs :)

cv harquail June 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Tina, you should offer Au Pair Mom readers a discount– or maybe buy an advert or sponsored post? cvh

Seattle HD June 24, 2017 at 8:46 am

Our current au pair (leaving in a month) did a class through UCLA (designed for au pairs, costs $500), where it’s built around volunteer work.

She signed up, had to volunteer so many hours at a place of her choice and write essays and do some other online work. It’s the interaction with “real people” in the volunteer work that avoids the drawbacks of online only. In her case she volunteered at a therapeutic horse riding center. She loved it and continued to volunteer long past the required hours. The flexibility is only limited to which organizations are around you.

And about the weekend classes – previous au pairs have done those – the 4 day classes (last time I looked) get you all six credits, the 2 day classes only three or four.

Seattle HD June 24, 2017 at 8:47 am

And we’re with APiA, so this one qualifies even with them.

Seattle HD June 24, 2017 at 8:54 am

Hmmm, checking it out maybe this is only available with APiA.

Worked great for us and our au pair this year, though.

Taking a Computer Lunch June 24, 2017 at 8:55 am

For an AP who doesn’t need ESL, this is a time to explore options that the university system in other countries does not permit. I had one AP who took voice lessons through a local community college. Another studied Italian – because why not? I had another who wished she hadn’t wasted her time on a travel class and had taken a photography class instead. To manage expenses, avoid the community college system and see if your AP company will permit her to take “extended education” classes – these are generally for adults who need to learn a skill for work, church, or just because they’re seniors with a lot of free time and curiosity. The extended education classes have a lot more emphasis on fun (although my own father took accounting that way) because even they credits are earned – no one really expects to count them toward a college education. A good LCC will keep a list of viable options in your community. If your LCC does not, see if there is another one from your agency – or explore LCC web sites from other agencies in your community!

TexasHM June 24, 2017 at 10:00 am

We’ve done it all. Continuing education at a local community college, APIAs online course, weekend/travel classes and our last and current (and most of their friends now that they’ve spread the word) are now auditing classes at our local university.
Here’s what we’ve heard/experienced. Community college frustrated first three APs so much that AP4 didn’t even look at it after talking with them. They often cancelled classes at the last minute due to low enrollment and if you’re trying to hit an education requirement that’s super stressful – and how AP2 ended up doing the APIA onlin course after two semesters of trying and failing to have courses at the community college. The online course was awesome because it was easy. Flat $500 and you know it’s done. No books to pay for, no gas/mileage on the car and they can do the projects/homework whenever they are free. AP2 said it was meh but she got her credits so box checked.
Travel classes – I’ve heard widely varying feedback on these. There used to be more of them but it least one or two of the programs lost their accreditation/are no longer accepted by the agencies so like ANY course they are looking at – always send it to your LC and get her to confirm in writing that it will count!!! Ok off soapbox. The challenge with these types of classes is that in order to get credit hours you have to have a lot of classroom hours so when you do a weekend class they are trying to cram all the hours for a regular class into a weekend! That generally leads to APs flying in one night, spending almost nonstop 1.5 days in a hotel conference training room or community college classroom and maybe a quick bus tour of the city (think similar to NY tour at orientation). Because I know that those courses are structured that way I have generally encouraged my APs to fly out a day or so early to explore the city but due to cost only AP3 actually did (bucket list city and perfect timing and right # of credits but cost her $$$).
I recently heard positive feedback from an AP that went to one of the longer travel courses in Florida. First time I’d heard positive weekend course feedback! If you are out of time and desperate though I’ve seen several APs do this last minute to check the box and families and APs pay through the nose to get it done. Stay ahead of it and you can stay out of that boat!
Our last two APs have audited classes at the local university. It is a seminary university so there is religious teaching/doctrine incorporated so I wondered if current AP would want to go there but she had positive feedback and previous religious AP LOVED it. They’ve taken theology courses, psychology, history and incoming potential match is very interested in their performing arts courses (vocal, guitar, piano). At $120 a class for 3 credit hours even with books it’s a bargain for the requirement.
My advice would be to ask around. APs hate the education requirement, expense and lack of options so when they find something good it spreads via word of mouth. If you know other host families call or message them and ask them with their APs have been doing for the education requirement.

txmom June 24, 2017 at 12:24 pm

We’ve struggled with this. Our AP really wanted to take American History classes at the local community college, but they don’t have a way for her to enroll without going the “International Student” route, requiring her to take a test etc, which is very expensive. I worked with our LCC to try and get them to let au pairs audit classes, without any luck. They can take the cooperative extension classes, but there isn’t much of interest (auto cad? basic car repair?) except for ESL. She ended up doing the APIA course through UCLA that requires volunteer work and a cultural presentation. It was great in that it only cost $500, and it meets all of the requirements (only open to APIA and runs on a traditional semester schedule) She’s extending now though, and we have to find another 6 credits. Ugh.

TexasHM June 24, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Txmom what city are you in? If you want to message me at texashostmom at gmail I might be able to help depending on what city you are in!

NJ Mom June 25, 2017 at 11:36 pm

Weekend classes, continuing education classes, and auditing classes at universities. Some of the continuing education classes turned out to be free which was a big plus. Princeton University allows folks to audit 1 class per semester for a nominal fee which was a great option if you can find a class that fits the AP schedule. LCC provided APs with info and some pros and cons of the options. It really depended on what the AP’s goals were, and how much time they were willing to devote to the educational requirement.

cv harquail June 26, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Rutgers University in NJ also has some weekend Au Pair classes:


NJ Mom June 29, 2017 at 4:17 pm

That’s awesome! I didn’t know these existed

Mimi June 26, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Our 9 APs have always done a mixture of municipal adult continuing education classes (most cost effective), community college classes, and destination AP courses (the most popular). The weekend course required some work in advance (usually a project) and an essay or other work afterwards. They usually carpooled with other APs in the area (or along the 2 hour travel route). Most of our APs also found volunteer work to do either in the local community or at a local university as a means of building connections and maintaining their personal interests.

Missing.the.US June 30, 2017 at 6:57 am

When I was an au pair from 2009-2011. I took a credit community College class about art history, a Spanish community college class and a class about the history of Annapolis including a day long visit to the city. The last was the most fun, but the first one fit the best in ‘the American experience’. I also took a weekend class in Baltimore in my second year, but I didn’t like it that much. The level of the courses there was very very low and we were treated as children.

NoVA Twin Mom June 30, 2017 at 7:19 am

Do you remember how you found the Annapolis class? I know about other “travel” destination options but haven’t heard about that one.

Missing.the.US July 1, 2017 at 12:44 am

It was a local community College class (Ann Arundel CC) . I remember most of the people who took it where either from out of town or retired. It was a non credit class.

Repeat Aupair July 5, 2017 at 4:14 pm

I Aupaired from 2010 to 2012. part of the reason I signed up for the AP program was the educational component. I insisted on taking credit classes so I could get the college experience. I also wanted to use the credits at local university when I returned home. I also didn’t need ESL classes and the weekend classes didn’t seem too much of interest to me. Lucky for me I had host families who were understating to this need and my classes never clashed with AP duties either. I took intro to cultural anthropology at a local community college in my first year.

I unfortunately rematched but before leaving I spoke to the class instructor that allowed me to complete the class online. Going to a different state I had to find another community, there I took College level English and math(calculus). After extending with another host family for my Second year and moving to another state I enrolled at another community college and took Writing classes, biology and another math class. The classes offered a challege which was great and I’m actually now a graduate who majored in anthropology in my home country. I often paid a between 100 to 300 dollars more than what my host families contributed, had to take more classes for enough credits but it was well worth it. I advice Aupairs and host families to start thinking about the educational component from the time they match just so it’s not a nightmare towards the end of the Aupair year.

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