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Trips to Canada

April 10, 2014

Spending your au pair year so close to the U.S./Canadian border allows you easy access to a whole new country! Before you travel it is important to make sure you confirm whether or not you need an apply for a Canadian visa. To see if you need a visa check here.

When you travel remember to take with you:

  • Passport
  • DS-2019 Form
  • Contact Information for your Host Family

Also remember to provide your host family with the contact information of where you are staying and when you will be returning.

Summer Columbia University English Classes

April 7, 2014

Teacher’s College up at Columbia University has released their summer dates. The downside to these classes is that they are a long commute from Brooklyn, but the upside is that they offer many hours of English for a very affordable price. Au Pairs have wonderful things to say about these classes and use their long subway commute to study. This class fulfills your 6 credit/60 hours Au Pair Education Requirement.

Combined Summer A&B (100 hours) discounted price:  $600.00


Summer 2014 A - 50hrs: $ 350.00

Morning Classes
May 27 – June 26, 2014
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
09:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Evening Classes
May 27 – June 26, 2014
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
7:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Summer 2014 B - 50hrs: $ 350.00

Morning Classes
July 14 – August 14, 2014
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays
09:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Evening Classes
July 14 – August 14, 2014
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
7:00 PM – 9:30 PM

ESL Curriculum

ESL Classes are designed around general topics and themes and focus on all four skills (i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing). We offer proficiency levels from Beginner through Intermediate to Advanced.

Make-up Placement Test for New Students (1-day process only)
Please register online and then call the main office at 212.67.3097 to select a time slot
Room 46E Horace Mann (basement)
The placement test will be approximately 3 hours long.

Please note that all placement tests are used for the sole purpose of placing students in a class appropriate for his or her level.

For more information, click here.

Summer 2014 Course Catalogs

April 3, 2014

Below are links to the Summer 2014 Course Catalogs for schools that meet the Au Pair Education Requirement. Remember the classes you can take are called “continuing education”. If you get lost on any of the websites, just look for those words to take you back to where you began. 

Classes offered in the summer time are often shorter in duration than the classes that are offered the rest of the year. They are usually offered over a smaller length of time, but for more hours per day/week than is normal. 

Host families will provide up to $500 towards your education. If your classes cost more than $500 you will need to pay the remaining balance. 

It is important you make signing up for your classes a priority. Many classes fill up quickly. Remember 60 hours or 6 credits!

Once you have found a class — email me a link to it, I will double check that it meets the Au Pair Education requirements.

Baruch College (Manhattan) 

Borough of Manhattan Community College (Lower Manhattan, Affordable, Learning Across America Classes)

Cooper Union Continuing Education (Brooklyn) (should be posted within a couple weeks)

Fashion Institute of Technology (Midtown Manhattan)

Hunter College (Brooklyn)

Kingsborough Community College (Brooklyn) (April Start Dates posted, June start dates should be posted soon)

LaGuardia Community College (Queens)

Long Island University Au Pair Program (Long Island, Weekend Away)

Medger Evers College (Brooklyn)

New York Academy of Art (Manhattan)

New York City College of Technology (Brooklyn) (summer should be posted soon)

NYU Continuing Education (Manhattan)

Pratt Institute (Brooklyn)

School of Visual Arts (Manhattan)

Teacher College of Columbia University (Manhattan, top rated English Program)

City College of New York (Manhattan)

The New School (Manhattan)

Pace University (Lower Manhattan) 

Parsons School of Design (Manhattan)

The Au Pair Stipend

February 6, 2014

All au pairs earn a weekly stipend of $195.75 per week – this is a number determined by the U.S. State Department. You may be wondering, “Why 195.75 per week?” It seems like a strange number, but there is a strict equation used to arrive at this amount. The stipend is calculated by multiplying the Federal Minimum Wage by the maximum number of hours worked per week, then subtracting 40% for room and board.

Here’s how the stipend is calculated:

Federal Minimum Wage: $7.25 x Maximum hours worked per week: 45 = $326.25 minus Room and board credit of 40% ($130.50) = $195.75

According to U. S. State Department regulations, all au pairs must receive this weekly stipend, regardless of whether or not they have worked the maximum 45 hours during the week. Au pairs also receive this stipend during their two weeks of vacation!

Since your food and housing are covered, your stipend is considered your “discretionary income” or money you can spend on activities of your choosing – travel, eating out, and otherwise exploring your community. Over the course of 12 months, you’ll earn nearly $10,000 in stipends. If you plan carefully, you can enjoy quite a few cultural and recreational activities with that amount of money!

Here at InterExchange, we encourage you to use their earnings to get the most out of your time in the United States. We want you to try new foods, buy keepsakes and souvenirs, enjoy social events with friends, and to see as many of the diverse and unique areas of our country as you can! Here are some suggestions to help you effectively manage your earnings:

Keep an Emergency Fund

We recommend keeping the equivalent of two week’s stipend (about $400) in an emergency fund. This is money that you never use for anything except an emergency. If you never end up needing the money, you can take it home with you to help you get re-settled.

Set aside 10% for taxes

You will have to file taxes at the end of the calendar year. Depending on when you started the program and how much you earned, you might have to pay several hundred dollars toward U.S. taxes. We recommend putting aside 10% ($20) a week to be able to pay your income taxes at the end of the calendar year. In the end, this should be more than enough. Whatever is left over after paying taxes is yours to keep!

Pay yourself, too!

Experts recommend saving at least 10% of your income – for you, that’s about $20 per week. Talk to your bank about opening a savings account, and consider scheduling an automatic transfer of $20 each payday – that way, you’re saving without even thinking about it. By the end of the year, you’ll end up with about $1,000 to travel, or to take home with you.

Use Discount Sites Like LivingSocial or Groupon to Try Something New!

These sites (also available as apps) are a great way to find workout classes, haircuts, and even some restaurants in your area at discounted prices. If you’re interested in trying a class such as Zumba, CrossFit, or Kickboxing, you’re sure to find a deal through LivingSocial or Groupon!

Shop at stores during sales and clearance periods

The United States has a deep discount culture – many consumers are not accustomed to paying full price for items such as clothes and shoes. Be on the lookout for sales! Any discount of 40% off or higher is generally considered to be a good deal.

Ask around!

When you’re new to a city or country, it’s easy to spend more money than you would if you were home. When you find yourself in need of an adaptor, new coat, or guidebook, you might end up making a purchase at the first place you find – which may not be the best value!

Your host family, neighbors, LC, fellow students in your classes, and other au pairs who have been in the U.S. longer are great resources. They can tell you about your new city’s best deals and hidden gems.

Search Kayak, Priceline, and more!

When planning a trip, the internet is essential. If you’re planning on flying, don’t just search for flights once – try multiple times and dates on multiple sites to get the best value! Here are some places to get started:

Yahoo Travel

The same is true for hotels/hostels, car rentals, and other travel-related costs. Review the options online using InterExchange Cultural Compass to research the different options around the country and resources to improve your travel experience. Keep an open mind and be sure to Google things you’re interested in – you never know what new bus company or travel app you may find!

We hope that these tips are helpful for understanding and making the most out of your weekly stipend. Managing money well can help reduce stress and increase your opportunities for cultural exchange. Finally, when trying to decide betweentaking that trip or buying a new bag, remember that experiences bring more happiness than things!

Reminder: English Placement Test

January 24, 2014

For those that are interested, remember the placement test at Columbia University Teacher’s College is tomorrow (Friday) and classes begin February 10th. Below is the link.

Note that the price has gone up to $400, but it does cover the full 60 hours of your educational requirement.

For more information, click here.

Additions to Au Pair Education Options

January 20, 2014

After a lot of discussion with our contacts at the U.S. Department of State, we are happy to say that InterExchange can now allow au pairs to take part in short-term weekend classes as long as they meet all the other program regulations criteria.

What are the criteria?

Acceptable Weekend Classes must be:

1) Run by accredited, post-secondary institutions

2) Must earn the student academic credit

3) Must be academic in nature

Remember, classes should not be recreational in nature (cooking, sewing, exercise). In addition, there are many “gray areas” in what is, and what is not, acceptable education options, such as art and physical education classes. For these to be acceptable, the classes must have a study, lecture, or textbook component that make them “academic”.  There are also many “lifestyle classes” that should be avoided. To be safe, au pairs should always look for the most “academic” classes available and should check with their LC to make sure it is ok before signing up.


Here are some of the more popular institutions offering weekend classes:

Sojourner Douglass College:

Long Island University:

National Louis University:


Long Island University is the closest available option for Brooklyn based au pairs.  Options take place over a weekend and are available for around $285 – $350 depending on whether or not you want weekend accommodation. Each counts as 3 credits!




*All of these courses are not offered every semester please refer to the registration form for availability*


Child Development – 3 credit course


Children are what make the world “go round.” This course will follow the development of children from birth through adolescence. The students will embrace all the various stages of growth and development that children experience. This course will include the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth of children.  This experience will be generated through informative lectures, intriguing documentaries, and hands on activities that provoke creativity and sense of what the whole child is comprised of.

American Government, Politics, and Social Issues-3 credit course

Students will have the opportunity to learn about basic American political principles using a variety of educational methods. By using written materials, class participation audio-visual and Internet resources, and taking advantage of their stay with real-life American citizens, students can learn particularly about American understandings the fundamental features of American government and politics. We will discuss various dilemmas of constitutional democracy, including for example the limits of free speech, the tension between security and civil liberties, and the place of morality in politics. Inquiry based instructional methods will be used when investigating American social issues and how they relate to the recent and current government.

Enhancing your Digital Lifestyle – 3 credit course

This hand’s on course will give the students a better understanding of all things digital and how to create your digital footprint.  We will help you gain a better understanding of how to present yourself online. This course will also help you recognize and better interpret the use of today’s leading social media sites.  Students will learn basic techniques of graphic design, web design, and professional presentations through the Adobe Creative Suite while in the comfort of a state of the art Mac computer lab.

American Fashion through the Decades-History of American Fashion – 3 credit course

Fashion is what has defined America since the beginning of time. This course will follow American fashion through the decades. The students will embrace America’s defining moments through clothing and witness how changes in society allowed for trends to form. This experience will be generated through informative lectures, intriguing documentaries, and hands on activities that provoke creativity and fashion sense.

Marketing and Social Media – 3 credit course

Through discussions, assessments, lectures, interviews, and group projects, this course will allow students  to have an overview of basic marketing and consumer behavior concepts with an exploration of how social media is impacting what, when, where and how we shop.  We will also be researching companies in responds to customer demands relating to pricing, advertising, selling and servicing products.

Critical Reading and Expository Writing – 3 credit course

This course entails critical reading and analysis of the novel of mice and men and classic short stories. Reading and writing poetry on many levels. Study of new vocabulary infused into our readings.

TOEFL/English Exam Preparation Course – 3 credit course

Improve your chances for success on the TOEFL exam. This course will focus on strategies for succeeding on the English language exam required for admission to universities in the United States (TOEFL). In addition, au pairs will practice skills that are stressed on the exam and will be able to monitor their progress by taking and scoring past exams.

History of American Women: American History – 3 credit course

This course examines the historical development of American women and ideals and the evolution of economic, political, and social processes in the United States from American Indian times to the present, particularly with regard to the history, roles and status of women.

Music That Made America: History of American Music – 3 credit course

This course will discuss music in The United States. We will talk about the history of music from the nineteenth century up through the present day.  We will discuss different genres of music, what makes them unique, and what similarities they may have.  We will talk about American popular culture and how it has affected and is affected by the popular music of the time.  In addition, an objective of this course is to offer some listening techniques that you can take with you to gain a deeper appreciation for music no matter what you listen to.

Cultural Dynamic and the American Society – 3 credit course

This course will look at how the various cultures of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean influence the diversity present within the American society of today. The course will provide an opportunity for students to share their own experiences of living in America. The instructor will explore the influence of foreign cultures on the cultural diversity within American through lecture, discussion, personal antidote and interactive exercises.  Other topics to be explored will include the value of cultural diversity in the creation of new social norms; cultural adaptation and coping with culture-shock.

History of American Sports – 3 credit course

The foundation course for the Sports program is a chronological and topical examination of the history of American sport, beginning in the colonial era and ending in the present. The major events and trends in sports history are analyzed and placed within the broader context of American history, considering how historical processes influenced the rise of sport, and how sport influenced major social and cultural developments.

Growing up in America – 3 credit course

This course will examine the changing perception and experience of growing up in the United States from colonial times to the present, assuming that childhood and adolescence are social constructions that have changed over time. The course will explore the emergence of childhood and adolescence as distinct stages of the life cycle, the evolving role of the family in the process of growing up, and the increasing importance of social institutions other than the family in the lives of children. An overview will be given of the difference between growing up rich or poor, black or white, male or female, and rural or urban. Finally, it will consider the reciprocal relationship between popular culture and the lives of young Americans.

Apply Between Now and 12/31/13 to Save $350!

December 3, 2013

Complete your application between now and December 31, 2013 to save $350 as a new host family!

The new year has almost arrived, so don’t wait until 2014 gets here to resolve to make your family’s life better! An au pair can help with child care, household tasks, driving the kids to their many activities and bringing back date night!

With InterExchange Au Pair USA, our experienced and caring au pairs bring a new culture – and possibly a new language – to your family while also providing personalized child care that fits your schedule. And most of our families pay an average of $349 per week, no matter how many children they have.

Request more information or contact us at or 1.800.AU.PAIRS to learn more.

And remember - apply between now and 12/31/13 to save $350!



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