Weekend classes are one of the best ways to fulfill your education requirements. Not only do some Au Pair classes allow you to get 3-6 credit hours in one weekend, but you get to have a fun vacation and an Au Pair weekend at the same time.
What are the best weekend classes for Au Pairs?
Sure, you can find plenty of Au Pair weekend courses just by Googling, “weekend class Au Pair.” But which ones are really the best?
There are many weekend classes Au Pair participants love, which count toward the education requirement for your Au Pair program.
The best weekend classes are ones that combine travel, sightseeing, and cultural history with the course itself. Here are some organizations* that offer Au Pair weekend classes:
Many universities also offer weekend courses. They might not involve travel, but could be a good way to get ~3 credits in one weekend.
Before you register for a course, you may also want to inquire about how much homework will be required. Also find out whether it’s due before or after the course.
What do I need to bring on my trip?
If your homework is assigned and completed before the course, you’ll want to find out how to submit your work before you leave for the trip. Do you submit it online, or does it need to be printed?
To decide what else to bring, you’ll also want to consider:
- How far from home is the course?
- Will you be traveling by bus or plane to get there?
- Where are you staying? Will your housing have basic amenities like a shower, soap, etc?
- What will the weather be like? Is it warm or cold in the state you’re traveling to?
Answering these questions will help you determine what should be on your packing list. However, here are some basic items that you can expect to pack on almost any trip:
- Pajamas, socks, and any other sleepwear you want to bring
- Clothes for the number of days you’ll be gone (Optional: bring an extra set of clothes just in case)
- Basic toiletries and hygiene items (soap, toothbrush, feminine needs)
- Hair brush, hair ties, bobby pins, etc.
- Medications and prescriptions
- Makeup, chapstick, face wash
- Cell phone & charger
- Good walking shoes
- Hat, sunscreen, (or winter wear when appropriate)
- Rain poncho (pocket size for emergency)
- Wallet with driver’s license or relevant ID card
- Water bottle
- Backpack or light travel bag
Click here to download our free printable packing list for Au Pair weekend classes!
There may be other things you need to bring, either for the course itself or for your own personal needs. Do some research beforehand so you can be prepared.
And whatever you do, pack light. Most people don’t need more than one suitcase and a carry-on for a weekend course. The lighter you pack, the less you have to keep track of, and the easier it will be to get around.
What else do I need to know about my Au Pair weekend class?
Before you sign up for an Au Pair weekend class, there are some other things you’ll want to take into consideration. This will ensure you have the best experience possible.
Make sure you get credit for the course.
You’ll want to make sure that the institution teaching the Au Pair weekend course is accredited. Only accredited schools count toward the U.S. Department of State’s educational requirements for the J-1 Visa.
When in doubt, you can always contact Go Au Pair and ask our staff to confirm whether the class would count toward your credits.
You will also need to submit proof of course completion to Go Au Pair to ensure your credit is counted. Confirm beforehand what is required to obtain a course certificate. (Usually, attendance and completing your homework are required.)
Keep in mind that the cost of the course might be more than the maximum tuition your Host Family is required to pay.
Your Host Family is required to pay $500 toward your tuition expenses during your year.
If you attended Go Au Pair’s new Success Workshop in NYC (launched in September 2019), your Host Family has already paid $200 toward your education. This means your family is only required to pay another $300 toward your courses.
Many Au Pair weekend courses cost $500-600. However, even if your Host Family has paid ~50% of your education stipend, a weekend course is still a great deal. You get both education credits and a travel experience out of the trip. Plus, Au Pair weekend courses can be an affordable way to travel and meet other Au Pairs.
Any required travel for the weekend course will likely be at your own expense.
Host Families are required to enable Au Pairs to get to and from campus for regular university courses. However, most Host Families are not willing or able to cover the cost of airfare or a bus ticket out of state. Many weekend courses do not include housing, either.
If you’re interested in a weekend course that would require a lot of travel, you’ll want to find out whether your Host Family is willing to help you with some of the expenses. They may be willing to help you out a little, but probably will not be open to spending hundreds of dollars just to get you to a single class.
You might need to coordinate with your Host Family to accommodate the class schedule.
Even if you don’t work on the weekends, your class might take up more time than just Saturday and Sunday.
Many Au Pair weekend classes start in the middle of the day on Friday, and last until midday Monday. This isn’t including any travel time that would be required to get there.
If you choose a class that requires travel, or starts in the middle of the day on a weekday, you’ll want to make sure your Host Family can accommodate the class schedule.
Use these best practices for staying safe while traveling.
Any time you travel, it’s important to stay safe. Here are some best practices to follow while traveling to ensure you have fun traveling and return home safely.
- Stay connected–bring your cell phone with you & keep it charged at all times.
- Keep 911 on speed dial.
- If you have to walk alone late at night, talk with someone on the phone until you are safely back at your lodging.
- Tell your Host Family and one friend where you’re going and when you expect to come home. Text them with any trip updates or delays so they know you’re safe.
- Whenever possible, stick with a group, or at least one other person.
- Print or download maps to your phone in advance, just in case you don’t have cell phone service during your trip.
- Keep your wallet and ID hidden (try an under-the-shirt lanyard, like this one, to keep your valuables out of sight and inaccessible to pickpockets).
- Stay aware of your surroundings at all times; stay in populated areas and be aware of situations that don’t feel right to you.
- Trust your gut. If something feels wrong, it probably is. You always have the right to leave a situation that makes you uncomfortable or seems unsafe.
Planning Your Trip
There are many things to consider when traveling, including the cost of airfare and different options for housing. Check out our travel tips for Au Pairs for some ideas on how to plan a cost-effective trip.
*Always double-check whether a course counts toward your educational credit requirement for the J-1 Visa program. Even if an organization is listed in this post, it does not guarantee that all of their courses would count.