The studying aspect of Au Pairing is always up for a big debate and there are always questions surrounding it.
Where can you study? How many credits do you need? What can you study? Do you HAVE to study? and then everyone panics. This really is not something you need to panic about. It’s not something to worry about BUT you cannot leave it until the last minute.
In order to complete the Educational portion of your year you have to take classes up to 6 credits or 80 hours. That is if you are a regular Au Pair or an Au Pair Extraordinaire. If you are on the Educare Program like I am, you have to study up to 12 credits or 160 hours.
You have to study and if you don’t, you do not get your Au Pair certificate when you complete the program and you might not be able to get the same visa again because it’s a government regulated program and that is a requirement by them.
About where to study: You need to realise that different areas have different colleges and places to study. When you get to your new family, your counsellor will give you a whole bunch of information about the different courses in the area and what you are able to take. There are also some colleges that allow you to audit a class which basically means that you get to go to a regular college with a bunch of American students and take the class but you will not get any official credits that you are able to use on your transcript. I did this the first year I was here at a college that offers it and I really enjoyed it actually. Now I am taking classes at another local college but it also offers ‘continuing education’ which is what I am taking. This is basically for Au Pairs and anyone that does not want to study a whole degree but wants to learn certain aspects of a subject. I am REALLY enjoying this class too. It is something I am very interested in and I love my teacher as well! So speak to your counsellor and your host parents and also the previous Au Pair about the local colleges and classes. They are the best people to talk to. The last two options that you have is taking the UCLA class online which spans about 16 weeks. You learn about the history of America and also volunteer and talk to your kids class etc. There’s a lot more to it I guess but I don’t really know much about. This is also the only online class that you are able to take. You aren’t allowed to take any other online classes. The last option that you have is to take weekend courses. There are a bunch that you are able to do, also depending on where you are in the country. You can take weekend travel classes to places like Washington DC or Philadelphia. It is a very expensive and I don’t recommend it because of how expensive it is but also you don’t get too many credits for it but that is all up to you.
Finally the family gives you $500 a year towards your studies and anything over that, you have to pay it yourself which is annoying. If you are on the Educare program, you get $1000 towards your college. Also remember that if you attend a local college you will probably have to pay for your parking decal as well as registration fee every semester.
I hope this helps you and answers all your questions. I will put what Au Pair in America says below so you can get some more information on it too. You can see all the information here.