So you wanna study in America? 

So you wanna study in America? 

The first thing you have to think about is can I afford it? Most schools across America average $10k or more for international students a year. This is not including books; gas; food etc. 

As an international student, you cannot work legally anywhere except at your school, but most schools will favor second-year students before the first years. 

The next thing you have to think about is a sponsor. Who is going to sponsor you and can they afford to. A lot of schools have a sponsored requirement. Generally, a sponsor has to have between $20-40k in the bank. It has to be “cash on hand” where they can draw it out if needed so like a savings account is good. 

You can also actually have more than 1 sponsor. A sponsor is needed for the actual schooling and then living aspect.

You want your host family to sponsor you. Okay, you need to sit down and have a conversation with them. Are they willing to sponsor you? Will they continue to pay you as normal or pay you more? Will they pay for your college or is that on you? What are the options? 

Personally, my host family will continue paying me the same amount and I have to pay for everything myself. That’s just a personal decision. I will help out as much as I can with a full workload. 

I’m still allowed to stay with them and do what I’m doing now. 

Once you have a sponsor, you need to apply for school. I will always recommend applying to a community college as they’re cheaper and more accessible. 

You need to apply as an international student and the school generally has a specific person who liaises with international students. They will mostly always advise you to get a lawyer to do this process but that’s up to you. 

Once you have been accepted, you need to think about the different options. Will you go home and apply for everything and then come back? Will you do a change of status and just stay in the country? If you go home and come back, you will have a visa in your passport and will be able to visit home more often. The downside of this is that you may get denied a visa. This is the downside to both options but apparently more people get denied in their home country. 

If you stay in-country and have a change of status, once you have submitted your documents, you CANNOT leave the country for ANY REASON! They will trash your visa application. If your visa gets approved you can’t go home. Most people who have had a change of status and then gone home, have been denied to come back to the states. You have to apply again for your visa while you’re visiting because you technically do not have a visa in your passport, just a piece of paper. 

If you change your status in the USA, please remember that you have to have 6-12 months left on your visa so that there’s enough time for the processing and government to make a decision. If you don’t have enough time on your visa, they can actually deny your change of status. 

Once you have decided that, you have to wait for the school to get your papers from the government, and then you can apply for your change of status if you’re in-country. This is what I’ve done so I can only talk about this.

Once the school got the relevant paperwork, you’re able to apply for your change of status. 

You have an online application that you have to submit. This is a very LONG application and it has to be perfect. 

Once you have that done, submit it, print it and pay the fee ($350 from what I remember) 

You then have to pay another fee (also $350 I think) and have that. It’s the sevis fee. 

You then have more paperwork you have to submit in an envelope to whatever address they give you, mine was Texas but other people submitted in other places. This includes an essay as to why you want to study in the USA and what you will be doing with your degree in SA. 

Once that is done, you mail it and wait. I got a letter saying I had to go for biometrics so that’s what I did. Then it’s the waiting game. 

If you change your status you need 6-12 months on your current visa as this is enough time to get the change of status. Sometimes they can deny you based on how much time you have left on your visa. So watch for that

I will do a follow up post on the paperwork needed and what I submitted, so look out for that.



Dealing with conflict with your host family


Tagged : /

Doing your J-1 Credits

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 studying in america. When you get to your new family, your counselor 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 counselor 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.


study in america


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.


Read More:

Au Pair Conversations: Encourage Your Au Pair To Speak!

AU Pair Conversations With Courtney 2019 | Weirdlifeofanaupair

Tagged :