Culture Quests

Bolivia

South America
Capital: La Paz
Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Useful links: Kids Culture Corner: Bolivia | CIA World Factbook

The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Bolivia. Although au pairs from this country may or may not have had these experiences/beliefs, Au Pair in America wishes to share this general information with our families.

Au Pairs in General

  • The idea of being an au pair is becoming common in Bolivia.
  • Applicants from Bolivia are motivated by the experience of living and working in a different country and learning a new culture.
  • The job potential of an au pair improves upon her return to Bolivia.
  • Applicants do not have difficulty affording the program fees.
  • Young people in Bolivia do not have the freedom of their family to socialize and date. The Bolivian culture is still very conservative, and families keep control over their children’s dates and schedules.
  • Curfews are very common.
  • Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
  • Nudity is prohibited in public.
  • Bolivians are quiet and soft-spoken as well as hard-working. One has to earn their trust.

Child Care Practices

  • Bolivian parents are still very strict with their children, teaching them to have respect for family and adults.
  • Physical discipline is not common in Bolivia.
  • Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, volunteering with the girl scouts, working at child care centers, coaching sports, and babysitting.
  • Usually the mother is responsible for the childcare responsibilities.
  • It is common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day.

Driving Skills

  • The minimum driving age is 18. Most applicants obtain their driving license at age 20 or 21 due to the high cost.
  • A driving license is not difficult to obtain, but it is expensive.
  • The steps involved in obtaining a driving license in Bolivia include:
    • Driving lessons
    • Theoretical written test
    • Road test
    • Fees
  • The International driving permit is available.
  • Applicants take formal driving lessons and practice driving using their parents’ car.
  • Most cars have manual transmissions.

English Language Skills

  • English is not offered at all schools; however, most applicants have attended a school that offers English.
  • Students start studying English while at Kindergarten, aged 5, and continue though their primary and high school years. The courses are focused on both written and oral skills.

Education

  • Approximately 50% of young women continue their studies at university.
  • Those who do not attend university enter the workforce, or attend more affordable educational institutions such as technical schools or secretarial schools.
  • The academic year in Bolivia starts in February and ends in November.
  • The educational opportunities of the Au Pair in America program are very important to applicants in Bolivia.

Health

  • The most common inoculations are polio, measles and tetanus.
  • Most young women are inoculated and tested for TB (tuberculosis).
  • Bolivia has a free health service in public hospitals for mothers and newborns.
  • Most young women visit the dentist on a regular basis.
  • “Eating disorders” are not common, but do occur.

Diet

  • Most young people in Bolivia eat meat.
  • Vegetarianism is not common.
  • A typical Bolivian diet includes meat dishes, rice and potatoes.

Religion

  • Roman Catholic is the official religion in Bolivia.
  • Most young people in Bolivia practice their religion regularly.

Telephone & Internet

  • Most homes have a telephone and a computer with access to the Internet.
  • Family members may not be able to take a message in English from a potential host family.

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