Culture Quests


South America
Capital: Santiago
Languages: Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English
Useful links: Kids Culture Corner: Chile | CIA World Factbook

The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Chile. 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 Chile.
  • Applicants from Chile are motivated by travel opportunities and the ability to improve their English
  • The job potential of an au pair improves upon her return to Chile.
  • Applicants sometimes have difficulty affording the program fees.
  • Young people in Chile have the freedom of their family to socialize and date.
  • Curfews are common.
  • Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
  • Nudity is generally not accepted.
  • Chileans describe themselves as friendly, warm, and adaptable.

Child Care Practices

  • Common discipline techniques include teaching through example and loss of privileges.
  • Physical discipline is not common in Chile.
  • Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling and caring for family members.
  • Usually both parents share the childrearing responsibilities.
  • It is common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day.

Driving Skills

  • The minimum driving age is age 18. Most applicants obtain their driving license at age 18-20.
  • A driving license is not difficult to obtain, nor is it expensive.
  • The steps involved in obtaining a driving license in Chile include:
    • Theoretical written test
    • Psychological test
    • Practical test
    • Fees
  • The International driving permit is available.
  • Applicants practice driving using their parents’ car.
  • Most cars have manual transmissions.

English Language Skills

  • English is a compulsory subject in Chilean schools.
  • Classes begin in 7th grade, and both written and oral skills are taught.


  • Approximately 50% of young women continue their studies at university.
  • Those who do not attend university attend professional institutions, technical colleges, or simply look for a job.
  • The academic year in Chile starts in March and ends in December.
  • The educational opportunities of the Au Pair in America program are important to Chilean applicants.


  • The most common inoculations are for measles, whooping cough, polio, and diphtheria.
  • Most young women are inoculated and tested for TB (tuberculosis).
  • Chile has a free health service.
  • Most young women visit the dentist on a regular basis, though it is expensive.
  • “Eating disorders” are not common, but do occur.


  • Most young people in Chile eat meat.
  • Vegetarianism is not common.
  • A typical Chilean diet includes seafood, beef, fresh fruit and vegetables. A popular meal is lomo a lo pobre – an enormous slab of beef topped with two fried eggs and buried in chips. Curanto, another typical dish, is a hearty stew of fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, lamb, beef and potato. Chilean wines are arguably South America's finest.


  • The most common religions in Chile are Catholic and Protestant.
  • Most young people in Chile do not practice their religion regularly.

Telephone & Internet

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

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