The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Germany. 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.
- The idea of being an au pair is a very familiar concept in Germany.
- Applicants from Germany are motivated by the desire to become more independent, to get to know a foreign country and its culture, and to improve their English skills and their childcare experience.
- An au pair’s job potential is improved upon her return to Germany.
- Applicants do not have difficulty finding the program fees.
- Young people in Germany have the freedom of their family to socialize and date. Generally, Germans go out to pubs from the age of 16.
- Socializing with friends is very important to young people in Germany.
- Curfews are not common.
- Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
- German families are very open-minded towards nudity. Sunbathing in the nude is very common.
- Germans are open-minded, ambitious, polite.
- Common discipline techniques include talking to the children, not allowing them sweets, or taking away television privileges for a while. Children may be sent to their room.
- Physical discipline is forbidden in Germany.
- Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, and babysitting.
- Usually parents share childcare responsibilities.
- It is common that the mother or father stays with the children at home, at least until they are old enough to go to a kindergarten. Working from home in Germany is common.
- The driver’s license is available at age 18, and is not difficult to obtain. It is, however, expensive.
- To obtain a license in Germany, candidates take a minimum of 14 theoretical lessons and 14 practical lessons. Most driving pupils need 20-30 lessons in order to pass the test. After passing a theoretical test, there is a practical driving test (1 hour). If a candidate fails the test three times, a psychological test is required.
- The international driving permit is available.
- Most parents allow their children to use the family car to practice.
- Most cars have manual transmission.
- English is a compulsory subject in Germany beginning in 5th grade and continuing for at least five years.
- The courses are focused on written as well as oral skills. In general, students who leave school with a high school diploma have a high standard of English language skills.
- Approximately half of young women continue their studies at University.
- Others do an apprenticeship.
- The academic year starts in August or September and ends in June or July.
- The most common inoculations are Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Rubella.
- Most young women are not inoculated and tested for TB (Tuberculosis).
- Germans have health insurance, which pays most health services. The cost of the insurance is deducted from the monthly salary (about 13%).
- Most young women visit the dentist on a regular basis.
- “Eating disorders” are not common in Germany.
- Most young people in Germany eat meat; however, vegetarianism is becoming more popular.
- A typical German diet includes fresh food and lots of vegetables.
- The most common religions in Germany are Catholic and Protestant.
- Most young people in Germany do not practice their religion regularly.
- A young person would rarely choose to practice a religion that is different than her family’s religion.
- Most homes have a telephone and a computer with access to the Internet.
- Family members will probably be able to take a message from a potential host family.
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