Culture Quests

Namibia

Africa
Capital: Windhoek
Languages: English (official), Afrikaans, German, indigenous languages
Useful links: CIA World Factbook

The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Namibia. 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 not common in Namibia
  • Applicants from Namibia are motivated by the opportunity to travel, study and earn money
  • An au pairs job potential is improved upon her return to Namibia
  • Applicants sometimes have difficulty affording the program fees.
  • Young people in Namibia have a lot of freedom to socialize and date.
  • Curfews are common, generally occurring at midnight.
  • Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
  • Sunbathing in the nude is unheard of. Namibian society is very conservative – people can sunbathe in private, but not in public.
  • The people of Namibia have a desire to experience new things, and lift them from their current situation. They are a very hardworking people.

Child Care Practices

  • Young people in Namibia are very traditional and have great respect for the elders.
  • Common discipline techniques include taking away privileges. Beating a child is against the law, even in schools.
  • Physical discipline is not common in Namibia, but does occur.
  • Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, and by caring for younger brothers or sisters and friends’ or relatives’ children.
  • Childcare responsibilities are generally shared by both parents.
  • It is common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day.

Driving Skills

  • Namibians drive on the left side of the road, so will need practice in the U.S.
  • Most applicants obtain their license at age 18, which is the minimum age.
  • The license is not difficult to obtain, but is relatively expensive.
  • Applicants typically do not own their own car.
  • The process in order to obtain the driver’s license is:
    • Complete theory classes on driving signs
    • Theoretical test to get a learner’s license
    • Driving lessons
    • Road test
    • After a successful road test, applicants are given a temporary license and receive their permanent license in 3 months.
  • The International driving permit is available.
  • Applicants typically take formal driving lessons and practice using their parents’ car or the car from the driving school.
  • 50% of cars have manual transmissions and 50% automatic transmissions.

English Language Skills

  • English is widely understood in younger generations. Classes are compulsory from 1st through 12th grades. English is taught in English using the Cambridge system, which incorporates oral and written skills.

Education

  • Very few young women in Namibia continue their studies at University.
  • Most start looking for jobs.
  • The academic year starts in January and ends in December.
  • The educational opportunities of the program are very important to the applicants as it affords them opportunities not available to them in Namibia.

Health

  • The most common inoculations are measles, mumps, and chicken pox.
  • Most young women are not inoculated and tested for TB (Tuberculosis).
  • Namibia does not have a free health service, but the medical costs are minimal.
  • Most young women visit the dentist on a regular basis, even though it is expensive.
  • “Eating disorders” are not common.

Diet

  • Most young people in Namibia eat meat.
  • Vegetarianism is not common.
  • A typical Namibian diet includes porridge and meat.

Religion

  • Namibia is a mainly Christian country. Some people adhere to traditional beliefs from past generations.
  • Most young people in Namibia do not practice their religion regularly.

Telephone & Internet

  • Most homes have a telephone.
  • Access to the Internet is generally found in Internet cafes and is very expensive.
  • Family members will be able to take a message in English from a potential host family.

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