Culture Quests

Zimbabwe

Africa
Capital: Harare
Languages: English (official), Shona, Sindebele, Numberous tribal dialects
Useful links: CIA World Factbook

The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Zimbabwe. 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 a new concept in Zimbabwe. Applicants will come from wealthy families.
  • Applicants from Zimbabwe are motivated by education and travel opportunities.
  • Only wealthy applicants can afford the program fees.
  • Young people in Zimbabwe do not always have the freedom of their family to socialize and date.
  • Curfews are common.
  • Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
  • Nudity is strictly prohibited.
  • Zimbabweans are characterized as being polite, hardworking, and having endurance.

Child Care Practices

  • Common discipline techniques include love, care, and verbal reprimands.
  • Physical discipline is not common in Zimbabwe.
  • Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling and babysitting.
  • 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

  • Zimbabwe is a left-drive country, so au pairs will need practice in the U.S.
  • Having a drivers license is considered a luxury, and only wealthy applicants can obtain a license.
  • The minimum driving age is age 16. Most applicants obtain their driving license at age 16.
  • A driving license is expensive to obtain.
  • The steps involved in obtaining a driving license in Zimbabwe include:
    • Driving lessons
    • Oral test
    • Written 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 the national official language.

Education

  • Approximately 50% of young women continue their studies at university.
  • Those who do not attend university earn certificates at technical schools.
  • The academic year in Zimbabwe starts in January and ends in December.
  • The educational opportunities of the Au Pair in America program are one of the main reasons for applying.

Health

  • The most common inoculations are hepatitis, polio, whooping cough, measles, tetanus, and meningitis.
  • Most young women are inoculated for TB (tuberculosis).
  • Zimbabwe does not have a free health service.
  • Most young women do not visit the dentist on a regular basis as the cost is prohibitive.

Diet

  • Most young people in Zimbabwe eat meat.
  • Vegetarianism is not common.

Religion

  • The most common religions in Zimbabwe are Catholic and Pentecostal.
  • Most young people in Zimbabwe practice their religion regularly.

Telephone & Internet

  • Most homes have a telephone and a computer with access to the Internet.
  • Family members will be able to take a message in English from a potential host family; however, a maid will likely answer the phone and will have minimal English skills.

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