AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Austria. 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.
Child Care Skills
- Most Austrians gain their childcare experience by looking after younger family members or babysitting for family friends or neighbors.
- Others also engage in a sports/church club as group leaders or take on an internship in a kindergarten.
- There are a lot of “kindergarten schools” (Bakips) in Austria. Students graduate with a High School Diploma as well as a certificate as a Qualified Kindergarten Teacher.
- Depending on their age, most Austrians will still be living at home with their families when they apply for the program.
- Austrian families are generally rather small with one to three children.
- Both parents usually work, and children are used to helping with household chores.
- Most applicants start English classes at the age of 10.
- Austrian applicants generally have quite a high level of English.
- A lot of young people in Austria also watch English TV shows as they want to keep up with the newest shows which are out first in English.
- Obtaining a driving license in Austria is a lengthy and expensive process.
- At “driving school,” they have to undertake the so called “Multiphase Education,” which includes theory classes and a theory test, a first aid course, a medical check, driving lessons, a practical test, safe driving training and a psychological course after they get their license.
- A lot of applicants also do the so called “L17” which involves driving lessons with a driving teacher and driving with parents who receive special training for this purpose.
- Compulsory education finishes after 9th grade (age 15/16), and students can continue with high school, go to another college, take up an apprenticeship or seek employment.
- High school finishes after 12th grade, vocational school after 13th grade (ages 17/18/19), and students get their diploma to continue with university or a job.
- The option of being an au pair is becoming more and more popular since many young Austrians are interested in new cultures and languages.
- Austria has a public health system that is free for young people up until the age of 27 if they are still in education. They are usually insured through their parents.
- Workers are insured by their employer and the unemployed are insured by the Public Unemployment Agency.
- Austria uses an electronic system called ELGA which stores electronic prescriptions, hospital reports, X-rays and test results and allows for them to be shared.
- Austrians are open-minded, independent and polite.
- They are motivated and hard-working.
- Austrians are cheerful.
- “The Sound of Music” is a lot more popular around the world than in Austria!
- Austria only has about 8 million inhabitants – that’s roughly the same population as Virginia!
- German is the official language in Austria but there are a lot of different dialects in Austria’s different regions.
- How are you? Wie geht es dir?
- Fine, thanks. Gut, danke.
- My name is… Mein Name ist…
- Nice to meet you. Freut mich dich kennenzulernen.
- Thank you. Danke.
“Just do it! It will be the best time of your life!”– Gundula, au pair from Austria
“Go for it! It’s a great way to learn about a new culture, meet new people from all around the world, travel and improve your English skills. Participating in this program definitely influenced my life, my personality and my interests fundamentally.”– Stefanie, au pair from Austria
“Do it, do it, do it! It was the best decision in my life and it shaped the person I am today. The memories I gained and the people I met, no one will ever be able to take that from me. It adds so much experience to your life, it’s incredible!” – Donatella, au pair from Austria
“In the U.S. I did not work for an employer, I was part of a family that would be my family for the rest of my life.”
Naomi, au pair