AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Canada. 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
- Childcare in Canadian families shares many cultural similarities to that of American families.
- Canadians obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, babysitting, or working in childcare centers, after school programs, or summer camps.
- It is common for young people to babysit for their younger siblings or relatives.
- Family dynamics in Canada and the USA are often similar. The average household has 1-2 children.
- The majority of households have both parents working, so parenting responsibilities are shared. It is common for both parents to work during the day.
- As in the USA, many families also have close ties with extended family members, grandparents etc.
- Canada has two official languages, English and French, though the majority of Canadians speak, read and write only English.
- Even in Quebec, most Canadians are fluent in English.
- Education is primarily in English (outside of Quebec), although a small number of students enroll in a French Immersion (all French) program at some point in their education.
- Each province governs the age and fees to obtain a driving license. The minimum age is 16. Many provinces have graduated licensing programs that limit the number of passengers and times of day drivers can drive.
- Most provinces require a vision test and a written or oral exam assessing the knowledge of laws, signs and rules of the road before the candidate can be assessed on their practical driving skills. It may be two years before an applicant is able to drive without restrictions.
- Use of the family car is the most common method of gaining experience, but many teens may have their own car. Most cars have an automatic transmission.
- The Canadian education system is ranked among the best in the world.
- Since Canada is a bilingual country, English-language and French-language schools are available across the country (even in areas where one language is more commonly spoken than the other).
- The majority of young people continue their studies at a college or university.
- Canada is known for its very good, publicly-funded healthcare system.
- The healthcare system in Canada is socialized and with few exceptions provides coverage to all Canadian citizens regardless of age, income or medical history.
- It is publicly funded and administered on a provincial or territorial basis, within guidelines set by the federal government.
- Canadians are patriotic, but perhaps don’t express this as openly as US citizens.
- Every province is known for its own individual traits.
- It’s common for young people to be involved in sports and outdoor activities. Hockey tends to be the most popular sport across the country, but soccer, baseball, football and basketball are very popular as well.
- Most Canadians actually do not say ‘eh’… but it can happen occasionally!
- Canada is the second largest country in the world, stretching from the Pacific in the west to the Atlantic in the east; and from the Arctic Ocean in the north, to the Great Lakes in the south.
- Canadians always like to talk about the weather, and are quick to reassure you that it actually doesn’t snow all year round, except in the Far North.
“BEST experience of your life. The people you meet, your host family, the experiences are things you will never forget. If you are worried, there is no need. Au Pair in America supports au pairs; they are always there for you every step of the way.” – Julie, au pair from Canada
“It is the most rewarding experience I have ever had. My host family really has become my extended family. It’s your opportunity to make the most of – it’s only going to be as good as you make it!” – Tessa, au pair from Canada
“Please do it, it will change your life for the better! A great experience!”– Megan, au pair from Canada
“I love that my children are learning about another culture. I like that I can feel good about the excellent and loving care that my kids receive while I am at work.”
Lori, host parent