AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in China. 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
- China’s first generation of “only children” are now becoming parents themselves, and they are more likely to adopt modern ways to care for their children, from use of diapers, choosing brand formula, forming good habits from babyhood to sending young children to classes in early development centers. Young moms often use online media to exchange tips on child care.
- Parents prefer freshly made food for children instead of processed or preserved food.
- When in kindergarten and primary school, teachers will identify some students as good examples for the whole class to follow. Children learn codes of conduct and rules from these “model students.”
- Usually grandparents live with their children and grandchildren, so there are three generations in one house. Grandparents will also share the responsibility of bringing up the children. The Chinese value peace and wholeness of a family. As an old Chinese saying goes: “A harmonious family can lead to the success of everything.”
- Chinese families attach a lot of importance to the traditional holidays, and parents like to arrange large family meals with their children.
- Children are encouraged to develop and learn new talents such as music, calligraphy, dancing and so on from an early age.
- Chinese students officially begin to study English when they are in primary school, but many have already attended different English classes since kindergarten.
- Chinese students are used to taking all kinds of English tests. In fact, their English reading skills are better than their speaking and writing skills.
- Thanks to the opening of China to the world, many people from urban areas can understand basic English. People even create their own version of “Chinglish,” which is spoken or written English influenced by the Chinese language!
- The minimum driving age in China is 18, but very few people obtain their license at this age as there is little need to drive if you live in a large city.
- Applicants need to take formal driving lessons in a driving school before taking the official driving tests, which consist of 4 rounds. The tests are quite strict.
- Since traffic jam are common in China, Chinese drivers need to be more patient and responsive than in other countries. In other words, it’s a little bit harder to drive in China than in the U.S.
- All Chinese must attend school for at least nine years, and this is funded by the government. Over 90% of Chinese complete nine years of schooling, but due to the large population and regional disparity, education resources in China are not consistent.
- The High School Diploma is highly valued by Chinese parents. After young people graduate from high school, most of them choose to go to college. The college entrance exam is a major national event every year in China.
- Approximately 50% of 20-24 year olds complete college education (associate or bachelor degrees), and it’s becoming more and more common for affluent families to also send their children to study abroad.
- The Chinese healthcare system is divided into two parts: rural medical insurance and urban medical insurance. The government will cover at least 40% of the whole medical expense.
- There is no such thing as a “family doctor” in China. When people get ill, they will go to see a medical specialist in the network, and each time they may visit a different doctor.
- It is common for Chinese to use traditional medicine combined with Western medicine to treat different diseases.
- Diligent, hardworking and modest: these words are often used to describe Chinese people.
- Collectivism is a norm in China. Chinese love group activities. Winning honour for the group is something to be proud of.
- Chinese tend to be reserved when it comes to showing affection in public.
- Despite its size, China only has one time zone!
- While the dragon is typically seen as an evil creature in Western culture, it holds first place among the four greatest creatures in Chinese mythology, along with the phoenix, tiger, and tortoise. It is typically associated with the emperor.
- Once known as the “Kingdom of Bicycles,” now China owns the most number of electric bikes. There are over 200 million e-bikes in China!
- How are you? Nǐ hăo ma?
- Fine, thanks. Wŏ hĕn hăo, xiè xiè.
- My name is…: Wŏ de míng zì shì…
- Nice to meet you. Hĕn gāo xìng yù jiàn nĭ.
- Thank you: Xiè xiè.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about the language, culture and society of the USA and to meet incredible people and build life-long friendships. It’s also a process through which we learn/discover more about ourselves.” – Zhao Y – au pair from China
“It’s so wonderful to be an au pair. You can learn much more about American culture than you do from the textbooks. And it is the best way to travel, and you make so many friends who speaks different languages!” – Li – au pair from China
“It is a really a good chance to see, to know and to experience more about another culture. Go for it! You won’t regret it!”– Zhao L – au pair from China
“By inviting a person from another country to join our family, live with us, and learn about our culture, we actually learn so much about ourselves, how our own culture and way of life appear through the lens of someone new.”
Belle, host parent