AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Denmark. 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
- Parents usually send their children to daycare centers or kindergartens before they start school.
- The daycare centers and kindergartens in Denmark are very concerned about health and have strict rules regarding the children’s lunch and snacks – no sugar allowed!
- In the last year of kindergarten, children are prepped for school and start learning the alphabet.
- 2-3 children per family is considered normal in Denmark.
- Children are taught discipline from a young age through small tasks such as taking out the trash or emptying the dishwasher. Many families have pets as companions and to help teach children about responsibility.
- Denmark is a very family-focused country and visiting other family members over the holidays (such as Christmas) is normal.
- The official language is Danish, which is similar to Norwegian and Swedish, but all children are taught English at all levels of schooling.
- Children are also taught German and sometimes French and Spanish in school.
- Danes generally have a very high level of English proficiency.
- The minimum driving age is 18.
- To get a driver’s license, Danes must go to driving school (often in the evenings) and have theoretical lessons as well as driving with an instructor. They will also learn First Aid and since the weather in Denmark is very different depending on the season, the students will also learn how to react to different driving situations such as hydroplaning.
- In Denmark you drive on the left side of the road.
- All children go to “Folkeskole” (public school), which is free. They attend school from the age of 6 to 16 (years 0-9).
- At the end of Folkeskole, most students continue to either a standard Gymnasium (High School), Handel Gymnasium (Business School), Teknisk Gymnasium (Technical School), or other more trade-oriented educational establishments – all education is free in Denmark.
- Danish students above the age of 18 receive a monthly pay called SU, just for studying, so everyone can afford to study.
- Denmark has a universal health system, which is free (funded by taxes).
- Approximately 40% of Danes also have some form of private healthcare to cover services not fully covered by the state.
- It is considered normal to visit the dentist once a year.
- Denmark is a relatively multicultural country.
- Danes like to be seen as individuals and like to set themselves apart from one another.
- Danes can seem guarded, but once you get them talking, they are really friendly and helpful.
- Danes have a strong sense of irony – often causing confusion to foreigners!
- The UN World Happiness Report has rated Danes as the happiest people on earth two years in a row, and Danes have a special word for that cozy feeling of togetherness: “Hygge.”
- 50% of Copenhageners (as well as a large part of the rest of the population) commute by bike to work every day, even if it’s raining.
- How are you? Hvordan har du det?
- Fine, thanks. Fint tak.
- My name is… Mit navn er…
- Nice to meet you! Godt at møde dig!
- Thank you. Tak.
“DO IT!! You will have an experience of a life time!! You will find yourself in so many ways… You will learn to be more independent.” – Signe – au pair from Denmark
“It was one of the best years of my life with many experiences and wonderful memories.”– Gitte – au pair from Denmark
“A great chance to experience American family life, a different country and grow as a person. And a whole lot of fun!”– Marie – au pair from Denmark
“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