AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in El Salvador. 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
- Common discipline techniques include open communication, teaching respect and parents setting a good example.
- Physical discipline is forbidden in El Salvador because of Child Protection Laws.
- Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, family members, community service, tutoring children, and helping neighbors.
- Usually the mother is responsible for these childcare responsibilities, but things have changed and now the father is actively involved too.
- It is common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day.
Au Pairs in General
- The idea of being an au pair is becoming common in El Salvador.
- Applicants from El Salvador are motivated by the opportunity to travel, study at an American University, gain experience and become more fulfilled as a person.
- An au pair’s job potential is improved upon her return to El Salvador.
- Applicants sometimes have difficulty finding the program fees.
- Young people in El Salvador have the freedom of their family to socialize and date.
- Curfews are common.
- Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
- Nudity is a controversial topic. Salvadorians are very conservative.
- Salvadorians are hardworking, entrepreneurial and honest.
- English is compulsory in beginning in first grade and continues through high school.
- Classes focus on both oral and written skills.
- The driver’s license in is available at age 16 and is not difficult to obtain.
- To obtain a license in El Salvador, candidates take driving lessons at an accredited academy and complete a practical and theoretical test.
- The International driving permit is available.
- Generally the parents provide a car in which to practice.
- Most cars have manual transmission.
- Approximately 35% of young women continue their studies at University.
- Others pursue practical courses or find jobs.
- The academic year starts in January and ends in October.
- The educational opportunities of the program are important to applicants from El Salvador in order to have better opportunities and find a good job.
- The most common inoculations are Flu, Rotavirus and Dengue.
- Most young women are inoculated and tested for TB (Tuberculosis).
- El Salvador has a free health service, the Instituto Salvadoreño del Seguro Social (I.S.S.S).
- Most young women visit the dentist on a regular basis.
- “Eating disorders” are not common, but do occur.
- Most young people in El Salvador eat meat.
- Vegetarianism is not common.
- A typical Salvadorian diet includes beans, cheese, rice, eggs and tortillas.
- The most common religions in El Salvador are Catholic and Christianity.
- Most young people in El Salvador practice their religion regularly.
- A young person would rarely choose to practice a religion that is different than her family’s religion.
Telephone & Internet
- Most homes have a telephone and a computer with access to the Internet.
- Family members may not be able to take a message from a potential Host Family.
“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 Massachusetts
“The flexibility the program affords us is outstanding. With other child care options, I always felt I was accommodating their schedule instead of my own.”
Jill, host parent New Jersey