AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in France. 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
- French applicants usually gain their childcare experience through babysitting, caring for younger family members and working in daycare centers and holiday camps.
- France has an excellent childcare system and the state funds 80% of the care.
- Children can be placed in a crèche from 2.5 months to 3 years and can then attend a pre-school from 3-6.
- Families usually consist of 2 children, and the average age a woman gives birth for the first time is 29/30.
- Families love to eat together and meal times are very important.
- French are taught English from Primary School and onwards. The way English is taught is mainly focused on writing and grammar.
- Young people spend lots of time online watching TV shows and movies in English.
- The opportunity to improve their language skills during the Au Pair in America program is one of the reasons French applicants join the program.
- As soon as you turn 16 in France, you can start driving with your parents or another adult as long as you have taken the Highway Code exam first.
- You can start taking proper lessons and take your driving test at 18, but the process in France is long and very strict. It’s also expensive.
- You are only offered a test date when your instructor thinks you are ready to take the test.
- School attendance is required by law until the age of 16, and approximately 71% of students pass their high school diploma.
- There are many options available after high school – university, private colleges or specialized training courses.
- The baccalaureate (also known as bac) is the end of high school diploma which students sit in order to enter university. It is generally taken at age 18 if the pupil has not repeated a class during secondary school.
- France has one of the best national health care systems in the world.
- Everyone is covered by health insurance and people can also take out additional insurance if required.
- France is considered quite a healthy country, and the French diet is often studied due to its healthiness.
- Applicants from France are motivated by the opportunity to enhance their career and improve their English.
- The French are known for being friendly, polite, proud and healthy.
- The French love their language and culture and are very proud of their heritage.
- France is the most visited country in the world with approximately 75 million tourists each year.
- France produces over 400 types of cheese.
- In France, it’s illegal to name a pig “Napoleon”.
- How are you? Ça va?
- Fine, thanks: Oui, ça va, merci.
- My name is…: Je m’appelle….
- Nice to meet you: Enchanté/é
- Thank you: Merci
“Go! It’s a great opportunity to learn about yourself and to have a different view on the world.” – Charlene, au pair from France
“Being an au pair was the greatest experience ever. Now I have two families and so many friends from all over the world.” – Fanny, au pair from France
“I would say it is the best experience of my entire life, we grow up so much during the year. Unfortunately the year goes by very quickly!” – Aurore, au pair from France
“The most important thing is that, like my host mum said…, I am part of the team. I share their daily routine and I am lucky to be with my host family.”
Verena, au pair