AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Italy. 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
- It is common for Italians to take care of their siblings and cousins. It is considered natural that older children in the family take care of younger siblings.
- Italian families always eat together at dinner, and it is usually the mother who cooks for everyone.
- Italian families have no written rules, but children usually make their own beds and help with cleaning and the cooking. If children misbehave, they usually have a privilege taken away from them.
- Two or more children per family is common, but the number of families with only one child is rising.
- Italian children are taught to be quite independent; it’s common for children to walk to school by themselves from an early age.
- In Italy, family time is very important, and all family members spend a lot of time together, especially during holidays.
- English is taught from an early age, and English classes focus on grammar and written skills.
- English language movies and TV series are dubbed in Italy. For this reason, Italians find it very difficult to pronounce some words and rarely get rid of their accents.
- The opportunity to improve their language skills during the Au Pair in America program is one of the main reasons that Italian applicants join the program.
- Obtaining a driving license in Italy is very expensive and includes a theory and practical exam.
- To obtain the standard driving license, applicants must be at least 18 and must provide a medical certificate for eyesight, mental health and physical condition.
- Italians consider themselves to be good drivers as they have to learn to drive in difficult conditions, including driving on fast-moving main roads and gridlocked city roads.
- Education in Italy is compulsory from age 6 to 16, and Italy has both public and private education systems.
- A high proportion of Italians study at university.
- Italian universities are among the oldest universities in the world and most are state-supported, so are a lot cheaper than American universities.
- Italy has the world’s 6th highest life expectancy due to a relatively healthy cuisine and diet.
- Italy’s healthcare system is also ranked highly, and healthcare is provided to all citizens and residents by a mixed public-private system.
- Surgeries and hospitalization provided by the public hospitals are completely free of charge for everyone, regardless of income.
- Italians love their country, and the first thing they miss is the food!
- Italians love having large, social dinners with their family and friends.
- Italians love to talk!
- It’s true! Italians really do talk with their hands!
- Italy is the world’s largest exporter of wine, pizza was invented in Naples and dates back to 1860, and 14 billion espresso coffees are consumed in Italy each year!
- Italy is home to Europe’s only 3 active volcanoes: Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius!
- How are you? Come stai?
- Fine, thanks: Bene, grazie.
- My name is…: Mi chiamo…
- Nice to meet you. Piacere di conoscerti.
- Thank you. Grazie.
“Participating in this program is a life changing experience, both professionally and personally.” – Ilaria – au pair from Italy
“To be an au pair is an amazing thing…your host family welcomes you as part of the family. You can learn more about the U.S. culture and get to know a lot of people from different parts of the world.” – Elena – au pair from Italy
“It’s a unique chance to learn a foreign language, travel, learn about the US culture and meet people from all over the world.” – Mara – au pair from Italy
“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