AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in New Zealand. 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 time-outs.
- Physical discipline is not common in New Zealand.
- Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling and babysitting.
- Usually both parents share the childrearing responsibilities.
- 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 not well-known in New Zealand.
- Applicants from New Zealand are motivated by cultural curiosity.
- The job potential of an au pair improves upon her return to New Zealand.
- Applicants do not have difficulty affording the program fees.
- Young people in New Zealand have the freedom of their family to socialize and date.
- Curfews are not common.
- Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
- Nudity is not a common practice.
- The people of New Zealand describe themselves as reserved, friendly, and hard working.
- Others may consider New Zealanders’ style of communication confrontational. This stylistic cultural difference should be taken into consideration when they are encouraged to speak their mind.
- English is the native language of New Zealand.
- New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road, so au pairs will need practice in the U.S.
- The minimum driving age is age 16. Most applicants obtain their driving license at age 16.
- A driving license is not difficult to obtain.
- The steps involved in obtaining a driving license in New Zealand include:
- Learner’s permit
- Practical test
- Restricted license
- Full license
- The International driving permit is available.
- Applicants typically take formal driving lessons and practice driving using their parents’ car.
- Most cars have manual transmissions.
- The academic year in New Zealand starts in February and ends in November.
- The educational opportunities of the Au Pair in America program are attractive, but not a high selling point to applicants.
- The most common inoculations are tetanus, rubella, and tuberculin.
- Most young women are not inoculated and tested for TB (tuberculosis).
- New Zealand has a free health service.
- Most young women visit the dentist on a regular basis.
- “Eating disorders” are not common, but do occur.
- Many young people in New Zealand eat meat.
- Vegetarianism is common.
- The most common religions in New Zealand are Catholic, Anglican, and Presbyterian.
- Most young people in New Zealand do not practice their religion regularly.
Telephone & Internet
- Homes have telephones and a computer with access to the Internet.
“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
“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