AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Russia. 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
- Russian mothers typically stay home with the children until they are two or three years old.
- Common discipline techniques include discussions and withholding privileges.
- Physical discipline is not common in Russia.
- Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, babysitting, working in preschools, or private tutoring.
- The mother usually is responsible for the childrearing responsibilities.
- It is common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day once the children are over three years old.
Au Pairs in General
- The idea of being an au pair is common in Russia.
- Applicants from Russia are motivated by opportunities to improve their English.
- The job potential of an au pair improves upon her return to Russia.
- Applicants sometimes have difficulty affording the program fees. Many applicants are teachers who are paid low wages.
- Young people in Russia 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 common.
- Russians are cheerful, cordial, and have a great love for children. Russians are very open and honest and like to discuss problems and situations.
- English is compulsory in Russia.
- Classes begin at an early age.
- The minimum driving age is age 18. Most applicants obtain their driving license at age 20.
- A driving license is not difficult to obtain, but it is time consuming.
- The steps involved in obtaining a driving license in Russia include:
- Driving lessons
- Theoretical test
- Practical test
- The International driving permit is available.
- Applicants typically take formal driving lessons and practice driving using their parents’ car.
- Most cars have manual transmissions.
- Approximately 40% of young women continue their studies at university.
- Those who do not attend university work, study at a technical school, or start families.
- The academic year in Russia starts in September and ends in June.
- The educational opportunities of Au Pair in America lend opportunities to improve their English, which is very important to Russian applicants.
- The most common inoculations are for tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, and mumps.
- Most young women are inoculated and tested for TB (tuberculosis).
- Russia has a free health service.
- Most young women visit the dentist on a regular basis.
- “Eating disorders” are not common, but do occur.
- Most young people in Russia eat meat.
- Vegetarianism is becoming more common.
- A typical Russian diet includes a lot of potatoes.
- The most common religion in Russia is Orthodox Christian.
- Most young people in Russia do not practice their religion regularly.
Telephone & Internet
- Most homes have a telephone, and applicants have access to a computer and the Internet.
- Family members may not be able to take a message in English 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
“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