AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Serbia. 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
- Applicants usually obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, babysitting and by caring for younger family members.
- Usually the mother is responsible for the childcare responsibilities during infancy and childhood. Both parents share the responsibility during the teenage years.
- There are lots of private day care centres in Serbia, and the employees are highly skilled. The fees are not too high, so it’s an affordable option for parents.
- Families in Serbia are rather traditional and family-oriented. They like to keep their traditions and customs.
- Due to the economic situation, young people usually live with their parents until marriage. Unemployment remains high in Serbia, so living with other family members is sometimes the only option available.
- Families in Serbia play an important part in their children’s life and are eager to see that their children are well educated and professionally capable to achieve their chosen career; parents usually finance their children’s education.
- English is taught from early childhood. Children learn English from the first grade of elementary school, and in 5th grade they select an additional foreign language such as German, French, Russian, Spanish or Italian.
- English is compulsory throughout primary, secondary and university education.
- Most of the students develop an intermediate level of English.
- The minimum driving age is 18. Most applicants obtain their driving license at this age.
- Driving in big cities like Belgrade can be very demanding, and driving skills are therefore good. In smaller towns it is not so demanding.
- The process of obtaining the license is at least 4-6 months long and is expensive. The process involves passing a medical test, a theory test and a practical test.
- The academic year in Serbia starts in October and ends in June.
- Elementary education lasts 8 years, after which the student can choose to go to a general high school or a professional, vocational high school.
- After completing high school, students can apply to a state or private university, but they need to pass an entrance exam. Approximately 40% of high school students go on to enroll at a university.
- In the past few decades, there have been numerous changes in the Serbian government to the healthcare systems that were set up when Serbia was a Republic of Yugoslavia. There is now a very basic, free healthcare service, as well as private practices.
- Serbia is trying to move toward preventative healthcare.
- Most young people visit the dentist on regular basis.
- Serbians, especially those who are interested in the Au Pair in America program, are usually open minded, polite and really great with children.
- Serbians are usually neat and well dressed and like to follow contemporary trends. They take pride in their appearance.
- Serbians are considered as friendly and warm, and they like to talk.
- Serbians generally enjoy life and love playing with children. They regard them as individuals that need special attention in order to become self confident, and they love having fun with them.
- Serbia is at the top of the global export list for…raspberries!
- The Serbian clock-making industry is even older than the world-famous Swiss one. The Serbs had their own clock 600 years before the Swiss!
- How are you? Kako si?
- Fine, thanks: Dobro, hvala.
- My name is…: Moje ime je…
- Nice to meet you.: Drago mi je da smo se upoznali.
- Thank you.: Hvala.
“Being in America meant a lot to me. I became more independent, I met lots of people from around the world and learned a lot about other countries. I had a lot of fun and traveled a lot.”– Melana – au pair from Serbia
“Being an au pair opened a door to a whole new world and helped me discover strengths and capabilities which I wasn’t aware that I possessed!”– Jelena – au pair from Serbia
“It’s the best adventure.”– Paulina – au pair from Serbia
“In the U.S. I did not work for an employer, I was part of a family that would be my family for the rest of my life.”
Naomi, au pair