AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Spain. 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
- Most Spanish applicants have younger siblings or cousins, and it is common for them to help to take care of them.
- There are plenty of qualified teachers in Spain who have just finished their teaching degree. These newly qualified teachers need to be fluent in English if they want to apply for a job in a public school.
- It is common to babysit for neighbors or friends. Parents usually know their babysitters on a personal level before hiring them.
- On a general basis Spanish au pairs come from big families with at least 2 or 3 children, and families love getting together for big gatherings and special occasions.
- Most young Spaniards live with their parents until their late twenties/early thirties.
- Families are very close and are considered very reliable and supportive.
- Spanish au pair applicants usually have a strong understanding of written English, and good grammatical skills. Their spoken English is not as strong as the majority of English teachers are Spanish, but they tend to pick up the language quickly.
- Spaniards are taught English from kindergarten onwards.
- It is a common idea in Spain that people need to speak English fluently to find a job when they finish their education.
- Most people take their driving test when they turn 18 years old.
- People tend to drive on a frequent basis if they live on the outskirts of cities. Those who live in cities tend to use public transport more frequently.
- 95% of cars are manual transmission.
- Education is compulsory and free for all children aged between 6 and 16 years, and is supported by the national government together with the governments of each of the country’s 17 autonomous communities.
- Schools in Spain can be divided into 3 categories: State schools, privately run schools funded by the State and purely private schools.
- Spanish students start their university degrees at the age of 17/18 years old, and it’s common for young women to choose to study teaching.
- There is a free health service in Spain called the National Spanish Health System.
- It’s common to have a family doctor who remains the same throughout your lifetime if you stay in the same area.
- People normally go to the doctor once a year to have a medical checkup, and life expectancy is generally considered high.
- Spanish people love to talk and are usually considered to be friendly, happy and open.
- Spanish people are generally willing to get involved and to try new things.
- Most Spanish au pair applicants decide to travel abroad after finishing their degree, so they are in their twenties when they apply to the program. They are very attracted to the USA and its culture.
- The Twelve Grapes is a Spanish tradition which takes place at midnight on New Year’s Eve – the tradition consists of eating a grape with each bell strike and, according to the tradition, that leads to a year of prosperity!
- Spain is well known for its Holy Week traditions, so the Easter Break (or Semana Santa) is an exciting, fun-filled time in Spain with processions and celebrations going on well into the early hours!
- Spain is famous for its stunning islands, and millions of people worldwide travel to its islands each year – the Spanish themselves consider their islands “paradise.”
- How are you? ¿Cómo estás?
- Fine, thanks.: Bien, gracias.
- My name is…: Me llamo …
- Nice to meet you.: Encantado/a de conocerte.
- Thank you.: Gracias.
“Is the best thing you could ever do. The organization is great and the country is awesome. You will have the time of your life.”– Ester – au pair from Spain
“Being an au pair is a great way to put yourself in a challenging but safe situation in which you will learn about other cultures as much as you will learn about your own.”– Mireia – au pair from Spain
“I would say that this is the perfect occasion to learn about the American culture while enjoying being with kids. Also, to learn a language while having fun.” – Elena – au pair from Spain
“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