AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
Capitals: England – London; Scotland – Edinburgh; Wales – Cardiff; Northern Ireland – Belfast
Predominant Religion(s): Christianity (Church of England, Roman Catholic) – most other religions are represented
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in the United Kingdom. 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 normal for British people to help take care of the younger children in their family and babysit or child-mind for family friends.
- Preparing meals from scratch for children is very common.
- British families believe in the value of positive motivation. Emphasis is placed on good manners and formality.
- Two or more children per family is a common occurrence, and relatives often live nearby.
- In many families it is common to visit other family members over holidays or weekends.
- Often a family will support a preferred football team, and they will all enjoy this together.
- English is the main language in the UK, but Welsh, Scottish and Irish, whilst uncommon, are still spoken in some areas.
- The minimum driving age in the UK is 17. Most applicants obtain their driving license at this age.
- The process of obtaining the license is at least 4-6 months long. This depends on how much time they have to practice. First they have to complete and pass a written theory exam before they can do the practical driving exam.
- British drivers can experience a wide variety of weather conditions, including rain, snow and ice as well as sunshine.
- Full time education is compulsory from 5-16 and can be private (paid for) or public (state funded). 80% of British students stay in school until 18 to study for their A Levels (or equivalent).
- Studying at a university in English, Wales and Northern Ireland has become more expensive due to the introduction of tuition fees. Scotland does not charge tuition fees to Scottish students.
- Various additional courses (e.g. dancing, ballet, arts & crafts, sports, swimming, horse-riding) are often added to the extra school curriculum or studied as an after-school activity.
- The UK healthcare system is based on the National Health Service, which is available and free to all British citizens. Prescription costs can vary.
- Regular medical check-ups are provided by schools at every stage of education.
- It is common to visit the dentist on a regular basis. This can also be covered under the National Health Service, although there is a charge for this, which is less than if the work was carried out privately.
- British people often describe themselves as reserved, but in fact they are quite funny and have a witty sense of humor!
- The UK is a very multi-cultural society and subsequently Brits are open minded to all beliefs and traditions.
- It’s true that people from the UK love talking about the weather, preferably whilst drinking tea!
- In the UK, if you reach your 100th birthday, you get a personalized card from Her Majesty the Queen!
- The estimated population of the UK is over 64 million; 84% of this population live in England.
- The UK is slightly smaller than the U.S. State of Oregon. It is just under half the size of France and 30 times smaller than Australia.
“Do it! The time I spent as an au pair helped shape the person I’ve become. It develops independence and will make your life so much richer because of the different cultures and nationalities you’ve experienced.”– Sara, au pair from the United Kingdom
“It was the most amazing experience of my life. I met a bunch of amazing people who I still keep in contact with now. I traveled to 24 different states whilst I was there and experienced loads of new things!” – Hayley, au pair from the United Kingdom
“It is a once in a lifetime experience. It’s an opportunity to make lifelong friends and family, explore the treasures of the USA and make memories that will last forever. I would do it again in a heartbeat!”– Jennifer, au pair from the United Kingdom
“You can not beat the flexibility of the Au Pair program. My au pairs have been so great that my friends want to steal them and take them home!”– Catherine , host parent Connecticut