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Au Pairs from Germany
German Au Pairs
The idea of traveling to the United States to become an au pair is a very familiar concept in Germany. These young women are motivated by several factors including a desire to become more independent, to improve their English skills, and to experience American culture.
German youth are fascinated with American music, TV programs, Hollywood stars and movies. In addition, young German women know that a year abroad that improves her English is a significant plus on her resume, greatly increasing her job potential once she returns home.
According to Natalie Jordan, Vice President of Cultural Care, German au pairs are indeed very popular with American host families:
"Our families have preferences for a number of different countries and cultures, but we have found that one of our most consistently popular countries is Germany. Germany continues to be our largest country for au pairs and our most popular among families."
Quote from our exclusive interview with Ms. Jordan.
The au pair program continues to be a highly popular gap year for young women who usually return to Germany to continue at University. Approximately 37% of all au pairs who arrive in the United States are from Western Europe and 23% are from Germany.
- Young people in Germany have much more freedom from their families to socialize and date compared to their American peers. Socializing with friends is very important and German youth go out to pubs from the early age of 16.
- Curfews are not common and there is generally a relaxed and accepting attitude between parents and their adolescent children.
- German youth are generally open-minded, well mannered and tend to be ambitious regarding their careers.
- Germans take family life very seriously and most German families eat together for all meals, including lunch. Government rules allow all shops and businesses to close each day for from 12 noon to 2 o’clock so the family can come together for lunch.
- Germans are very private people and greatly value their time alone. It would not be unusual for your German au pair to keep her door shut while she is in her room on her time “off” and during these times you should make sure the children are not barging in and bothering her. She may feel this is very rude behavior.
German Au Pairs & Childcare
- Discipline techniques include talking to the child, taking sweets away, or taking away television or video privileges, or sending the child to their room. German au pairs tend to be highly organized and responsible and catch on quickly to the family’s routine.
- Applicants receive their childcare experience through formal training in “kindergartens.” Babysitting for friends and family are also common methods of training to become an au pair.
- German au pairs expect the children to treat them with respect – they also want the children to listen and follow her (your) rules. Naughty behavior is a sign of disrespect in German culture and also indicates a child who is spoiled by their parents. Germans feel this is a result of poor parenting!
The German Au Pair Has Reliable Driving Skills
- Most German au pairs make good – excellent drivers. They receive their license at age 18 – the driving test is much more demanding and time consuming compared to their American peers. Most driving pupils need 20-30 driving lessons in order to pass the German test. The practical driving test is an hour long! In addition, if any German fails the test more than 3 times, they are required by state law to complete a psychological evaluation.
- Most German parents have a car for their child to practice on and they support them in getting their license and becoming skilled and safe drivers.
- German au pairs are in great demand by American host families because of their driving skills.
Most German Au Pairs Excel in English
- English is a compulsory subject starting at the age of 10, but most Germans begin to study English in kindergarten. As a result, German youth have very good English speaking and writing skills with little or no accent.
- American families seek out German au pairs for their competent English skills. American host families also know that most German au pairs are highly successful in helping their children with their homework, a skill set that is lacking by most au pairs.
- Germans are typically very healthy and they have good medical and dental insurance.
- Most Germans are not inoculated or tested for TB (tuberculosis).
- Eating disorders are not very common in Germany, but they do exist and are on the rise, generally, for all Western countries.
- Young people in German eat meat and lots of vegetables and fresh foods are preferred to fast/processed foods.
- ·The two most common religions in Germany are Catholic and Protestant
- Most German youth do not practice their religion on a regular basis
Other Useful Information
- The majority of German families have at least one computer and access to the internet – along with cell phones, your prospective German au pair will be easy to contact during the interviewing process
- Family members usually speak English and can take messages from you if the au pair is not home. · German students end their academic year in June and will be ready to arrive in your home during the summer (July and August are very busy months for matching) so plan to have your German au pair arrive in early or mid-August.
- German au pairs are usually serious students – they will expect to sign up for college courses immediately upon arrival in your home. German au pairs will expect flexibly from you so she can attend classes.
- West Germans are generally more educated, drive better and speak English better than East Germans, but that is changing fast as East Germans "catch up" since the Berlin Wall came down!
- Generally, German au pairs have less trouble assimilating into American culture and do not generally suffer from culture shock. They genuinely like American culture and look forward to their year abroad.
- German au pairs will not usually extend beyond the 12 months – most of them will return home to continue their education, start a business or look for a job.