Italians see becoming an au pair as a great opportunity to practice their English skills, experience a new culture and greatly improve their job potential when they return home. This, combined with the strong cultural focus on family means that au pairs from Italy can be a great addition to your own family dynamics.
Let's take a look at some Italian skills and attributes that may be important to you as a host family:
Country Facts: Italy is home to a population of 58,742,000 people. The historic city of Rome is nation's captiol and in addition to Italian a large percentage of residents speak German, French and Slovene.
English: Italian children are taught English as a part of their academic curriculum; it is required during the last 8 years of their education. Additionally, they often have the opportunity to interact with Americans who are traveling abroad.
Driving: Italians go through a rigorous process to obtain their license which takes around three months and includes a medical exam, written test, vision test and a practical exam. The minimum driving age is 18, and it is standard that applicants take formal driving lessons and practice driving using their own car. Au pairs from Italy are likely to be used to much smaller vehicles and may find American cars, trucks, and SUVs to be intimidating when they first start to drive in the US.
Communication Style: Italians tend to be bright, expressive, and animated. They will often speak louder than Americans are used to, and interruptions can happen. Silence barely exists in the course of a conversation as culturally they are rather uncomfortable with it. While their conversations can seem quite animated they tend to stay on topics that are friendly or less controversial. Italians are also often quite keen to speak about their families.
Cooking: Overall, an Italian diet is very similar to the rest of the Mediterranean and includes fruits, vegetables, bread, nuts, dairy products, fish, and poultry. Dining is a form of celebration in Italy and the customs and traditions associated with it are just as vivacious as the people who invented them. They tend to prepare the food for an entire meal before sitting down, so that they can enjoy a longer more leisurely meal with the entire family.
Highlight: The Christmas season in Italy is highlighted by the exquisite manger scenes that are displayed in many cities across the country. Called 'presepe' which is literally translated as 'cribs' these Nativity scenes became a popular way to share the Christmas story during the time of St Francis of Assisi and they remain popular today.