September 17, 2013

Host an au pair from Brazil

A Cultural Care country spotlight

4 minutes
Cultural exchange

Considering an au pair from Brazil? We always recommend that families host the best au pair for their needs regardless of nationality. That said, it can be helpful to learn about how an au pair’s home country may impact their role in your family. Read on to discover more about Brazilian au pairs!

Brazilian au pairs are great because…

They can be warm, loving, and family-oriented. Often, Brazilians are also sociable and easygoing which helps them develop great relationships. Because they tend to be on the older end of the au pair age range, they can be more mature.

Language

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil. A Brazilian au pair may therefore help your kids learn a few Portuguese words. 

Age

Brazilian au pairs are an average of 23 years old, and they usually attend university before traveling to the USA. 

English level

Coming from Brazil, most au pairs learn English before or during the program. English lessons can be expensive, so many au pairs start learning independently and have no one to practice with. However, they are fast learners and their English levels improve a few months after they’ve arrived.  

“Belle has the biggest heart and she bonded with our boys so quickly! It’s safe to say that our 2-year-old knows more Portuguese than my husband and I combined—he quickly learned how to say “Good night, I love you” in Portuguese. We have also so enjoyed trying Brazilian cuisine!” —Michelle, host mom from CA

Childcare experience

It’s common for Brazilian au pairs to have experience working in Sunday schools, volunteering for kids’ associations, working as teachers’ assistants, babysitting, and taking care of young children. Because Brazilian families are often close-knit, they may have experience caring for younger siblings and cousins.  

Driving experience

Brazilian au pairs are often familiar with driving on highways and in traffic, as traffic can be heavy and difficult in Brazil’s larger cities. After taking lessons and passing exams, they can receive a one-year temporary license at age 18 and are then able to apply for the International Driver’s License. 

“Larissa is the most kind, caring, generous, patient, and loving au pair to our 3 very young children. Between taking them to the playground every day, researching new toddler crafts they can make together, or teaching them Portuguese and phonics, Larissa inadvertently teaches me how to be a better Mom too.” —Marina, host mom from GA

An important holiday

Carnaval is a huge celebration in Brazil. Many Brazilians celebrate with parties, free concerts, costumes, and lots of Brazilian food!  

Food

Rice, beans, and chocolate sweets (specifically brigadeiro) are commonly enjoyed in Brazil. Some famous dishes include feijoada, stroganoff, moqueca with fish, and of course, the famous Brazilian barbecue! However, each region in Brazil has its own dishes and preferences.  

Family life

Brazilians typically live with their parents during and after university until they get married. However, this doesn’t mean they are not independent—they usually earn their own money, help with the family expenses, and make their own decisions, although family insights are generally asked for and taken into consideration.

What can a Brazilian au pair share with my kids?

Brazilian au pairs may teach their host kids Portuguese words and dance moves, or introduce them to popular Brazilian music. They can also show them how to cook simple Brazilian dishes and play outdoor games like freeze tag and hot potato.  

I wish my host family knew… 

“…in Brazil, our way of communicating may be louder and more enthusiastic than in the USA.”  

“…it’s helpful to have clear expectations about the ‘dos and don’ts’ of the family.” 

“…Brazilians may be more affectionate than Americans. For example, when greeting someone, it’s common to hug and give a kiss on the cheek instead of just a handshake.”   

Cultural Care tip

For some Brazilian au pairs, the journey to the USA may be their first time on a plane and out of the country, so they may feel overwhelmed. They see the program an incredible opportunity to develop their career skillset and English, which is not always possible in Brazil.

When talking about cultural differences, understand that while we can make generalizations about au pairs from certain countries, all au pairs are unique and have their own personalities, journeys, and cultural perspectives. Our country spotlights serve as a great way to start a dialogue with your au pair or prospective au pair and continue to learn more about their unique culture!