September 17, 2013

Why host an au pair from Brazil?

4 minutes
Cultural exchange

The next country in our series of spotlights on Cultural Care’s au pair recruitment countries is Brazil! Again, while we always recommend that families be open to hosting the best au pair for their needs—regardless of her nationality—it can be helpful to learn about how an au pair’s home country can affect her personality and skill sets. Patricia Arguello, Cultural Care’s Sales Director for Brazil (pictured below), shares why she thinks families should consider an au pair from Brazil.


Brazilian au pairs are great because…
They are warm, loving and family-oriented. They will thrive if they can take part in your family activities. Brazilians are sociable and easy-going; it’s easy to develop a good relationship with them. Also, they tend to be older and more mature.

Top 3 reasons Brazilians want to become au pairs:

  1. To better their English
  2. To travel the U.S.
  3. To better their job prospects when returning home



Cultural differences that are positive:

Brazilians are very sociable, family-oriented and enjoy taking part in group activities. They will value their relationship with you and be happy to join you and your children in their family and day to day activities. Brazilians are known for being joyful, warm people. It’s easy to build a good relationship to them if you keep an open communication environment and make them feel welcome at your home. They are also soft-spoken, in that, they will always be careful to say things in a way that wouldn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.


Cultural differences that could prove challenging:

Brazilians are non-confrontational as there is a fear of hurting other people’s feelings. It is helpful to remain aware of a Brazilian’s body language and encourage them to talk about things if it appears they might be upset or confused about something.

Also, Brazilians are used to living with their parents until their 30’s, and for that, they respect the hierarchy within the home.. Brazilian au pairs may not appear to be proactive at first, as they will wait for you to tell them what to do and not to do, or to ask for their help. As soon as they understand what they can or can’t do at the house, and what are the things you want them to help with, they will be extremely helpful.

Since Brazilians are very attached to family and friends, it is possible that they may be a little homesick in their first days at your house. This will pass as soon as they develop a good relationship with your family, make new friends and get to know a little more of your town. If you help them adapt and feel welcome from the beginning, it will be helpful.



How do au pairs from Brazil typically learn English, and what are their strengths and weaknesses regarding written and oral mastery of the language?

Brazilians have mandatory English classes starting in the 5th grade, but many families take their children to private English Schools. Brazilians are better with reading and writing, and struggle a bit with pronunciation and intonation. Many American movies and series have subtitles instead of being dubbed, and the number of foreigners moving to and visiting Brazil is growing, so contact with English speakers is increasing. Above all, Brazilian au pairs study hard so they can communicate well as soon as they get to the US.



Typically au pairs start driving around age16

Au pairs in your country can obtain a driver’s license at the age of: 18



What are the steps involved in obtaining a driver’s license? 

The first step is taking a medical and psychological test. If approved on those tests, the applicant needs to take a 45-hour theoretical course, and pass a written test based on it. If approved in that test, the applicant can start a 20-hour practical course of driving. After completing it, the applicant needs to pass a driving test, and if approved, he/she will receive the driver’s license by mail. It costs about 200 to 300 dollars to get a driver’s license, depending on where you live.



What types of vehicles and in what conditions do au pairs from Brazil have experience driving?

Most au pairs have family cars available to practice on a regular basis – and start practicing a year or two before they take their driver’s license test. Most cars in Brazil are compact, and stick shift cars. City streets are busy and the traffic can be chaotic.



Typically, au pairs from Brazil have experience:

Driving smaller vehicles, driving on highways, driving on country roads, driving alone and driving with children.



Typically, au pairs from Brazil do not have much experience:

Driving larger vehicles and driving in the snow



Au pairs from Brazil typically get their childcare experience by:

Babysitting younger siblings, babysitting extended family members, babysitting children of family friends/neighbors, working in a kindergarten, or working in a daycare center.
Brazilians have big extended families and consider friends as extended families as well, so most live close to children and help their families and friends taking care of them. Children have a central role in families; they are the center of attention. It’s also very common for them to be a church leader for children, as many of the Brazilian au pairs attend church regularly. Other common experience is as a volunteer in schools, orphanages and so on, because it’s highly considered by companies when examining CVs.



School from age 6-17 is mandatory and students can either attend public or private school. The educational system is divided into three broad levels: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary and secondary are common throughout the country. Tertiary, however, can consist of technical and further education, university (private or public). There are two semesters in an academic year, with the first starting in the middle of February and the second starting at the beginning of August. 80% of the Brazilian au pairs have either finished university, or took a break from it to be an au pair.



Brazilians frequently live with their parents during and after university. It’s common to live with their family until they get married. Exceptions to that happen if there is need of moving to a different city for studies/work. That 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 always asked for and taken into consideration.