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Why choose Germany as your au pair destination?
When thinking about an au pair experience abroad, there are a lot of destinations worldwide to choose from. By far the largest is the au pair program in the USA. Although Germany doesn’t make the top of the list for many au pairs, there are many good reasons to choose Germany as your au pair destination as it is an incredible way to experience the German culture with its rich history and traditions first hand while living in a family environment.
Mara from Michigan describes it this way:
“I chose Germany for a few reasons: I wanted to go to Europe to au pair, I wanted to learn a new language (I had already studied Spanish), I had a couple friends in Germany, and Germany is the center of Europe with a fascinating history. I then found AYUSA and was sure Berlin, Germany was where I wanted to au pair for a year. The beginning was boring and took a little time to adjust to, but that is normal. I have had bad times, but more good times. I have got to make a new family thousands of miles away from home and love every minute of being with them. The advice I would give to anyone who wants to au pair is: definitely do it! be open-minded and enjoy an irreplacable year of your life.”
General information about Germany
Germany lies at the heart of Europe, both economically and geographically and is nowadays one of the leading political countries in the E.U. No other European country borders as many different countries (9 neighbors), allowing you to easily visit countries as diverse as France, Poland, The Netherlands, Switzerland or Denmark. Furthermore, it is the densest populated country in Europe as well as one of the countries with the highest standard of living in the world. Within the European Union German is the second most spoken language.
Germany is also known for its rich history which can still be seen in the architecture of the past – small picturesque towns and large stone castles can still be found throughout the country. It has also some of the most beautiful national parks in Europe.
German culture and values
While having developed a very distinct culture of its own, it has also been influenced by its neighbors allowing you to explore fascinating differences. While the culture and the landscape in the most northern parts (such as Schleswig-Holstein) seem very close to Scandinavia, parts of the Southwest (such as the Saarland) resemble much more France and the South (Bavaria) is much closer to Austria. These very distinct regions along with thriving cosmopolitan cities such as Berlin, Cologne or Hamburg make Germany a very attractive destination. German people are known for being open-minded, tolerant, loyal, punctual and hardworking, rating reliability and punctuality as two of the most important character traits. Although the traditional gender roles have long been dispensed, Germans still have a great respect for family and family traditions. Many national festivals revolve around gathering generations of family together and celebrating life.
Germany is Europe’s most industrialized and populous country. Famed for its technological achievements, it has also produced some of Europe’s most celebrated composers, philosophers and poets.
Achieving national unity later than other European nations, Germany quickly caught up economically and militarily, before defeats in World War One and Two left the country shattered, facing the difficult legacy of Nazism, and divided between Europe’s Cold War blocs.
Germany rebounded to become the continent’s economic giant, and a prime mover of European cooperation. With the end of the Cold War, the two parts of the country were once again united, although the economy of the former east continues to lag behind that of the former west.
Germany’s economic success since World War Two is to a large extent built on its potent export industries, fiscal discipline and consensus-driven industrial relations and welfare policies. It is particularly famed for its high-quality and high-tech goods.
Germany’s export-dependent economy was initially hit hard by the global financial crisis of 2008-9, which triggered the worst recession since 1949. But by 2010, its exports had helped the country to rebound more robustly than most other EU members.
However, an ageing population has led to concern over the continued viability of Germany’s high welfare and health spending. There is also a debate about how to improve integration of the many post-war immigrants whose labour helped fuel the economic boom.
In addition, the former Soviet-dominated east has struggled to catch up with the west since reunification, while people in the west have had to pay a higher than expected financial price for unity.
The pain of Germany’s Nazi legacy remains a sensitive issue. Out of the devastation of the Second World War grew an awareness of the need to guard against any such catastrophe recurring in Europe.
In the 1950s Germany was one of the six founding nations of the European Economic Community from which the European Union eventually developed and in which Germany is a key player. Franco-German cooperation was central to European economic integration in the 1980s and 1990s.
After decades of lagging behind its economic strength, Germany’s international profile has been growing. The country sent peacekeepers to the Balkans and its forces have been involved in operations in Afghanistan. Germany has also taken a firm line with Russia over the international crisis triggered by the latter’s conflict with Ukraine.
In recent years, the government’s decision to allow large numbers of migrants from the Middle East and Africa has led to considerable social and political tension, and spurred the rise of the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party.
The country has famous beer brewing traditions. Beer purity laws dating back to 1516 limit the fermentation ingredients to malted grain, hops, yeast and water.
As the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms, among others, Germany’s gift to European music is colossal, while Goethe, Heine, Kant and Thomas Mann are giants in the world of letters and philosophy.