Now I know this may not interest some of you, as it is an incredibly specific part of the way I travel, but being a month into this journey, I can already say I am so thankful for the opportunities being an au pair has and will provide me. I guess this is more of a personal post, but if it helps anyone wondering more about what the experience is like, then I’m glad to help.
I’m living in an incredible part of Madrid where I look after 3 girls and help them with their English. It’s fun, it’s stressful, but it is definitely never boring. My days are pretty consistent. I pick them up from school with a snack, we go to the park or come home, they do their homework and then we do something in English depending on the day. One day we will learn song lyrics (they love Lush Life by Zara Larson and Aint Your Mama by JLo at the moment) and the next we are putting up sticky notes all over the house with words like “air conditioner” and “candles” on them so they can start associating the words with the objects without really trying.
I have heard horror stories and even seen people here go through it and I have to say I got extremely lucky…all girls, parents that speak English, great location, the list goes on. I do have a few tips I’d give anyone looking to go down the au pair path:
- Research the location before you accept the position. It shouldn’t be a problem for them to at least tell you the neighborhood they live in before you come. Apparently a lot of families will say things like “we live in Paris” but really they live in a suburb with awful transport links into central city. It sucks, but it happens.
- Try to talk to the current or previous au pairs. It made me much more relaxed Skyping with someone that went through the same things I did while looking for a family. Ask them to tell you how it really is, how the kids are when the parents aren’t around, etc. It put my mind at ease hearing that she didn’t want to leave the family at the end of her term.
- Talk to the kids! They are essentially going to be your best friends for however long you are staying there. I only spoke to mine or a few minutes and I saw they really reminded me of me and my sisters…I knew it was a perfect match.
- Join Facebook groups months before you go. Type “Au Pair (insert city here)” into Facebook and tons of groups will pop up. Everyone is trying to make friends and hold events to meet each other. Pick a few girls you seem to like and start a group chat in advance so you all kind of feel like friends when you first meet. I really wish I started that process earlier!
I honestly could go on and on about the process of finding a family and I may in the future, but for now I am trying to focus on being here and making the most of my time in Spain (as cheesy as that sounds). I can’t believe it is a third of the way over! I am so excited to use this city as my home base as I explore 5 more countries over the next two months- just one of the many perks of au pairing! Til next time! xx