Living Abroad Au Pair Style: Top 10 Pros

 

If you are just reading this without reading my blog post, “Now is the time: Why I Moved to Spain”, you might be wondering what an Au pair is. As stated in my previous post, an Au pair is a young foreign person, typically a woman, although I know many guy Au pairs, who take care of children, usually speaking in their native tongue in exchange for food, a room and typically some pocket money.

Being an Au pair for more than 2.5 years with more than one family in Spain (live-in and live-out), I can tell you the good and the dirty of the the job. This post will just be dedicated to the pros and another entry will be put on the cons.

So are you thinking you might want to be an Au pair?

My collection of the top 10 pros:

1. It’s a unique and once in a lifetime experience.

You are up close and personal each and every day with the family and you learn all about their culture, habits, etc.



 You also get the opportunity to teach them about your culture!

4th of july party with au pairs

The 4 American Au pairs in the neighborhood having a 4th of July Celebration with the Spaniards

2. You will forever have a family in Spain.

For me this is the most important one because I am so in love with my crazy, insane little Spanish family (I don’t have permission to put the family/kids on the website). They will forever be apart of my life. I have a strong friendship with my family and they will always be my second family.

Merry xmas YoliAndri

My Spanish Brother and Sister on my first Christmas abroad

3. Opportunity to try lots of different kinds of good homemade food

In my first 5 months especially, I tried all kinds of new things I would have never tried before like lots of pork products, frog, horse, duck, lamb and many many other types of Spanish dishes. These are things that I had never tried in my country and it was nice to try at least once, although its not something I plan to make a part of my everyday diet.

trying new food

I always make them tell me what I am eating AFTER I actually eat it

 

4. Chance to learn how to make typical dishes.

I have had the opportunity to learn how to make all the “typical” Spanish dishes, such as croquettes, Spanish omelet, paella and any more. Given that we had dinner together every night, I was able to see up close how all the dishes were made and even practice making my own.

5. Introduction to other regions of Spain

I had the chance to travel to many different parts of Spain and even live 2 summers along the east coast of Spain with my family. Every part of Spain is different, so you will get even more lessons on different cultures. I have been able to travel all throughout the northern part of Spain and just a week later take a trip down to the southern part and have a completely different experience.

There are many unique festivals throughout Spain as well, such as the Tomatina, Las Fallas and Running of the Bulls, which are all neat experiences to learn more about different areas of Spain.

2 Weeks in the south of Spain with the family

2 Weeks in the south of Spain with the family

6. Opportunity to travel to many different places in Spain and Europe. 

My biggest tip is DO NOT be afraid to ask to take an extra day to travel for a long weekend. Flights are super cheap and you will be able to have many wonderful long weekends in other countries. Ryan Air is the budget airline in Europe and you can fly almost anywhere at a reasonable price. I have explored many countries in long weekends and got to see parts of Europe that I had always dreamed of seeing.

Trip with Au pairs to Portugal (less than $50 Round trip flight)

Trip with Au pairs to Portugal (less than $50 Round trip flight)

7. Learn Spanish fluently and practice with Spaniards.

In my city, most people don’t speak English, so getting the opportunity to practice was not hard. Although I spent a lot of time with foreigners in the beginning, I still made an effort to speak the language, especially if I had another foreigner on my side. I had zero level of Spanish when I arrived, so getting the chance to interact directly with foreigners was a huge help in learning the language fast.

Party in the park with different Au pairs and foreigners from all over the world

Party in the park with different Au pairs and foreigners from all over the world

8. Free time to get a second job.

I taught 13 extra hours a week and charge between 12-15 euros per hour. There are other teachers that charged more, but since I was just beginning, that was a good start for me. Its important to talk with your family and make sure that you organize your schedule good so that there are no overlapping of times between your job as an Au pair and your second job. However, if your family is good, they should give you the time off they is required.

One of the kids from my part time weekend job teaching English

One of the kids from my part time weekend job teaching English

9. Study for super cheap in the local official language school.

Courses were offered at my school 2 times a year (February and September) and you can study for a whole semester for less than 130 euros (10 hours a week). There is no better way to become fluent that cultural immersion and a little help from some classes. It also gives you the chance to meet other foreigners and practice speaking together. This kind of support really was helpful for me during my first couple of years in Spain.

My spanish class having a party and trying new dishes from different countries

My spanish class having a party and trying new dishes from different countries

 

10.  Learn about the the best form of birth control.

You get to see for yourself the real deal of what it’s like to raise a family. This could be good for someone young who desperately wants a baby. Spend a few months as an Au pair and you will most likely think again on that decision. Living and being fully immersed in a home with a family that is not your own is not an easy experience, but if you have a good family, that treats you with RESPECT, then you can have a very enriching experience.

 

 

 

Don´t forget to also check out: 

 

 

Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comLiving Abroad Au Pair Style: Top 10 Pros