Au pair-ing seems like the perfect set up. Go abroad, work a few hours a day mucking about with little kids, hit the beach and get paid for the privilege. But what’s it really like to up sticks and move to another country for the summer?
We spoke to one recent graduate, Bethan Lee, about her experiences as an au pair in Spain. Here’s what she had to say:
“It’s definitely memorable, it comes with its challenges – it is childcare after all and sometimes it’s not as romantic as it seems, but it’s a unique and affordable way to experience a foreign country.”
So, how much do you actually get paid?
“Each family differs, you can earn anything from 60-100 Euros a week, but you also get your food accommodation provided. I got lucky at 100 euros per week.”
And what about the language barrier?
“You can definitely get by without speaking the language, but it’s a nice gesture if you try and have a basic understanding of their native tongue. Even just using an app like Duolingo goes a long way.”
Any horror stories?
“It can definitely be awkward, especially those first few dinners. One particularly mortifying moment was in Madrid, where the bathroom had no lock and the family’s four-year-old son decided to walk in on me in the shower.
Would you do it again?
“Absolutely, in fact I did go back to au pair for a further 6 months. It was a brilliant experience; the kids can be challenging but ultimately they become your best friend.”
And finally, what’s your advice for someone else looking for the same incredible opportunity?
“Try and study while you’re there, it looks better to your host family if you can speak the language and it’s really sociable. You meet so many people at the classes and you’re better prepared to interact with your environment.
Also don’t be afraid to shop around with agencies as some charge huge amounts, I used Au Pair World which is free and very accessible.”
So there you have it, initial awkwardness but ultimately an unforgettable experience, in an amazing country. Where do we sign up?
You can read more about Bethan’s experience as an au pair and how to become one here: https://www.bleetravels.com/blog//10-au-pair-lessons-ive-learnt