8 Reasons to Au Pair Abroad [Giveaway!]
It isn’t news that I spent the summer au pairing in Spain, which was a wonderful experience for me. I’m actually surprised it isn’t something I hadn’t heard a bit more about online or in real life either. Au Pair World is a really easy place to get set up in finding a family, and it is really safe too. Although you DO have to be careful and make sure to set up Skype video chats with any families you are considering, I want to encourage more people to become an au pair. So here are some reasons why I think you should totally do it!
Oh, and if you have no interest in being an au pair, you should definitely read on regardless because I talk a little bit about my own experience (which I haven’t done too much yet)
1. If you choose to go abroad, you can travel!
Traveling is something many people want to do, but simply can’t afford. Paying for your flight may have to be paid by you, or the family may cover it. However, if you do go abroad, it’s highly likely that the weekends will be your days off. Which means you get to travel around on those days and sight see. If you choose a location which is a capital city, that is definitely a plus! You’ll also have a lot of money to sight see because…
2. You don’t have to pay for accommodation or food, really.
You save a lot of money by having a place to stay with the family. Unless you’re buying specific things for yourself (which the family may or may not cover, depending on who you end up accepting) you save a lot of money! All those expenses you would have had if traveling solo disappear, which leaves more money for fun times on the weekend. On top of that…
3. You get paid for working as an au pair! Summer job anyone?
Being an au pair ended up being the best summer job for me. I was earning money, while traveling, and all I had to do was look after kids and speak English to them five days a week. It seemed pretty easy-going for the amount I was paid. However, the amount of pay you receive and what will be asked of you really does depend on the family. Some families will want you to pick up the kids from school or drop them off (if you’re au pairing when it isn’t a holiday), or might want you to help out with cooking or cleaning. But while searching for a family, it’s up to you to find one that is compatible with what you want to do.
4. You learn a lot about kids and may even fall in love with them.
Don’t go into being an au pair thinking you have to know a lot about children. I did work with children at a nursery and at Kidzchurch beforehand which helped a lot, but it did not prepare me for working with kids at home. Despite being a babysitter since the age 15, I wasn’t good at changing nappies. I was working with a newborn in Spain and I had no idea how to feed one, or get them to sleep, or change their clothes. I wasn’t used to entertaining children in the day, or settling a lot of their fights. But you don’t have to know all that — you’ll learn with time. It’s also highly likely you’ll start to fall in love with the kids. If they start calling you ‘Mama’ the falling in love part will be inevitable…
5. Living with a family other than your own is enlightening.
I didn’t realise how much it was going to be different. I am a Christian, and my family is relatively tidy, clean, organised and we sometimes like to hide away in our rooms, or have a family living room session. But I was with a family who practised the Buddha lifestyle, who were sugar free vegetarians, didn’t own a television and had five pets. It was different, but that didn’t make it bad. After the beginning period where you’re not really one of the family yet, you realise how different families function and work and it becomes so intriguing.
6. If you’re going abroad, you’ll pick up or start to learn a new language.
While I was in Spain, I was hired to help teach the kids English. I met many, many people, and a grand total of two spoke English well enough to communicate with me. Despite having taken four years of Spanish lessons in secondary school, I basically couldn’t speak Spanish. But by the end of my two month stay? I was speaking and understanding Spanish a whole lot more than I had before. It’s a bit nerve-wracking to throw yourself in the deep end like that (and it won’t be like that for every country you choose!) but the fastest way of picking up a language is by being in the country. And what better way to do that than to be an au pair?
7. The duration of your stay is up to you!
I wanted to only go for a summer, so I found a family who needed an au pair only for the summer. You could be going for three months, or a year, or longer. It’s entirely up to you and what family you find. It’s flexible, and that’s the most important (and brilliant) thing!
8. It’s a new experience.
I believe in trying to experience new things as much as possible. It was different being away from my family for so long. But I learned a lot. I tried new foods. Met new people. Spoke a different language. I want to share this brilliant experience with as many people as possible. And you can even au pair within your country if you’re unsure about it.
New Video! A vlog of my first week in Spain. 🙂
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Olivia’s Question: Where would you want to go to if you could travel anywhere for free?