During the exam period most students find their minds wandering to summer, regardless of whether they have plans. Then consequently those who don’t, decide to make them – an ideal procrastination tool. That was what happened to me, when I spontaneously applied to be an Au Pair in Madrid.
I discovered the company Smaller Earth, who match Au Pairs with families through an extensive application process. This was followed by an interview with Smaller Earth, a Skype interview with my family and a decision hearing. Though lengthy, this ensures you are comfortable with your family and guarantees a contract, set hours and a reasonable pay.
The process of contacting strangers and proceeding to meet up with them, does feel like Au Pair tinder – but it’s definitely worth it.
The experience of firstly, traveling alone, and secondly, being greeted by a family of strangers, was intimidating to say the least. However, you accept that there will inevitably be some awkwardness – as it is equally as daunting for both parties. My Host Mum took a few days to make me familiar with the job and the children’s routine, giving me time to adjust before I was full-time. In truth, the experience of living in another family’s home has never become completely normal to me, and this seems to usually be the case. However, I am lucky to have had a very caring family, who made the best effort to ensure I’m comfortable and welcomed– constantly inviting me on family outings and buying my favorite cereal (it’s the little things).
(PARQUE DEL RETIRO DE MADRID, MADRID, PHOTOGRAPHY: BETHAN LEE)
Whilst settling in I found it important to establish what was expected of me as their Au Pair – I was required to work between 9 and 4, give them breakfast and lunch, take them swimming, allow them specifically 1 hour of television (Bubble Guppies being my favorite – who doesn’t love mermaids and a catchy theme tune?) and through crafts and games, teach them English. For my family, unlike others, this didn’t require textbook lessons, but merely routine introductions of English phrases and vocabulary. My main goal was to not seem like a constant teacher, and to incorporate English in a subtle and enjoyable way, as they’re 3 and 5 years old.
The experience of firstly, traveling alone, and secondly, being greeted by a family of strangers, was intimidating to say the least
During free time I took Spanish Classes in the city – Paraninfo School would be highly recommended. Through meetaupairs.com I met people who I explored Madrid with. The process of contacting strangers and proceeding to meet up with them, does feel like Au Pair tinder – but it’s definitely worth it.
Madrid is a beautiful city with so much to offer – the food, the culture, the music – having it on my doorstep, has been a dream. Being in the center makes a perfect base for venturing further; I chose Segovia, El Escorial and Barcelona. This required me to travel alone, hoping to meet people along the way – which I did, and I can’t imagine not having shared this with them.