I cannot even tell you how many emails and comments I’ve gotten asking me about this topic. So I figured a post would be an easy way for people to find the information they want quickly and in one place. So here goes:
1. How did you find your family?
My family actually found me. I had made a profile on aupairworld.net and they messaged me through there.
2. How did you decide which family to live with?
This was actually a much harder decision than I thought it would be. Originally, my school was in Alcalá de Henares so I was looking for families there. I had found a great one and was whatsapping constantly with the mom when I got the news that I had been switched to a school in Majadahonda (the complete opposite side of Madrid). I obviously had to inform the family that due to the circumstances, I could no longer commit to them. So my search began all over again. Some families didn’t pan out because they wanted someone who could take the kids to school and pick them up in the evenings, and that just wasn’t a possibility with my work schedule. I ended up being torn between two families, one of which had been the one to initiate contact with me. I decided to skype with both families in order to help me make a better informed decision. This was definitely the best thing I could have done because the decision became very clear to me after speaking with the families. I chose the one that had contacted me first and it was the greatest decision I’ve ever made.
3. How should I decide which family is best for me?
The biggest thing I could tell you regarding choosing your family is to make sure that you are all clear about what your responsibilities with them entail. If you don’t want to work on Friday evenings and the weekends, make that clear from the beginning. If you want to be able to travel during holiday breaks and long weekends, make it known. Ask if they would be okay with you having friends from back home visit and stay with you. Ask what they expect you to do with the children. Do they just want you to speak and play with them in English or do they want you to give them formal lessons? Also, make sure you inform them about our BEDA classes. Mine were in the afternoons on Fridays so I always made sure to give my Spain mom a heads up that I would be arriving later those days.
The next thing is asking about accommodation. Is your room next to everyone else’s or in another part of the house? Do you have your own bathroom or do you share? Are you expected to buy your own groceries or eat with the family? I loved that my room was in the basement so I felt like I really had my own space. I also had my own bathroom, which was a definite bonus. I always ate dinner with the family, and I loved it because I truly felt like I was another member of the family.
I’m also not big on going out or meeting friends for dinner or drinks during the week, so that was never an issue with me. My Spain family never said that I was expected to go home directly after work, but I always did. If once in awhile you’d like to take an evening to have dinner with your friends, make sure to tell your family that. I really don’t see too many people have an issue with that request.
To reiterate, the MAIN thing when choosing your family is that you both have clear ideas of what your responsibilities will be.
4. Is being an au pair really worth it?
The greatest decision I made regarding my Spain life was living with my Spain family. So yes, for me it was most definitely worth it. First, I became a part of a family. I gained 3 little brothers and 1 little sister. I gained two awesome parents. And I know that I will consider these people my family forever. I’m also the type of person that seriously loves kids, so I really liked being with and playing with the kids. Second, I was able to travel so much more and the way I wanted (i.e. staying in hotels rather than hostels) because I was able to save more money because I didn’t have to pay for rent or groceries.
5. Did you truly, really, honestly enjoy your au pair experience?
YES. People always seem to think that I’m not being truthful. But being an au pair was one of the greatest things I have ever done. No doubts. No regrets. I love my Spain family and it’s nice to know that I’ve made a bond with these people that will last the rest of my life.
If you have any other questions, please leave it below in a comment :-)