So Au Pairing, what’s the deal? -
You get your accommodation, all your meals, a bit of Spanish sun and pocket money which varies from about €70 – €90 a week.
If you speak or study the language of the country you are living in, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the language- it’s like free grinds! In return you mind the kids and teach them English 5 days a week. The hours are usually from 8am – 6pm and you have weekends free!
Don’t worry if you don’t speak the language. You can get by without Spanish- there is an Au Pair Madrid on Facebook (as well as sites for other parts of Spain) so you can talk to other Au Pairs to meet in the evenings and arrange weekend trips with.
I am living in Boadilla a small commuter town outside of Madrid. I’m minding two girls who are 5 and almost 3 years old so the amount of English I can teach them is limited. As a child, I grew up with the magic words “Please” and “Thank you” but here it seems acceptable to not use them- so this was first my on list to teach the girls. Teaching English to little kids who are so young can be both rewarding and frustrating. I was very proud to hear the 3 year old say “water please!” I have taught her vocabulary and numbers but to show off her English to her mum she combines them all into one sentence “water please banana one two three seven ten”…
It’s a work in progress!
The majority of apartments and houses where the families live have swimming pools, so you can whip on your bikini and work on your tan as you mind the children and admire the lifeguards on duty!
“He hecho caca en mi bañador”
(which translates to ”I’ve done a number two my swimming suit!”) is is a sentence that no Au Pair or parent ever wants to hear, especially when you are in the swimming pool. This is one part of the experience I didn’t enjoy. I couldn’t even bring myself to clean the one-piece swimsuit! Anyways I’m pretty sure that wasn’t in the job description!
Of course the good outweighs the bad; it is an experience I would recommend to all even if it is just for a month. It’s a good cultural experience and you get away from Ireland’s rainy summer when part-time employment seems to be at an all-time low. Even though the wages don’t seem like much, they cover your weekend costs – whether they are travelling or going out!
The main advice that I would give is to be careful while choosing a family, make sure to speak to them on Skype to get to know the children and the parents, before you agree to work for them.