My program began around May when I started to fill in application forms, which were followed by Skype interviews with both the agency and the family or families. In my case, I skyped 3 families before I found a family I was 100% happy with and who were happy with me. With this comes mt first piece of advice to anyone interested in becoming an Au Pair – do not be afraid to say no or turn down the first family you Skype or talk to. It is so important that you are happy with the family and they are happy with you. The agency help so, so much in this as they make sure the family you end up with are perfect for you.
I was living with a family just outside of Madrid for the month of July this year. Before I travelled out to Spain, I was nervous about so many things; will the family like me? Will I like Madrid? Will I meet any friends or will I be on my own the entire month? As well as travel anxiety. I can PROMISE you tho, that this is not the case. I met other Au Pairs within my first 2 days of being in Madrid. The agency are so helpful as they organise meet ups all the time, particulary when they know a lot of au pairs are arriving. The families also want the best for you and want you to make friends straight away so that you are not lonely in your free time. I guarantee you will make friends in your first few days- week there. It is normal to feel nervous, scared or anxious, but there is no need to and you will realise this when you get there and get settled in.
Another piece of advice I would give is that if you can and your work hours allow it, attend every meet up that is organised, as it really does help you meet new people and experience the Spanish culture. My first week in Madrid, there was a Tapas evening.
While in Madrid, I volunteered as Au Pair leader. This involved helping the agency and BeMadrid organise events and activities for Au Pairs. These included a day trip to Valencia beach which was SO much fun, Flamenco nights and Sangria workshops. If you think this role would be suited to you, I would definitely recommend it!
The experience as a whole exceeded my expectations. What I liked most was; the friendships I made throughout the month I was there, been able to explore the beautiful city I was living in, experiencing the Spanish culture, improving my Spanish language and finally, meeting and living with a family who were the most caring and loving people and who I will never loose contact with.
Honestly for me, the thing I liked least was that I was only there a month. I would have loved to stay longer than I did.
Other advice – if you are in two minds about applying and you are nervous etc, I say GO FOR IT. You will really love it. It is such a life changing experience and I promise you won’t regret it.
– Try and get a little more childcare experience before you travel out to Spain, depending on how much you already have, as I feel it helps a little bit more with your confidence with the children.
– Do not worry if you don’t speak good Spanish. I had very, very basic Spanish, but you improve by listening to conversations etc.
– Finally, make the most of your experience. There is so much to see and do in Spain.
If anyone wants anymore advice or wants to know more about the experience, please do not hesitate to contact me!