Time flies…It was the 7th of October, 2 month ago when I started a new chapter of my life as Au Pair in a tiny and cosy village in the north-west of Ireland. I was waiting to write down this post because I think that before judge or give an opinion about anything is necessary and indispensable to live that experience, feel it properly and deeply. Anyway…let’s start!
If you remember from my first post [“The adventure is out there!”] I was living in Cardiff, Wales, for 6 intense and unforgettable months that gave me the great ability to speak a new language. At the same time that 6 months have been, for me, a sort of investment for my life. I was at school more than 6 hours per day, Monday to Friday, I was living with a host-family and I had to pay every single month more than 80£ (almost 100€) of train ticket. If anyone knows how much is, nowadays, for 1 hour of English lesson, you can image how much was the amount I had to pay monthly: LOTS! I spent all my savings in Cardiff so I had to come back home for a little while, not only for my financial situation but also to gathering ideas about my last half year spent away from my town, my family and friends.
After my IELTS exam and some cried farewells, I went home for the summer period and I clearly understood that Italy was precisely like that for me: holidays, nothing more. I LOVE my country but I just think that right now is not the place for me, I don’t see any possibility to grow there.
Travel was what I wanted, because my little dream is having the possibility to start the university in Ireland. Therefore, I had to come back in an English native country to keep going with the language but, how to travel without money?!?
Well there are plenty of solution that you cannot even image, and yes, travel without money is possible. I did it and I’m doing it as AUPAIR!
WHY I BECAME AU PAIR ?
I tried to be an AuPair also last year, but after 3 months looking forward a family I lost hopes, maybe I was unluckily and probably my bad English didn’t help so, as I did, completely alone and without a destination with my savages I moved abroad anyway. This time I knew it was different because I couldn’t afford anything but the flight ticket. Being an AuPair was essential, indeed with lots of motivation and a good knowledge of the language It took only 2 weeks for me the last September to find my actual host-family!!
I couldn’t pay for any kind of agency, so I did all the “dirty work”, I used AuPair World a very well done web-site that I really want to suggest to anyone who want to be become an Au Pair, is a very easy, intuitive and quick way to start contact families all over the world! You just have to create your own profile (like Facebook) but do not underestimate this passage that seems so easy because your profile is going to be your business card it will decide if your going to be or not a minder: put some good reason why parents will have to choose you, make an appealing profile but, more important, you have to STAND OUT OF THE MASS because for one family there are usually 50 or more Au Pairs. The competition is fierce!
WHAT AN AU PAIR DOES ?
Being an Au Pair for my personal experience means not only mind the family’s children, take care of the house and have a good relationship with your host, is really more!
First of all is a WORK as any other one don’t think is easy, never ever. Working with child ask lots of PATIENCE more than you can expect, I’m quite use to children because I grow up my two little siblings of 4 and 6 years, so I already knew that being with babies can be rewarding and amazing but at the same time it can wreck you down completely, not only physically.
I’m pretty lucky because I only have to mind a little monster of 2years and a half, one is still manageable even in the worse day, I don’t really envy some of my Au Pair friends that have from 3 to 5 children to mind. Chapeau!
More technically speaking: an AuPair is payed each week, received hospitality and meals every day from the family in return she/he (there is still a very very small group of male doing it) has to mind the children for a total amount of hours per week for agreed numbers of days. For instance I’m working 5 days a week, for more or less 35 hours, with 2 nights of babysitting each week. My host parents are both two Garda namely the Irish police, for that my shift change every week so, I can state that, another key word is: ADAPTABILITY.
As anything else in life you have to MAKE UP your mind with passion, dedication and determination to start working as a minder.
There will be some very bad moments during your stay, maybe it will pass through your mind to give up but, being an AuPair needs a strong motivation that can be the university for me, it will be the work you are dreaming about, it will be for your future placement. Leave your routine and habits only if you’ve a MOTIVATION, if you’re going to be an AuPair just for take a break and live some new experience: don’t do it because the first time I’ll feel down you will have no reasons to stay, choose a Gap Year instead, it will be the right choice for you.
PROS & CONS
Pros of being an AuPair is that living 24/7 with a local family will give you the great opportunity not only to speak the local language all the day long but also feel part of a new reality. Ireland for me means mash potatoes, seafood chowder, stew, Guinness, pubs and lots of cards for every single event in your life. How I know that? Not from the Internet or local guide but living here. You can never know deeply a county if you don’t live it daily! An AuPair should be also open minded for all these little changes in the everyday life.
At the same time living with a family for the next 3/6/9 months can also be dull sometimes and so a con. First of all if you don’t have a good relationship with your host parents be prepared to hate this experience. My advice is: be honest, confident but also very very humble. You don’t know them and they don’t know you but for the next few months you are going to stay every single minutes together in the same house, like a “part” of that family too. Children are children sometime they’re just like little angels and the moment after they’re bold and evil. Be positive and always smiling (at least you)!
Another con is that you’re going to start a routine life that is going to be the same over and over again every day, be prepared to it. If you are adventurous and always looking for new things to do as me, well…this can be the worse part to bear. For how instead is homesick, living in a family but a different one, in a varying reality by the one you are used to, can be very tough to swallow.
Taking everything I listed before into account will you still become an AuPair?? Hope I didn’t scare you.
What about any other AuPair that is reading this post, do you agree or not? Let me know your opinion!
The adventure is out there!