If the thought of working at an English summer camp doesn’t appeal to you, another option to consider if you have decided to stay in Spain over the summer is becoming a short-term Au Pair. Originally a French term and concept, Au Pair has entered the common lexicon as the job title for a boy or girl who helps out with childcare and domestic duties in the house of a foreign family in exchange for room, board, a small salary and the opportunity to learn or improve a second language.
While the job of an Au Pair can be an incredibly rewarding experience, there are a few things to consider before deciding if the position is right for you.
What are your summer goals?
If your idea of a summer in Spain involves lots of relaxation in the sun and late-night partying, becoming an Au Pair may not be for you. Also, keep in mind that you may have very few days off. Typical Au Pair placements last a full calendar year, and days and weekends off are arranged as part of your work schedule. However, as a summer placement will only last one or two months, families might not allow days off in order to make the most of your short stay.
Though the conditions might sound stringent, if you’re looking for the chance to delve deeper into Spanish culture, improve your language skills and make a bit of money, keep reading.
What is an Au Pair required to do?
Responsibilities depend entirely on the needs of your host family and vary widely, however expect childcare to be the main component of your job. Most families look for native speakers to help improve their children’s language skills while also performing typical nanny duties such as accompanying them to the pool or beach, preparing meals, helping with bath time and reading stories before bed.
Where does an Au Pair live?
Almost all Au Pair positions offer you a room within the family home with a private or shared bathroom. However, in some exceptional cases Au Pairs are set up in their own flat.
One added bonus for summer Au Pairs – many families maintain a second home on the coast on in smaller villages around the country. When the family packs their bags for a weekend away or extended retreat in July and August, you’ll get to tag along!
I’m ready to apply, how can I find a host family?
There are lots of websites to begin your search for a host family. Free services allow you to create a profile with basic information and a photo before contacting families. Once you have completed your registration and profile you can begin searching for host families based on length of stay, age of children or area in Spain.
Here are three trustworthy and free Au Pair websites to begin your search.
I’ve found a family, how should I negotiate my terms of employment?
Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to choosing the right host family for you. Before agreeing to any position make sure to talk with your family via email or Skype and work out all of the dirty details. Don’t be shy about negotiating what your duties will be, the hours you will be expected to work and the compensation you will receive. In regards to salary, be firm. Always suggest a higher salary than is originally offered and work together to reach a fair wage.
Finally, don’t forget to ask about what language you will use, with whom and when. While a big part of your job as an Au Pair will be helping the family’s children to improve their English, don’t forget that you are also there to work on your Spanish. In some cases families may agree to give time off or even pay for their Au Pairs to take Spanish classes at a local language academy.
What to Expect
As previously mentioned, your duties and compensation as an Au Pair depend entirely on the necessities of your family. To get a better idea of what you might be asked to do and the wage you could receive here are three case studies.
|Where did you live? a private room and shared bathroom in a residential house 20 minutes by bus from Bilbao.|
|How long was your stay? 2 months|
|How many children did you look after? three girls. 10-year-old twins and their 8-year-old sister.|
|What duties did you perform? I was expected to spend each day with the children and sporadically give them English classes. I did not have any domestic duties as the family also employed a live-in maid who cooked and cleaned.|
|What was your pay? 125€ a week with one weekend off each month|
|How did you find your family? www.aupair.com|
|Where did you live? a private room and shared bathroom in a flat outside of Madrid|
|How long was you stay? 1 year|
|How many children did you look after? two boys: a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old.|
|What duties did you perform? I got the kids ready for school and took them to school, did some picking up around the house, picked them up from school, played with them all afternoon and got them ready for bath, dinner and bed.|
|What was your pay? 100€ a week|
|How did you find your family? www.greataupair.com|
|Where did you live? I lived in my own apartment in Madrid and commuted to a nearby town, Aravaca, everyday. It was about a 10-minute commute by scooter.|
|How long was your stay? I worked with the family for the summer, from the end of June until the middle of September. I had the whole month of August off.|
|How many children did you look after? 2 mainly. They were 4 and 6. The family also had an 11 year old that I worked with sometimes and a 1 year old who I never worked with.|
|What duties did you perform? I was mostly expected to speak to them in English, play games, sing songs and watch them. I also did English classes with them most days. Each class was anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. I did not have any domestic duties.|
|What was your pay? I was paid 1.000€ a month and worked Monday-Friday from 10:30 in the morning to 4:30 or 5 in the afternoon.|
|How did you find your family? I found my family on www.aupair-world.net|
Have you worked as an Au Pair in Spain? Share your experience with us.