Heyyyy y’alls! Thanks for coming back to my inconsistent blogging…i’m trying to do better before this year runs out…ANYWAY, Last summer, I had the opportunity to be an AuPair. If you don’t know what an AuPair is, it is where a foreigner goes to another country to teach a language to a child.
To be exact, heres a Google Definition:
An au pair (/oʊˈpɛər/; plural: au pairs) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family’s responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a monetary allowance for personal use.
In my case, I travelled to Spain and taught English. I heard about becoming an AuPair through my sister in January/Februrayish 2018…can’t remember. Anyhow, my sister’s co-worker is Spanish (Hey Girl!) and her sister needed someone to babysit her children…her sister’s friend also needed someone to teach English to their child so, I came along. At last, I was in Spain for a month and a half. So my experience? It was awesome to say the least, but of course travelling while black in a foreign land other than Africa has it pitfalls too. I won’t spend so much time on that topic, but I may share that in another blog post.
Anyhow, the main reason I wanted to share this post is for anyone who is looking for an opportunity to travel outside the U.S. and don’t know where to start. Giving back and teaching English in a foreign is not only rewarding, but such a once in a life-time experience that school cannot give you! I had the opportunity to stay in gorgeous village outside of Barcelona, Spain called Allela. Below you will find some helpful tips I would recommend while being an AuPair:
- Connect with the host parents!
Y’all I tried to connect with my parents on so many levels, and at first it was difficult! The language barrier was something else, and to be honest there was a point when we only communicated via Google Translate. It was a hot mess, it was comical, but it was helpful. Ultimately, I had to learn how to muster up the confidence and JUST. SPEAK. SPANISH. No matter how bad my American accent butchered most of the words (girl, ALL the words smh), I had to speak it. I wanted to use that opportunity to fail even if I felt embarrassed. SO! If you are looking to learn a new language and want to immerse yourself into another culture, being an AuPair will literally force you to speak in that language you want to learn. So, DEW IT.
- Explore the City
Get out there and explore the city! When I was staying in Allela, I wanted to take every opportunity to explore the country of Spain and the city of Barcelona. Also, I had the opportunity to visit my family in London too. I enjoy running, and I took advantage of the town by jogging in new areas. Yes, I know you’re thinking, ‘Anthonia, you’re crazy to be jogging alone in an foreign land’ but, you see, I’m smart. I informed my host family whenever I left and gave them my jogging route. Also, since my sister was staying in the same town, we occasionally exercised together, or I familiarized her with my route when I went solo bolo.
- Spend time with the FAM BAM
It’s so easy to stay in your room or completely do you own thing, but I made sure I had a close connection and tie with my host family. So I spent time with them when I wasn’t working, and we all ate dinner together, went to the beach, shopping, etc. I created a great bond with them, and it literally felt like an extended family when I left. Now I HIGHLY suggest video-chatting your host family several times prior to your arrival. I say this because it allowed my host family to get to know me better, and vice versa. We clicked! They were excited to have me, and I was excited to be there too. I was completely myself the entire time. If you are having a difficult time with your host family, find ways to communicate those issues. Trust me, people can sense your discomfort, and it is best to discuss whatever it is that’s bothering you, than sweeping it under the rug. It’ll save you TONS of problems down the road. Also, there’s a difference between ‘spending time’ and actually being ‘present while spending time’ with the family. We get so caught up on our phones or electronic devices that we miss out on human interactions. I caught myself slipping at sometimes, and I had to remember I was not in America and I was in the presence of dope people.
- Find other AuPairs in the neighborhood!
Luckily, my sister and I made great friends with an AuPair who lived right next to me. She was soooo friendly, and we developed a great friendship. Y’all we were cutting HELLA much Spain! (Don’t judge me for my vocab selection on mamazz) She and I ended up eating close to 40 churros con chocolate without any regrets. To be honest, I think the churro guy thought we liked him but we were actually there for the churros haha. There’s so many ways to connect with local AuPairs and, most times the host parents know of the other AuPairs too. You can find Facebook Groups, or simply ask the host parents. In short, that same AuPair will be visiting us this summer ’19, and it’ll be her first time in America. The turn up is gonna be real!
You may be wondering, is money involved? Yes, yes it is. It is up to you and family when it comes to payment, the amount, and all that jazz.
6. Would I ever be an AuPair again next year?
Even though I had an incredible experience, I don’t see myself being an AuPair again. I know y’all….It was great while it lasted, but the way my career is set up, the timing would be completely off. The good news is, that I’ve remained in contact with my host family, and I will be visiting them again. I highly suggest taking on this opportunity because it challenges you to step away from your comfort zone, and truly immerse yourself into someone else’s world. It’s an experience you cannot buy. Are you thinking about becoming an AuPair too? Let me know down below!
Here’s a great website to use if you’re considering it!