Is aupairing a good idea?

Hi chums!

I spent most of the month of July aupairing for a Spanish family who live just outside Madrid and since I have got back I have met up with a few of my friends/family friends who have asked me lots of questions - did you get to speak lots of Spanish? Did you like your family? Would you do it again? So I thought it might be an interesting post to write.

I'm going to write this post as a Q&A of the questions I get asked the most and some others which I think might be interesting, so without further ado - let's get started!

How did you find the family you aupaired for?

This might be a really annoying answer, but I was really lucky that a teacher at my school came up to me and asked if I would be interesting in doing some aupairing. I said yes and then my teacher emailed me the email of the family and I contacted them directly. 

I know this is a really lucky coincidence, but I would say if you're still at school then ask your teachers to see if they have any connections or ask your friends and people in your year. It's surprising how many people have secret hidden cousins who live abroad and you might just get lucky!

Did you go by yourself?

It was actually my second time aupairing this year, for the same family (because they're so fab!) and both times I flew by myself. Last year was my first time flying by myself so that was quite scary but I managed it! Luckily I've traveled quite a lot with my family so I knew the ropes of airport life, but there are people around to help if you're not so familiar with traveling, so never fear!

How did you meet your family?

Meeting the family you're staying with for the first time is quite scary (not gonna lie!) and my family are family friends of a teacher at my school, so I knew they were going to be super nice, but who doesn't get nervous meeting people you don't know who you're going to be spending the next 3 weeks with?!

Once I met them everything was fine. I think the anxiety of meeting people for the first time is always worse than when you actually meet. To deal with the nerves I listened to comfort music on the plane (and yes that did include all the songs from Frozen :) )

I met my family at arrivals and I had received a picture by email of the whole fam beforehand so I knew what they looked like so that was super helpful!

La Reina Sofia Art Museum - Centre of Madrid

Did you speak much Spanish?

So I think in my case it was a bit different because the dad of my family is English so the whole fam speaks Spanish and English.

The reason I go is because the fam likes the children to speak English as they don't usually get much practice apart from a few hours at school every week and speaking with their dad. This is a lot in comparison to most families but it's all about keeping their English fluent and for this they need to practice, so in the day I spoke English with them.

At mealtimes and with the mum I spoke Spanish the majority of the time and when their friends/family came round we spoke Spanish.

I personally find it the perfect balance for me because I do speak Spanish but it's doesn't end up being the 3 most stressful weeks of my life because there is some English being spoken as well. I'm sure a lot of people think that you should be dropped in the deep end and be surrounded by people who only speak Spanish and know no English, but I feel like if I did that I would probably cry and get the first flight home! One day I'll do that but I'm improving slow and steady and for now that's fine with me!

What sort of things do you do when you're there?

The parents of my fam obviously have to work in the week, so that's when I play with the kids (twin boys of 7 and a girl of 12). Every family is different but we go swimming everyday, play games and then there's the odd trip to the supermarket or the shops.

At the weekend my fam took me to see some sights like Valle de los Caidos which is Franco's final resting place. We also went to Escorial where there is an amazing palace. I loved Escorial because it was the most stereotypical Spanish town I had ever seen and that was just fab! We had tapas there which were so good - Spanish food is the best, like seriously what is better than paella?! Literally nothing.

Last year we went on a weekend trip to Salamanca to see their cousins and auntie and uncle which was super fun!

It definitely depends on the family you get but my fam made an effort to take me to see things which was so kind of them!

Did you have to do any cooking and cleaning and were you paid?

No I didn't do any cooking and cleaning because they had a lady who lived at the house who did that. I think it's quite common for this to be the case as couple of my friends who aupaired had the same set-up. This was quite good for me though as my cooking isn't quite Jamie Oliver standard...!

I didn't get paid but to be honest I really didn't expect/deserve to be paid because it wasn't a job in my opinion - I was just playing with the kids and having an amazing time! I didn't pay for food and I obviously didn't have to pay for accommodation as I was staying at their house. The only things I paid for were the plane tickets and any extra shopping I did which I think was a pretty good deal!

Do you think that aupairing has helped to improve your Spanish?

100%. As much as I loved Spanish lessons at school, there are so many things that you can't really learn in school which are so important in real life conversations. I feel like I have learnt so much more colloquial language from auparing because you get more of an insight into everyday conversations. Things like 'whenever' and 'I don't mind' are just a couple of examples of things that I realised I had no idea how to say on my first aupairing trip.

One of the things I love about my fam is that they love to tell jokes. Last year I was like omg I don't understand but maybe I should just laugh anyway. This was not wise because it's embarrassing when they're like 'did you get it?' and you're like 'hahahahaha!! ...No, not really'. But this year if I didn't understand I was just like 'nope don't get it' and they'd explain and then I would laugh about 5 minutes after the joke had been told!

This year I felt my listening had improved in comparison to last year as I could understand way more of what was being said. Language is a skill of time but it sure is satisfying when you feel like you're improving!

Would you recommend aupairing?

YES I would 110% recommend aupairing. I enjoyed it this year even more than last year (which is pretty impressive because last year was amazing) because I knew the fam so I felt at home straight away! Having a nice family is so important because if you don't feel comfortable with them or if you don't like them it could be a bit harder and it might discourage you from practicing your speaking.

Would you aupair again?

I love auparing so much so I would definitely do it again! Sometime in the future I would like to try aupairing for an Italian family as I am planning to study Italian at uni.

What is the best thing about aupairing?

For me it is definitely the family because I feel like I've got friends for life now! Being with people who I feel comfortable enough to try speaking Spanish with is so nice and during my two trips I've met lots of their family and friends so now I truly feel like part of the fam :)

I cannot sing enough praises for my SpanFam because I have had the most amazing time both years I have aupaired and I really miss them now I'm back home in England :(

I know that not everyone who has done aupairing has liked it as much as me, but I hope some of my answers have been helpful if you're thinking of doing aupairing in the future!

If you have any further questions please do leave them in the comments down below and I will get back to you asap!



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