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Being an au-pair watch

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    Hey guys, i wondered if anybody has any experiences of being an au pair. Basically I graduate this summer but I don't feel like getting a job just yet and I want to improve my languages even more (I have a basic level of French and Italian).
    Getting a job in a foreign country is not easy as is finding somewhere to live and i was thinking being an au pair is a good way to get around all these issues (and get paid a small amount).
    Obviously I would want to be careful with who I lived with (as i'm sure there are horror stories) but other than that I can't really see any faults with my plan so i'd like to hear experiences or potential problems. It would be in France or Italy and i'm an EU citizen so i don't think there would be problems there
    Thanks
    EDIT: i did an erasmus year in italy, so I know about living abroad as well
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    Don't do it. I did it at the start of this year and it was awful. I ended up leaving after just over a month.
    I guess it would be easier for you if you already speak the language quite well.
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    What went wrong if you don't mind me asking
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    Do it! I had the time of my life in Milan two years ago.

    It's easy to find jobs and changing family if worst comes to worst is not too hard as well.

    Have a look at: www.aupair-world.net. It's a site similar to facebook where you have a profile and look through profiles of families that interest you. Much better than an agency because a) it's cheaper, b) you get to choose the family c) it's much more flexible when it comes to the actual contract.

    Obviuosly I'm biased but I'd go for Italy if I was you. You already speak the language and understand all these little "funny" Italian habits we don't have here in the UK.

    Don't worry if your Italian is not that good, I didn't speak a single word before moving to Milan and was fluent in 6 months. Kids are the best language teacher in the world :-)

    Get used to the phrases:

    Non voglio! Perchè no? and Non è giusto!
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    They said they lived near a city (they didn't) and that during the day I could go to french lessons in said city. The city was an hours bus ride away, the bus stop was a 15 minute drive away. But I was only allowed to go once a week, which meant I never really made any friends.
    Where they lived (which, remember, they said was near a city) was so remote in the countryside that it was creepy. There was literally no one around. Ever.
    Then there's time off, which is always a weird thing for au pairs, you're expected to become part of the family so even though you're "off" at weekends and in the evenings you're never really off. It's not like any other job where you can just leave.
    The kids were spoilt brats as well. Not always but...most of the time.
    It was the loneliest month and a half of my life.

    EDIT - www.aupair-world.net is a great website if you really want to do it.
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    (Original post by Kittykatkat)
    Then there's time off, which is always a weird thing for au pairs, you're expected to become part of the family so even though you're "off" at weekends and in the evenings you're never really off. It's not like any other job where you can just leave.
    Well, that depends on the family. I had the weekends off and I was always offered to take part in any activities they had planned but I was never "forced" or anything. My day off was my day off :-)
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    (Original post by Kittykatkat)
    They said they lived near a city (they didn't) and that during the day I could go to french lessons in said city. The city was an hours bus ride away, the bus stop was a 15 minute drive away. But I was only allowed to go once a week, which meant I never really made any friends.
    Where they lived (which, remember, they said was near a city) was so remote in the countryside that it was creepy. There was literally no one around. Ever.
    Then there's time off, which is always a weird thing for au pairs, you're expected to become part of the family so even though you're "off" at weekends and in the evenings you're never really off. It's not like any other job where you can just leave.
    The kids were spoilt brats as well. Not always but...most of the time.
    It was the loneliest month and a half of my life.
    Aww. I'm sad that happened to you
    The whole time on/time off thing is something I am kinda concerned about as I can see that kinda thing would happen. Helpful though to remind me that checking out their address is important. Thanks
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    (Original post by sun-is-shining)
    Do it! I had the time of my life in Milan two years ago.

    It's easy to find jobs and changing family if worst comes to worst is not too hard as well.

    Have a look at: www.aupair-world.net. It's a site similar to facebook where you have a profile and look through profiles of families that interest you. Much better than an agency because a) it's cheaper, b) you get to choose the family c) it's much more flexible when it comes to the actual contract.

    Obviuosly I'm biased but I'd go for Italy if I was you. You already speak the language and understand all these little "funny" Italian habits we don't have here in the UK.

    Don't worry if your Italian is not that good, I didn't speak a single word before moving to Milan and was fluent in 6 months. Kids are the best language teacher in the world :-)

    Get used to the phrases:

    Non voglio! Perchè no? and Non è giusto!
    fluent in 6 months? wow. i was there for 10 and i'm not nearly that good.
    ha ha those phrases i'm sure are used often. I know what they mean very typical kid phrases.
    Thanks for the tips. Do you have anything you think I should definitely make sure of to make sure I don't get a horrid place? It seems to be very much on luck from what I can tell
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    I am currently an au pair in Germany, and have been here for over 4 months .

    At first it was difficult, not only was there the language barrier (I gained only a grade D at A-level German, so I wasn't amazing), then there are the cultural differences. It's also a bit of a Catch 22 scenario, in that the kids will be spoilt. If the parents can afford an au pair, you just have to accept this, however, some families have different values, some which can be a little bit restraining for the au pair. Mine, for example, I just have to put up with being called "stupid", him refusing to do what I say and not being able to do a damn thing about it when he repeatedly hits me with toys. Whereas other au pairs play a much larger role in the child's upbringing, and so the child won't get away with so much.

    I never had a problem with time off. In fact by me, it is seen just like any other job. I am expected to write down the hours that I have worked each day, and weekends I have free. In this time I am invited to do things with the family, but I can do my own thing if I want, and I also get free time throughout the day, and my host mum is always urging me to try new activities.

    If you have a good relationship with the family it can be bearable, it is by no means a nice job. Because you live with your employers, you have to take a lot of **** so not to cause friction. But some people get treated like an equal, and more of a friend than an employee, and have a fantastic time.
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    (Original post by museobsessed)
    fluent in 6 months? wow. i was there for 10 and i'm not nearly that good.
    ha ha those phrases i'm sure are used often. I know what they mean very typical kid phrases.
    Thanks for the tips. Do you have anything you think I should definitely make sure of to make sure I don't get a horrid place? It seems to be very much on luck from what I can tell
    It is based on luck, but you can help your chances by emailing a lot, to find out more about the family, speak on the phone and if possible, see if you can visit the family for a weekend beforehand, just to see if you get on and how you feel with the kid.
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    thanks
    thats really good tips so far. keep them coming
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    Get photos of the family so you can check the kids are roughly the ages they say they are. I heard this one story about a girl who thought she was going to take care of a 4 year old, turned out the woman wasn't due to give birth until a couple of weeks before the au pair arrived (admittedly, that is one of the worse horror stories).

    Oh, and, unless you're an absolute saint, kids under the age of 3 are hard work.
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    (Original post by Kittykatkat)
    Get photos of the family so you can check the kids are roughly the ages they say they are. I heard this one story about a girl who thought she was going to take care of a 4 year old, turned out the woman wasn't due to give birth until a couple of weeks before the au pair arrived (admittedly, that is one of the worse horror stories).

    Oh, and, unless you're an absolute saint, kids under the age of 3 are hard work.
    thats weird
    on that website people reccommended they did mostly seem to have photos
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