Hey guys! This week I want to talk about what it’s like to study a language while being an Au Pair because it is definitely one of the best ways to learn a new language
Obviously being fully immersed in the language and the culture surrounding a language gives you the best opportunity to learn and improve your fluency. I studied Italian while I was an Au Pair in Milan and at the end of my year in Italy, I was confident in making conversation and I knew a lot of local slang.
Generally, au pairing means that you’re free during the morning and that is the perfect opportunity to attend a language course. Some Au Pairs choose to do a “high intensity” course which means going to class five days a week for up to three hours. Personally, I decided to do a less intense course which was twice a week for three hours. I found this to be just the right amount of time to dedicate myself to learning Italian. Plus, I was listening to Italian through my Host Family every day, speaking with my Italian friends and my local community (restaurants, pharmacy, supermarket etc).
There are certainly a number of options when it comes to language classes. Public and private courses will vary in terms of cost and sometimes the quality of content you’re learning. I did both a public and private course while I was in Italy and I found them both very different and beneficial in their own ways. Google will be very helpful in finding out what types of courses are offered in your city but it’s also a really good idea to chat with other Au Pairs to see what courses they’re doing. The private course was expensive, the classes were two hours three times a week and the quality of learning was a lot higher because of the smaller class size. While the public class was a lot closer to my house, three times cheaper, the class size was big, and the classes were twice a week for three hours. I think you should choose between a public and private course based on your budget.
Speaking of budget… Some Host Families pay for your course while others don’t. If learning the language is high on your list of priorities, then I definitely recommend asking potential Host Families if they will pay for a course. You would be surprised; a lot of families actually offer to pay for your course and you should definitely take advantage of that. My Host Family didn’t pay for my course, but I used the money I had saved before moving to Italy to cover the cost. It was so worth it, but I do recommend asking or finding a family that is willing to pay for your language course or at least half.
The cost of language courses will vary greatly based on what country you’re in and as I said before, whether the institution is public or private. Since I was an Au Pair in Italy, I can just tell you about the cost of the courses I did, and I hope that will give you a rough guide as to what you can expect. The private course I went to cost 234 euros for two months while the public course cost just 92 euros for three months. However, I know some Au Pairs that have paid up to 2,000 euros for a one-year language course, this also gives them a student visa. Don’t be alarmed by the prices, you will find a course and budget that meets your desires and expectations.
Being surrounded by the language every single day is the best way to learn. I would meet with friends to study Italian, that can be really valuable and so much fun. If you can take what you learn outside the classroom and put it into practice in the real world you will be well on your way to learning a new language.
I hope that you find this article useful and that you can learn from my experiences in Milan. I think that learning the local language is one of the best ways to gain the most out of your Au Pair experience. Firstly, because you gain new knowledge, but also because it allows you to fully immerse in a new culture. I loved that I was confident enough to walk into a bar and order an expresso as if I was a typical Italian – that was awesome!
Have a great week guys and feel free to get in touch via my Instagram