Serena's story: Au Pairing and teaching English in Spain
Serena on Mar 11, 2019
My name is Serena and I’m 18 years old. This is my first time being an Au Pair. I’m qualified in childcare and education level 3 diploma. I love children and, therefore, considered being an Au Pair. I finally got a place in Spain, in Baza, looking after three girls aged 6, 4 and 2 years old. I personally thought I would not get homesick because I went to boarding school. However, I miss my family so much and often get a little homesick. But thanks to modern technology, FaceTime is my new best friend.
I am here for a year, from September 2018 to the end of June 2019. Having to look after three girls is very difficult and it is weird being a part of a different family. It has taken me a long while to finally feel settled in my new home. I have had difficult times and lovely times with the girls. At the start, I found that the girls challenged me a lot, especially the two year old, who would constantly refuse to walk to nursery or anywhere. Finally, in mid-November, after a few months, she started to understand I wasn’t going to carry her and she would have to walk.
All three girls go to different schools: the eldest girl’s school is about a 15 minute walk from the house, the middle child’s about a 10 minute walk and the youngest child goes to nursery. In the morning I take the middle child to school for 9am and the youngest child to nursery for whatever time we get there, depending on her walk.
My routine varies according to the day: on Mondays and Wednesdays, I get a bit of time to rest and plan activities for the girls in the afternoon. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays I take the youngest child to speech therapy at 10am after dropping her off at nursery. At 2pm, I pick up the middle child and then we have lunch together. On Mondays and Wednesdays at 3:45pm, I go and pick up the oldest child from school and take the older and middle child to music from 4-5; in the meantime, I go and pick up the younger child. Then we all go home to play and do activities while the older two do homework with their mother or their tutor. Then at 8pm is bath time, dinner and finally bedtime. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I take the two older girls to dance class and on Fridays I take all the girls home and we do some activities I have prepared or what they want to do.
The days are long but I enjoying working with children and on most weekends I get to explore. I’ve been horse riding, I’m going to Sierra Nevada tobogganing and to Granada to see the Alhambra; I’m going shopping in the big mall as well as trying Spanish food and tapas. When the weather gets better, I’m going skydiving in Granada, stand up boarding in Seville, Almería for a camel ride and a week with my family, and to the Malaga rescue zoo. I have many more exciting weekends ahead.
I have fibromyalgia, which can cause me to have extreme pain. Thankfully the family have been so supportive and I definitely recommend, if you have a problem or medical issue, to always tell your Host Family; they are there to look after you, just like you look after their children. The mother speaks fluent English and the father can speak a bit. At first I found the language barrier very difficult; however, I have overcome so much by learning the language and spending time with the girls. They do understand me when I speak English most of the time, except the two year old who does not understand more than two words, “please and hello”. I am teaching them English while playing with them. The achievement I have made since September is amazing and that is the real reason why I love working with children, because if, like me, you’re helping to teach them English, you can finally see the development that you have made with them.
I am so lucky to have such a caring, loving, happy and helpful host family as well as a support family at home.