So I guess you’re either reading this and thinking what on earth is an ‘Au Pair’? or you’re maybe thinking of becoming one of said ‘Au Pair’ and you are looking for some more information? Either way, if you continue reading I am going to enlighten you with my experience in the South of France.
So what is an Au Pair?
An Au Pair is a young girl or boy who lives with a host family and looks after their children. As an Au Pair you are essentially a part of the family for the duration of your stay and your main duty is to look after the children as well as helping the family with things around the house like cleaning, cooking and any other household tasks. In return you live rent free, you are fed, paid pocket money, have time off and get to experience a whole new culture while doing so. It’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
I applied to be an Au Pair through aupairworld.com and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the beginning stages of their search. At the start of the process I knew I wanted to live in a country that didn’t speak my language to get out of my comfort zone, and I was stuck between Spain or France… But as you can guess from the title I ended up going to La France. My decision was swayed towards France after a 2 hour Skype interview with my to be host mum, I was completely sold after having a light hearted conversation and meeting the kids. *ADVICE* your host family will make or break your stay, so make sure you are completely observant when you are Skyping. When I pictured myself staying in France I actually pictured myself in the romantic capital of Paris but here I was jetting off to some town called ‘Aix-En-Provence” Pffftt never heard of it, but it is in the beautiful South, which I guess has much nicer weather than the ville de l’amour.
So what would I say to a young girl or boy thinking about being an Au Pair?
DO IT! I grew so much as a person during my time in France; I learned basic things like how to defrost a car and cook a proper dinner, I also learned more complicated things like how to have an actual conversation in French with a native French speaker and teaching an 8 years old girl how to speak English properly… Not to mention it is what I would probably say my first real experience in the dating scene and I also became this incredibly outgoing and confident young woman… So yeah the full experience changed me for the better. What made my time in France so amazing was how lovely and welcoming my host family were and also the social aspect, I made a lot of the Au Pair friends.
So what was my schedule like? I had a pretty sweet deal compared to some of my other Au Pair friends if I am honest… I worked for the family Monday to Friday and was allowed to head out at night time when the mum returned from her work, I then had the weekends to myself were I spent galavanting with my new found friends.
Les Calanques, France (2016)
Now remember, every family is different and have different needs, but this is a rough schedule of what I experienced during Au Pair life:
Weekdays as an Au Pair
I would wake up early every morning to get the little one up and ready for school… She was quite the diva while choosing clothes so I would make sure I gave myself enough time to get her ready (She just loved to dress to impress). I would then make sure petit dejeuner was ready for the little one, she would usually have toast, Nutella and oragne juice (I’ve always found French breakfast some what bizarre). Once she had finished eating I would usually have to clean her face as there would be Nutella all over it and then I would tie her hair up in a simple pony tail to keep it out her face while at school. I would then drive her to school and take her right up to the gate where all the kids were let through the gate at exactly 9 am. This then led into free time right up until 4:30pm when I was needed to pick her up. With my free time I would work out, go to french classes, meet my friends for lunch, sleep or if I felt the house was a bit of a mess I would help the family out by doing some house work. When I picked up the little one, I would make sure to make her a snack… and shock she would usually have some more Nutella. After that I would make sure she got her homework done and then she was allowed T.V or tablet time while I cooked the dinner. The two older kids would occasionally help me with dinner and I would always help them practice their English or help with any English homework. Once dinner was over I would make sure the little one was showered and ready to bed… which was always a bit of nightmare because she NEVER wanted to shower. The mum would come home around 8pm and as soon as she was home I would tidy the kitchen and then that was me off duty.
So yeah that is basically an outline of what I got up to in a day of working… But of course somedays were different like Wednesday is a half day at school in France so I would drive the little one to her dance class etc, I would also drive the older two to their after school activities. Occasional nights I would head out for a little dinner date or drinks with the girls! As long as I was home in the morning to take the little one to school then the family had absolutely no problem with me going out.
Weekends as an Au Pair
Now weekends as an Au Pair were completely different from weekdays as an Au Pair. I would basically pack my bag on Friday and the family wouldn’t see me until Sunday night. Me and my friends planned loads of things we explored the Southern cities, hiked Les Calanques, beach days, drunken nights and multiple hilarious dating scenarios. I’ll admit I lived for the weekend, I had great friends and it was always fun to run riot in the streets of Marseille.
EURO Fan Zone – Marseille, France (2016)
I absolutely loved my experience in the beautiful South of France with my lovely laid back host family, I couldn’t of been luckier with the family I decided to go with! This isn’t the last time I will post about my Au Pair experience, I just have so many stories and advice for anyone thinking of doing it… trust me this is only a little introduction to my au pair experience because I swear I could write a best selling book solely based on stories from my time as an Au Pair in the South of France.