Mar an Au Pair in Australia!
1. Give us a little intro about yourself (name, age, city…)
Mar, I am 23 years old and I was born in a town very close to Barcelona, Spain. I am very enthusiastic, optimist and easy-going.
2. How long have you been in Australia?
It’s been 9 months since I set foot for the first time in this country and although I should be back in Spain by now I’m still here. I just extended my visa for 6 more months and then I will go travel through Asia.
3. Why Australia? How did you end up so far away from home?
My main reason was my sister Carla, –from the AUssieYouTOO team. She has spent a lot of years traveling Asia, New Zealand and Australia and she recently managed to settled down in Byron Bay.
I had always admired the experiences she had trip after trip and the people she met along the way. Although I didn’t see myself traveling as a Backpacker like her without a specific destination I was sure I was going to finish my career and leave Spain for a while.
I don’t exactly know why but I had always thought I was going to go to the United States since I had already spent a month there when I was sixteen. However, after visiting Australia for two weeks with my parents I had it very clear: AUSTRALIA. Australia is place to live.
4. Where do you live? And what do you like the most about your city?
Bondi Beach. It’s a small surfer neighbourhood with a lot of tourists but the way I see it, Bondi has a vibe that is completely Aussie. I chose it because I didn’t want to live in the city and I was looking for a more quiet place, near the ocean but not so far away from Sydney’s CBD.
5. What was your opinion about the process of traveling to Australia from Spain? Did you change your mind when you arrived?
Like everything else in this world, from an outside perspective everything seems more complicated. Once you are here its very easy. It all depends on you attitude and the desire to say “YES” to everything.
6. A classic question: do you work, study or both? And where?
Both. I began studying English and working as a runner, waitress, in a butcher shop, events, cruises, and as a Spanish teacher…now I am an AUssieYouTOO COOLaborator and I also work as an Aupair. To tell you the truth it makes no difference where you work or how long the hours are if you are.
7. What does being an au pair really mean?
The roll of an au pair is more than working for a family. They will take you into their home for a period of time and in return you take care of the kids and from time to time help out cleaning the house or cooking. This way you have a place to stay and food for free on top of the salary you get paid for the hours you work. It’s a good arrangement especially in a city as expensive as Sydney where if you want to live by the beach the rent is going to be at least $200 AUD per week.
Being an au pair it’s a good alternative.
8. Pros and cons of being an au pair?
It’s important to find a family that is easy-going and flexible. We all want to come to Australia to enjoy and feel free. This is why I recommend people to try everything: live in a backpacker hostel during the first weeks, share an apartment with friends and then, if you want to change jobs, save money without doing to much and live well you can become an au pair.
Quality of life (a LOT better)
Better paid job than Hospitality
You will feel at home in Australia
You will live with native English speakers and enjoy a full Aussie family lifestyle.
All the money you earn is extra cash.
You work from home, take the kids to the beach and do basically whatever you want.
You can’t have friends over or arrange parties.
9. How was the process of finding the family and moving in with them?
During the first 5 months I was sharing an apartment with 4 girls and once I decided to extend my visa and enrol in a new course I began contemplating the option of becoming an au pair. There are many offers on Gumtree and special websites dedicated to this line of work. I did 3 interviews and once I met this family I knew straight away. I had a good feeling, they were easy-going with a 5 year old girl and a 6 year old boy, a really good house 7 minutes away from the beach and we clicked immediately.
The prerequisites they usually ask for is that you have experience with kids, that you speak good English and that you have a student visa that allows you to legally work for a minimum of 6 months.
10. How important is English to communicate with the kids?
The English you need is basic to communicate without trouble with the family and to solve any inconvenient or emergency that may arise. Although your level of English might be good from the beginning it will improve, because being around kids is like having a personalized teacher. They will correct you, continuously repeat things, never stop talking and on top of everything they are very sweet.
11. What exactly do you do as an au pair?
I wake up every day at 6:40 am (my job begins at 6:45) where I help the parents make breakfast for the kids, help them get dressed and to be ready on time before school starts.
The house chores include making the beds, getting the dishwasher running, tidy up the house and do the laundry. Families usually have a cleaner that takes care of the house so you don’t have to worry about it.
By 9 am I am done with everything. Then in the afternoon I play with the kids, take them to tennis lessons or to the pool. We have dinner together, I also cook them lunch to take to school on the next day. Then we watch TV, take a bath and go to bed. Once they are asleep by 8pm I am completely free. I think is all about having common sense and respect for the family. If you do they will continue to open the doors of their home for you.
12. ¿Do you miss your hometown?
I am really looking forward to see my family, my friends and my dog Lola…but really miss everything …no. I know they are where I left them and that everything remains the same. I love to hear from them and always keep in touch. I love them very much but this is an important phase of my life that I want to live to the fullest. To do this and enjoy, you have to have your feet and mind 100% in Australia. Additionally, I feel less nostalgic because I am happy here.
13. ¿In your opinion how was your AUssieYouTOO COOLaborator?
In my case it was my sister so no need to say anything else.
14. ¿Would you like to go somewhere else in Austalia to spend some time?
Maybe during another time in my life I would choose Byron Bay. But for now I see it more as a place to be disconnected, visit my sister and spend vacation time.
15. ¿Something that you don’t like about Australia?
The student visa.
16. Do you have contact with Aussies? What do you think about them?
It’s very easy to meet Aussies because they are used to new people, mix of cultures and tourists. In general they are very helpful and chilled.
17. How would you describe your life here?
19. Would you change anything that has led you to where you are right now?
19. Being 1 the minimum and 10 the maximum, score the following:
Your level of English when you arrived: 6
Your level of English now: 8
The city you chose: 10
The people in your city: 8,5
The lifestyle: 10
Your level of happiness: 9
Your level of stress: 2
20. Write whatever you want:
Every end is a new beginning.