LANGUAGE LEARNING AS AN AU PAIR IN LONDON
BEING A GUEST IN AN ENGLISH FAMILY: WORKING AS AN AU PAIR.
In 2014 I decided to expend a different summer, I wanted to discover different places, new people and, overall, practice my English. I felt stuck, I had reached a level where I didn’t need to learn more grammar, what I really needed was a complete language immersion experience. I had to go and live in a country where English was the language per excellence.
So: ¡London here I come!
With the little savings I had, I bought a boarding pass and I booked a room for one week in a student residence in Southampton, a city near south England, where the life was not as expensive as London, although in general, living in the UK is more expensive than living in Spain.
The first days in Southampton weren’t easy. I started sending my CV to many enterpirses but without success. In addition, my residence colleagues were the whole day out, working or in different languages courses, so I couldn’t know anybody. Finally, I decided to join a Facebook page called “district au pairs” and, by this way, I started knowing new people and practicing the language (although no one of us were English speaker).
My new friends encouraged me to look for a native family because, at the end, live with a family is the easiest way to immerse in the culture while you save money. They are not only in charge of your maintenance costs, they also give you some extra money and in exchange, you have to look after their children.
When they encouraged me, I was kind of reticent because I had read many bad experiences of different au pairs on the Internet and Social Networks and because, being an au pair involves living with a foreign family who are also your bosses in a foreign country.
Finally, and despite of my doubts, I took the plunge and I started searching for a family, also because I didn’t find any job. Since I started my search I spent only 2 days until I found a family. I had three interview with three different families and I chose the last one because different au pairs gave me great feedbacks about their experience with them.
I did my luggage again and I travelled to Esher, a residential district in the outskirts of London, where my family welcomed me. I spent two months there experimenting until September both, happy and difficult moments.
In general, I have a very positive feedback of my experience, I knew great people, the family was the best one I could have and I had the opportunity to visit amazing cities such as Edinburg.
Looking back and reflecting on my experience, I could say that being an au pair allowed me to live in England without being financially dependant on my parents. For my expenses, I had enough with the pocket money that the family gave me weekly.
Living with a local family allowed me to learn manners, the lifestyle, cuisine of the country and everyday expressions. On a personal level, what I regret is that I didn’t go far enough in the language, and this was mainly because in summer, the children hadn’t school and I had to take care of them the whole day, so I had no time to socialize with other English people.
Some months after coming back to Spain I realized that it would be great for me repeating the experience of living with an English speaker family because is the best way to discover a country and its cultural roots, but not as an au pair. That’s why I started searching on different and I discovered the online community of MyHOSTpitality.
Thanks to them I have found ideal solution. Through its platform I can find native host families and contact and set the conditions of my stay directly with them, which will be free in exchange for talking to them my language for some hours a day.
I will encourage myself to do it this summer and I will tell you my experience, so I would recommend an experience like that for anyone that is thinking about improving its English.
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