Work Abroad as an Au Pair in Spain
With most host families living in Madrid, you will be an Au Pair in the largest hot spot in Spain. Did you have your heart set on a different city? Not to worry, as other cities include Seville, Barcelona, Malaga and Santander. Students from around the world have found Madrid to be an exceptional place to live and learn a language that is already spoken by more than 400 million people around the world. The Au Pair in Spain program is a great opportunity to become part of a Spanish family, as the Host Family welcomes you as a family member and not as an employee.
What is an Au Pair?
Working as an Au pair is one of the best cultural exchange experiences that you'll ever have. Curious about what an Au Pair actually is?
First off it's important to point out that being an Au Pair is completely different to being a Nanny. Yes, childcare is the main responsibility of an Au Pair, but it is much more than that. 'Au Pair' means 'on par' in French or 'equal terms' which means that you will be treated and respected as an equal member of the family. You'll share all the fun times and cultural experiences, that will often lead to you have a lasting relationship with your host family. You'll get to live life as a local and have opportunities that many will never have a chance to experience. Take advantage of the broad range of educational and cultural opportunities that Spain has to offer, as an open minded, cosmopolitan and modern city.
As an Au Pair in Spain you will work 30 hours per week. Your schedule is based on the family's needs and will differ with each placement. In the summer time, the children will be out of school so you must be prepared to be really flexible with everyday routine. A typical day will usually be 5-7 hours of work and you might work 5-6 days per week, depending on the family and their needs. For the summer program, you will also be asked to perform babysitting duties in the evening time sometimes up to twice a week and the family will pay you extra for this.
Roles and Responsibilities
This cultural exchange program ensures you have a good balance between work and play! The family will be your number one priority but when you are not working you will have plenty of opportunities to explore Spain and all it has to offer with your new Au Pair friends. You will never be asked to perform substantial household chores because the majority of families will have a cleaner and they can often be a live-in staff member. Your daily tasks may include:
- Assisting with English language skills
- Light housework such as helping prepare meals, helping to set the table, washing dishes, helping with laundry, general tidying of living spaces
- General babysitting
- Childcare such as taking the children on outings, to the beach or to the local pool
You will act as the older sibling for the children when they are in your care and you will quickly become their role model. Remember that the key to success as an Au Pair is 'give and take'. The family will welcome you and respect you as one of their own, as long as you do the same in return. Be flexible, show that you are willing to go with the flow and you'll soon find that you will adjust to Spanish family life quickly and effortlessly. Many Au Pairs find that the summer program is very flexible and they enjoy the freedom it allows for daily activities with the children. You might find yourself at the family pool everyday, or you might head to the family beach house for your stay...what could be better!?
The Social Scene
Around 80% of the summer placements are in Madrid which is a great base for you to fully immerse yourself in the Spanish culture. It is a hotspot for young teachers and Au Pairs and there is plenty to see and do. Before you leave for your placement, you will join a dedicated Au Pair Facebook page that allows you to interact with other Au Pairs on the program. You can exchange contact details and know that you always have a social network of friends building up around you. Make sure you put in to the social scene what you want to get out of it; if you are really social and eager to make new friends then don't be afraid to organize weekend visits to the city or other surrounding areas. We leave it up to you to organize your time off as each Au Pair has different preferences.
Age & Required Experience
In order to be eligible for this program you must:
- Must be 18-30 years old
- Be a non-smoker and in good health
- Have a clean criminal background
- Be able to communicate clearly in English and have a basic understanding of the Spanish language
- Be polite and respectful of the host family's rules
- Have experience of working with children, babysitting is a minimum requirement
- Enjoy immersing yourself in other cultures and sharing your own
Location & Accommodation
Around 80% of the placements are located in and around Madrid however other cities also include Seville, Barcelona, Malaga and Santander. Au Pairs will have a private room in the home and will be provided with all meals, 7 days a week. Specific details of the accommodation will be provided with your placement offer.
Matching you to a Host family
We pride ourselves on ensuring that you are matched to the right host family. All of our host families have been carefully screened to certify that we assure compatibility and sustainability in order to make your cultural exchange experience as effective and comfortable as possible. Your profile will be matched to a host family based on your skills, previous experience, gender, religion, age and hobbies/interests. Prior to departure, you will email the family and interview with them via Skype; this is to make sure that you are both comfortable with each other and it gives you the chance to ask them as many questions as you like!
Our host families are really conscious that this is a cultural exchange program and want to ensure you are fully integrated into their family life to provide you with the best possible experience. Remember that Spanish families are eager to learn more about your native language and culture - this is the main reason why they want to host an Au Pair!
When & How to Apply
We recommend that you submit your application at least 12 weeks prior to your intended departure date. Matching you to a host family can take varying lengths of time, so the earlier you apply, the better. All you need to do to get started is click on 'Apply Now' above and complete your Smaller Earth application in full. Provide as much information as possible about you, who you are and your motivation for wanting to become an Au Pair in Spain. Once of our dedicated members of staff will then give you a call to run through a short telephone interview and check on any last minute questions you might have. Following the phone interview, if successful, you will then need to pay your application deposit of $100 so that we can get you started on your application documents! We must have all completed documents submitted to us no later than 6 weeks prior to your intended departure date.
- All food and accommodation; including your own private room
- Airport pick-up; exact arrival date in Spain will be agreed and confirmed by your Host Family.
- Weekly pay of 70 to 80 Euros ($80- $90 USD) per week, dependent upon location
- Welcome package via email; including information on public transportation, things to do in Madrid and contact details for other Au Pairs in your area
- In-country assistance and advice during your stay in Spain
- Au Pair specific Facebook where you can get in touch with other participants, and check out our activities schedule
What's Not Included?
- International Flights
- Travel Insurance
- Personal expenses, including phone bill
Do I need a visa?
No, you do not need to obtain a visa in order to head out to Spain. Au Pairs staying in Spain for 3 months will NOT need a visa and will receive a tourist stamp in their passport upon arrival.
Do I get to choose where I live?
We will do our best to find a host family that meets your skills and experiences. If there is a perfect host family match in a location that you didn't prefer, we would still ask you to speak to the host family. Remember, you are here on a cultural exchange program! As much as you will be able to see the sites of Spain, you are an Au Pair to the children first and foremost.
What happens if I do not like my host family?
We will not force you to take any family that you do not feel comfortable being an Au Pair for. After your initial interview with the family, you will be able to tell Smaller Earth if you would like to work with the family or not. Before you head out to Spain you will be able to email and Skype with your host family. Once you are out in Spain, if you feel like the family is not for you, we ask that you contact our placement team straight away. That way we will be able to help you and sort out any problems that you are having.
Can I go with a friend?
We wouldn't be able to guarantee that we would be able to place both you and your friend in the same area. This is because our host family matching process if very thorough. If you and your friend have different skills, experiences, and needs then you may have host families that live on different sides of the country.
How much money do I need to take with me, is there a set amount?
There is no set amount of money that we ask that you take with you out to Spain. We do ask that you do have enough money in your bank account in case of emergency purposes, usually access to at least $1,000.
What can I do in my spare time?
This is a cultural exchange program, so we ask you to be one of the family. Even if you are not technically working, we ask that you still spend time with them; watch TV, play games, have your meals together etc. If during the day you have some spare time and are not enrolled in our Spanish Language course, are done of your daily duties, then you are free to see the sites and/or relax.
What happens if I get fired?
You are responsible for any costs that this may incur to yourself; such as hotels, flights, etc. Please inform Smaller Earth or our placement team of this matter straight away, so we will be able to help you in any way that we can.
Can I extend my stay?
You may be able to extend your stay out in Spain as an Au Pair depending on the families needs. Please contact our placement team in Spain with how to do so.