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Au pair
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I had tried to find an Architecture work experience placement at-home in Bristol this summer with no luck. I turned to the internet and started searching to see what else I could do and I decided that I really wanted the opportunity to go abroad for a long period of time this Summer! I love Spain and I really enjoy being with kids, so au pairing seemed perfect.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Organisation website

Application process

I began by making a profile on There I listed some information about myself and why I thought I would make a great au pair. From there I began reaching out to families and I also had families who had viewed my profile contact me. We emailed back and forth, and I had Skype interviews with a couple of families, then shortly after I found a family.

Main responsibilities

-Teaching English

Typical day

From 8am to 3pm Monday to Friday I would look after my host child while her parents were at work. In the mornings we would play in doors, sometimes we went to the park or to the swimming pool but mostly we stayed at home. I brought a children's exercise book with me from England and we would work through the pages together. Early afternoon I would prepare lunch for the two of us, then afterwards we would play more games before watching a little TV. Once the parents came home from work I would go to my room and relax, before heading out to Plaza Espana (city centre). If wasn't meeting up with the other au pairs that day, I would come home at around 8:30pm. At 9pm the host family and I would sit down and have dinner together (Spaniards eat late) before going to bed.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I learnt so much Spanish during the 5 weeks I spent in Zaragoza and my host parents were such lovely people. Living with a host family really helped me to fully immerse myself in the Spanish culture. They taught me so many interesting things about their way of life, and I tried so many amazing food and drinks that I had never even heard of, e.g. gazpacho and horchata. I'd also say my social skills really improved, I joined a Facebook group for au pairs in Zaragoza and, despite being nervous, I posted on the page saying I'd like to meet other au pairs - from there the rest is history. I made so many great au pair friends from all over the world, e.g. Italy, Canada, Poland, etc..I had so much fun exploring the city both alone and with friends. We enjoyed dining out, going to bars and clubs, and taking trips outside of the city on weekends, exploring small villages and historical sites.

Challenging aspects

The most difficult aspect for me was looking after my au pair child, my limited Spanish and her lack of English sometimes made it difficult for us to communicate effectively, especially in the beginning, but as the weeks went on things got easier and we began to understand one another much more.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

There's no denying that my course is intense, stress can often be a daunting and all too familiar reality for most of us architecture students. But if there's one thing my course has taught me it's the power of perseverance and soldiering on when things get tough. In the beginning I almost felt like giving up and coming home, when me and my au pair child were having major communication issues, leaving us both feeling upset and frustrated. However, I soon realised that I would regret it hugely if I left early, so I stuck it out and I'm so glad I did because in the end, I loved it. My host dad also took the time to explain a bit about Aragonese architecture (Zaragoza is the capital of Aragon, Spain) as we wondered through the cities streets and during the first week I would spend time marvelling at the stunning Plaza del Pilar, a giant cathedral just a short walk from the family's home.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

Not particularly, but it has influenced me in terms of making me even more eager to study and live abroad at some point in the near future. It has also really encouraged me to want to learn to speak Spanish fluently.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

If you have the opportunity to do a summer placement or work experience abroad got for it! You'll love it.

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Form completed: 23 Aug 2017

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