Nicolas is a quiet 23 years old French guy who lives now in Pordenone, a city in the north of Italy close to the Austrian and Slovenian border. One year ago, he decided to leave France to have an experience abroad and he never went back. Laura is a smiling 23 years old Spanish girl, who also lives in Pordenone right now. Last September, she took a flight from Barcelona to Venice to work as an au-pair or for a family with three little kids. Laura and Nicolas met at an Italian language course last year and they became great friends. They have three things in common: they’re both au-pairs, they both spent a year in Italy and they both decided to stay.
Should you need any tips for you next au-pair experience in Italy, read this interview!
Was Italy your first choice? Did you ever thought about going somewhere else?
N: Actually, it was not my first choice. I really wanted to go to England and learn english since it is a more useful language than Italian. But faith had something else reserved for me: no british family chose me while an Italian family saw my profile and wrote an email to me straight away. Since I always wanted to learn more Italian, I said yes, immediately.
L: I was really sure about Italy. I never ever thought about any other country in Europe: maybe because I am Spanish and Italy is not too different, nor too far.
How did you apply?
N: I had to register to www.aupairworld.com. It works like a meeting point for families and young candidates from all over the world. You have to upload a picture of you and fill in some fields about yourself like “why do you want to take up this job” or “have you ever had any other experience with kids”. The website immediately matches you with some random families that could be interested in your profile. Either the family contacts you or you have to contact families. You start by e-mail and the next step is a Skype meeting. I think I was lucky, after three weeks me and my family knew each other enough to buy a ticket and leave.
L: For me it was almost the same thing. It took quite a lot- maybe three or four months- to find a family that I really liked. First I wanted to choose a family that was located in the South of Italy, but after one month of skyping something went wrong and I changed my mind. You don’t have to choose the first family you think you like, try to know them as much as possible.
Do you have a contract? How are salaries and holidays regulated?
N: We have a contract, but it is a “european contract” and has no legal soundness in Italy. While in France you are supposed to declare the existence of an au-pair worker at your place, Italy has no set of rules for that. Depending on the family and on the hours you are working you can have from 250 to 400 euros. I get 250 euros per month. I had 2 formal weeks of holiday per year, but I actually had more
L: Yes I had a contract with the family, we followed the aupairworld format. I have three kids and I work a lot, so the family gives me 400 euros which is a really good salary. Holidays are not a problem: the family gives me a lot of freedom so I usually go back to Spain in Christmas, Easter and two weeks during summer.
How was your first impression?
N: Italy is so cool for eating. I was so excited and I had an amazing welcome by my host mother. The first four months I stayed with the family I didn’t manage to make any friend! It has been quite boring but it helped a lot to create a wonderful relationship with the parents and the little boy.
L: I liked Pordenone since the very beginning even if it’s not a big city. The first month was quite hard, I barely spoke Italian and I had to learn a lot. Until I made some friends, I was often thinking about giving up. But after the first month, everything started to be perfect!
What would you say to those who think that guys are not suitable for au-pairing?
N: Not true. Guys are better sometimes, because we are more patient and have more strength. Staying with a little kid could be really tiring. And I read a lot about it: they say that once a family starts with a male au pair, it never goes back to girls.
L: Guys or girls, there’s no difference. The important thing is that you have to be motivated, ready to learn a lot and be able to love and stay with children.
What are the best personal qualities for being the perfect au pair?
N: Patience, Responsibility, Creativity.
L: Patience. Enjoy playing and invent new games. And yes, being creative.
Do you think it is a worthy experience?
N: Yes, totally. I should have done it before. I would say I am 85% happy, just because the first four months of my experience I couldn’t meet young Italian friends and I could have done it.
L:Yes, totally and I recommend it to everyone. I am 100% sure I want to stay here for another year!!
Both: Be sure you speak a lot with the family before you choose each other. Ask a lot of questions about any detail without being shy (hours, cleaning, rooms, customs..) You will have to share your life with a family that has already its own rules. And if you will have to work with a very young kid.. try to learn a bit of Italian!
Thanks to Nicolas Serrurier and Laura Grande Figueras