I changed my habits

Maria from Valencia (Spain) went to the UK for five months to work as an au pair. She had a great time with her host family near Birmingham: “It is one of the best experiences life gave to me so far.”

A picture of Birmingham

Hello! My name is Maria, I am 23 years old, from Valencia. I was doing an English degree in Spain, but decided to take a gap in the United Kingdom (UK). I taught Spanish before but this is my first experience as an au pair. To be honest, at the beginning I was a bit scared but now I have realised it is one of the best experiences life gave to me.

First all things were new to me

I have been staying there from February until July. I am in a little village called Polesworth, close to Birmingham. First of all, I tried to adapt myself, the accent, remembering names, writing down emergency numbers, meeting the neighbours, discovering the kitchen, learning the rules of the house, timetables, etc. The mother is very nice and flexible, she respects my time and weekends off.

The children (one girl and one boy) are caring, well-behaved, polite and are learning Spanish very quickly, thanks to my cards and games. Sometimes, they can be a bit stressful just because they are tired, and then they try to check my boundaries and test me.

We learn from each other

When they become a bit cheeky, we relax talking about the problem and try to make a deal and see what the best for everyone is; sometimes the cultural clash shows in some reactions but we have learned to respect and to learn from each other.

Back in Spain: I miss my host family!

Before going to bed, they give me a kiss and sing me the Spanish song I taught them which is really cute and makes my day, or night:-). I went to Bristol with them, we had a picnic and I participated in helping the school raising funds organizing tombolas and discos. All the mothers know me! Right now, I am away in Spain for two weeks because I have to take my exams and we are missing each other already, we talk through Skype!

It is like an exchange of habits

It is a very gratifying experience, it is like an exchange of habits. I improved my cooking, they corrected my pronunciation; I teach them Spanish, they give me hugs all the time. To be honest, I cannot be more grateful with this experience since also I have met the man of my life who is moving with me to Spain next September. Could I expect a better experience?