So, imagine you’re struggling with a language you’ve been studying for over 3 years and you’re waiting for the day you never have to say “Ciao” ever again. Then your Italian teacher announces her friend in Milan needs an Au pair and your Mom decides that it’s the best idea ever! Less than 3 weeks later, you’re on a flight to Milan, to a family you don’t know, to a country you don’t know and to speak a language you officially hate. Well, I didn’t have to imagine, it was my reality. I was 17 and totally freaked out, but what I didn’t know was that this trip was going to be the start of an amazing 10 years of Au pairing, teaching and nannying in Milan, Italy.
So, if you’re considering au pairing or nannying in Italy I want to give you some tips on the first steps…. Finding the Family and What to ask?
1. Finding a Family in Italy
I was lucky with my experience of finding my first family in Italy, as it was a contact of my Italian teachers. I have now worked with over 10 families in Italy as a Nanny, Au pair and a teacher. Some of my experiences were a little less than perfect, but luckily enough, the majority were fantastic.
My first job I found myself in Italy was through EasyAupair.com. You make a profile and tell the families about yourself. You can grab the family’s attention and if they like you, they will contact. After I spoke to the family I interviewed with the Mom and I began the next month.
I used EuroPlacements and found them great. They really put effort into matching you with the right family. Although I never took a position with them as I was offered the work in the schools, I would recommend them to anyone interested in working in Italy as a Nanny, Au pair or teacher. Unlike the websites, you have the support of their team behind you to make the experience great for both parties.
EasyMilano is a magazine for English speakers in Milan. Although this is primarily for Milan you can find a lot of summer jobs advertised for all over Italy and sometimes abroad. I met one of the icest families I have ever worked for through this magazine. My advice is to have a read of the monthly notices and put in your own advert, which is free.
2. What to ask?
This is by far the most important thing for me! I made mistakes with this aspect because I was shy and didn’t want to bring up certain topics. My advice, ask it all! Have it clear and written for both parties. Some of the subjects I avoided were:
Hours: Have your daily hours clear and any weekend days you may be asked to work.
Pay: So, as an Au pair you get “pocket money”. I started on 70 euro a week with my first experience and as an au pair I eventually was paid 180 a week. You need to discuss the payment. Yes, an au pair is about exchange of experience, rather than making money. That said, I can tell you that if all you are earning is 70 a week, you won’t have the opportunity to travel or experience Italy, like you should.
Extras: As an Au pair your food is covered. If you eat a particular way, discuss and organise how you and the family will work out shopping and dinner times. This is important because if you’re in Italy, you will be eating pasta every day!
Going out: You need to have these terms super clear from the get go. I was lucky with this because I was very clear from the beginning. I will be going out A LOT! I went to discos, bars, trips and had sleepovers, but I never let down the family or the children for that matter. The point is, do ask, find out what the family think and state your opinion and then compromise. Overtime, both parties will grow a trust and understanding but at the beginning this is a crucial step.
Holidays: I went on incredible holidays to Sardinia and Riccione with some families but be warned; Holidays usually mean more hours of work. I was fine with this but you need to have those hours clear because holidays for the family can turn into 2 weeks of non-stop work for you.
I really hope this will help anyone thinking of taking a flight over to be an Au pair or Nanny in Italy. I will have another post about embracing the culture and making friends as an Au pair.
I’m No Pro