For people looking for work abroad and the chance to experience another culture, country and language, Au Pairing has always been a popular and worthwhile option, especially in and around Europe. However, until recently, it was a relatively unknown concept in Argentina. Thanks to Au Pair in Argentina, set up by British Expat Anna Templeton, that’s all changing. Expanish Spanish School Blog wanted to find out a bit more….
Tell us a bit about Au pair Argentina
So Au Pair in Argentina introduces fun, enthusiastic and experienced British, American, French and German au pairs to warm, open minded Argentine families. We like learning through play, so au pairs are encouraged to get creative with the kids, cook, do arts and crafts, play games. It makes their job more fun, but also means the kids learna new language without noticing. We arm au pairs with lots of activity ideas in our welcome packs and at orientation.
The positions we have are either live in or live out and the hours are normally 25 a week so great for a steady income and for still having time to explore the city, study Spanish, have fun. Our live in positions are great for those who want the full immersion experience, and have an avenue to practice their Spanish (out of working hours), and live out seems to be preferable to au pairs already living in Argentina who don’t want to give up their flat, but want a job that is rewarding and fun and not in an office! Both are great for getting to see the “real” Argentina, learn about the culture, make Argentine friends and get properly stuck into living abroad.
I was an au pair so I know it can be a bit lonely some times, so Au Pair in Argentina arranges events, days out and social gatherings for our au pairs so they can get to know each other, and see bits of the country that they might not have seen before.
Tell us a bit about why you founded Au pair Argentina?
As I said I was an au pair, and I thought it was a brilliant experience. I loved the job satisfaction I got, the bond I made with the family and it really helped my Spanish. I was quite surprised that in a country which has masses of bilingual schools and a real interest in learning a second language, that the au pair scheme was not available. So I thought why not set up Au Pair in Argentina…
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you end up living in Buenos Aires?
On a whim. I was frustrated by London; my freelance job that felt like it had hit a dead end and really wanted a change. My friend had been transferred to Argentina with her work and suggested I joined her. She had a flat paid for by work, where I could stay, so it seemed like a no brainer. Was supposed to only come for 6 months, but after several months of enjoying myself I founded Au Pair in Argentina. I was having a great time; I was excited by Au pair in Argentina so it seemed silly to leave. I initially extended my stay for a couple of months, this turned into a couple of months more, and suddenly I had been in Buenos Aires for almost 2 years!
What cultural differences will Au pairs notice when working closely with Argentine families?
I think appearance is a big one. The majority of us are vain, but Porteños take pride in appearance to a new level. What you look like, how you dress, the impression you give through your style/look matters big time. Also tidiness. Most of our au pairs are pretty neat and tidy people, but not by Argentine standards. That is definitely one of the most common complaints we get, that au pairs are messy and this can just be because they left some clothes on their bed!
Also I would say timing. Au Pairs need to prepare themselves for the more laid back schedule; the vague arrangements, the eating late, the mañana attitude. I personally think this is a perk, but each to their own
What kind of people do you get applying to be Au pairs?
All sorts; 45 year old people starting again, 18 year old gap year folk, people studying in their year abroad, Russians, Danish, English, Americans, everyone! Sadly we only take native German, French and English speaking 18 – 30 year olds who have some level of childcare experience, so we can’t help everyone who gets in touch.
List your top 5 favorite things about Buenos Aires
The “onda” so cool, underground and with an amazingly positive energy
The people – they are supposedly the most unfriendly in the country, but I love Porteños, never before have I felt so welcome in a country
The beautiful old houses – Peaches – So stylish and cool.
Social life; eating out is cheap and great, night life is cracking, people are friendly
Spring – I love how Buenos Aires turns purple with the Jacaranda, the weather is amazing, and the people come out to play
And your bottom 5…worst!
Crime – I have been mugged twice and it was not fun
Ever increasing inflation – how can my shop cost AR$150 pesos one week and AR$200 the next?
The dog poo on the streets – particularly in autumn where the leaves made it impossible to see where to avoid
Dulce de leche – controversial I know, but found in almost every sweet dish, which as a hater means puddings are hard
No change – where is it all?
If you could give one piece of advice to newcomers to Buenos Aires, what would it be?
Bring chillis and cheddar
And lastly…we have to ask this. How is your Spanish?
Good, finally feel confident in it…doesn’t mean I still don’t make MASSES of faux pas !