I travelled to Italy for 3 months as an au pair. My experience had it’s ups and downs and I would like to share them with you. First off, my review of the Celtic Child Care Agency is great. They were there for me when I needed them and helped me with everything. This was my first time being an au pair and when I read the reviews when I was deciding on becoming an au pair, all experiences were great. But sometimes that isn’t the case. Not every au pair experience is amazing so that is why I would like to share mine. Throughout my experience I learned a lot. I became more independent in myself and over came many obstacles. I have never bussed or trained before in Canada, so going to live in Italy for three months, was a big change because I had to bus and train everywhere. Not only the transportation but the culture is a big change as well. I worked with two families during the three months. In my opinion, both families are very child orientated meaning that the children have the say. For example, if I asked them to do something such as writing something in English (I was there to teach them English), and if they didn’t want to do it, they would call their mom and their mom would say they don’t have to do it. Another example is their mom told me their schedule for July, and they had to be home for 2pm for lunch. The girls wanted to stay at the beach longer but I said no, we have to go for lunch, but we will be back after to go swimming. They would not listen to me. And they called their mom and got to stay at the beach. In my opinion, communication is key, and I had troubles in Italy trying to communicate with the parents for both families. I stayed with a family for the first month, and a different family for the last two months. The first family was accusing me of something I did not do (they were saying I was not watching the children- which they heard from peers at the park- and this was not the case). Celtic Child Care Agency got me a different family very quickly and I was thankful for that.
Another communication issue I had was for the month of July- we went to the family’s sea side. I was not told that I was not allowed to stay at the sea side on weekends which caused a huge issue because I had to leave and also transport to Turin city at my own expense which cost about 40 euros in total for one weekend- which is almost half my pay just for transportation). This is where Celtic Child Care Agency helped me a lot. I was able to stay at a place thanks to them, which I was very grateful for.
Another communication issue I had with the first family I stayed with was plans. For example, the parents would come home and say they are going out for dinner, and not invite me so I would be alone for dinner. They never left food for me so I had a hard time figuring out what I was going to eat. This happened a lot, where they would go out for dinner and not tell me until last minute.
Another issue was payment. In the month of June, I was working 6 hours a day- Monday through Friday- getting 100€. For the month of July, I worked 14 hour days, and still getting paid 100€. I asked them why I am not getting paid more and they said because I had Monday morning off and SOME Friday evenings off (only 2/5 Friday evenings off). Working that amount of hours and only getting that pay was very difficult.
Another issue I had was meals. For example, the family invited me out for ice cream and I would have to pay for my own. In my opinion, usually if someone invites you out for ice cream, they usually pay for you. Another issue was dinner. Most dinners I had frozen chicken and pasta with tomato sauce when the family would eat something different.
I am not saying my au pair experience was awful. Because I did have fun, learned a lot, and got to travel on the weekends- going to places such as Rome, Milan, Venice, cinque terre, etc. I got to meet other au pairs at hostels and made new friends. I got to spend my time at the beach at their sea side with the two girls. But there can be ups and downs and I just want people to know- looking into this- that sometimes it isn’t perfect.
Celtic Child Care Agency helped me when I needed a place to stay and when I needed to switch families. But I want to be clear that the culture is very different and sometimes the environment. It was a good experience, and like I said before, I truly learned a lot. If you are reading this and want to message me, please do! I am very open