I am beyond happy with my decision to push myself outside of my comfort zone as an au pair through the Walk and Talk Program with GeoVisions. My host family was the most welcoming group of people I have ever encountered.From day one, they wanted to know I was alright with everything and went above and beyond making sure I felt comfortable. There were no extra duties, such as housekeeping, beyond what we talked about before I arrived, like so many of my friends who didn’t use GeoVisions encountered.
I really clicked well with my host kids. As an au pair, I had a lot of time where I was able to work with them each. Mostly, however, it involved baking. My host daughter loved baking and always wanted to make a new cake to decorate. I taught her one of my favorite recipes, which I think is really special. It was great working in the kitchen with my kids because it allowed them to work with vocabulary that they might not encounter in books since cooking/baking language can be kind of abstract. My host son, meanwhile, loved eating whenever we had a slight mistake with anything we baked.
Probably one of the greatest experiences I had in Spain was being able to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner for my family. While cooking isn’t for everyone, and it can be a big undertaking to take on Thanksgiving dinner, it was fun to share my foods with them. They all got to try something new to eat and enjoy. Since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, it meant a lot that I got to share it with my new family.
Besides getting to spend time with my family, there was a lot of free time during the day to meet new people and experience Spain. I made friends that I know I will keep in contact with for years to come. I even got to travel with some of them on the weekends to other places around Europe! The free time outside of taking care of my host kids and speaking with my host parents was a true blessing of doing the Walk and Talk in Spain Program. I got to visit so many incredible places that I would not have been able to visit if I had not lived in Spain.
The hardest thing for me with living in Spain was being away during the holidays. I stayed until after Christmas in 2014 and missed spending Christmas with my family in America. Although I really enjoyed getting to spend Christmas with my host family, and will never forget getting to experience their family traditions, if you choose to live abroad you need to understand the sacrifices of not being at home during certain times of the year. It was difficult for me, and I don’t even like Christmas.
Even though it was hard to be away for the holidays last year, I am once again living in Spain. I fell in love with the country as an au pair so much that I decided to find a job working here on a more permanent basis. I learned about teaching assistant programs while here last year and decided it was something that I should pursue. Luckily, I already had a support system in Spain via my family and friends, so the adjustment to working in Spain was much easier than it was for others.
I wouldn’t change anything about my au pair experience in Spain. I got to live a new culture with an amazing family. I also got to have a new family in a foreign country that I still keep in contact with today.
I know if they ever come and visit in America, I would love to show them around and help in whatever way I can to make their experience great because they are the reason I fell in love with their country. And, without GeoVisions, I never would have had the opportunity to meet them.