Interviewer: Good evening everyone, and welcome to another program in the "Working Holidays" series. Our guest today is Anna who will be talking about her experiences as an au pair. Anna, nice to have you with us tonight. Anna: I’m very happy to be here. Interviewer: So, first of all, why did you decide to become an au pair?
Anna: After I finished school I didn’t know whether to start earning money or continue studying. I decided to take a gap year and come to London, which would give me the time to decide what to do. I had some experience with children, but not much. I like children so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem.
Interviewer: And what about the family you worked for?
Anna: Luckily I found a family I really liked. They were great.
Interviewer: In what way?
Anna: The kids were really nice. When they went on a school trip I missed them a lot. But, at least I had some free time for myself and the family sent me a plane ticket so I didn’t have to pay for it. My best friend was lucky, too. Her family paid for her language course. But some people I know had families that weren’t so nice. They were suspicious, set times for them to come home, forced the au pairs to do a lot of housework. But what they disliked most was that they gave them so much to do that they had no time to do a language course, which was the reason why they were in Britain.
Interviewer: What sort of work is normal for an au pair?
Anna: About 20 to 30 hours a week; helping to prepare dinner and breakfast. Learn the names of foods – it’s very useful! You also have to help the kids get ready for school, do a bit of tidying, perhaps a bit of ironing.
Interviewer: What tips would you have for people looking for an au pair job? For example, does your English have to be very good?
Anna: Not really. You can manage even with poor English, the kids will teach you very quickly! But bring some money with you. London is expensive and with the money you get you won’t be able to pay for things like language courses and trips around Britain.
Interviewer: Thank you for coming to the studio today, Anna.
Anna: You’re very welcome. It’s been a pleasure.
Adapted from: Club, March 2002

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