A Romanian girl talks about her experience in Belgium as Au-pair
After spending eight months in Sliven (Bulgaria) as an EVS (European Voluntary Service) volunteer, Delia Rusu decided to have another experience abroad. Three months before finishing her EVS placement, she began to search online for an au-pair vacancy. “A Spanish friend told me about a website and I started to look for information about how I could become an au-pair and find a good family. It seemed an interesting and exciting opportunity so I said to myself ‘Why not?’”.
When I ask Delia why being an au-pair is a good experience, she says: “I can do something instead of doing nothing and be paid for it”. In addition, “if you like to help people, this could be a good opportunity”. She also mentions that she loves to meet new people and learn from them as this helps her own development. “I like finding my limits in different circumstances and working on them”.
Delia, who studied Social Work and did a Masters in Supervision and Social Planning, wanted to make sure that she found a good family: “Every day for a month I sent ‘Watch my profile’ requests. After about three weeks of searching, I started Skype interviews”. Delia says that the first two interviews she had were not successful, but she didn’t give up and eventually found a lovely family from Charleroi (Belgium). She talked with them several times on Skype before agreeing to work for them as she believes that you shouldn’t rely just on emails.
Delia has been living in Charleroi for one month now – she is planning to stay there for one year – and she hasn’t had any problems so far. I ask her about the benefits of being an au-pair. “I have my own room and the key of the house which means privacy. In addition, my host family pays for food, utilities, transport and give me monthly pocket money.” Delia also wants to add that “everything is legal - I am registered at the municipality, I signed a contract before arriving and have a Belgium bank account and medical insurance”.
Delia takes care of a nine-year-old girl from Monday to Saturday, does some light cleaning in the house and the garden. She also has long conversations with the family in English because they want to improve their language skills. “Sundays are my free days and I’ve just visited the city so far”, she adds. She also tells me that the family is planning to go on holidays to Turkey – where they were born - and that she will go there with them: “I will spend twelve days in Istanbul and twenty days in Bodrum. I feel so lucky!”
Delia wants to give you some advice in case you are considering becoming an au-pair. “Your criteria and priorities have to be clear before you begin to search. But don’t be afraid! Don’t let bad experiences of other people discourage you! There are many great families waiting for you.”
Delia is definitely having great fun and she thinks that being an au-pair is a completely different experience compared to EVS because “you have a very different schedule and you are in charge of someone.’
So now it’s up to you, you could be the next Delia!
Produced by Silvia Corral