Working as an Au Pair in Italy

Episode Description

In this week’s podcast episode, I was able to get a chance to sit down and talk with someone who’s not an emigrant, but with an experience of working in another country from the US to Italy. 

Maggie, who had her first experience of moving out of the US to study in Florence, was captivated by Italy’s beauty, which made her look for an opportunity to go back to this country after finishing her studies. 

While going through the process, Maggie encountered this unique job called ‘Au Pair.’ An Au Pair is simply a term for a tourist living with a host family to get herself immersed in the culture and take care of the children while doing some light housework.

From an emigration perspective, finding a host family and working as an Au Pair could be a great way to make the jump into an unknown country way less scary. In most cases, you would have a place to stay, a family to rely on that can introduce you to the new country, and an income. Consider being an Au Pair while you’re looking for a job that will lead you to a work permit.

Au Pairing also gives you the chance to get yourself immersed in the culture of your chosen country, and that will significantly determine your resolution of whether your choice of country is right for you. 

With the abundant information from Maggie’s personal experiences of being an Au Pair, this episode will serve as a great source of help to those who are planning to be an Au Pair themselves.

Get in touch with Maggie

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Tips and key takeaways


Episode Transcript

Maggie 0:03

My host parents were really great about that they like, especially when I first got there really explained to me like, okay, this is the bus stop you need or this is how you get, you know, to wherever. So they were really helpful with explaining even just how to get around the city, but then yeah doing giving me recommendations for Rome and my host mom would be like, oh, like she brings something up at the dinner table. And she's like, What? You haven't seen that yet? Like, there's so much to see. I haven't seen everything.

Daniel 0:40

Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 18 of the Emigrant's Life Podcast, where we share stories of people who left their country to choose a better life. I'm De Biasi. And this episode is a little bit different. My guest this week Maggie is not an emigrant yet. But she's going to share her experience of being an 'au pair'. Being an au pair is a great option to move to a new country because you will have an accommodation, someone to rely on and an income which will make the process of moving abroad into unknown situation way less scary. If this word au pair is new to you, au pair is someone from a foreign country who helps a family take care of the children as well as some housework. 'Au pair' is a French word that means equal to which is intended that if you are an au pair, you kind of become a member of the family rather than a traditional nanny or babysitter. Maggie is going to talk about pro and cons of being an au pair. tips to find the right family and the website she used. You can find all the links and everything we discussed in the show notes on 18. Before moving to my conversation with Maggie, consider subscribing to the podcast and it would be great. If you go give us an honest review on Apple podcast or Podchaser. You can find the links for Apple podcast and Podchaser in the show notes as well. And now without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Maggie.

Hi, Maggie, how are you?

Maggie 2:06

Hi, I'm good. How are you?

Daniel 2:08

Pretty good. Thanks. Pretty good. Thanks for being on the show.

Maggie 2:11

Yeah, I'm happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Daniel 2:14

No, no worries. Um, this episode is a little bit different because I usually interview people that they are emigrant. The people that move overseas and move to a new country. But in your case, you are not an immigrant yet. Right?

Maggie 2:27

Right. Correct. Not yet.

Daniel 2:29

You're planning to move to Italy at some point?

Maggie 2:32

I hope to. Yes.

Daniel 2:34

But you're today you are here today to talk about au pairing, right?

Maggie 2:38

Yeah, definitely. I was an au pair in Italy last fall.

Daniel 2:42

So au pair for people that like me don't know how to spell it is spelled like a-u-p-a-i-r and but it's pronounced au pair. And can you tell me a little bit more what's first of all, what is an au pair?

Maggie 2:57

So an au pair is basically a live in nanny or babysitter, you could say. A lot of people hire au pairs so that their children can learn another language. So for me going to Italy, a lot of Italian families are looking for English speaking au pairs. So the main job really is to speak with the children in English, or whatever language they're trying to learn. So that they can learn it in a very like natural way.

Daniel 3:25

And this is why I thin au pair could be a great resource for people that are they want to make they want to make the first step into a new country because this is an opportunity for people to have an accommodation and have an income right away. Right?

Maggie 3:39


Daniel 3:41

And also probably in some cases, I don't know if that was your case. Maybe they can even like a pick you up from the airport, which is for some people that could be a huge help. I mean, even moving to a new country is a big deal. At least having somebody that's waiting for you on the other side and pick you up from the airport to show you around. And I don't know.

Maggie 3:59


Daniel 3:59

Explain to you a little bit about the country, I think that's a huge help.

Maggie 4:03

Yeah, definitely my family, my host family sent a car for me. And actually, when I arrived at their house, my cell phone wasn't working yet. I couldn't figure out how to get it to work in Italy quite yet. So my driver was super nice. And let me borrow his phone so I could call them and be like, I'm here, I'm outside. I finally made it. So yeah, I experienced a lot of like kindness right when I arrived, which is really nice.

Daniel 4:27

That's awesome. And it was this the reason why you use au pair for yout first, so actually, you because you didn't use the au pair the first time you went to Italy?

Maggie 4:37

Correct. So I studied abroad in Florence, like three years ago. So for that I just went through a program through my university and I was living in Florence for five months just in an apartment with other students. So when I decided to au pair it was really just a way for me to get back to Italy to have a place to stay a little bit of income and really just be more involved in the culture than I was when I studied there because when you're living with a family, you really get to know the culture a lot better and the language too so it's learning Italian.

Daniel 5:11

So that's the reason why you use au pair the second time just be more integrated with Italian culture?

Maggie 5:17

Yeah, definitely. Because when you're living with other students, you don't really get, you know, you don't necessarily get interaction with local people, unless you're going out and getting that which I had with my professors, or if I went, you know, out to a cafe. But when you're living with a family, you get to know you know, like their family, their friends, you're part of the children's lives, you go to activities with the kids. So you're really like living your Italian life, because you're so integrated into their family.

Daniel 5:47

And I think because it's Italy, you probably have a lot of culture around food binge around Italian, which you probably don't have if you are a tourist, or if you don't know the right people that they don't hang out with Italians, right?

Maggie 6:00

Yeah. Yes, we had dinner together every night, which was great, amazing food.

Daniel 6:06

And what's the process to become an Au Pair? Is that's how you call yourself like, au pair?

Maggie 6:11

Mm hmm. Yeah. Okay. So I actually went through an agency. So a lot of people use, there's a website called Au pair World, I think. So you can make a profile and find families in whatever country you want to go to. But I ended up using an agency called Rome Abroad, which is based in the US. But they send au pairs, or as they call us, travelers, to different countries. So I think they do like Italy, Spain, France, and China, I believe right now. So working with them, they actually matched me with families. And then I could interview with the families if I thought they were a good fit. And I had decided I wanted to go to Rome, because I'd already lived in Florence, I wanted something new. And I have visited Rome before. So I really liked it. So they connected me with families in Rome. And actually the first family I interviewed with ended up being my host family, we just connected really well, when we video chatted, so I ended up being their au pair.

Daniel 7:09

Okay, and what's the difference between going with an agency and do it on your own?

Maggie 7:15

I think the nice thing about having an agency, at least for me was that they could connect me to other au pairs once I had arrived. So it's an easy way to make friends. And then also you just kind of have another context. So if you're ever in trouble for some reason, or you just need to, like sort out an issue, they're always there for you, which is nice when you're living so far from home.

Daniel 7:37

Okay, but does that mean that you have to pay this agency or they have a cut over, your earning? How does that work?

Maggie 7:43

Yeah, so for my agency, I'm not sure about others, mine, you pay an upfront cost for their services, but then you still get paid every week that you are an au pair. So it is more costly to go through an agency. But I felt like in the long run, it just made me feel better to like have that agency to back me up if if something ever were to go wrong. And then also just to be connected to the other parents that they knew were in Italy, and especially in Rome, like two of my friends were also from the same agency. So that was really nice.

Daniel 8:14

And speaking of money, because I heard other people, because I did some research before the interview. And I heard other people that were kind of not complaining, but they were like, cons of appearing was the earning, the money you can actually make. It's actually pretty little. But when you're considering all the service and you have an accomodation, you have food, you have a family and like a support from this family. What's your takeaway about earnings about the income of oversharing?

Maggie 8:46

Yeah, definitely, it could be considered a con, I think, because you don't make as much. I mean, I definitely didn't make as much as I would make doing the same job in the US. But like you said, you get free accommodation. You don't have to pay for any of your meals unless you want to go out to eat one night. And then yeah, you do get the experience of living with a family locally. So you definitely don't earn as much as you could, you know, doing other jobs, or maybe had I stayed in the US, I could have earned more but when I weighed out the experience and having a place to stay, food, etc. It made it worth it to me.

Daniel 9:24

Okay, but was that enough for you to sustain yourself? Or was just for example, if you will, if you start with a no with a if you leave your country with $1,000 in your bank account, for example. At the end of the experience, do you think you will have the same amount of money in your bank account more or less?

Maggie 9:40

Yeah, definitely less. I think it depends also like how much you travel while you're there and how much you spend on a weekly basis. But I definitely saved up keeping in mind that I would only be making, I made like 70 euros a week. So I saved money going into it knowing that I wouldn't be making a lot. And then I ended up traveling some so I kind of knew like, this was my one chance to like, do a lot of travel again, because I was in Europe, it's so easy to travel in Europe. So I think if I hadn't traveled as much, I definitely would have been okay. But yeah, you, you have to save up for it. I think if, especially if you're coming from the US, and you want to have those experiences like traveling, but if you want to just really stay where you are, which is totally fine, too. I ended up feeling like I left Rome too much. Like, I wish I had stayed a lot of times when I had booked weekend trips, but yeah, I think if you say and you're really conscious of it, you can make it work.

Daniel 10:40

Okay, perfect. And so that means you when you do this, you have enough free time to, to actually do a little bit of traveling and maybe for for some people, because of how I see it is for people, not just the traveling for I'm trying to focus for people that wants to emigrate, so use this as a gateway to go and move to a new country. So the way I see it is you do au pair, at the beginning of your experience of stay and like make your first steps into a new country, and use your spare time maybe to find another job to get you to the next level to actually make you find a sponsor to get from that kind of sponsor you get a work permit to stay longer in the country. Do you think you will have enough free time to be able to do that?

Maggie 11:26

Yeah, definitely. I had friends who were also au pairs that taught English either on the weekend or mornings where they weren't working. So for example, my schedule was I had the mornings free, I'll always and then I would pick up the kids from school, around lunchtime, they didn't eat lunch at school. So we would go home, I would make them lunch. And then we would hang out, work on their English or their homework, and then go to their activities for the evening. And then we would be home in time to eat dinner with the family. So there's definitely time in the morning. And then you almost always have your weekends free. I mean, some families that might be different, but usually you can get a feel for that before you go over. So there's definitely time for extra an extra job or looking for a job.

Daniel 12:12

And all of these things are discussed before you get there when you talk about your scheduled your duties and everything when you meet a family over FaceTime or Skype or whatever?

Maggie 12:23

Yeah, yes. So I video chatted with the family, and had a lot of questions for them, they had questions for me. So we kind of got to know each other first and then talked about the schedule and expectations. So I had a really clear idea of like, what my hours would be going into it and what I'd be making pay wise. And then once I got there, you know, of course, you get to know the family. And maybe you help out around the house a little more like, for example, I would make the kids beds in the morning, I would take out the trash if it needs to be taken out because both of my host parents bike to work, so they couldn't really manage the kids and the trash and whatever so that was one of my jobs. And then of course, like after dinner, I would obviously help them clean up or help them cook dinner. And always like be around and asking if they needed help. So I think that really helps too to make the relationship really good is to always be willing to like help out and really be a part of the family. And, you know, if I were at home with my own parents, I would help them cook and help them clean up. So it's the same deal when you're living with a different family I guess.

Daniel 13:31

Yeah fair enough. Um, do you have any maybe some tips that you can give to people that they're going to the first interview or when they review the this family or what's the maybe things that you learn from your experience the things that you might need to ask? Because sometimes even like I'm talking about the money, I'm about to get paid maybe some kind of like a topic that people don't want to discuss. And do you have any other tips do you want to share?

Maggie 13:57

Yeah, I mean, definitely go in with questions. And I think the first the first thing that's the most important is like feeling out, you know, like, I don't want to say the vibe, but you know, there's a certain like energy you can feel from the people. So with my host family, I felt like we got along instantly. And that was really great. And I think what's really important is asking about the kids. So, you know, what do they like to do, their ages, what activities do they have. For me, I had already been a babysitter for a very long time and my host family ended up being a boy and a girl. And I had babysat a lot of different families that also just had a boy and a girl. So I definitely knew like how the relationship worked and how to take care of kids at that age. So that was important. I think also one thing that's really important too is asking where they live in the city, especially for a city like Rome. It's very big. There are a lot of different neighborhoods and they have a couple friends who ended up being like very far out of the city center. So it wasn't super ideal for them to, you know, come into the city at night or things like that. So I think getting a good idea of where they live is important too. And then for me, I didn't really have to ask about pay, because that was just set by the agencies. So it wasn't something I had to talk about with them, because I already knew what it would be. But yeah, I think just getting a getting a feel for them and making sure you know, they seem like a good fit for you.

Daniel 15:32

Okay, perfect. And sorry, how I got back to money again, I think, is this an important thing for people that move the move abroad?

Maggie 15:40


Daniel 15:40

Because the other thing heard from other people is that paid is a little bit this is like a gray area where people usually pay you in cash and they pay weekly, monthly, sometimes they forget to pay you. Is it different with an agency? So if you go for an agency that you get paid for the agency, like you will be through, I don't know, like Airbnb, or they kind of things that you you host and you get paid through the agency?

Maggie 16:05

No, so actually, it was just directly from the host family. So kind of similar, where you just get paid in cash. I don't know, other agencies are different, but it's a little bit hard, because you're, you know, oftentimes just on a tourist visa, so you can't technically work. So it definitely is a gray area for a period, I think for anyone just with, you know, getting or not being on a certain type of visa. So yeah, the family just paid me directly.

Daniel 16:35

Okay. And is there any requirement to become an Au Pair?

Maggie 16:40

I think just having prior experience, taking care of children is a big thing. Um, I know a lot of people, maybe I've taught English before or been a teacher, but I think just having experienced either being a babysitter or a nanny is important, because you're basically your one job is to take care of the children so.

Daniel 17:00

Okay, so there's no like age requirements or language requirements as far as you know?

Maggie 17:05

I'm not sure about age, I think agencies might have a limit, like maybe you have to be 18. But I'm not totally sure. I think most most of the au pairs I know are at least 18 or older.

Daniel 17:20

You know, I would imagine that you probably need to be 18 years old to do yeah, just legally to do something like this. But I was maybe thinking maybe there's an age between, I don't know, between 18 and 35, or something like that, anybody when somebody is 50s, or the 40s can do something like that.

Maggie 17:38

Yeah, you know, I'm not sure about like, like a maximum age requirements. I think the oldest Au Pair I met during my time in Rome was late 20s. So I think typically, it's viewed as something you can do when you're younger, because you know, you aren't tied down to maybe a partner or a family. So you you have the freedom to travel. I don't think I mean, I don't think there is a max age limit. But I think typically, it's viewed as something younger people do.

Daniel 18:07

Yeah, no, no, make sense. I mean, it because it's, it's something that you can do, you can only do alone, a couple can't apply to be Au Pair together, right?

Maggie 18:17

Not that I know of.

Daniel 18:18

That's what I what I imagined.

Maggie 18:20


Daniel 18:20

So one of the requirements or one of the reason why they they hire you like let's let's call it hire you was to to teach English to the kids, right, mainly, or what was the biggest reason why they hired to take care of the kids or to teach them the language or both? I don't know.

Maggie 18:38

Definitely both, I think I mean, I think they're both equally as important. But definitely teaching English is a big, big deal. So a lot of at least a lot of Italian families look for people where English is their mother tongue. But I do have a friend is Dutch and she is no parent speaks English with the kids because she's at a high enough level of English where she's fluent she she has a very good grasp of the language, so she can do it. But I would say definitely teaching English. So for me because I speak both Italian and English. And my youngest child when I was in Rome was six. I spoke you know, both languages because she wasn't at an age where she knew enough English. So I think it would have been really frustrated if I'd only spoken English with her. I mean, she would have she would have picked up but it would have been, you know, maybe a little bit more frustrating for her than if I could, you know, switch between the languages. But I do have friends who only spoke English, they didn't know any Italian and they they got along just fine so.

Daniel 19:41

I can't even imagine being in that situation where you can you can only speak your own language and you can't understand what they say is. At least the parents who are speaking English, right?

Maggie 19:50

Yes, so my host mom was actually Spanish but had lived in Italy for many years. My host dad was Italian but they both spoke Italian In English, Spanish so often at the dinner table, it was a mixture of all three languages. So I learned a little bit more Spanish again, which is good.

Daniel 20:11

Yeah. Because you told me that you you grew up learning and speaking Spanish, right?

Maggie 20:17

Yeah. So I learned Spanish ever since I was young. I think that's the experience of most people in the US is Spanish is the second language you usually focus on. So I studied it all the way until I went to university and then just switched to Italian because that's where I wanted to be. And that's the language that I was more passionate about.

Daniel 20:38

It's a good language. And did you find because another thing I find out from my research is that sometimes being an Au Pair could be or could feel unsafe, because you get into somebody's house I was in could be some like a weird situation. Did you witness any of the situation? How did you feel about safety when you when you move to with this family?

Maggie 21:04

Yeah, I mean, I felt completely safe. I think for me, that was another reason I went through the agency was just to know that they had already checked out these families, a lot of the families that they recommend have had previous au pairs, so you can speak to their previous au pair, I was actually the first au pair for my host family so I didn't, I wasn't able to speak to like a previous au pair. But I felt really safe about it, because we had video chatted a couple times. And then actually, before I left, we video chatted with my parents so they could meet each other. So that was really important for my parents to do and my host family actually really loved it because Italians are so like family oriented. So I felt safe and I also, I was familiar with the area they lived in already, since I had been to Rome, I had friends that studied there. So I knew the area they lived in, and it turned out to be really great, really safe. I do have a friend who ended up being in a neighborhood that wasn't as ideal. So she I feel like missed out a little bit on some experiences, because she was, you know, maybe more afraid to leave her house when it was later at night or early in the morning things like that, especially, you know, as a woman being alone in a foreign country. If you don't necessarily speak the language or feel safe, you know, that could really make your experience very different, I think. But overall, I felt very safe about it.

Daniel 22:33

Even never even your friend and she didn't feel safe now because of the family. But actually for the city and the area she was living in.

Maggie 22:40


Daniel 22:41

I didn't ask you about what age did you did you move to Italy? When what age did you do your au pair experience?

Maggie 22:48

Yes. So I was 23. I'm 24 now so.

Daniel 22:52

Okay, so it was it was last year, right?

Maggie 22:54

Yep. Yeah. Last fall. So September through December 2019.

Daniel 22:58

Sweet. You were on just on a tourist visa at this point, right?

Maggie 23:02

Yes. Yep.

Daniel 23:03

What was the visa because I never interviewed somebody that actually went to Italy or tried to move to Italy its the first time so how was the the visa? How long was the visa?

Maggie 23:14

So when you're on a tourist visa, it's not something you have to apply for as a US citizen when you're going to Europe. So you can be in the Schengen zone, which is, I think it's 26 countries in Europe, you're probably familiar with it. But you can be in that zone for 90 days, and then 180 day period. So I made sure I booked my flights where I was there, I think I was there like 89 days, so that it didn't go past might be said date. And then have the pandemic not happened I wouldn't have been able to return until after like, mid March. So I would have had to wait 90 days once I got back to the US to go back if I was going on a tourist visa. And so but like I told you, I had planned to go on a student visa and take Italian classes. And so that that's a different visa process so you can stay longer on the student visa.

Daniel 24:08

Okay, and do you know if you if when you're a student, can you are you allowed to work in Italy?

Maggie 24:14

Yes. So I believe on the student visa. There's a certain number of hours you can work per week. I don't know what it is exactly. But yes, you can work on a student visa.

Daniel 24:25

Do you think like a via an Au Pair can be compatible if you're a student?

Maggie 24:31

Um, you know, I think a lot of people if they're doing their masters or their university in Italy, they do au pair. I don't know anyone personally, but I am part of a lot of Au Pair Facebook groups and I've seen a lot of people who are maybe at university in Rome, and looking for a family to live with. I think that's mostly for maybe other Europeans who are studying in Italy. And it's obviously a lot easier if you're you know, European citizen to move to a different country in Europe. But yeah, you could definitely do it as a student.

Daniel 25:05

So you will have enough time to take classes and studying and everything right?

Maggie 25:10

Yeah, I think you would have to find a family that could be flexible with your class schedule, but I think it could work for sure. And one of my friends, actually was doing University just online while she was an au pair, so she had plenty of time to do her classes, just online and then take care of the kids too.

Daniel 25:28

Okay, that's awesome. Yeah. Okay. Do you have any other no pro cons about Au Pair? in general?

Maggie 25:36

Yeah, I mean, for me, there were a lot more pros and cons. For me, the pros were being able to live abroad and have a place to stay food, etc, and not have to pay for that. That was a big thing. because ever since I'd studied in Italy, I really wanted to return. So this was really one of the few ways that I felt like I could do that. feasibly. Another pro for me was that it was really easy to learn the language living with the host family, and then just living you know, in a in Rome, you also get to experience another culture firsthand, because you're living, you know, with Italian, so to be able to experience the culture like to that level. And to get to know it so much more was really important for me. I think the cons would be maybe a little bit less freedom than you're used to, and you're just living at home or on your own because you are constricted by your schedule. And you know what your host family is doing. I didn't find this to be like, a hard thing. I went on a weekend trip to London, because my cousin was living there and my host family was very nice about arranging that, so that I could leave like one day early and not work for one day and then make up another day so they were really flexible. But I know like some people that might have been, you know, really hard for them to maybe have that conversation with their host parent or feel like they couldn't skip out on work or you know, things like that. I think also, for some people a con may be some of the cultural differences if you're not used to them. So like, eating dinner together, which I didn't think that thing but you know, some of you might not be used to that, or just, you know, the way Italians live is different than American. So if you're not used to that you might, you know, find it strange or hard to adjust to. So I think it was helpful that I had already lived in Italy and kind of knew some of these things. But for friends who hadn't been there before, it might have been harder to adjust. And then again, another con might be the pay so like if I had just stayed in the US and worked there, I would have made more money, but I wanted to have this experience so I moved to Italy.

Daniel 27:53

Yeah. No, fair enough, I say I think is a great, great opportunity that you can you can do that. And as we discussed before, being able to live with Italian family in Italy, I think is the best way to live the country.

Maggie 28:07

Yeah, definitely.

Daniel 28:08

Because correct me if I'm wrong, but if it goes, have you been to Rome twice the first time on your own? And the second time you were living there with a family?

Maggie 28:17

Yeah, I've actually been there three times.

Daniel 28:19


Maggie 28:20

I had, I had visited twice. And then I moved to there. So

Daniel 28:24

yeah. And did you see any difference between going there on your own and living there with a family and people from Italy?

Maggie 28:31

Oh, definitely. Yeah. I mean, because I was there a longer amount of time, I got to know the city so much more. And then just having the host family I mean, I got to know their extended family. So I would bring the kids to their grandma's house every Thursday afternoon. So then I got to know the grandma, the cousin, you know, the odd everyone. So that like was really nice, because like if it was raining out and we didn't want to take the bus, you know, the aunt would like drive by the bus station and pick us up, save us from the rain. And you know, I was always invited to like their family birthday dinners at the grandma's house and things like that. So it's definitely a different experience when you're living there and you have a home base like that, like you get to know your neighborhood. But even just you know, most mornings during the week I would just walk around the city and go like sketch somewhere, write somewhere. So you get a lot of time to really get to know the city and I mean, Rome you need like 1000 lifetimes to discover everything but I feel like I have a pretty good grasp now of like places in Rome city like all the neighborhoods yeah.

Daniel 29:46

Yeah because another thing that I'm so I'm because I'm Italian I know the cultural difference between Italian culture and American culture. Yeah. And I don't know being like being around Italians even like a breakfast for example. If you are an American and go to Italy and you have the freedom to make breakfast whatever you want you will have an American breakfast. Because when I talk to people in Canada or was in New Zealand I was talking about breakfast being something sweet people look at me like I was coming from another planet. What are you talking about? Like sweet for breakfast? And vice versa when I talk about to Italia instead we don't hear North America we don't have sweet breakfast it can be really breakfast. These simple things like if you don't know and if you don't like I get into the culture and talk with people it know these kind of things even Yeah, I don't know if it to the cafe in the morning and have like a croissant and cappuccino, they kind of think that Italians for Italians is totally normal. That's what you do when you go to the cafe. But for an American or for somebody else, it's not that common. Maybe they don't even go to the cafe they go on the pub to get a breakfast because that's the kind of things you do in North America.

Maggie 31:01


Daniel 31:02

So all of these and even for for me as Italian how remember when I used to travel, even find the right restaurant with the proper food. You can follow where tourists go, that's usually the crappy, usually the most expensive and it's not good quality. But if you ask somebody there, a local person they will tell you to go in like a dugout down like this little I don't know, alley or little street, like a restaurant that look like the GPS can't find in the best food run by a family. Maybe the grandma is cooking food that is the best food that you can have. You can't, you can't find that if you don't integrate with the culture, if you don't speak the language in the way that au pair and living with a family they can tell you even like a tourist attraction if like don't go there, because it's expensive, it's busyband it's actually worth a goal without which is likely to say but it's free. You know, they can set you over necessarily done or if you're on your own, or if you follow a tourist guide.

Maggie 32:08

Yeah, no, totally. My my host parents were really great about that they like especially when I first got there really explained to me like okay, this is the bus stop you need or this is how you get, you know, to wherever. So they were really helpful with explaining even just how to get around the city. But then yeah, doing, like, giving me recommendations for Rome. And my host mom would be like, oh, like she brings something up at the dinner table. And she's like, what, you haven't seen that yet? Like, I'd be like, there's so much to see. I haven't seen everything. So yeah, they were always giving me recommendations. And then I was always doing like day trips on the weekends. And they were always like, yeah, you're seeing more Italy than we've seen. So it was funny, they were like a little bit jealous that I was traveling so much. But yeah, they were super helpful for like getting used to Rome and figuring out how to how to get around.

Daniel 33:06

Yeah, that's awesome. And do you wanna do you have anything else do you want to add to that we didn't discussed?

Maggie 33:14

I guess I just really loved being an Au Pair because it's a super easy way to live abroad and you know, get that cultural experience like I talked about. I think my one piece of advice would be like to be intentional about why you're going so for me, I wanted to live in Italy again try it out again. So it was really great for that to be a part of the culture and a part of the city for the three months that I was there. And I think it's really important to get to know like where you are and don't spend too much time traveling so that you can get to know where you're living and spend time with your host family because they're great.

Daniel 33:52

Yeah, no no you're totally right and this can be even for somebody that are planning to move to another county having an idea of the new county if they like it or not, because the other thing maybe you decide to be wants to move to Italy or Spain or France. You go there like a no I kind of sweet stuff for breakfast I will never leave the country if they have like a sweet breakfast.

Maggie 34:13

Yeah, I don't know why anyone thinks having cookies for breakfast or cake for breakfast is wrong. I think its great. It's way better than American breakfast.

Daniel 34:24

You agree right in America, you don't have cookies for breakfast.

Maggie 34:28

No, people would look at you like you're crazy.

Daniel 34:32

Yeah, definitely people do when I was having my tea and biscuits in the morning like Daniel what are you doing? Its not breakfast, like that's dessert.

Maggie 34:41

Yeah. So funny.

Daniel 34:44

So another thing I want to talk to you because one other thing, the main thing actually for for this podcast is to help people like like you pretty much in your situation that wants to move abroad to I don't know to give it like the resources, tips and stories. Whatever. Everything they need to, to actually do it. What's exactly people in your situation, what kind of like a resources or tips are looking for when they're moving abroad?

Maggie 35:10

Yeah, I mean, before I made the decision to be an au pair, kind of like, while I was in the process of becoming one, I watched a lot of like YouTube videos by people who had done it before listening to their experience, you can always use Google search and see what comes up about Au pairinh\g. I have a bit of information about it, like on my website. But I think for me, what really helped was just like watching, even just vlogs of people who were au pairs, and seeing kind of like what a day in their life looked like. And then, of course, my agency had a lot of resources too so if you do choose to go through an agency, they can kind of give you a lot of information about it. But I would say just, you know, watching videos, or reading blogs about people have done it, or even just reach out to people, you know, that have done an Au Pair before and ask them about their experience. I think that helps to just kind of get like the first hand account of what it's really like to be an au pair. And the best way to do that is just to talk to people who have done it.

Daniel 36:16

How do you connect with other people that actually did it through the agency or like Facebook groups? Or how do you connect with other Au Pairs?

Maggie 36:23

Yeah, I would say both. Um, so through my agency, I was in like a group message with the other au pairs. And then there are also au pair of Facebook groups so you can really just search like au pair in Rome or something like that. Otherwise, like expats in Rome. And through that, you can actually like post, post there, ask questions, or once you get to your destination, you can reach out and say you're looking for friends and meet people that way. So, um, yeah, so definitely like Facebook groups. And then if you do go through an agency, they can connect you with other au pairs.

Daniel 37:04

Awesome. And where people can find you if they want to get in touch with you. I want to know more about your your story how you did it, and maybe a question about au pair?

Maggie 37:13

Yeah, definitely. So my Instagram name is justattheartful every day and that's also the name of my blog, which is So you can DM me on Instagram or my emails on my website, also.

Daniel 37:29

Awesome. I will put everything in the show notes for people that want to reach out to you. Awesome. Thank you very much for for taking the time to do this interview.

Maggie 37:36

Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Daniel 37:39

Hopefully will be like episode number two, like the second the continuation on this one. when you move to Italy. We'll interview again and see how it goes.

Maggie 37:48

Yeah, check back in like a year maybe.

Daniel 37:51

Let's see how the COVID situation's gonna work out.

Maggie 37:55


Daniel 37:56

Alrighty. Thank you very much.

Maggie 37:58

Thank you.

Daniel 37:59


Maggie 38:00


Daniel 38:02

Thank you so much for tuning in this week. You guys just cry wherever you listen to your podcast. And please consider giving us a review. It would help this podcast growing and reach more people. You can find the show notes and more stories on And if you want to be on the show, you can visit story. One more thing before we go. I'm starting a video series on YouTube where I'm going to share everything I know about immigrating. Things from my personal experience and from people interview on the show. The first episode will be out a few days after this episode is released, and I'm pretty excited about it. If you don't want to miss it, consider subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you have any specific topic you want me to cover in these videos, send me an email at thanks again for listening. Talk to you in the next one. Ciao!