Hello! My name is Ophélia (middle in the photo), I am from Perpinan - a small city in the south of France. I had a 1 year break from university to improve my English and gain personal skills, so I decided to join BLC’s Demi au Pair programme for 4 months in Bristol.
Hometown of the famous Banksy, Bristol is a vibrant city in South West England. With an artistic, historical and cultural heritage, it is also known as the European capital of Street Art and Graffiti, and was voted among the top 10 best cities to live in England. Indeed, it is the perfect compromise between megalopolis (like London) and small town. The price of transport, rents and wages, are reasonable. Its two universities mean the age profile of the city is young and international. This makes it a vibrant city with lively streets throughout the week, both day and evening.
The Harbourside on a sunny day
There are many areas to discover, the most attractive being: Clifton, Redland, Stokes Croft, Montpelier, Harborside and Old City. My favourite was the Harbourside, right next to the city centre. It's nice to stroll along the docks, or to relax with a coffee or meal in one of the many independent cafes and restaurants.
I chose the Demi au Pair programme in particular because above all I wanted to have a personal experience. It was also a good idea to save money (as accommodation is included), and to make good progress with my English during lessons at school. Indeed I could speak every day with my host family, during the dinner for example. We bonded quickly and had a good relationship with each other.
My typical day as an au pair looked like this:
Morning: lessons between 9:15am and 12:30pm at BLC.
my work started around 3:30pm, when I had to pick the kids up from school (generally near to the house, in the same quarter) and stay with them until 7:00pm before the diner. We did a lot of things (board games, painting, listening to music....) and sometimes you need to cook for the kids and take care after them during a night/per week. It depends how your timetable is established with your family.
The thing I enjoyed the most was that I was treated like a member of the family. Everything was similar for me (dinner, activities we did together) and I was even able to invite my own family to Bristol to stay for a weekend – my family and my host family all had dinner together!
A traditional Sunday Roast
My advice to other people interested in the programme: you need a lot of communication between the host family and you about everything. Remember that they are here for you and will help you as they can - you should be clear with your host family about your expectations and find a compromise with them. You also need to take good care of the kids and treat them as if they were a member of your family. Take this experience as a real job, but better! I had a great time with my family and would definitely recommend the experience to other people.
Dinner with friends from BLC
I hope my tips and experiences can help you. This was just a glimpse of all the great things you can do in Bristol and as an au pair ... Now it's up to you to write your story and share it!
- Ophélia Sauvaget | BLC Demi au Pair student 2018-2019
For more information about BLC's Demi au Pair programme contact Katie on firstname.lastname@example.org
For our French speaking friends, be sure to check out Ophelia's full recommendations for «Que faire à Bristol» here