Hola, Espana

Senior plans gap year as au pair in Spain

Carley Sherer, staff writer

As many BV students get ready to leave for college in the fall, senior Nikita Larson will be embarking on a 10-month journey to Spain to live and work for a family as an au pair.

“The family that I’ve committed to live in a suburb in northern Madrid called Monte Carmello,” Larson said.  “As an au pair, I’m responsible for taking care of the kids, [an 8-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl], in the family, I will live with and I will teach them English.”

During the day after getting the kids ready for school, Larson said she is eager to study Spanish at a local language school.

“I’ve been taking Spanish since kindergarten,” Larson said. “I love Spanish—I love the language and I wanted to study it in college.  This experience will hopefully give me a leg up and I’ll possibly have to take less classes when I go to college as I will be obtaining a certificate from the [language] school.”

Like many other high school graduates, Larson is still unsure about what she wants to do in life, which is what led her to consider taking a year to travel.

“I wasn’t super excited about my college options.  I’m not completely sure [what I want] to do with my life—I’ve always thought I wanted to study business, but now I may be considering other [career paths],” Larson said. “I thought I should take the time off to figure that out before I go right into school.”

I was looking into other [alternatives], and I found the au pair program,” Larson said. “I thought it was a great opportunity to improve my Spanish, travel for less money and do something I really like while figuring out my plans [for the future] and myself while I’m there.”

Larson is lucky enough to have her parent’s full support of her decision to live in Spain for the year.

“They’re really supportive,” Larson said.  “They lived in France [themselves] for a couple years when I was younger and they’ve always been big travelers, so they’re excited for me, too.”

Though Larson is looking forward to her gap year in Spain, she still has worries about her decision.

“I’m not so much scared about moving away, I’ve always wanted to go somewhere far away after [high school].  I’m most scared of not liking the family because we’ve only talked for about two hours total, I don’t know them that well,” Larson said.

“I’m afraid I’ll be overwhelmed by everything because I’ll be living with a young family—I will need my alone time and it may be difficult to separate work from living with the family.  It’s going to be a little scary going into a whole new country and culture.”

Despite her fears, Larson is not only eager to immerse herself in Spanish culture, but to spend time with her host family, who she says have been very welcoming so far.

“I’m really excited to be with the kids.  I’ve been a nanny before, and I [really enjoyed] it,” Larson said.  “I will be helping the kids get ready for school and helping them with homework in the evenings, as well as eating dinner with my host family.  It will be awesome to experience another culture and learn about a language I love.”