(Closed) Becoming an au pair… Spain or Ireland?

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
  • poll: Which country should I choose?
    Spain : (14 votes)
    42 %
    Ireland : (19 votes)
    58 %
  • Post # 17
    368 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2000


    Technically a visa is a permit to enter a country, not to remain. I know you colloquially meant ‘residency permission’ but it makes things smoother if you become a stickler for the terminology straight out of the gate, because governments sure are. If you are American, you don’t need a visa to enter either country. 

    I live in Ireland and I’m American (though my naturalisation application is in a government office somewhere at this very moment). Someone mentioned going through an agency. I know nothing about this, but if that’s a possiblilty I’d do it. The reality of dealing with this on your own looks a little more like this: 


    and this 


    If you register as a stamp 2 (student on a full-time university course), you can work 20 hours a week during term time and 40 hours a week during holidays. This would have to be accounted for in your plans.

    You can also get a stamp 2a (non-degree course like a language school or vocational training). On this stamp you are not permitted to work. 

    University courses are expensive for non-EU students. About €12,000 a year. About US$16,000. I worked as much as allowed during my time at university, but I still needed substantial savings. Also, you are required to have private health insurance. This is much cheaper than in the States, but you’re still looking at about a grand a year.

    I know you wanted a more touch-y feel-y answer, but these are the realities. It can be done, but god knows I wouldn’t have gotten through it if I didn’t love this country with my heart and soul (and one of its citizens more particularly). I’ve done it (minus the au pair bit), but you’d better go into it eyes wide open. It nearly broke me a couple of times trying to stay here. Life is tough for emigrants the world over, and I’m pretty sure the US is sheltered from news of the economic crazies that have gone down in the PIIGS countries (and you picked two of them) http://www.economist.com/node/15838029 

    Moving to Ireland was the best thing I ever did. Managing to stay here was the most difficult. 

    Post # 18
    722 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: January 2014

    @shrubfish09:  Hi – I thought I would chime in…  I work abroad.  Without getting to into the work visa situations.  I will say Spain and Italiy are monsters to deal with anything for immigraton especially if you are a US citizen.  

    So, one of my questions would be…  Are you a US citizen or a member of the EU?  If your a member of the EU there is no problem.  There is also no problem if you have duel citizenship US/ EU.

    Lastly, the countries meantioned, France in particular has many programs for young people even if they are US citizens.  Most of the time they wish you to be 25 or younger then are qualified for a special visa to live and work there for certain amounts of time.

    I wish you luck.  And I suggest you do check into the visa situation if you are not an EU citizen.  Wink

    side note:  The only reason I’m allowed to stay and live abroad is because I’m in a country where my fiance can sponser me.  Not an EU country by the way.  But, we still had to go through hell with documents and all the immigration stuff.  It took about 3 months for me to get permission to stay in the country I’m in now.  And interestingly I am Spanish but was lacking some paperwork for the Spain embassy and they would not grant me a visa.  Economy very bad there and immigration difficult to deal with.

    Post # 19
    2123 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014 - DD born 2015 DS born 2017

    If you would enjoy the challenge of living in a country with a different native language, different culture and food, then definitely Spain. If the thought of that scares/intimidates you, then Ireland is for you 🙂 

    Post # 20
    221 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    I voted Ireland because I have been living in Ireland for the last 16 years (I’m French). I love it here; the people are so nice and down to earth. Yes it is a somewhat touristy country (no more than every other country in Europe though), but a lot less than Spain. I have lived in Spain (many years ago), and also travel there for work regularly through the year, and Spain is a lot more touristy than Ireland. You will also find that although Ireland has a high unemployment level at the moment, people are a lot nicer to foreigners here than in Spain. Obviously, I am slightly biased, but I chose Ireland over Spain for a reason! Regarding the weather, yes it does rain a lot here, but we had a great year last year, and a brilliant summer.


    Let me know if you have any questions and let us know what you choose!

    Post # 21
    221 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    @dv3849:  ah that’s a typical sight!! The road are totally unadapted to larger vehicles… They somehow make it work though! And we do have a lot more larger roads nowadays. I cringe when I see that though!!

    Post # 22
    6524 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: September 2013

    @shrubfish09:  this is tough…ive been to both abd loved them both. They are both beautiful. Ireland is more relaxed and you can appreciate nature like you never have before.

    Then there is Spain, its, lively, great food and wine.

    Both countries also have great people, everyone is friendly.

    I can’t choose bc I loved them both so much. Im actually going back to Ireland this year. We are going to Italy and Ireland fkr our 1 year anniversary

    Post # 23
    1311 posts
    Bumble bee

    I’d definitely vote for Spain as it’s my second favourite place in the world, and I’m biased because I used to live there!  Spain is gorgeous, the weather is wonderful, the opportunity to gain fluency in a language is priceless, and most importantly, I love their culture.  They are wonderfully warm, welcoming people.  Plus if you ever wanted to buy something for yourself, the cost of living in Spain is generally cheaper than most European countries.  Go to Spain!!! 😀

    Post # 24
    1274 posts
    Bumble bee

    In your case I would probably first see which family you ‘fit’ with better. But Spain would be amazing, and since you already have some language skills it would be really great to brush up on while you’re there. Another language is a really great and marketable skill, moreso now than ever. 

    I took French (required here in Ontario/Canada) all through school and lost a lot of it once I wasn’t immersed in it every day. I can read in French for the most part, but speaking it or trying to decipher what someone is saying to me if they don’t speak EXTREMELY SLOWLY? Pfft.    

    Ireland would also be amazing, but I think the benefits of the language skills you will be forced to acquire might be a greater benefit to you in the long run. 

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