We are so impressed by how many of our au pairs donate their time and talents to community service work. This week’s spotlight is on Miriam Carod Royo. Miriam is an au pair from Spain living with her host family in Hawaii and a State Winner for the 2016 Au Pair Community Service Awards. She shared the following about her volunteer work as a language assistant, teaching Spanish in a local school.
My name is Miriam and I originally come from Barcelona, a lively Spanish city near the Mediterranean Sea. A few months ago I decided it was time to go ahead with my dream of traveling to the States while doing something I loved: taking care of children. A few weeks after entering the program of Au Pair in America, I found the perfect family for me. And not long after that, the 31st December 2015, I landed in Hawaii, a place that doesn’t stop to amaze me (and I hope is going to stay that way)!
When I entered the program of Au Pair in America I had in mind the idea of volunteering or at least participate in the community I would be living in. Something you have to know about me is that back in Spain I am a translator and a teacher, reason why I thought it would be a perfect match for me if the volunteering activity I chose was to help in the Spanish (or language) classes of any schools in the area.
Lucky enough I was granted permission to be a language assistant in the Spanish classes of the Honolulu Waldorf School, the same school my kids are attending. Waldorf Schools have a different approach than regular schools worldwide: they encourage analytic thinking and stimulate creativity through arts. What I do in my volunteering hours is more or less like being a second Spanish teacher or an assistant: I help with any doubts, I give a hand with class activities, and sometimes I am able to be in front of the room and teach part of the class.
The most interesting part about all of these is that I am learning. Really? Yes, really! I see a different kind of teaching approach, new methods, new ways of doing different things and I even learn more Spanish words (used in South and Central America compared to the ones used in Spain). The thing is that their teacher comes from Central America, so her Spanish is quite different from the one from my country: here is where we complement each other giving the students a full view and better insight of the language.
So, as you can see it’s not only me who is benefitting from this experience, it’s a win-win situation for all of us: the teacher, the students and me. And I am glad I can help no matter how small is my contribution. Some of the most memorable moments was being part of a mercado; a fruit market typical from South America, where the students had brought real food and they practiced what they had learned by communicating with each other: asking for the price, selling, buying, haggling a price and so on, like a real one. They wore Mexican clothes and the decoration was very realistic. The best part was at the end, where we all sat down like a big family and ate what we had been buying from the different stalls.
For all of you thinking volunteering might not be your thing just know that helping others (in any way, not only in a school) is a fulfilling experience that makes you richer as a human being and is absolutely worth it. Just go for it, you won’t regret it!
Contact us to view profiles of au pairs like Miriam and to learn how Au Pair in America can be a rewarding cultural experience and child care solution for your entire family.