To do an Au pair program in Chile is rather different than in other countries. Obviously, the breathtaking landscapes, the beautiful nature and the Spanish language are factors that make your stay special but there are more differences that you will notice. Especially in the house.
Chilean families are usually bigger than European or US-American families. This does not mean that cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents live in one house. They will surely come for visits though, especially on the weekends. Families like to do BBQs on Saturday or Sunday, enjoying the sun and the delicious smell and taste of huge chunks of meat on the grill and the yummy appetizers in form of Choripan (Chorizo and delicious bread). Family members are always welcome and visit each other frequently. Rounds of 10 and more people are a common party in Chile. Tíos, sobrínos, abuelos with their counterparts, and family friends fill the house, listen to music and enjoy good company with a glass of Pisco Sour or good Chilean wine in hand.
While family members usually go back home after the weekend or the BBQ, there is a member of the household who stays longer: the nana. Families contract nanas for cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children. As different as the tasks each individual nana might be doing, is her age (all age categories are represented). Some nanas only cook, some only clean, some combine tasks and are all-rounders. They can come from all kind of Latin American countries ranging from Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Paraguay, Bolivia and Dominican Republic.
There are two types of nanas. The nana “puerto adentro” and “puerto afuera”. The first is usually hired by families with children, she lives in the same house as the family and is always there for them. Often, she is a very important person for the children as they spend a lot of time with her. The nana puerta afuera lives in her own home and only comes a few times per week to cook or clean. For that reason, she is the typical nana for (childless) couples and well-situated students. Some families like to have more than just one nana, each of them taking over different tasks. Some families can afford to have an Au pair on top of that. These parents usually want to make sure their children have somebody at any time and in all cases. Truth be told, nanas are also a kind of status symbol – if you can afford many, you probably have the resources for that. Though just a fragment of all families is wealthy enough to do that, do not be startled if you happen to live with a family who also has a nana to take care of the children with you. This can happen and it is only in order for the child to always have a guardian.
Eventual other persons in the house can be the gardener, the pool-boy and the driver. As already stated, only very affluent families can afford that many staff. Most families in Chile either do not have a nana or they have a nana puerta afuera when they have too much work by themselves.