Wise Owl Babysitting

Candi

Candi travels around the world with an unusual portable career – she is a Nanny. In this interview, she shares her interesting and inspiring experience.

Where is home for you and what took you abroad?
Oh good grief, where is home? Well it is a long story, as they say “Home is where the heart is” and right now it is in Vienna. To give you a brief background to my story, I was born in Italy and lived there until I was eight years old, in the first eight years of my life I lived in Palermo, Piacenza and Reggio Calabria and went to at least three nursery schools. When I was eight we moved to Istanbul and I was there for three years, after that I returned to Italy where I lived until I was 18. I then left to live and attend College in Eastbourne, East Sussex. I was there for two years and then moved to Brussels for my first job as a Nanny, after a year I moved to Monza, after a year I moved to Houston, then London after three years, back to Houston after a year. I lived in Houston for 15 years, bought a house there and then moved to Vienna two years ago. Thank goodness I was going to be brief! So as you can see I moved abroad for work as an adult but I also moved abroad because of my father’s work as a child.

How does one become a certified nanny, and where did you train?
In my days (I sound old now) there used to be a qualification called N.N.E.B. it was a two year training course that covered everything to do with children from birth to 7 years of age, from Child Health to Child Nutrition, Child Development to Child Psychology, Play with a purpose to First Aid and a lot more, they were two very intense years. The course was not only theoretical but it was practical too, in fact I had to undertake many, many hours on placements with children of different ages and in different scenarios. I spent 12 weeks in a Maternity Ward of a hospital for example – I was lucky enough to see two babies being born and got a lot of hands on experience looking after very young babies, learning about new mothers, breastfeeding and a lot of health related issues. I trained at Eastbourne College of Arts and Technology. Since then things have changed, the course is now called B.T.E.C. in Nursery Nursing – I think the syllabus has also changed since I trained.

Candi2What have been your experiences as baby-sitter? Did you start out as au-pair?
I started looking after children for fun when I was very young; I love children and have always been able to relate well to them. My parents decided to foster a young girl when I was still living at home, she was two when she came to stay with us and four when she left us, it was a very sad time when she did. She and I became good friends and having her around helped me make the final decision as to what I was going to do when I “grew up”. I decided I would train as a Nanny and in fact my first job was in Brussels, looking after a three month old adorable little girl.

You offer “child drop-off”, evening and week-end baby-sitting – which service is the most required?
So far the evening babysitting has been the most popular, however I am just starting out so things may change drastically in the next few months. I came to Austria to work for a family; I have since left them and have started working independently. At present I am working as a Nanny Part- time and I have started Wise Owl Babysitting but I am a one man, or should I say woman, band. The plan is to eventually turn Wise Owl Babysitting into a proper Nanny Agency, it has been a long time dream of mine and I am hoping that it will soon become reality.

How do you make yourself known when you arrive in a new country?
I have always moved to a country because an agency, in the United Kingdom had placed me in a job. Moving to a new country as most people know can be tough, working as a Nanny is actually somewhat harder because you are part of a family but you aren’t really part of it and the people you meet initially are people close to your employers so you feel as if you are always “on duty”. It is important however to meet people outside of the work environment, local people if possible and make your own network of friends and acquaintances. Nannying can be a very isolating job if you are not outgoing or if you end in a small town. In this day and age with Facebook, Internet and all sort of other social outlets it is much easier to find people who have the same interests as you do. The first few months are relatively hard as you are adjusting to a new job, new city, new rules, a new language and a lot more. I have been in Vienna just over two years now and I have managed to meet a lot of people who in turn have introduced me to other people and then the ball starts rolling.

How did you organise yourself for the payment? Do you pay taxes in each country you live and work?
Working as a Nanny it is important to make sure that you pay proper taxes in the country you are living in and if you are lucky or if you plan properly, the country you are living in will have a reciprocity agreement with your home country so that when you retire you will have a pension to rely on. If you are a citizen of many countries it is important to find out where you stand with your own country’s tax system, sometime you have to file taxes for one country even though you are living abroad (i.e. USA)
When you take up a role as a Nanny through an agency you usually have the agency sort out all the monetary issues with the family before you accept the position with the family, payment is usually once a month into a bank account of your choosing.

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About Claudia Landini

Claudia is a certified intercultural trainer and mobile career coach with 28 years of experience abroad, in Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Africa.