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Au Pair Soraya’s Experience in China during the COVID-19 An Exclusive Interview from a German media

While the situation is getting more and more intensive all around the world, China seems to start embracing the normal life again. Our German au pair Soraya Stühmer has experienced the outbreak of the virus and its outcome in Shanghai. Recently, she was interviewed by a local newspaper from her hometown and it's been translated into English (Thank you Soraya)! Let's have a look of Soraya's life in China during this special time.


Back to normal 

"The situation in China is definitely better than the situation in Europe. Shanghai gets back to normal again. The number of the infected residents in Shanghai doesn’t increase anymore'', says the 20-year-old girl. Now only those who are coming back from foreign countries have the coronavirus here in Shanghai. Anybody who comes back from another country has to be quarantined for 14 days. When people show symptoms of the virus at the airport, they need to stay at special quarantine hotels in Shanghai for 2 weeks. Others will get special drivers who drive them home without having contact with anyone else so that they won't infect others. These people will be registered and when they are at home, they will have special sensors at their doors so that the guards from the apartments can hear when the doors are open. "Because of that, they can’t leave their houses and stay inside for total 14 days. The guards of the apartments will bring them food and other important groceries." 

About 80-90 % of the people in Shanghai are back to work again. But they still have to wear masks while they are working, otherwise they are not allowed to go to work. Some canteens haven't been open yet. Schools are also still closed and students still have online classes.  "Many parks are opening again and also a lot of restaurants and malls are opening. My host family and I take a walk outside every weekend now. A lot more people are going outside again but still not everybody. Everyone is still wearing masks and you are not allowed to enter malls or supermarkets if you don’t wear one.” 

People get their temperature tested at a lot of entrances, even at the gates of their own apartments. Every resident has a special QR Code on their phone. "This code collects information from big database and you can check where the person has been to since the outbreak of virus, based on the color of the code. If it's red, it means that the person was in an area where there was (a) confirmed case(s); If the code is green, then everything is fine. For example, this code needs to be shown at the subway station. If the color is red, you are not allowed to enter. Just a certain amount of people is allowed to take a subway at the same time, in order to prevent the situation that too many people getting together at once."

"But the overall situation is much better now. We are not scared to get the virus anymore because the number of the infected people is not increasing. We can go out again and don’t need to stay inside our apartment. Even some parts of the Disneyland opened again. The weather right now is also very nice. That’s why a lot of people are going out now."

Soraya Stühmer is in China since last summer. First, she was in a family in Suzhou and changed to a new family at the beginning of this year. "My host family and I get along very well. Last weekend I decided to spend more time in China because I like it so much. I will go back to Germany at the end of August." Her Chinese gets better and she can already understand a lot and tries to speak more. Her main task is to take care of the 5-year-old host kid Lauren and teach him English.

Before the outbreak of virus, Soraya and the host kids read at bookstore

Now they read at home (under the table XD)


WE would like to express our gratitude to all the host families and au pairs: you have been taking care of each other as well as sharing love and happiness with each other during this special and sensitive time, which would be an essential contribution to the cultural exchange program!

Last but not least, We hope to welcome the upcoming au pairs in China and give you a warm embrace soon in the near future!

*The original article is written by Elko Laubeck and published in Dithmarscher Landeszeitung.


No one knows what we will face in the weeks ahead,

but everyone knows enough to understand that COVID-19 will test our capacities to be kind and generous,

and to see beyond ourselves and our own interests.

Our task now is to bring the best of who we are and what we do to a world that is more complex and more confused than any of us would like it to be.

May we all proceed with wisdom and grace.

—By Lawrence S. Bacow, the President of Harvard University

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