Interview with Sophie from Germany:Top 10 questions about Au Pair in china
Would like to know what it is like to be an Au Pair in the beautiful city Shanghai? Let's check out our Au Pair Sophie's intriguing experience in China with Wanderlust Exchange :)
Hello everyone, I am Sophie, I am a German Au pair here in Shanghai, I am going to talk with you about my experience. As an Au Pair I have been in China for almost a year. I will tell you some little advice and hope it could help you.
Q1:What makes you want to be an au pair?
My family travels a lot, and my parents already told me they are gonna be mad at me if I stop studying in my gap year. “Do something for fun,” they said something like that. So I told myself, I am already interested in Chinese history and what can I do to go to China for a year. And I figured to become an au pair for which I can stay in China and learn everything. I am good at taking care of kids, and I can teach language. Everything fits perfectly. So here I am.
Q2:Why do you choose China as your destination for being an au pair?
As I said before, I am interested in China. Plus I am planning to study historical knowledge. I mean, China has a really long history. And I am a history nerd. So I would love to see real things instead of pictures on history books and lessons. In addition to that, it’s also just interesting to see a lost century, how far it went in such a short time. At the beginning of 20th century China was definitely not the state right now. So it’s interesting to see and to experience what it feels like to live in China and what’s the difference between China and German.
Q3:What makes you choose Wanderlust to fulfill your Au Pair China program?
When I start thinking about taking a gap year, I found an amazing poster in my school. Wanderlust Exchange is our partner agency, and it fits perfectly. They get back to me really quickly. I want to go to Shanghai, there are two families in Shanghai for me to choose from. I think this is really cool. Because I was at the end of my school career and I was kind of worried that I was not able to go to China because it may not be fast enough. But in about two weeks, Wanderlust Exchange found me two families and I was like, here we go, guys, this is great!
Q4:To what extent do you think Wanderlust has been helpful through the whole process?
They are really helpful! I texted them, asked them questions and they helped me in every way. They helped me with my visa, my flights and everything. When I first came to China they are super helpful. The first weeks, when I felt worst, emm, you just feel uncomfortable when you are away from home, and my host family, they are kind of like my boss so…… But I can go to Wanderlust Exchange and ask them questions. And them will help me with everything.
Q5:What is your impression of Shanghai City? Any recommendations?
Shanghai is different and refreshing.I love skyscrapers and Shanghai has plenty of tall buildings, which is nice. At the same time, Shanghai has some small houses, a bunch of small parts and that’s amazing. And by the way, you can find those small spots in walking distance and they are really cool. Generally speaking, it has one of most famous skylights in the entire world. And if you want to go some nice quiet place, the long road along Huangpu River is in a way a garden or basically a long park, you can just walk along the riverside. It’s really pretty there! I had my birthday there and walked about 10 km. It’s pretty cool.
Q6:Have you been through culture differences and homesickness? Any suggestions for new Au Pairs? I was homesick at the first few weeks, because it was very different from German and I was kind of scared. In my country, I would be surrounded by mud friends and family. Now I was alone. That’s the most homesick moment I have ever felt. But Wanderlust Exchange helped me a lot. And I had a great time with host family. So the homesickness just go away.
As for culture shock it wasn’t that big as I expected. Especially if you are in Shanghai, the cultural difference is really manageable as long as you expect it to be different and accept its difference. After all, you are living in a different country.
Q7:Can you introduce your host family and describe your responsibilities?
My host child is 7 years old, and he’s very cute. He’s like the little brother you always wanted to have. I have my host mom called Chen and her English is really good so if I have any problem, I will just go and talk to her. They live close to grandpa, so the grandpa will come visit pretty everyday and it’s really cool.
When it comes to responsibilities, I have to teach Ryan English, so we have a one-hour lesson everyday. But it also depends on your host family. Some host family will not ask for a planing lesson, they may just let you chat with the children.
Q8:What is the most difficult part in your Au Pair experience?
At the beginning, the young boy upset me. Because he didn’t understand me and just keep talking and not listening. And I was like “please don’t ignore me.” But it only takes three months and that wasn’t a problem any more. Other than that, everything is perfect because my host family is really NICE!
Oh, there was one funny thing: I was told that Chinese people can be very indirect, so when my host family said to me “Oh you are great, my English is much better”, I was like “She’s trying to tell me in a indirect way that her English is terrible and I am doing a terrible job, right?” And it makes me scared. But that sure is not the case. Anyway, just talk to your host family all the time.
Q9:Please elaborate the most unforgettable thing during this experience?
I think I have two things. My host family travels a lot. We went to Hainan, a different tropical place in China. It was amazing. We went to many islands and tourist spots and I wear trousers all the time since it’s 30℃ and kind of hot. It was really an amazing trip!
The other things was in Shanghai. One of the program is for you to collect points and can use the points to change stuff. And I got enough points to invite my host family to go to a famous landmark. We went there in the evening and it is REALLY cool. We were high up the clouds and there were lights everywhere. We had a great moment.
Q10:Would you like to share your feelings when you were in quarantine period?
It was about five days and I felt like I have nothing to do. I was just sitting there and napping all day long. Sometimes I will talk to some of my friends and they will panic because I don’t want to leave China early. For me, there was not enough reason to leave early. But it was hard because a lot of friends would say, no this is really bad and you should come back right now. I was confused about what to do. But finally I realized nothing bad will happen if you just obey the rules, like, wash your hands and don’t go outside. And everything was fine. My host grandma almost cried when I told them I planned to leave. She was really happy when I tell her I am going to stay longer. And I was like,” the family is crying for my leaving, they must love me very much,YES!”
That’s all my experience and I hope my advice can help you, and it is could be a very good experience if you could be an au pair and I hope you can go to Shanghai to be the au pair!!!
Considering covid-19 and border policy, it is a sensitive period for everyone to travel abroad and spend time in a brand new country. Many thanks to Sophie and many more Wanderlust Exchange Au Pairs for choosing and believing in us. WE will always be here to support and to serve you!
Best wishes to all the Au Pairs in China and wish you all had an unforgettable adventure : )