LoPair Education: Au Pair Cultural Exchange Program in China

Video and Photos

2017 IAPA Au Pair of the Year Award Winner | 2018 LoPair Scholarship is calling you!

The LoPair Scholarship Fund exists to help high quality applicants fulfill their dreams of living in China by providing reduced program costs. Don't miss your chance; apply now!

About

Nǐ hǎo! LoPair offers an award-winning cultural exchange program which enables you to become fully immersed in Chinese culture, learn Mandarin, make fantastic friends from across the globe. We'll provide you with a 3-12 month placement in a major Chinese city living in a homestay with a lovely Chinese or Expat family.

Your adventure starts with a three-day group orientation, training and sight-seeing tour in the beautiful city of Hangzhou! You'll get 60 Mandarin class hours per 3 months, fascinating Chinese cultural courses etc. You will become a real family member and assist them with live-in educational childcare and some light household chores up to 30 hours a week — you'll get a room of your own, meals, insurance and international round way flight tickets! On top of this, you will have plenty of chances to explore on your own, with other au pairs and with your family while receiving 1500 RMB pocket money per month and a Completion Bonus for all programs exceeding 6 months!

Questions & Answers

Hi Karlie, I agree with Clara that asking directly Lopair ([email protected]) is the best idea. I am 99% sure it's impossible to have two au pairs in the same family, but I think you guys can manage to be placed in the same city! The matching process might just take a little bit longer, because you have to make sure you both find your families in the same city. Hope this helped, and let me know if...

Reviews

88%
based on 44 reviews
  • Housing 9.3
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 9
  • Value 8.2
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 31 - 44 of 44
Default avatar
Jordan
7/10

My review

My time as an au pair was generally positive. My host family was nice and seemed to be very accepting. They were joyful, relatively open minded people who accepted me into their house and made me feel welcome and at home.

One highlight of my experience was my host brother. He was 5 years old and a blast to be around. He was funny and energetic and had a full happy spirit. He is a great kid. His English still needs work, and I think I helped him a little. He was a little stubborn when it came to learning English, though.

My host family was also a highlight. They were so generous to me and always made sure I had everything I needed. They brought me with them on an overnight trip to a beach, and they brought me to Hong Kong to eat at a famous restaurant. They also bought me countless meals. I am so thankful to them for being so accommodating and amazingly friendly to me.

The only small problem with my host family stemmed from me not knowing if I was doing a good job; my host family was not always very communicative. I did ask them on different occasions if I was doing ok, and they told me yes and that they would tell me directly if something was wrong.

Still in some moments I felt like the family was unhappy with me, and I could understand some of the Chinese they were saying and it seemed like sometimes they were talking about me, but not including me in the conversation. Although personally, I also could have been more proactive in finding out if something was wrong as well.

The Lopair orientation in Hangzhou was only a little helpful for me because my host family did not follow the lopair guidelines very strictly, and many of the issues mentioned never came up during my stay. I did enjoy the sightseeing aspect though. Joey is very friendly. Also it is worth mentioning that in Futian district in Shenzhen you cannot use your metro card to rent a bike, which I was told at the orientation.

My Chinese Teacher Rena was very nice. She helped us get around Shenzhen and find things to do. I wish there was a more official guide to being a foreigner in Shenzhen though. Me and the other au pairs had to find most things ourselves using websites like shenzhenparty and meetup.com. I think instead of having to ask old au pairs and finding things out ourselves, there should already be a list of fun things to do on the Lopair site. Like how to rent bikes for example, or when/where foreigner meet ups happen. And the best parks, hikes, and bars etc.

There was not frequent checking in from Lopair staff, which was not a problem for me, but it could have for others who were struggling more. Shenzhen only had 2 other au pairs, and I feel like because of that it was lonely sometimes. Having the other au pairs from Guangzhou come for culture class was not a good experience though. They really wanted their long trip to be "worth it" and were let down because they did not have a good time. They thought we were being rude, but in reality we were just tired and did not have much in common with them.

I do like how it feels like a family here. Me and the two other au pairs and Rena had a special bond and it was nice. Being friends with them was a highlight of my experience.

One other challenge of my experience was my 12 year old host sister. She would never speak to me in English and only in Chinese, even though her English was pretty good when she did speak. I found it a little rude when she would always say "你猜啊” when I did not understand her. But she is a 12 year old girl so this is probably just normal behavior for that age. Overall this was not a big problem, but a small one that was sometimes a little frustrating.

All in all it was a good time here in SZ and I feel like I have grown into a more independent person. I feel more confident being thrown into a completely new situation than I did before I came here, and I have learned about myself and China tremendously. I have also met some really cool people and hopefully also made some life-long friends.

How can this program be improved?
I think the Chinese lessons could be less textbook based and more based on actual conversation practice and daily life activity. This would be better to supplement our experience. The culture classes could be more language based--scavenger hunts where you have to converse with locals etc. Also I've heard the travel insurance does not cover as much as it should, so maybe fix that as well.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Frances
10/10

Amazing Experience

I have learnt so much being an Au Pair in China. It's an unbelievable experience if you're open to it. Sometimes the language barrier is hard when you're on your own exploring, but it helps you to grow and learn to think on your feet. The cultural differences are also a challenge to get used to, and can become a little bit grating at times, but you get the most amazing pay off, you get to join amazing families, and watch/help the kids learn and grow in spectacular ways.

How can this program be improved?
More cultural activities, or general activities organised by the local co-coordinator.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Micah
9/10

A Wonderful Experience

This program is a truly fascinating and unique experience! You get to experience how people in China actually live and get first-hand experience with the language and the culture. Everyone that I have met has been very nice and supportive, when asking for directions or when I try to speak Chinese. As long as you put the effort into the program it turns out well. Of course there are challenges with language barriers etc... but they can be managed and never get to be to much of a problem.

How can this program be improved?
Every month we have culture class but it is only for 3 hours or so. My suggestion would be to make the time longer so that we have more time to bond with the other au pairs.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Joshua
9/10

My time as an Aupair In Hangzhou

Facing an entirely different culture, particularly one as different as the Chinese, requires a total change of perspectives. The help and guidance by Lopair in this setting was fantastic and with the language lessons it was possible to quickly adapt to the culture.

Most days followed a similar format with the first part of the day free and then spending the afternoon with the children. This allowed exploration of the city I was in and to enjoy what China had to offer. I had a fantastic time getting to know people and also getting to know the family I was with. Meeting other people when out with the children was a wonderful experience. Also being accepted as one of the family and travelling to places with them was a fantastic thing to do.

Response from LoPair Education

You did a great job adapting to Chinese culture and family life. Your host family keep commenting that you are one of the best and they love you being around. Miss those time when we seeing you hanging in Hangzhou. Hope your Mandarin is still improving. Looking forward to seeing you again in China!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sarah
9/10

An Experience of a Lifetime!

My experience as an Au Pair in China has completely changed my life in terms of academics and personal growth. The full immersion into Chinese culture cannot be understood until it is experienced and has provided me with the insight useful for my career goals. As an international business student, the Chinese economy is extremely appealing at the moment and now I have the extra knowledge most of my fellow peers do not. I spent most of my days teaching the children basic words and action words, playing games and creating games that would help them learn English without realizing they were learning. The mandarin classes were very helpful in getting around the country when traveling on my own. I got the chance to travel all over the country and my host family even took me to Malaysia. Since doing this exchange I have returned to Hong Kong to study and I have kept in touch with my host family. I will go and visit them very soon and I know I have made friends for life. I did go through culture shock, but I learned to embrace it and learn from it. Many people struggle with the overwhelming amount of culture shock associated with the au pairing experience, however, it is important to continue on because it gets much better and you end up with an experience that changes the way you see the world. I would recommend and exchange like this to any student looking to learn more about asian culture and seeking a character building experience.

How can this program be improved?
It would have been much more helpful for the organization to stimulate the communication between myself and the host family. When we encountered problems half way through my stay due to issues that had been ongoing, I was unaware there were any issues until it was too late. The organization could have taken more initiative to ensure that both the family and I were happy with everything. In Chinese culture they wait until it is too late to speak out about issues. With proper mediation from the organization, communication could have been facilitated more effectively. Other than this one issue, I was extremely happy with everything LoPair did for me.
Response from LoPair Education

Sarah is the first au pair in this host family who had activate the family's adventure with the au pair program. Although Sarah just stayed for three month during the summer time, the life-long friendship has been lasting ever since. Can't forget the moment when Sarah came back to Hangzhou and met her host family after 18 months at 2014 LoPair X'mas party. They both broke to tear and hug just like a real family! At that point, every LoPair team members are happy that we are really doing something meaningful!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Gyorgy
9/10

My experience

One thing is sure: you will encounter difficulties. Cultural shock, communication problems with the family or the kids will hate you. But if you have prepared for anything than you will have a great time here, because you will realize these problems will be just daily challenges that will make you days even more interesting. The food is great, nothing like what you would find in Europe. And it is a life-changing experience to discover the modern Far East.

How can this program be improved?
More organized activities / traveling.
Response from LoPair Education

LoPair provides Chinese culture class once a month based on different specif topics. As for travelling, it's a time-consuming organizing concerning duty hour changes on family side. It's unlikely for us to work on every family schedule and find time out a time works for all au pairs. We need to respect family schedules and needs above all. Therefore, we don't proactively organize travelling for au pair as, in general, it's an au pair program, not a travelling program. Plus, many host families on our program are spontaneously taking au pairs out on family trip from time to time when au pairs can travel and have family life at the same time which we think is the best option.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Katharina
9/10

China - an unforgetable experience

The Au Pair programme is a really good opportunity to experience another culture; the good and the bad. It has given me a good chance to learn chinese, we have a great teacher and get assigned homework which helps us progress with our language skills. It is good that the families have a high living standard, but sometimes there can be some communication problems within the family which can cause some problems. The children have different upbringings and can come across as spoilt due to this, also they have very different values to ones that you are used to; which can be a shock to some. Lopair are always there for you if there are any issues with the family.
The situation when you arrive in China is good and easy for making friends, as we all added eachother on Wechat and met up whenever possible. Although what could make it easier would be if the families all gave the Au pairs the same day off when it is possible. Also for the weekends off, it would be good if the families were already aware of the Au pairs wanting to have the same day off, and just how it works (48 hours from friday evening to Sunday evening) as me and my friends all had some misunderstandings with the host families when asking for this off.
The programme is good for personal growth, the experiences that I have gained in China are unique and would not be experienced any where else. The mix of traditional culture and modern lifestyle is something that can only be found in China.

How can this program be improved?
With the schedule and with the off days, they should be more clear so au pairs can plan what to do on these days. Au pairs could be more prepared for how disrespectful the children can be, and how the parents raise their children in certain well-off families. Discipline is limited for certain things that in other countries would be very shocking to parents.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Michela
9/10

China as an insider

Lopair's program is a great way to experience real China and not just see it through the eyes of a westerner coming to visit as a tourist. Being an aupair gives you the possibility to share the everyday life of a typical Chinese family.
Your main tasks will be to teach English to the host kid(s) and take care of them, playing with them, taking them to school or other activities or helping them with homework. Some people aply for this program thinking they'll be going to China just to have fun and visit new places. It's not just that! Remember that you are going to be working (yes, you do get paid!) and you will have to follow a working schedule of up to 30 hours/week. Don't worry though, you will still have time to go out and explore with friends. The Mandarin classes you will have generally twice a week are a good way not only to learn some Chinese, but also to meet new people and make friends, both with locals and westerners.
A big plus is that Chinese families are very warmhearted, they will immediately make you feel welcome and treat you as a family member - which means you will have your duties too - but they will also spoil you as a special guest.
During my stay in Shanghai I was placed with a wonderful host family. Everything went smoothly and I've never had any problem with them. In fact we are still in touch even now that I'm back home and I am going back to visit them next year.
I know other aupairs who, on the other hand, had some issues mainly due to cultural differences, so my advice to Lopair's staff would be that of making it more clear to aupairs as what to expect from the program before they apply, and give a little more support in case of problems or misunderstandings with the family. Other than that, you're all doing a great job planning get-togethers with aupairs and making us feel very welcome in this beautiful country. Keep it up!

How can this program be improved?
Make sure that aupair applicants are very open-minded, patient and really love children, as they will be spending most of the day with them.
Response from LoPair Education

Thank you, Michela, for your detailed comments and great suggestion. We are keen on giving all LoPair best support throughout the program duration. We have 24/7 local coordinator service, LoPair mentor assistance and most friendly all team members ready for help all the time. We will make sure we strengthen the culture difference part before au pair's departure and until the end of the program to ensure a great program experience for all LoPair au pairs!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Eleanor
9/10

china

I love being an Au pair, I really enjoy staying with my host family in Beijing and teaching the kids English-even if they aren't always as keen to learn as I am to teach them. The Mandarin classes have been very good, but be prepared to travel quite far to get to them. Overall, I'm really happy with how my China experience has turned out.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Hannah
8/10

So far so good...

Where to begin?! I am two months into my 6 month program here with lopair and so far I cannot fault the support they have provided. Every member of staff makes you feel welcome, and are available 24/7 if you need help - even when they're not technically on working hours they will always respond if you need them.

Included in the lopair program are language and culture classes, both of which I have thoroughly enjoyed so far. Me and my classmates often have lunch with our teacher (also helpful for reading menus for us, thank you Jora!) and she always listens if we have suggestions or ideas about what we want to learn.

Not only this, but at lopair support is offered for after the program, whether it's to provide references for future careers elsewhere or even assist in helping au pairs search for further work in China. I would recommend this program to anybody who is considering working abroad, as you have the knowledge that a reliable support network is there for you no matter what.

How can this program be improved?
My host mum suggested that the au pairs get ¥50 per month on their travel cards, not just a one-off payment at the beginning of the program!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sam
10/10

Lopair Review.

As soon as I arrived the Lopair staff were so welcoming and friendly towards me. I am very pleased that their support is available 24/7 if I ever need anything and how they are always looking for way for my stay to be more comfortable.

How can this program be improved?
More organisation towards the cultural activities.
Response from LoPair Education

LoPair organize Chinese language class twice a week (120 class hour for six month in total) and Chinese culture class once a month, each time based on one specific Chinese traditional culture, eg. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese food, Chinese calligraphy, etc.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Hayley
10/10

My experience so far (2 months in)

I couldn't have been placed with a better family - they are perfect for me. I like the area I live in, the only thing that could be improved is if there was another au pair living nearby.

The tasks I have to do are taking my child to and from school, then playing games with them after school (in English), talking with them, reading to them, or listening to them read, and making sure she practises piano and does her homework. We also go swimming at weekends.

My highlights are spending time with the child I look after, as she makes me laugh so much and we get on very well. I love it when she runs up to me when I wait for her after school, and sometimes she holds me hand which I think is very sweet. She also says she wants to keep in touch via Skype when I'm gone.

I get on very well with my host parents. My host mum can speak English and she never gives up speaking in English even though it would be easier for her to speak in Chinese and have her child translate. My host dad doesn't speak English, but we still get along just fine. They look after me and they care for me, and I care about them and I care about their child. I'm so happy that I will hopefully be a good memory for them once I leave.

NB - I am yet to complete my 6 month program. I will complete it in March 2015.

How can this program be improved?
Have another au pair living in the same area, or help finding a social event or activity local to me where I may meet people my own age.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Rebecca
9/10

China: A World Of It's Own

I signed up to the Lo Pair programme looking for a change, and it's exactly what I got. Chinese culture is so vastly different from the western world that everyday is a new adventure. Staying with a host family, as opposed to in a school, or hostel, means that you really get to experience the everyday life here, which is why I enjoy this programme.
The arrangement is fairly simple, you stay with a host family, helping with basic childcare, and introducing them to the English language, and western culture. In return you get bed, board, pocket money, and an unique opportunity to discover China. Which is rapidly overtaking America as the world's biggest superpower. Therefore it's a win win situation for all of the programmes participants.
There is a also good opportunity to travel on this programme. In my free time I've explored both Ningbo and Beijing, whilst my host family have taken me to visit Shanghai, Haikou and Sanya. I find it very interesting how your perspective of a place changes depending on who you go with. I certainly would have never been able to afford the luxury my host family treated me to on our travels. For me a seven star hotel was as alien a concept as China was, so I've certainly had my fair share of experiences here.
One of my favourite, and most surreal, experience was taking part in a Chinese television programme. Through Lo Pair, my host family and I were invited a show called Afternoon tea. It was a long, and bizarre day, but ultimately incredible, getting to be on a TV set. I've never had the opportunity in England, and no body I know can say they've been on Chinese TV. Getting to share that experience with my host siblings was the cherry on the cake. It's something I doubt they'll ever forget.
During my stay I've found the Lo Pair staff helpful and supportive. Due to the language barrier I've had a few communication problems, however they were quickly resolved by the Local co-ordinator. I'm lucky to be placed in the same city as the main office, and whenever I visit there is a friendly welcoming atmosphere. There is always someone to talk to regardless of what issue you may have.
Despite the three day ordination period, which is very insightful and gives you time to get to know other au pairs, I feel more could be down in regards to the culture clash. Many issues that arise from living so close with other people, can be rooted in simply not understanding the other culture. In my mind more culture training should be given to both parties so that they know what to expect. Often Au Pairs expect this programme is like au pairing in the western world, and they need to understand before they start that the Chinese hold very different values. I also feel the host families to be encouraged to communicate more directly what they expect of their Au Pair.
I would strongly advise you read the programmes recommendation for what to pack, as it is very helpful. Personally I'm kicking myself for not bringing a debit card for booking hostels. Other than that though I've always had what I've needed, or been able to find it easily. All placements are in big cities, or close by to them, so finding what you've forgotten is not a problem.
All in all I would certainly recommend this programme for fellow school leavers, or gap year takers. My confidence has boosted by coming here, being able to navigate a strange new place, where I don't know the language has left me feeling ready to take on anything. The educational part of the programme is also effective. I really enjoy my mandarin lessons, and despite the difficulty of the language have made faster progress than I have done with any other language. Plus with China being so up and coming, it's a vital skill to put on your CV.

How can this program be improved?
As mentioned in my review above, the culture clash betwen au pairs and their families requires more preparation for both parties. So that they share the same idea of what they shall recieve from the programme.
Response from LoPair Education

You can never be too well prepared for being an au pair in China. What you can get from it is also vast. Becky also contributed a few blogs on LoPair website after returning to England, hopefully, this would be helpful to all future au pairs who determine to set off to an adventure in China!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Julian
10/10

I love LoPair especially Farrah ,

The Au-Pair program is great to finally grow up and become independent. You learn how to deal with a new culture and also language.
The local coordinator also helps with problems, not only with the family. For example one day I missed my bus back to my hometown and it was my second week in China. Fortunately I could call LoPair for help and they booked a new ticket for me.
Of course it is difficult to get use to a new culture especially the chinese culture, but after a time if you keep learning and observe the culture you will start to like it.
I never regret my decision to go to China and if I had more time I would stay longer.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe change the offday of all Au-Pairs on one day so they can meet each other.
Response from LoPair Education

Thank you Julian for you comment! Still remember the first day you arrived here. You have to come back, both your family and LoPair team miss you so much!

Yes, I recommend

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About LoPair Education

LoPair, based in Hangzhou, is proud to be the 1st Chinese au pair company that wins the Au Pair of the Year Winner Award at 2017 annual campaign run by International Au Pair Association. We place au pairs from worldwide with host families in 10+...