Wanderlust Au Pair China Program

Video and Photos

About

Wanderlust Au Pair China Program integrates educational travel, Mandarin learning, childcare and English tutoring together for overseas youngsters to experience China with an authentic touch by staying with Chinese host families.

By offering 30-35 hours of live-in childcare and English teaching per week, you have an opportunity to explore Chinese culture through weekly Mandarin classes, culture immersion activities held by Wanderlust and your day-to-day colorful life with your host family.

We are culture enthusiasts, we love different languages, we love the tenderness in your eyes when you see children's smile. Fundamentally, we love what we do: helping you go through an off-beat experience that could potentially change your life.

We are here to "cherish you caring & loving soul, enlighten your wanderlust spirit."

Program fee: 0 $

Questions & Answers

Hello Joanna, Thank you for your question and interest in Wanderlust Au Pair China Program. I would like to answer your questions in three aspects: how au pairs can get ready for their trip to China; what support they will have from Wanderlust; what's to be expected of your daily life with the host family. In regards to how au pairs can get themselves prepared for the trip to China, here are some...

Reviews

90%
based on 21 reviews
  • Housing 9.2
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 8.7
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 16 - 21 of 21
Default avatar
Kelsey
9/10

Au Pairing in Shanghai

I am writing this in my final week as an Au Pair in Shanghai, China. I have spent 3 months here, with Wanderlust Au Pair Agency China (WAC).
My decision to come to China was based on my desire to learn Mandarin Chinese and experience Chinese culture, before going to university. This I have certainly achieved!
As an au pair, you are immersed, often overwhelmingly, in culture. Living with a host family provides a unique insight into life in China, an experience that you just cannot get any other way!
Of course there are difficulties, and points where culture shock really hits hard. The important part is to view it all as a learning experience, and come through stronger. One example of this was that in my host family/household, I had to sleep in the kid's room (the kid slept with the mother). This presented certain issues, but in the end it was fine and it brought me closer to the family. One thing also to note is that in China Au Pairs are not viewed traditionally, and rather more as just English Teachers. You are likely to be expected to teach up to 6 hours of proper lessons each working day. However, if you are lucky (as I was), these days will be flexible and you will be able to negotiate breaks. My host family took me with them on trips to see the countryside and other outings.
In regards to language learning, this was the highlight of my trip. As part of the programme, you get 2 lessons of Mandarin Chinese (1.5hr each) a week. Albeit the school was very far away (took almost 2 hours to get there every time- this is just part of living in Shanghai) but it was worth it.
The school and teachers are great, and we learnt very fast.
Socially, I was lucky to share my Chinese lessons with another au pair on the WAC programme, which was great. You also get to have monthly socials with all the au pairs, including taiji and trips to cultural towns. Shanghai also has a large expat community so there are lots of other opportunities to make friends who are in the same boat.
The WAC team was extremely helpful during my entire experience. Hazel, the leader, in particular is very kind, she was happy to help and liaise in any issue, and provide any advice I needed. The visa process was tricky but Hazel managed to sort it out with no problem. It was very comforting to know I had the WAC team for help and backup during this experience, I cannot imagine doing it without them.
I recommend this programme to anyone who has a thirst to experience something completely new and different, to learn Chinese, or who loves kids and providing childcare.

How can this program be improved?
I think perhaps making it clear to potential au pairs that they will be primarily English Teachers, and this will be their main duty. This was the main aspect I was surprised about.
Perhaps working more closely in the first few weeks between the family and the new au pair to be clear on a schedule for work, so that this is established early on.
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

We are happy to know that you enjoyed your stay in China. We would definitely let au pairs know in advance that the main job responsibility would be teaching the host kids English and we will arrange more diverse cultural events. We are glad that you enjoyed the Mandarin classes!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Katelyn
8/10

3 months in Shanghai

I found WAC through a website called apupair.com. I had not decided on the country I wanted to au pair in, nor had I planned to go through an agency. But after chatting with the WAC team I decided to give it a try. I skyped with two families before I found my match. I was so nervous and clueless about what to expect from the culture, the family and as an au pair. What I read online was mostly people with bad experiences from au pairing in China. But when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised. My host family and I got along very well and I was included in most family activities. It took a while for the kids to warm up to me, but we had a blast once they did.

Looking back I am so happy I chose to go through an agency. I have heard of people who opt not to, but it was very nice having someone to help with the visa application, the language barrier, and so may other things. I'm also happy I chose WAC, simply due to the support I got from Hazel as well as the personal feel to it all. Shanghai is a great city and although it is not like the rest of china, it is a great place to start. It was nice having such a large expat community in the city, especially when you get a little homesick or miss western food :)

I would highly recommend anyone considering au pairing in China to do so. It didn't always run smoothly or as planed, but it was an amazing experience. The culture shock is real, so be prepared for some weird, annoying and funny moments. Also, one thing that I was not prepared for was the fact that you are more of an English teacher than a traditional au pair. In no way was this a bad thing, it was just not entirely what I expected.

How can this program be improved?
Due to the fact that you have off when most people are working and you work when most people have off, it can be hard to make friends who work or study in Shanghai. So I wish I was aware of the fact there were other au pairs staying in Shanghai at the same time as I was. I was under the impression that I was the only au pair within the agency my last 1.5 months and found out the day before I left that there were three others au pairing with WAC. The cultural activities help, but it would be great if there was some other way to be introduced, or contact the other au pairs.
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Katelyn's host family still keep in touch with her as she is an amazing big sister of the host kids. She has a genuine love for children and established close bond with the host children( one is 3 years old girl, one is a 9 years old boy). She taught them English, took them to museums, outdoor activities, travelled with the host family in surrounding areas and she became their endearing big sister.

We are grateful for your positive feedback and honest review, nothing would make us happier than seeing your smiling faces with the children and your talking about how much you enjoyed the experience.

We sincerely wish you a bright future and hope to see you in China again soon.

Kind regards,
WAC Team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Mccaig
9/10

Summer in Shanghai

I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and travel to China during the summer before my last year at university. Instead of pursuing a typical summer internship in my hometown, I wanted to try something completely new and immerse myself in a culture much different from my own. I was very nervous at first and not sure what exactly to expect, but I am so glad I took this leap of faith and lived with a host family in Shanghai, teaching a little 4 year old boy English.
While it is not always easy being so far away from home in a completely new environment, I feel that Wanderlust did everything possible to make me feel comfortable and confident during my stay. I felt a personal investment from the WAC team, and that they really got to know me and my situation while I was in China, instead of treating me like a "client". The WAC program provides many helpful things that not all other organizations of this kind do--they organize cultural activities with fellow au pairs which are both fun and educational, they enroll you in a Mandarin class to enhance language skills, and provide a helpful orientation when you first arrive.
You cannot come into this experience expecting everything to go smoothly and things to be perfect. There were definitely unexpected challenges and hard days, but thanks to the 24/7 support I received I was able to resolve any problems. It is important to keep an open-mind when doing something like this, and also to remain patient and understanding. No matter how much you prepare, culture shock is a real thing! Thankfully, WAC will be there whenever you need any help or just someone to listen to you.

How can this program be improved?
I think that an improvement could be more information on what to expect from both the host family and China in general before arriving...but it sounds like a "Survival Guide" is already being made up which sounds great.
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Mccaig,

Thank you for sharing your experience to
us, we are glad to hear that you enjoy this experience so far and like our supporting activities so well. We are happy to see that you are making progress on your Mandarin speaking skills and enjoying your stay with your host family.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the stay in Shanghai and good luck with your last year study!

Best,
WAC Team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Tom
10/10

New Experience in China

After working in a different industry in Australia and Hong Kong for three years, I was planning to move to Shanghai in late 2016 to commence studying Chinese language in university. In early 2016 I decided that I wanted to move to China earlier to accelerate my Chinese learning by immersing myself in the local culture. I considered a few options such as English teaching or staying in my previous industry but I decided to apply to be an Au Pair because I thought living with a family would be an excellent way to improve my Chinese language and cultural understanding while doing something I really enjoy - teaching and looking after children.

I'm currently in the middle of my program and I am really happy. Being an Au Pair has indeed been challenging at times, but also very rewarding. You may be helping a family with children and parents that speak limited English. This can be hard at first but with the support of Hazel (Wanderlust Program Director) and building the relationship with the host family I am now confident that any challenge can be overcome. I have seen improvement with the language learning of the host family's child that I have been looking after which is very rewarding to me.

I chose Wanderlust over other Au Pair organisations as I was very impressed with the application experience, communication with Hazel was very direct, clear and timely. This good support continued once I arrived, she helped me with my visa, communication with my host family and orientation to Shanghai (bank account setup, SIM card etc.) and induction to how to be an effective teacher / Au Pair with children who are learning English as Foreign Language.

What I really love about being an Au Pair is that every day is very different. I may be doing some English teaching, helping with mathematics homework, completing puzzles or building Lego, playing sports or going outside on various activities. Along with the day to day activities with the host family, Wanderlust also organises monthly cultural activities which are fun - we recently visited Wuzhen on a day trip with my fellow Au Pairs.

I've been really impressed with the program so far as I see it as a win-win for the host families and the Au Pairs. The children will get support for their English learning, will get a new big brother or sister and the family gets an experience interacting with a foreigner every day - helping to bridge the cultural divide. For me, I get a lot of satisfaction of seeing my host child improve his language ability, I get to have a lot of fun and get to live in a new city (Shanghai is amazing by the way!) without many of the challenges I would normally have as the host family and Wanderlust helped me get setup in Shanghai.

How can this program be improved?
It was great that we were assisted with set up of bank accounts and mobile phone SIM cards, but rather than choosing one for us, it would be better if we were advised on the different options and then we select one ourselves. Everything else as part of the induction was excellent though.
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Tom,

Reading your comments really give our team an immense pleasure. We are glad to hear that you enjoy this experience so far and bond with your host family so well. We hope this program will help you improve your Chinese language and cultural understanding as you expected.
Thank you for your suggestion, we are working on survival guide for our future au pairs, we will list all the options, details and recommendations (for example, the mobile and bank account options) in the guide so everything will be clear and the future au pairs could select them by themselves.
Hope you enjoy the rest of the stay in Shanghai!

Best,
WAC Team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ochoa
9/10

My first time in China and as an Au Pair

Mhhh... China. I have been for very long time dreaming of discovering its land. Shanghai is the city that I decided to choose.

A warm host family that I had the chance to be with, a charming 4 years old gentlemen, delicious food everywhere, a bit of language barrier, some culture shock experience and have a very colourfull fried dumplings that you enjoy at every new bite (Shanghainese specialty is fried dumpling).

With the very complete welcoming and sightseeing days (two days) a good communication was yet well established, the help and advice needed to make plannings adapted and multiple exemples for how to make activities with the kids is provided from Wanderlust at the first week, and all along the stay with the family if needed.

I really feel that the Au Pairs' interest is taken seriously and that I could count on Wanderlust if any difficulties are encoutered.

Neverthless, to fully enjoy my experience, I had to be open-minded and often go out of my comfort zone, either at the house with my host family and outside during my free time. I also had to be very organised all the time as the families can be spontaneous and you are asked to be flexible.

I consider myself a foodie and was blessed with my host family as the grandparents were cooking almost every evening home made Chinese dishes.

The agency was very fast in answering my e-mail (24h). I unfortunatly had never been in China before and had no experience as Au Pair, but totally recommend Wanderlust and for those who are still hesitating... Take your chances, there is everything and anything that you could imagine here (beside skydiving at this very moment I am writing this post).

Activities for the Au Pairs are plannend and tailored to have as many Au Pairs as possible in a monthly basis. It goes from town visits to tai chi or kung fu classes.

Helpfull information:

Public trasportation has Nothing to envy to others big cities (Mexico City, Moscow, London) and with a simple card you can travel with public trasportation and officials taxis for a very resonable pricing (this card cost at this very moment 20 yuan deposit plus the amount you want to charge, I recommend 100 yuan)

Other recommandations. If you are too used to have Google (gmail as well) to help you anythime or you are addicted to Facebook, or Instagram etc... (you can find on internet all the websites blocked in China) you have the fallowing choices:

VPN: Either free (not sure that you will have the data flow you are use to having) or to pay for a VPN, this will not guarentee you to have access 24/7 (as for the free VPN), the acces can be very slow (very very very slow, forget about streaming) and the "great fire wall" of China can block your VPN as it is constantly beeing update. (Please acknowledge that I am not expert and I am giving my experience to be use at free will, you are very wellcome to do your own research befor arriving in China)

Get use to chinese app: (I give you here a list of apps you can get before arriving in China)

Baidu which is the chinese Google, or if your chinese level is not good inof you can also use Bing.cn as search engin.

Wechat, this app does almost everything, it is the chinese WhatsApp, Facebook, can send your exact location or activate the GPS to apears in someone else device in realtime (very useful when you are meeting someone because here it is very crowded and huge), you can also connect your bank account and make any payment in almost every place, even sometimes for some street food (but take you wallet with you anyways) and much more, but I let you the joy of discovering all its secrets.

Pleco, which is a very helpful app to learn chinese for english speakers.

Baidu map, the Chinese Google map

Baidu music store, you guessed it!

How can this program be improved?
Give to the Au Pair pre-departure tips: VPN or/and Chinese apps, awarnees of the "great fire wall" and its alternatives.
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Ochoa,

Thank you for sharing all the details of your experience with us, we could see how much you love the food and the culture here, and we are so pleased that you could overcome all the challenges you faced, be more open-minded and come out of your comfort zone while you stay. We are glad to hear that you enjoy this experience and establish a good relationship with your host family.

Thank you for your suggestion, we are working on survival guide for our future au pairs, we will list all the special stuffs that future au pairs need to pay attention before they arrive to China (for example, Google/Facebook is blocked and need VPN) in the guide, we will also recommend some useful apps to help them better prepared.

Hope you all the best and enjoy your stay in Shanghai!

Best,
WAC Team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Mason
9/10

A new world

After finishing my degree in education, I decided to do something exciting and different. My parents told me about their friends' daughter who had gone to China as an au pair and the daughter had great things to say about her experience. I had always wanted to visit China and experience its culture. This seemed like as good a time as any and so I started looking for au pair positions online. One of the organizations I came across was Wanderlust Au Pair China. After talking with Hazel, the program director I felt really confident about choosing her organization. She prepared everything for me, including the visa and all the information I needed. Throughout my stay with the host family she helped me when I had questions. The family was very courteous and I really felt appreciated while with them. Their child, a boy of 7 was full of energy and I helped him with his homework and prepared some English exercises for him that we practised together to improve his English. I got to live in Shanghai, a vibrant and metropolitan city. Like the oriental New York I suppose..... but much more exotic. I got to learn Mandarin in weekly Mandarin classes that were part of the program. I'm hoping to return to China in the future to see the friends I made there and maybe live there for a year. Anyways, a great experience and unforgettable.

How can this program be improved?
I had to make my own English lessons, but the program director did provide activities for me to do with the child each week.
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Mason,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Wanderlust Au Pair China program is designed for people coming from all over the world who are willing to experience Chinese culture and we are so pleased that you enjoyed the time you stay, made new friends and would like to come back to visit some day.

Hope you all the best and wish you come back!

Best,
WAC Team

Yes, I recommend

Interviews

Meet the Staff

About Wanderlust Exchange

Wanderlust Exchange programs integrate educational travel, Mandarin learning, childcare and English tutoring together for overseas youngsters to experience China with an authentic touch by staying with Chinese host families.

We love culture exchange,...