Alumni Spotlight: Marion Siciliano


French, 18 years old, takes a gap year to China after finish high school and before to start engineering study.

Why did you choose this program?

I choose to be an Au Pair in China with Lopair for many reasons. First, I wanted to go to China to discover this country and learn to speak Chinese, but because I'm only 18 and I haven't started studying yet, I could come as an exchange student, neither could I come to work because I don't have any qualification, and volunteering is about nonexistent in China. So being an Au Pair was the best way for me to come.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Lopair helped me a lot to get the visa. It is also they who take care of the plane ticket and the assurance. They put me in contact with the families in order for me to choose with which one I was going to live in.

It was very nice to have an organization that takes care of everything. I basically just have to pack my things and go. But before that, there is a selection where we need to provide many files and show a lot of motivation.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

If you are interested to be an Au Pair in China, here some advice for you: think about what you expect from this experience and, once you're there, do everything to accomplish it.

I saw a lot of other Au Pair here who, after one month, got bored, don't speak Chinese, and just waited for the program to be over. Don't be like this: this program is a great opportunity but you have to take the better from it.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

It depends a lot of your host family, and better to speak with them about that before to arrive in order to have a clear idea of what going to be your schedule.

Generally, an Au Pair weekday looks like this: put the kid at school at 7:30 am, then free time while the kids are at school till 4:00 pm (pick up the kids). Then supervise the kids' homework or give them English / foreign language teaching.

Some days, kids have extracurricular activities. Some day the Au Pair can be asked to work till 9-10 pm.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Before I arrived, I was really worried about making friends of my age in China. When I arrived, I couldn't find any young people around me, so I decided to go to a university campus and there I met a lot of wonderful people who were going to become my friends.

I spent all my free time at this university, join many clubs and enjoy a lot the normal life of a Chinese student.

What did this experience bring you?

I think that to be an Au Pair in China was a great opportunity for me. I really get another vision of the world thanks to the family life and my friends there. I can also now speak fluently in Chinese (not thanks to the classes but because I was speaking Chinese every day with my friends who were a lot of patient with me).

I will come back to China to see my friends and I hope to see them come to France too. Those friendships are the best thing I get from my experience.