Alumni Spotlight: Rene R.


Why did you decide to au-pair/tutor with HHS China?

My Chinese level was (after a year of studying full-time Chinese) still not really great. So, based on a positive experience living with a host family in the USA, I thought it would be a good idea to live again with a host family.

I think it was a really good decision, as my Chinese definitely has improved a lot. As for HHS, a friend recommended them to me!

What made this au-pair/tutor experience unique and special?

Perhaps that you are truly getting to know the Chinese culture. I am eating 3 meals a day with them, doing activities in my free time with them, and even watching television with them.

I think that this was way better for my language development than taking an intensive Chinese course would be, but obviously it depends on what level your Chinese is currently at. I would recommend an au pair activity to anyone who is already at an intermediate level.

How has this experience impacted your future?

I think the biggest impact being an au pair had is on a personal level as it was my plan to learn Chinese for my career. It is simply a dream come true to finally understand these signs/Chinese characters that I was so curious about when I was a child.

Also, I hope I will stay in contact with my host family and maybe also come back in the future. Of course, there were sometimes also obstacles and misunderstandings throughout the course of this journey but I think you can also grow like this during the programme.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home:

The biggest impression I had was the food, which was completely different to what one would come to expect based on Chinese restaurants in Europe. Sometimes it tastes better, sometimes it is not so great. But still, I am happy I got to know a different style of restaurant and fine dining.

Also, the sights here are obviously something I wouldn't have seen if I didn't come here. My highlight was getting to sleep on the Great Wall.