Wanderlust Exchange


Wanderlust Exchange combines travel with educational exchange opportunities through several programs where participants have the opportunity to learn Mandarin, teach English as an au pair, volunteer with children, act as a cultural ambassador, or even coach tennis. Each of our programs encourages cultural immersion and exchange by giving participants the chance to experience China firsthand.

Wanderlust Exchange provide students with quality, authentic cultural experiences with an aim to bridge cultural divides. Our programs encourage participants to develop the self-awareness and cross-cultural competencies necessary to be active global citizens.

Wanderlust Exchange is a member of International Au Pair Association (IAPA), a global not-for-profit organization, and a member of WYSE Travel Confederation, the only global not-for-profit membership organization representing the entire youth, student and educational travel industry.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Good company

I was excited to move to shanghai, I was paired with a good family. They gave me my own apartment(which is rare,I still live in it). The family was really shy at first because their english is not so good,but the little boy was really good at speaking nglish so he often translated between me and his mom.

We had our own lessons on Saturdays just the women, while the boys went out to play or toy shopping.We had some fun days inside, but due to the pandemic we often stay inside and play with legos and Elsa with his younger sister all day.I mostly have the whole family eating vegan during the week because I don't eat meat, but its random occasions that they will eat no meat. But they enjoy the no meat because they want to be more healthier so I was glad I could leave them with a piece of who I am. We've finally completed all of his english books before I left the family. I check on the kids often they are always sad to see me leave, they sometimes cry, so I check on them as much as I can after work.

It was nice being with this family.

What was your funniest moment?
taking the kids on the metro to go to the mall,They had never been on the train before so they were excited and scared at the same time. It was so cute.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Gap year in China

My year in China was an experience I'll never forget. It was an adventure in every sense. I spent my time across three incredible cities: Shanghai, Beijing, and Chongqing. Wanderlust's staff was kind and helpful every step of the way. They provided support with almost every type of issue that arose, be it visa issues, language barriers, or culture shock. They went above and beyond, not just in a professional capacity but also in providing comfort and a listening ear when situations got tricky. Coming to China wasn't an easy decision to make, but now that I've been here for a year I can successfully say that it's been one of the most enriching ones I've made. The amount of personal growth I've seen in the past year is unparalleled. I am so grateful to Wanderlust for being a part of this journey. It was a real pleasure working with them and getting a chance to explore this awe-inspiring culture.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would walk in with a better understanding that Chinese culture is very different from Western culture. Concepts like privacy and time hold different meaning than they do back home. As I've learned in the last year, being flexible is key. Things may not always go the way you expect and you have to learn to be okay with that. Sometimes, that can work out better than you can ever imagine. Even though there will always be people to listen and help you out, being self-sufficient is a must. You have to be able to take charge of the situation. Do that and you're sure to have an enriching experience.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My experience

To be honest it’s very difficult to move to a different country but I felt at home with my second family, they were always nice and caring, and took care of me.

I also fell in love with Shanghai, is a cosmopolitan city and it’s very different in day and night. The good thing about Shanghai is that in winter is not as cold as other cities, but the bad thing is the weather in summer, because is very hot.

Learning Chinese is very challenging but unfortunately there aren’t a lot of people who speaks English.

What was your funniest moment?
I had 2 families, with the second one I had a blast, I say they even became a very important part in my life.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My year in Ningbo

I always wanted to travel to China and see the culture from inside so this program was like a golden ticket to me. Of course I felt a little bit uneasy moving 7000 km away but the agency did its best to make me feel comfortable and safe which was a big help for my mental state as I faced many difficulties on the way to my host family. I can’t find the right words to describe this year. It felt like one day and eternity at the same time. I fall in love with this culture, nature, cuisine (of course) and people, especially my host sister. It’s not that I was sceptical about developing true feelings for my host kid but I was uncertain whether we would become family-like close. But we became vital parts of each others lives. This baby stole my heart. I watched her growing up and learning more about this world and there’s just something so special about knowing that I played a big role in this process and did make my impact on her life. Needless to say it wasn’t all butterflies and unicorns being an AuPair but I would have never changed a thing about this experience. It helped me to grow a lot and changed the way I saw many things in this life. Also, my hosts family introduced me to plenty of really beautiful and fascinating things here. We’ve made a lot of memories and I’ll be thankful to them and Wanderlust for this forever.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Being an Au Pair in Shanghai

Being an Au Pair was one of the best experiences I have made.
I was in rematch, when my German AuPair agency recommended Wanderlust Exchange as one of their partners to me. with the help of Wanderlust I found an amazing host family in less than two weeks.

My host family was just great, they helped me to learn a lot about Chinese culture. Together with my host child I practiced calligraphy from time to time, but of course her writing was always much better than mine. We also made dumplings with her grandma, visited the museum and played games. Sometimes we went to the cinema and she would summarize the movie afterwards for me, just to make sure that I understood.
When she had evening classes, my host mom and I sometimes went out to have a look at the area around or to drink some tea.

I did not experience any problems with my host family, but I know, that if there would have been any, Wanderlust would have helped me. They really care about their Au Pairs and occasionally asked, how we were doing and if everything was alright, which I really appreciated.

It's been two years already since I finished the Au Pair Program and I am thankful to Wanderlust Exchange and to my host family for making my stay in Shanghai something I'll never forget. I hope to travel back to China one day again. (^_^)


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Soraya Shirin Stuehmer

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I already knew that I want to travel around after finishing school and learn more about different countries. I also love to work with children and teach them. China has always been a country that I am really interested in. So becoming an Au Pair in China was the best option for me. I can work with children and experience the Chinese life.

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

The Agency really helped me with everything. Before I came here I applied for the visa and filled out a lot of forms but I could always text the company and they always helped me. So even when I needed to organize something on my own they helped me a lot. If I had questions I could always text them and they would answer me very fast. So the Agency helped me with everything and because of that I didn’t have any problems in China.

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

You need to be very open minded. China is a different country with a different culture. If you come here and start to live with a Chinese family it’s very different from what you are used to. So try to be open minded for everything. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you do that you will adapt very fast to the Chinese life.

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

It depends on your host family. But normally you will have 1 1/2 days off in the week and work for 7 hours a day. If the children go to school you will have more freetime. The families want you to teach the children English. So you will read a Lot of English books with them and talk a lot of English with them. In the freetime you can go out with friends. On the weekends the families go out very often and you can see a lot of things of the city.

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

My biggest fear was that I don’t like it and that I can’t adapt to the Chinese life. I was afraid that I don’t get along with my hostfamily. In the end everything was just a fear. My family is super nice and could adapt very fast to the Chinese life. I really love it in China and I learned a lot of new things through this experience. This experience really helped me to grow. You can overcome your fears if you just try out everything and don’t be afraid of something new.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Lilian Liu

Job Title
Project Coordinator
Lilian was born and raised in Shanghai, then studied in the UK and Australia. She moved to Sydney for work and decided to come back to Shanghai in 2018.

She started a small art classroom in Shanghai in August 2018, and because of her passion for international cultural exchange, she joined Wanderlust Exchange as a part-time project coordinator and starting to help running the company's Au Pair program in China.
Lilian Liu

What is your favorite travel memory?

My best travel memory would be to the small town in Germany named Regensburg. When we got there, it was their festival season; every shop is closed, and we saw people in traditional costumes celebrating on the streets.

We sat in front of the local church just to see how the sun moved on the church and cast beautiful shadows on the street. We felt so peaceful and joyous.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

This job really gives me a chance to get to know people from every corner of the world. I met people from Northern European countries as well as South America. Not only I get to share with them my cultures and heritages, but I also get to know their distinctive cultures and lifestyles when communicating with them. I made friends with some of our au pairs and volunteers, which I think it will be a life long friendship.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Yes, we actually have many positive feedbacks from our au pairs and volunteers. One of the best stories I've heard is between our au pair in Ningbo and her host family.

They had such a great bonding that the kids really saw her as a close big sister and they wanted to be with her all the time, even wanted to sleep together with her. By the time she had to leave, both the au pair and the family were very emotional, but they still keep in touch with each other from time to time. This could be something that lasts for a lifetime for both the au pair and the family. Not to mention that the au pair's Chinese language skills also improved quite a lot during the program.

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

I would definitely choose to be an au pair. Because this will give you the most authentic experience of what it's like living in China. For those who are interested in learning the Chinese language as well as the cultures, it will offer you a lot more than you can imagine. You get to see and experience so many things that you will not experience if you just come here as a student and live on campus.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our company is unique because of the fact that we put great effort in enhancing the experience of both our au pair program candidates and family candidates. We will provide service throughout the entire process and until the au pair leaves the family. We try to make each and every candidate feel they are taken care of and their needs will be attended to.

I was especially proud of seeing the growth of our team. We are a small but close-knit team. We share the same values and goals, and we also share a lot of common interests, which makes the work much more enjoyable. We have sharing sessions each week to share and discuss different interesting topics. We truly care for each other and aim to bring out the best outcome in our work.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think passion is really important so that the team can really have the motivation to keep improving and keep growing. Also, sharing the same values and goals is equally important so that you can truly work as a team and try to think about what will be the best for the team and the company. Wanderlust Exchange has both qualities, so I believe we are on our way to be successful.

Professional Associations

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