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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.

Surprise Host Family – Are you ready for your once in a lifetime experience in China?!

This summer, Wanderlust Exchange is launching a new type of Au Pair experience for recent graduates who are adventurous and looking for an off the beaten path experience! The “Surprise Host Family Program” will select three audacious Au Pair applicants who would like to spend 8-12 weeks in China working as an Au Pair in an undisclosed city until just before they depart!

Your round trip flights will be covered!

No. 550, East Yan'an Road
Huangpu Qu
Shanghai Shi, 200002


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Yes, I recommend this program

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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Yes, I recommend this program

I joined the Wanderlust Au Pair China program in 2018, my first year out of high school. This was definitely a big change in my life. The next 6 months were by far the most adventurous I had ever had. I got to learn a new culture the best way possible, by living with a family. It was difficult to adjust to my new life at first, but with the great support given by this program in was not impossible. I look back at those 6 months and do nothing but a smile. They really were some best days of my life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have an open mind and remember that every day that passes you'll never get back. I wish I appreciated this program more while I was doing it.
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Soraya Shirin
Yes, I recommend this program

I am living in China as an Au Pair since last June. First I have been in a family in Suzhou until December. Then I changed to a family in Shanghai where I am currently living. The Au Pair Team helped me with everything. When I changed the families they helped me with every step. In December I went to South Korea to renew my visa and I could text the Au Pair helper all the time and they really helped me a lot at that time. If I have problems they will always help me very fast. You can text them all the time and they will respond really fast.

The monthly cultural activities are also very nice and you can always meet new friends and learn a lot.

Another thing that I really like about the team is that they always ask me if everything is fine or if I have any problems. They really care about how we are doing and if everything is okay!

Wanderlust Exchange is a very good opportunity to see the real China and learn a lot of things about the country and history. But it’s not only that. You will also meet new friends from all around the world. The Hostfamily will be like your second family forever and you can always come back to visit them.

I would always choose wanderlust Exchange again. I never had problems with the agency and they really helped me a lot! It was always my dream to come to China and learn a lot about the country and live here for a few months. Wanderlust Exchange made my dream come true.

What would you improve about this program?
I would not improve anything! The program and all the workers are just amazing. They should just keep doing what they are doing and don’t change!
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Yes, I recommend this program

I stayed in Chengdu for 6 months this year, it turned into the best 6 months of my life and I fell in love with China! Everyone who I talked to from the agency was beyond helpful every step of the way and I really feel like they cared about me, I never had problems with my host family but if I did I know they would have been extremely helpful. I was really scared going to China by myself at 18 but it is now my favorite place in the world (specifically Chengdu). I was mostly scared about the language barrier since I only spoke basic Mandarin but everyone I met was so nice and helpful.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing I ate was probably hot pot and all of the strange things that go inside of it! It was kind of overwhelming at first because there was so much food but it quickly became my favorite thing to eat there!
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Yes, I recommend this program

I had a really great time in Nanjing! I was matched with a great family and even though I was the only Au Pair of Wanderlust in Nanjing I was still able to make great friends and explore that beautiful city, even travel to other surrounding cities!
China is so beautiful and the people are super nice, I definitely recommend going there!
And especially if you're going there with Wanderlust!
The service was great, I was able to contact them any time and they always replied too (even past midnight haha). The staff are very nice and are also very understanding. With some of them you can even talk to like a friend (so it's not just business). They weren't even mad at me when I had to leave early.
The only downside were the Chinese Classes. Since I wasn't in Shanghai I only had online lessons which were over after 3 out of 6 months Also I barely learnt any Chinese from it, but that's the school's fault not the agency's!
Definitely a great experience, would recommend to anyone.
So sad I had to leave early and I really miss China.
I hope to come back soon!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I didn't eat it (I just couldn't bring myself to do it) but I saw people eating duck heads and even my friends from Europe told me it's delicious so I can definitely recommend it if you can bring yourself to eat something that is staring at you.
(Also vegetables are so much more tasty in China. Eat them.)



Displaying 1 - 9 of 9
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Wanderlust Au Pair China Program
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Volunteer with Children in China
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Wanderlust Online English Tutoring Program

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Wanderlust Online Mandarin Course

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Cultural Home-stay English Teaching Program in China

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Summer Internship Program in Shanghai

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Surprise Host Family Program in China

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Mo Gao Grotto Culture Heritage Volunteer

The Mogao caves are best known of the Chinese buddhism grottoes, and...

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Spend Your Gap Year as a Tennis Coach in China

This project gives you the opportunity to have fun helping Chinese...

Alumni Interviews

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

Luisa Kern

This is Luisa. After she graduated from her high school in Germany, she came to China to stay with a host family as an aupair for 3 months.

Why did you choose this program?

I knew that, after I graduate from high school, I will need a gap year to try to and figure out what I want to do later.

I've always been wanting to become an Aupair, but never really wanted to commit to something for an entire year. So ever since I found out that it's also possible to become an Aupair for shorter than a year, I started looking for host families, and in the end, it was the host family that found me.

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

Before I came to China, my organization helped me a lot with the organization of my Visa and communicating with my host family.

I had to book the flights by myself, but that wasn't a problem. Other than that, whatever it was that I was struggling with, I could always ask my organization for help and they provided it for me.

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

Well, being well organized always helps to reduce the number of stressful situations. Something I always tell myself is to keep all the important documents in a folder so, whenever anyone requests them from me, I'll be able to share them.

Other than that, there is nothing really I didn't know ahead of time that made me feel like I would have liked to know. Of course, I didn't know the culture and so it came to be a little bit of a shock as I arrived, but I didn't expect it not to be a little bit shocking (because of the major differences).

My advice is to always be open-minded and willing to try new things. Stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to so many great experiences.

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

During summer vacation, I usually would wake up in the morning around 9 am and then have breakfast with the family together. Then we'd either be going to see things around the city with the family and kids or the parents would go to work and I spend the time with the kids until the parents get back home. I never had to cook nor clean anything, though I did it anyway, sometimes as for me, it is normal to do such things when you're a part of the family.

My language classes, I mostly had online, so I could choose the time by myself which was very nice.

In the evening, we would have dinner together and then either go outside to the park to dance or just stay home and play.

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 not being able to communicate. I was scared that the English of my host family wasn't as good as I expected it to be.

As I arrived in the family, I had to take notice that the host mum doesn't speak English at all. Even though she didn't take actual lessons, she improved her English very much. We even had normal conversations towards the end of my stay. If we couldn't communicate something, then there always was the translator app on our phone which we, in the beginning, used quite a lot. But overall, the English of all family members improved a lot during my stay. But for that to happen, it's always important to communicate a lot.

What do you have to prepare for in China?

Weird things that might happen to you during your stay in China.

I've noticed very quickly that people staring at me would be normal for the time I'm in China (I have blonde hair, blue eyes and 169cm tall).

I've got to see Shanghai, Beijing, some smaller cities and even places in the countryside. Having strangers coming up to me and wanting to take pictures or taking pictures without asking became normal. Also, people starting talking to me or yelling HELLO was not very rare. Many young students would come up and ask me where I'm from and for them, you could tell that it was very exciting talking to a foreigner.

As for me, I was happy to see them excited.

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.

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.

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