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Wanderlust Exchange

Why choose 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.


Ethical Impact

This volunteer program gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of deserving children. Additionally, you will also have the opportunity to explore one of the most modern and exciting cities in China - Shanghai. As a volunteer, you will be stationed at an orphanage that is located in a children’s hospital. Children residing in this orphanage often arrive from other orphanages in more rural areas of China to receive better medical treatment. With your commitment, love, and care you have the chance to make a difference in their recovery.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

I did a 3 months experience in China as an au pair for a family in Wuhan. It has been an amazing experience! The family was lovely and the agency gave me a lot of support especially during the first period of the stay.
In the experience is also included a very useful language course that really adapts to everyone needs, personally I used it to prepare some of my university exams.
I would 100% recommend this experience to everyone who is deciding whether to do it or not. I think it is an experience that everyone should try at least once!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most difficult moment I had was in the first weeks of my stay. Since Wuhan is not a popular city among foreigners I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find friends. Fortunately things also to the social media and to my host mom I found a lot of wonderful friends.
  • Language course
  • Lovely family
  • A lot of fun
  • Can feel a little lonely during the first period
Yes, I recommend this program

Wanderlust Exchange AU Pair experience

After spending 6 months in Shanghai as an AU pair, I have gained lots of experience and interesting stories to tell.
Upon arriving in Shanghai I was greeted by a welcoming family and a comfortable living environment. My host family was extremely generous and kind. I do have to say, there was a huge cultural shock as the values and mindset are very different. I have been to many parts of the world but China gave me the biggest culture shock. On the other hand, if you are an adventure-seeking individual this is for you and could be the experience of your lifetime. After a few weeks, I got used to my new environment and was enjoying most aspects of my stay. Being immersed in the beautiful Mandarin language was the most unique part of the trip. If you have a love for languages I highly recommend this program, as there is no better way to learn Mandarin than to stay with a native family and practice every day.
The staff at Wanderlust Exchange were all very helpful. Any question I had got answered almost immediately. I also found myself writing to them late at night(as most of the day was busy) and they still gave me an answer the same day. Moreover, they organize regular cultural events to help the AU pairs settle in, find friends, and just enjoy their stay in general.
Overall, I highly recommend this program if you are an extroverted and thrill-seeking person looking for an adventure. If you love stepping out of your comfort zone or would like to try for the first time this is a great starting point for you. It all boils down to what you are looking for in life. Nevertheless, I'm sure most people can find many benefits with this program, and hey, what better place to start than China?

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
While visiting the Chinese countryside I ate many unfamiliar things. Some of the most unique things included: Hedgehog, river snail, fish eye, duck blood, turtle.
  • Learning Mandarin
  • Meeting interesting people
  • Stepping out of my comfort zone
  • Culture shock related stress
  • Upset stomach after some meals
  • Home sickness
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Kris,

Thank you so much for sharing your detailed review of your time in Shanghai with us. We're thrilled to hear that our team at Wanderlust Exchange was able to support you throughout your journey, providing timely assistance and organizing cultural events to enrich your experience further.

Thank you again for sharing your feedback with us. We're delighted that you had such a positive experience, and we wish you all the best in your future adventures!

Warm regards,

Wanderlust Exchange

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

6 months as an au pair in Shanghai

In September 2023, I had the opportunity to go to Shanghai to become an au pair for 6 months in a family of 3 children. It was an amazing experience and thanks to the Wanderlust Exchange program, I was able to explore many aspects during my stay. It was both a cultural exchange and a human exchange from my daily life with the family but also the discovery activities organized by the agency and the school.

Previously, I hadn't had any real experience with children, but that wasn't a problem because I was quickly integrated. My daily life with the children was also facilitated with the help of the agency and the family who accompanied me in the organization of a schedule.

What I also enjoyed in my stay was the learning of Mandarin, I entered the school with no level in Mandarin but I learned to love this language and I managed to quickly level up with the help of a teacher who was very invested in learning the language.
The school is not only a place of learning but also of meeting, which makes our daily life at school more comfortable with the meeting of other au pairs and also with all the school teams who often organize discovery activities.

The agency also often organizes activities between au pairs to meet new people and learn more about different aspects of Chinese culture. Thanks to these activities, I met au pairs who later became my friends in Shanghai, which allowed me to enjoy my days in Shanghai even more.

If I could conclude my stay in China as an au pair, I would say that it was a very enriching and unforgettable experience. I've been lucky enough to meet many amazing people and discover a culture rich in tradition.

I would like to thank Wanderlust exchange once again for guiding me through the program and thank you to my family for trusting me.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
After my 6 months in Shanghai, I understand that the most important point for your stay to go well is communication. This is very important, because you are in a country that is not yours and certainly it can be scary at first and you can have a lot of questions and apprehensions, which is quite normal, but the agency is there to guide you and help you with the slightest problem.

And if you encounter any difficulties, don't hesitate to talk about it with the family and the agency, don't keep your problems and doubts to yourself. You will never be alone, there will always be someone to help you, whether it is the agency, your family or the other au pairs you meet at school or during activities. So don't forget the communication during your stay and everything will go well, you would just have to enjoy :)
  • A total immersion in Chinese culture
  • Learning Mandarin quickly
  • Meet new people
  • Children can be complicated, but it gets better with time
  • Have a culture shock, which is normal, don't worry
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Linoa

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wonderful experience as an au pair in Shanghai!

On behalf of the Wanderlust Exchange team, we extend our heartfelt thanks to you for being such an outstanding participant in the program. We wish you continued success and fulfillment in all your future endeavors, and we hope our paths may cross again someday.

Warm regards,

Wanderlust Exchange

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great program

I want to say thank you so so much to Wanderlust for running their au pair program and making it possible for me to fulfill my dream of coming to China. More so, I want to thank my amazing host family for making it an unbelievably amazing experience and for all of the lovely times we had together. I am so thankful for their kindness and hospitality. I have had an enriching time here in China. I learned about Chinese culture and cuisine, made so many funny memories together, and had a fun time with my host kids. I would definitely recommend this program if you are interested this type of work/ exchange program!

Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Katherine,

Thank you for your heartfelt review. It's messages like yours that truly make our work fulfilling.
We're thrilled to hear that your dream of coming to China was realized through our au pair program. Thank you for recommending our program to others who may be interested in this type of program!

We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Warm regards,

Wanderlust Exchange

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Fatimoh Ozavize
Yes, I recommend this program


I had so much fun from exploring the aesthetic view of the host family province, to trying different Chinese meals and also having a nice time with the family. The program helped me to gain more knowledge on Chinese language. I explored the Chinese traditional dragon boat festival and how the family gathers and eat different kinds of meal on that period. During the festival I was told Chinese family bonds more at this time. It helped me to be more flexible and making new friends among my Chinese language class colleagues.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The unfamiliar meal I ate was the Chinese zhongzi, dumplings and wonton. As a picky eater I did enjoyed myself.
  • Learning Chinese language
  • Learning Chinese culture and history
  • Interacting better with kids and individuals
  • Adjusting to some certain Chinese culture
  • Adjusting to the meal
  • Getting to know the Childs better. Sometimes kids are had to relate with but the mother was always there to help.
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Fatimoh,

Thank you for sharing your fantastic experience with us! It sounds like you had an incredible time!
It's wonderful to hear that the program helped you gain more knowledge of the Chinese language and cultures. We appreciate your participation and are delighted to have been part of your journey. We wish you all the best in your future adventures!

Warm regards,

Wanderlust Exchange


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Alumni Interviews

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

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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