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Wanderlust Exchange

About

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!
Founded
2014
Headquarters

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

Reviews

Default avatar
Bohdana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Default avatar
Ria
10/10
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. (^_^)

Default avatar
Liam
10/10
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.
Default avatar
Soraya Shirin
10/10
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!
Default avatar
Katrien
10/10
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!

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9
Wanderlust Exchange
Wanderlust Au Pair China Program
China
9.15 •68 reviews

Wanderlust Au Pair China Program integrates educational travel...

Wanderlust Exchange
Volunteer with Children in China
China
10 •1 review

This project gives you the opportunity to make a difference where it...

Wanderlust Exchange
Wanderlust Online English Tutoring Program
Online

Wanderlust Exchange specializes in creating authentic cultural...

Wanderlust Exchange
Wanderlust Online Mandarin Course
Online

Fascinated by Chinese culture and history but how can you gain in...

Wanderlust Exchange
Cultural Home-stay English Teaching Program in China
China

Wanderlust Exchange matches adventurous young adults with Chinese...

Wanderlust Exchange
Summer Internship Program in Shanghai
China

Wanderlust Exchange’s Internship Program allows students to make the...

Wanderlust Exchange
Surprise Host Family Program in China
China

Surprise Host Family Program – Are you ready for the surprise of your...

Wanderlust Exchange
Mo Gao Grotto Culture Heritage Volunteer
China

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

Wanderlust Exchange
Spend Your Gap Year as a Tennis Coach in China
China

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

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.

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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