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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.


No. 588, East Yan'an Road
Huangpu Qu
Shanghai Shi, 200002

Wanderlust Scholarship

As part of our mission, Wanderlust Exchange is keen to make intercultural exchange program accessible to as many youngsters as possible.
Scholarship is available for all Wanderlust Exchange programs.
Please visit our scholarship wesbsite for details.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Going to China has always been something I wanted to do. Taking a gap year finally meant I was able to do this. Looking online for the right program so I could stay in China, I ended up with Wanderlust Exhange.
After arriving in my host family, the beginning was quite tough for me. However, the family has been very kind and gave me the time to get used to everything here. After a few days it went better and better.
Connecting with the hostchild was maybe the most challenging part of my experience. After a few weeks our relationship improved: the child was open to learn more English besides just playing with me.
Over the weekends I would join the family in their activities (having lunch outdoors, going to a park, visiting the grandparents, going to a park etc.) and during weekdays I'd have time to see more of the city and attend my Chinese classes.
Besides seeing more of the country and learning a little bit of the language, I also learned more about tutoring a child and finding ways to make learning more fun.
So I would say this program is a chance to experience the best of both worlds and I would recommend this program to anyone who's up for a (learning) adventure!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To summarize my advice, it would be: go with the flow, allow yourself to adjust and make sure there's a good communication between you and the hostfamily.
By go with the flow I mean that sometimes unforeseen things happen and you just have to accept that instead of resisting it. Things might be very different for you than expected, getting used to your environment might be harder than you thought etc. and that's when you should let it go and stop trying to make it how you want it to be. This brings me to my next point: know that it takes time to adjust. For me this was especially the case in the beginning, for others it might go well at first, but then turn bad once they have stayed longer than a month (culture shock).
Most importantly, keep in mind that there is a hostfamily you can talk with about this besides your program coordinator. Communication is really key since the hostfamily has to get to know you and you them. Without letting them know about your difficulties, whether that is about missing your family or not being able to connect with the host child, they in return cannot help you. Letting know when you will leave the house or other events coming up, seem like simple things but are really crucial to maintain a good relationship between you and the hostfamily.
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Yes, I recommend this program

First I wanted to be in Shanghai but when I discover the host family who wanted to be with me it was a perfect match !

WAC helped me in all my steps to be able to come to China by answering my questions. more the welcome and the approaches to my arrival were warmest. I am happy to have been with this company during my 6 months in China and I thank them very much for finding me the perfect family in China.

followed in approaches for visa, hosted on arrival in Shanghai, filed at the hotel to leave the business and rest with documents the agency more a small card welcome, the next day visit the agency to focus on the progress and operation in China, followed a visit Shanghai and next day take the train to go to the city of destination Ningbo ! where to me I have been received by the mother very warm with a bunch of flower. even if I were stressed in the plane before arriving in China and despite some technical problems staff this experience with the agency and my family home will forever engraved in my memory and is for me the most beautiful it is !

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
So many things with my host family. But maybe more the holidays in Sanya I fed rays.
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Aurore,

It's a such a delight to hear from you and have your experience shared with us.

We are so glad to know that you enjoyed your stay with your host family in Ningbo. It is also such a pleasure to know that you find our team is supportive. It was a great time for us too having you aupair with us.

Wish you every success in your future and all the best!

Wanderlust Exchange

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Yes, I recommend this program

Wow, I can't believe my two months in China as an AU Pair is already coming to an end!

What an experience, not an easy one by any means, but definitely a completely fulfilling one.

Wanderlust has made this journey a very smooth and simple one. From the airport pickup to the constant support no matter what the issue is (including numerous phone calls while I was in Hong Kong to renew my visa, they were with me every step of the way.

The family I have was matched with have been incredible, the 2 kids are great fun and we enjoy playing sports, games and doing homework everyday. The family have been amazing, they have really shown me around this great city and made me feel at home. In addition, we went on a 2 week holiday to Africa and saw amazing things together. It just goes to show if you put yourself in these kinds of situations anything can happen :)

As an Au pair in China, you shouldn't expect an easy ride, but you should expect a new cultural experience with new things to learn and see everyday . Dive right in and you will be able to make the most of it!

To those contemplating going to China as an Au Pair, I can highly recommend Wanderlust, they have made my journey here so great and I haven't once felt as though there was a problem I couldn't overcome, they have been such a great help to me!

Thanks everyone :)


Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Michael,

Thank you so much for sharing your aupairing experience with us! It is such a delight to know it was an enjoyable as well as meaningful journey for you.

It is great to know that you had a wonderful time staying with your host family and had an amazing travel with them.

It is such a great pleasure to have you aupair with us and we enjoy the time being with you as much as you do.

Wish you all the best,

Wanderlust Exchange

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Yes, I recommend this program

I always knew that I wanted to do something different after I graduate. All my friends kept talking about going to the US or Australia, but somehow that didn't have too much appeal for me. One day I accidentally stumbled upon China and I figured, why not? So I packed all my stuff and went on my adventure in the far east.
I have been living in the beautiful City of Shanghai for nearly 6 months now - with another 6 months to go. Time is flying way too quickly.
From the moment I stepped into the country I was treated like a part of the family. I have a 5 year old host kid that I absolutely adore, she really makes my day brighter. My Hostfamily gave me the amazing opportunity to visit Hangzhou, Tonglu and Beijing with them. Who doesn't want to stand on the Great Wall once in their life? I made so many amazing friends along the way. I even traveled 18 hours in a train with one of them to visit Guilin, in South of China. This year already gave me so many amazing opportunities and it is not even halfway over.
Adjusting to the local 'Lifestyle' and Food had been no problem at all for me. Especially since I like to eat spicy. Seriously, that makes your life a lot easier.
What had been quite of a challenge at first for little ol' german me was the spontaneity of the people here. I tend to stick to plans and if you're like me, that might take some adjustment time.
Now, a few months later, I am proud to say that I got way more spontaneous though.
I also love the fact that we're able to study the language in a local language school. After 6 months I am able to understand quite a lot, but I must admit that speaking is still very hard for me.
Shanghai has quite a lot of English speakers, sometimes you gotta push yourself to speak Chinese in public - to leave your comfort zone.
I am very thankful for everything my Hostfamily did and still does for me. They take me out for amazing activities, and make sure that I always feel comfortable and welcome. They grew so close to my heart and I feel very grateful to be able to stay in such a wonderful family.
Hazel, Ginger and Lisa have been very helpful and are always there for you if you have any questions. I really made the right decision to come to a country with such a diverse culture, amazing food and the nicest people.
I'm looking forward to see what the next 6 months will bring me

Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Antonia,

We are so glad to hear from you and thanks for sharing your experience in China with us too!

It is great to know that you had a wonderful time staying with your host family and had travelled couple of amazing places in China with them and enjoyed Chinese food at the same time :)

We also feel so proud of you for your progress in Chinese!

It is such a great pleasure to have you aupair with us and we enjoy the time being with you as much as you do.

Wish you all the best,

Wanderlust Exchange

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Yes, I recommend this program

I love Shanghai and would not trade this experience for the world! It is not for someone who's intentions are to travel the world and not be willing to put in the work. Get ready to have your patience tested and to be put in uncomfortable situations. These things have helped me grow so much as a person. Being an au pair means being able to be spontaneous and sometimes you probably will feel very confused on what you're supposed to do. But don't worry! If you have any questions or ANY concerns Wanderlust helps with all communication barriers you might have with your family. They work very hard to help you settle into Shanghai upon arrival and will try to help you feel comfortable through meeting the other au pairs immediately! I've learned to really care about my host kid and the family, you will definitely create bonds that are unforgettable with the people you meet :)

What would you improve about this program?
Could be clearer about what's expected from an au pair, but it's different for every family! You just have to talk it through before arrival.
Response from Wanderlust Exchange

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you so much for sharing your aupairing experience with us! It is such a delight to know it was an enjoyable as well as meaningful journey for you.

It is such a great pleasure to know our team has been supportive during your stay and we enjoy the time being with you as much as you do.

Wish you all the best,

Wanderlust Exchange


3 weeks ago
Wanderlust Exchange


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Alumni Interviews

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

Michael Jones

An incredible experience in China and across the world!
Michael Jones

Why did you choose this program?

Having had 3 months off my regular job, I wanted to spend this time undergoing a new challenge in a place completely foreign to me.

With studying abroad being so expensive, and not having enough time to start a full time work contract, I stumbled upon Wanderlust Exchange and its Au-Pair program. It looked like exactly what I wanted. It was, and more.

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

Wanderlust exchange were with me every step of the way. From the initial interview and contract signing, right up until making sure I got to the airport safely for my return flight. Thanks to their help, I never felt like I couldn't overcome any problem that I might have had.

I received a detailed departure guide, which listed all the things I needed to do before moving to China (how much money to bring, apps to download, etc).

Additionally, the visa process was made much easier with their help. In my case, I had to apply for the China visa twice (in New Zealand and Hong Kong) and the Wanderlust stuff were available at any time to give advice and provide me with any required documentation.

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

I would say that going overseas (in my case, China) with an open mind might be the most important thing. The culture in another country can be very different and the things we do/take for granted everyday may not be the norm. This is NOT a bad thing. Embrace it and enjoy a new outlook on life. Whenever I saw something that I thought was really foreign to me, instead of thinking "oh that's weird", I tried to think " oh, that's cool and different". I think that way of thinking really helped me to enjoy my time more.

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

My schedule was very comfortable. The family I stayed with had two boys, aged 4 and 7. Both went to a Kindergarten school from Monday to Friday. Because of this, on weekdays I was basically free until 3 or 4 pm everyday!

I could use this time to go to Mandarin class, hang out with friends or watch movies at home! At night, I would eat dinner with the family, play with the kids and do any reading or homework that they had been assigned from school. At about 8:30, they would go to bed and I would be free again until 3 or 4 pm the next day.

Weekends were a little more full on, but very exciting! I would usually be with the kids from morning until night, but I was always free to go and take a couple of hours rest in the afternoon. On top of that, we would often go out as a family on Saturdays and Sundays. Go kart racing, space exhibitions, and the zoo were just a few of the great experiences I shared with the family on weekends!

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

Going to China, I was a little concerned about the language barrier. Not speaking any Mandarin, I was worried about what I would do if I got stuck in the middle of nowhere unable to communicate with anyone!

Of course, this never happened and I realized that, in Shanghai (where I lived), English is widely spoken and I never had any problems. On top of that, anytime I had to do something which required Chinese, my host family and/or Wanderlust Exchange were there to help me.

Are there opportunities to travel with your host family?

YES. This is something I'd like to share. During my short stay in China (which coincided with the Chinese New Year Holiday Period), the family booked a 2 week holiday to Africa! I was extremely lucky and was also invited to go. A 2 week safari in Africa is something that I definitely didn't expect when applying to go to China as an Au-Pair. But what an experience! It just goes to show that, when you put yourself out there and try something new the possibilities, are endless! Give it a go!

Staff Interviews

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

Youjia Zhang

Job Title
Project Coordinator
Youjia Zhang - Project Coordinator for Wanderlust Au Pair China

What is your favorite travel memory?

It happened in June 2016, when I quit my last job to travel with my friend Shishily and Barbara to Yellowstone National Park. We saw tons of bison, elk, grizzly bears, black bears, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and moose. It was amazing to see geysers, different landscapes and various wildlife. We were even surprised by a hail storm in the middle of June.

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

I love the idea of culture exchange a lot, and I feel wonderful spending my time with au pairs and helping others get to know my country, China. Wanderlust Au Pair is an amazing innovative company that I can actually express my thoughts an ideas to, in order to make a difference in the world.

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

The seven au pairs I have met so far are all from different countries. It's very incredible for me to imagine a group of people with different backgrounds who are willing to sit together and talk about how much they love China and hear that they want to spend more time with their host families.

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

The idea of cultural exchange, to make foreign people learn, care about, and explore China as well as to allow the Chinese host families to get to know Western culture is inspiring, and I am very impressed by this idea. The working environment is great and I get a lot of opportunities to speak with people from different backgrounds. Also, my supervisor, Hazel (Wanderlust Program Director) is super nice and helpful; she really knows what the host families and au pairs need, and provides full support promptly.

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

I think the biggest factor to be a successful company is to love what you do. It's only when you have passion for what you do, and are willing to spend time on it, that you are able to combine career development with personal development.

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Professional Associations

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