Honestly I had such an amazing time doing the homestay programme with during the summer of 2019. My summer spent in Shenzhen resulted in a lot of personal growth because I was placed in an unfamiliar environment but I still had a lot of support both in China and in the U.K. (From Katie - the creator of the program) which allowed me to really flourish.
Communication with Abridge Academy
The communication was seamless. Katie was super fast at replying and was always willing to give me advice and ideas on how to overcome any obstacles I might have been facing. For example, the 11 year old I was looking after, like the majority of kids his age, wouldn’t always want to study. I had expressed this to Katie and she was very quick to suggest some ideas for me to try out, and checked in with me a week later to see how things were going.
The host family was amazingly generous and were really understanding of cultural differences. They were always excited to include me in all their activities and truly wanted me to have an amazing time in China. What I liked was that my family was very transparent. Like every family, no one is perfect all the time you have some good days and not so good days (the former more often than not) but I appreciated that they weren’t being fake. I truly felt like they treated me like I was a member of their family not just because of how kind they were to me but because they were authentically themselves but still tried to make sure I comfortable.
QiXing Au pair
Abridge Academy connected me with QiXing Au Pair so they were my liaisons whist I was in Shenzhen and where I went to do my chinese lessons and with whom I went on monthly cultural outings. The staff were all very friendly to me and are available pretty much 24/7 if you need to chat or ask a question. They were super vital in helping iron out any misunderstandings between Aupairs and their host families because they understood the cultural stand points of both. It’s been a year since I was in Shenzhen and I’m still in communication with some of the staff members because they were genuinely friendly people.
MAJOR POINT TO REMEMBER:
This isn’t a holiday, don’t get me wrong, I got to do lotssssssss of things thanks to the generosity of my host family and through QiXing Aupair. But it was also hard work because I wasn’t used to entertaining a child all day. But honestly you just have to be patient with the child and ask them to be patient with you too. Every child is different and like adults they have many layers to their personality which are influenced by what they been exposed to so far in life. Having the patience to try to learn and understand your child/children’s layers is a MAJOR KEY. This experience had challenging moments but honestly it was one of the greatest times for me.