Ultimately, if you truly want to experience something unique and memorable, full immersion into a friendly Chinese family is the way to go. Not only does this give you a first hand experience of Chinese lifestyle but it will also do wonders for your mandarin. Having done a fair amount of Chinese at school, I was able to communicate extremely simple sentences to my host family. Already, after 2 months in Beijing, I feel much more capable and can use far more complex sentences. The brilliant mandarin classes as well as the ability to practice the language whenever you want truly does work wonders.
I personally chose to stay in Beijing as I figured it would be the most vibrant display of Chinese culture and so far I have not been disappointed. Beijing is such a fascinating city as you are never far from a token of its 3000 years of culture and history. The Great Wall, Summer Palace, Forbidden city, Lama Temple; there are so many possibilities to come to terms with this vibrant city’s past.
My Au Pair kid’s name is Mike. On work days I wake up at 7:30 have breakfast, and drop Mike off at school. After this, most Au Pairs have a significant amount of free time although the amount varies based on the family’s preference. I am free to do as I please from 8:30 am to 15:00 pm. This time is usually spent hanging out with friends, sightseeing, pursuing my own fitness goals or going to mandarin classes (which I have two days a week). At 3 pm I pick Mike up from school and accompany him and get involved in his daily activities. For my kid this is things such as football, basketball, chess, drawing, drama classes and even ice hokey. I make sure to interact in English as much as possible with Mike throughout the day. After said activities the family cooks me dinner and I play some games with Mike and read to him in English. By 8 pm he has gone to bed and I am free to relax some more. Also, every Au Pair gets one full day off per week which allows us to experience Beijing nightlife. Most host families are quite relaxed on the Au Pairs going out 2 or 3 times a week.
One of the best things about working as an Au Pair is getting to meet the other Au Pairs who are all extremely friendly and interesting. With the wide variety of nationalities and languages I find myself able to practice my french and Spanish on a regular basis while simultaneously improving my Chinese. As a language lover it is heaven!
So far working as an Au Pair for ImmerQi has been a wonderful experience and you truly do meet great friends along the way!
Ross Buller, an Au Pair from Au Pair China Program, is in Beijing for 12 weeks, from the U.K.
About Au Pair China Program