Sunday, 28 July 2019

What I have learnt as an Au Pair | by EMMA

AU PAIR IN CHINA WITH LOVE AU PAIR
With Grace and Teresa
Hello Everyone, my name is Emma from Australia recently I completed a six months cultural exchange program through love Aupair, during the six months I stayed with two families one in Hangzhou and one in Shenzhen.

The main motivation for me was to experience Chinese culture and travel being able to speak and understand some mandarin gave me a slight advantage as I could travel, communicate with family members and locals on the most part without any trouble. Because my mother is from Taiwan and I learnt Mandarin from a young age, therefore, I understand why families want their children to be bilingual.

"Although I have a lot of experience with children I have never experienced anything like this before so it was a new experience for me".

AU PAIR IN CHINA WITH LOVE AU PAIR
Made silly glasses with Teresa.

My Au Pair journey started in Hangzhou
While in Hangzhou I joined a family with two older children aged nine and 11.Ifound it a bit hard to interact with them at the beginning particularly with the older (girl).

I think this may have been due to my own personality (I admit I am a bit of an introverted person and take a while to get comfortable around someone) but it could have also been due to her age and I am more experienced around younger children at the beginning I mainly focused on the younger (boy) because he was a bit more cooperative .
AU PAIR IN CHINA WITH LOVE AU PAIR
Hangman - our favourite game :)
Teaching the very simple words and vowels
I planned a list of activities for us to do together on a weekly basis that would help them improve their English, although not all of them were completed when we did do them it was great fun and we particularly
enjoyed hangman which is a great way to learn new words and about vowels A,E,I,O,U.

As the time with my first host family was coming to an end I  was able to have some conversations with the older host kid and she was a bit more accepting and cooperative. I was also getting more familiar with the children as well.

AU PAIR IN CHINA WITH LOVE AU PAIR
Shenzhen Bay

The next 3 months in Shenzhen
For the next three months, I joined a family in Shenzhen they had two younger children aged four and five who attended kindergarten from approximately 8.00 am to 5.00 pm weekdays. The children’s English level was very beginner when I first arrived however towards the end and me only speaking English to them(believe me that was hard because sometimes I wanted to speak to them in Chinese when they didn't understand and I think there were one or two times I let some Chinese slip.)

No Chinese, only English
They were able to say some sentences and words particularly the older one for example. ‘I want seaweed’ their favourite  snack (and mine too) ‘Help me’, ‘ I want to play hide and seek’, ‘mosquito ‘I like’ , ‘count’, ‘turn around’, ‘hair tie’, ‘ poopoo’ -informal way of saying faeces and wee wee-urinate. ‘Don't scare me’ (when we were playing hide and I would jump out and scare them )so I had to teach them to say that although they asked me in Chinese how to say this.

They were able to put together what they learnt at school and through me playing, singing, dancing, walking home from kindergarten and flashcards and able to communicate a bit better with a westerner :)

AU PAIR IN CHINA WITH LOVE AU PAIR
At the Agency with Lenka, Jenna and our coordinator Allan

What I have learnt /tips for future Au pairs 

1. Family support 

It is important to get the families to support if the children do not have an interest in learning English as they may not want to learn and can make having a relationship with the children a bit difficult 


2. Age/level appropriate activities 
Try and organize activities that revolve around the children’s ages, English level and interest to help them be interested and keep remaining interested in learning.

3. Don't beat yourself up.
If things don’t go according to plan don’t blame yourself it’s a learning curve for everyone and you can draw on previous experiences and learn from it did with my first family I was able to learn from that and gain some more ‘teaching’ experience because I am not a teacher.

4. Problem  resolutions  Get support from the agency and others to help you resolve any miscommunications or conflicts you may have,and if it cannot be solved don't worry and don't be afraid to go into rematch it may just be that the host family is not right for you and you can find another one more suitable for you,Ialmost gave up but stuck to it and found a great family that was very suitable for me and completed my three *  two month program.

AU PAIR IN CHINA WITH LOVE AU PAIR
Receiving my certificate of competition, Chinese course completion and letter of recommendation.

At the airport with my Chinese host family


Rewarding experience even for introverts Finally, I leave you with this if you are considering on going to China and living with a real Chinese family then give this a go ,it may be one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences of your life but trust me you will not look back and if someone as introverted as me can do it you can do it too.


I wish you all the best 
Emma

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