An Au Pair is...
... someone who lives with a family and helps out with childcare, but is 'au pair' (French for 'on par') with the family members and thus, treated as an equal. In exchange for helping out, au pairs receive food and accommodation as well as other practical benefits.
Generally speaking, our host families expect au pairs to take on more of an educational than a pastoral role. This usually means teaching English through play and exploring aspects of your culture together.
What do you gain?
If our experiences have taught us anything, it is that the best way to learn about another culture is by getting to know the people. Au pairing is a great way to do that!
You exchange your knowledge and skills for those of your hosts, and through a little effort you gain experiential knowledge of Chinese culture, and experience 'travel' in a much truer sense of the word...
This is in addition to all of the practical benefits listed in the programme details.
What does the host family gain?
As China increasingly opens up to the world, many families are looking for au pairs to help their children explore the English language and Western culture.
Parents get an opportunity to practice their English, and help with childcare.
Children get a chance to learn English from a native or fluent speaker.
The whole family take pride in showcasing Chinese culture to the outside world.
A DAY IN THE LIFE...
Every home-stay experience with BMC Cultural Exchange is a unique experience as individual as the family you live with. However, there are similarities. Here is an example of an au pair's daily routine in Beijing:
6-8am Breakfast… Chinese style. No milk and cereal here, you will find breakfast in China quite different to what you are used to at home. Dumplings, noodles and fried rice can all make an appearance... Delicious.
8am School drop-off: Children start school at age five in China, so school drop-off depends on the age of your little brother or sister. You might be needed to help with the drop off, or you might not, it all depends on the individual needs of your family.
8:30am-4:00pm Free Time: Spend the day as you please, explore the ancient walls of the Forbidden City or opt for a visit to the Beijing 798 art district and discover the hidden side of China's culture. Whether you are out and about in Beijing or relaxing at home it's another chance to taste some delicious authentic Chinese food.
4:00pm Schools Out: Time to meet back up with your little brother or sister.
4:00pm-5:00pm Homework Time: You could be on hand to supervise homework time if needed, you might even learn a thing or two yourself.
5:00pm-7:00pm Play time: The best part of the day, when you can enjoy playing with your little brother or sister. This could include singing, painting, reading stories or watching films together... whatever you decide upon together. The emphasis here is on practicing English in a fun way, as well as learning about UK culture.
7:00pm Dinner: The chance to sit down and enjoy a meal together with your host family. Be sure to try your city's specialty dish. Peking Duck is not to be missed, or you could try your hand at making jiaozi (pronounced "tzjiao-tzjuh": a kind of dumpling). Your host family will make it look easy!
7:30pm Onwards Free time: Time to relax and unwind after a busy day in bustling Beijing.
China is vast, varied, and beautiful. With the Himalayas in the West, the Gobi Desert in the North, and more populated coastal and plain regions in the East and South, there is something for everyone.
China has some of the longest natural and man-made rivers in the world, and over 50 World Heritage Sites. The Great Wall of China is a sight to behold, but recently China has been adding to its collection of landmarks with feats of civil engineering genius.
Such projects are a sign of thirty years of economic growth in China, the largest manufacturer and exporter of goods, the second-largest importer of goods, and the fastest-growing consumer market in the world. With this growth, China has increasingly opened up to the world. Indeed, many say that to go to China is to see the direction in which the world is heading. Wouldn't it be exciting to experience such a place?