Hope Marshall - 2014 Program Participant 

An au-pair with the kids on the Great Wall of China.

We made it to the top of the wall.

Why do you think traveling is important?

I think traveling and being exposed to a very different environment, one that you’re especially not used to, is the best way to learn. Not only do you learn about the ways and means of another country but you also learn a lot about yourself, in ways you never thought you would. 

Why did you choose to become an AuPair in China with LoPair?

I chose LoPair because they had very high rankings which I found out by doing a lot of research online. They also provided a lot of benefits that other au pair agencies did not, like Chinese language and culture lessons for example. 

What made Au-pairing through LoPair in China unique?

The fact that you are surrounded by au pairs from all around the world while living in China makes the whole experience extremely interesting. The distance from our home was apparent to all of us yet with them and all of LoPair staff, we felt like a big family. There was not a dull moment in my whole trip and I was left fascinated by the daily global exchanges. 

Having fun at the park.

Park time.

What is the best thing about Au-pairing with LoPair that future participants need to know?

I strongly believe that for this type of program, there is no better agency than LoPair. They don’t just want your money. They want to be your friend. By the end of my program, LoPair staff became like family.

What was your favorite part about living in China?

My favorite part was getting to see the different sides of China. I was able to travel to both rural parts and very populated cities as well. This meant that I was able to share American culture to Chinese people from all over China. Also, seeing the less privileged sides of China opened my eyes to all that I take for granted back home. 

What is one thing you would do differently if you did it all over again?

I would challenge myself more in speaking Chinese while I was in China. There were so many opportunities and it’s important to take advantage of them. 

What was a typical day like for you in China?

In the mornings, I would play with the children while teaching them English. We would eat an American breakfast, which consisted of eggs, toast, and fruit. When the kids were at school, my host-mother, Jennifer, and I would pass the time exploring Hangzhou or at Starbucks. We would chat about China and America and the many differences, sometimes in Chinese and other times in English. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I had Chinese lessons with Chloe, another au pair from New Zealand and our Chinese teacher, Jora. The day would continue once the kids were home from school and I would continue to practice their English and on most days, go to the local park. 

A girl with her host siblings.

Hope and her host siblings.

Did you experience any culture shock in China?

Once living in China, it is hard not to experience culture shock because it is vastly different, but overall, I never had a severe culture shock. As long as you keep an open mind and a positive/optimistic outlook, you can accept the exotic Chinese culture and it is all of a sudden evident that their culture is indeed beautiful as it is different.

How did your time in China change you as a person?

Looking back on my experience, I feel like a completely different person. I am a lot more aware of who I am along with my strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I have gained more confidence. I found out about more of my interests which helped me declare a major. While I was there, I established a great relationship with my host family which will continue to be a strong one for the rest of my life. I also find that I can understand Chinese people in a way that most foreigners would never be able to. I truly think it is something very special.