Michela Gioachini - 2014 Program Participant

View at Dalian Port in China

Family Trip to Dalian Port.

What did you program with LoPair entail?

I was an au pair in China for three months.

Why did you decide to work in China specifically?

I am currently studying Chinese in my home country so I wanted to improve my language skills and I think the best way to do that is go to a country where they speak the language. 

What drew you to LoPair’s program?

When I found out about LoPair’s program online I thought it would give me a great opportunity to improve my Chinese skills and at the same time get a taste of the real Chinese life, living with a Chinese host family and sharing their traditions and customs. 

What is the best thing about being a LoPair au pair in China?

The fact that you meet very interesting people and experience what real China is and you don’t see it just through the eyes of a foreigner. You become part of a family and share their everyday life with them.

Au pair in the Chinese countryside with host family

Excursion to the countryside.

How would you say being an au pair in China impacts the lives of each au pair?

This experience will leave a strong mark on you. You will change and see things through a different perspective once you go back home. 

What was it like living with a host family?

My host family was very nice. They were all welcoming and made me really feel like part of their family. 

What is one thing you wish you would have prepared for more?

I wish I had known a little bit more about Chinese customs before starting the program. Chinese mentality is very different from western mentality; if I had known more I think I would have been more prepared to face some cultural differences. 

Describe a day in the life of an au pair in China.

In the morning, I usually helped my 14 year old host brother with English homework and did different activities with him that involved speaking English. In the afternoon, I took care of a baby girl and played with her, and in the evening I usually just spent time with the whole family.

Volunteer having dinner with Chinese Host Family

Host Family Dinner.

Did you experience culture shock when you arrived in China? What did you learn through facing a completely new culture?

I personally didn’t experience it because I was already aware of what Chinese culture is like, and I just accepted the things that were different from my culture. I’ve learned that when you travel and you are faced with differences you don’t have to think that it’s better or worse than what you are used to. It is just different, accept it!

How have you utilized skills you learned abroad in your life back at home?

It definitely helped me improve my language skills and I am finding studying Chinese at the university much easier now. I also think that this experience has helped me grow and improve myself on a personal level.