Au pair duties
In most countries, an au pair’s job is to babysit their host family’s kids and assist with housework such as cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc. It can be a tiring task, particularly if your host family has many children.
In China, the duties of an au pair are usually very different. Host families are usually well-off business people with just one or two children, and often already hire an “ayi” to take care of housework and basic childcare tasks.
Instead, au pairs in China are usually asked to help with English language tutoring and playing fun games with the kids.
Parents hope that an au pair will be able to create a more immersive language learning environment for their children, as well as sharing their culture and traditions with the family.
Most host families have relatively young children, typically aged 6-12 years old. They are therefore usually not looking for intensive IELTS exam preparation or grammar classes! Instead, au pairs often help with spoken English and simple writing, both areas the Chinese education system provides less support for.
There are a wide range of activities au pairs can use to teach English. These include: reading story books, writing diary entries, having debates and discussions, playing English learning games, helping with homework, etc.
Even playing fun games, watching a movie or going to the park together can be an opportunity for language learning!
Parents often hope that their children will study or work abroad in the future, and for this they need not only language skills but also a greater cultural awareness. They therefore hope that au pairs will be keen to share their own culture and customs with them – everything from how to celebrate festivals and cook traditional dishes to popular films and music.
Au pairs can use cultural days throughout the year to introduce fun activities to their host family’s children. Ideas include painting Easter eggs, decorating the Christmas tree or dressing up as ghosts for halloween!
In between these times, sharing your favourite music, books and films is always popular.
Cultural activities can be easily linked in to language learning by practicing key phrases, dialogues and role plays. If they have completed an arts ‘n’ crafts activity, ask them to describe their creation and explain the meaning behind it. In this way, children can be inspired to enjoy learning the language more!
Sports, music and games
All children need some time off from learning, and they love to take part in activities such as sport, music and games.
This is a fantastic opportunity for au pairs to bond with their host family in a more informal environment as well as providing an opportunity to share your hobbies and extracurricular skills!
In the past, au pairs have even had the opportunity to learn new sports or hobbies from their host families – everything from traditional Chinese dancing to golf!
Being an au pair in China is much more than just a language teaching job, it is also the opportunity to experience Chinese culture first-hand and learn the local language.
Au pairs on our short-term and long-term EduCare programs will all have a minimum of five hours of Chinese language lessons per week, free of charge!
This is a fantastic opportunity to learn the new global language that is Mandarin, as well as to spend some time with the other au pairs in your city.
Experience Chinese culture
As well as free language lessons, au pairs will also have free Chinese cultural activities and workshops every month. In the past, these have included everything from traditional dresses and dance to stamp carving and calligraphy.
Many host families are also keen to share their culture with their au pairs, introducing topics such as traditional Chinese cooking, tea ceremonies and art. Timing your au pair experience with a major Chinese festival such as the lunar new year can provide particularly rich cultural exchange opportunities!