Au Pair China Frequently Asked Questions
Is China Safe?
Search the web and you’ll find that China is one of the safest countries in the world for travelers. Your safety is our highest priority; therefore, we interview and screen all families in person in China before allowing them to participate in our exchange program as a potential host family. Additionally, we provide you with a 24/7 emergency hotline while in China, as well as ensuring that you have regular face-to-face contact with your Local Coordinator. We are here to assure your experience in China is both safe and rewarding.
Chinese Host Families
Many of our host families are located in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Most families range in ages from 30 to 50 and are typically considered wealthy in China.
Most our host families have between one and three kids.
Some families have grandparents that also live in the host family's home.
Best Apps for China
WeChat is the most common and popular social app in China. You can chat with your friends through message and video, send moments, and make payment through WeChat. WeChat is like Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype and PayPal all rolled into one app.
Gaode Map is a very convenient map app in China similar to Google Maps.
Didi Taxi is an app for calling a taxi similar to Uber.
Youdao Dictionary is a popular translator app that supports the translation to and from Chinese and most other popular languages. It’s similar to Google Translate.
How do Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube work in China?
You are right to ask this question. In China, these apps are not available without a VPN. Before you leave for China, we recommend that you set up a valid VPN, and test access to your devices.
How does Chinese public transportation work?
It's common and convenient to take an e-bike, bus, metro or taxi in most major cities. E-bike is everywhere. You’ll find an E-bike on nearly every corner and street, for a low cost of RMB 1 yuan/Hour. Usually the bus and metro costs RMB 1-5 yuan for a single trip. Taxis usually cost RMB 12-45 yuan for transportation within the city center area. For nearby cities, it's cheap and fast to take high-speed trains. China has the fastest high-speed trains in the world. Of course, air flight is always an option for longer-distance trips within China as well.
Does my cell phone/SIM card work in China?
Most of overseas cell phones/SIM cards can be used in China under a special China plan offered by your carrier, but it's quite a bit more expensive than getting a local number in China. When you come to China, your host family/local coordinator will assistant you to get a Chinese SIM card for your phone. That way you'll have a local number with a local plan. You can always use Skype or WeChat to call home for free.
Will my bank cards work in China?
ATM cards of most major banks, and credit cards such as Visa MasterCard, American Express, and Union Pay work in China. Some credit card companies may also charge you a foreign transfer fee for purchases made overseas. It’s a good idea to bring a Union Pay card that is acceptable throughout China. Some cards such as the Discover card, may have a partnership with the Union Pay network. Check with your issuing card company to verify your cards will work in China before you leave.
What’s my typical day as an Au Pair in China?
According to the regulations of GreatAuPair China Exchange Program, a foreign Au Pair provides up to 30 hours a week duty time to their Host Family while enjoying at least 1.5 days off per week. A detailed weekly/daily task schedule will be agreed upon in the Host Family – Au Pair Agreement when your match has been finalized. Here’s an example:
8:00 Eat breakfast with Sam and Jennie
8:30 Bring Sam to school; bring Jennie to community kindergarten
9:30 Go for Mandarin classes
12:00 Have lunch with other au pair classmates
13:00 Free time to spare in the city
16:00 Pick up Sam and Jennie
16:30 Play time with Sam and Jennie
17:00 Prepare dinner with the host parents
18:30 Dine with the family
19:00 English tutoring time for Sam
20:00 Story time for Jennie before going to bed
20:30 Free time
What's the cost of living in China?
Generally, a single meal costs around RMB 18-40 yuan, a bottle of water 2-4 yuan, tooth paste is about 10-20 yuan. It’s not expensive to live in China. Many things are cheap in China. For example, most things like haircuts, clothes, books, and even shopping online. Some things that are a bit expensive in China include drinks in bars, imported fruits, skincare products, western food restaurants, and Japanese restaurants. You should plan to bring some spending money and at a minimum, we recommend that you bring RMB 1000-1500 yuan to China and keep it for emergency use.
What's it like to be an au pair in China versus other countries?
In most of countries, au pair activities revolve around childcare tasks and housekeeping related to the children. In China, au pairs are expected to accompany kids to and from school and tutor them English, with very light housework, as families usually have nannies and housekeepers. So, au pairs in China are expected to act as a role model to the children and educate the children in English, foreign culture and manners in daily life. Most successful au pairs in China are able to actively organize interactive kids’ games to play with the family and kids.
What are Chinese children like?
Since China had implemented a One-Child Policy in 1979 that ended in 2015, most Chinese families have between 1 and 3 children. Families with only one child tend to find their child being lonely and sometimes shy or afraid of strangers, so it's important that au pairs are more proactive and take initiative to bring up interesting topics to start up conversations and engage the child. Chinese children tend to have a lack of outdoor activities, spending a lot of time in indoor and extra-curricular classes. Also, children in China get a lot of attention from every family member, so they are usually spoiled and less independent. But Chinese kids are very polite and cute. Once you make the effort to become friends with them, your Chinese host children will bring you a lot of joy that is sure to make for many memorable experiences.
Can I stay in China after my Au Pair Program?
During your program term, you are expected to focus on the host family's children and complete your au pair program with excellence. When you finish the au pair program, if you want to extend your au pair program and stay in China with your original family or a new family, you can inform your GreatAuPair representatives and they will guide you through the extension process. If you want to further study in a Chinese university, your GreatAuPair representatives can assist you in this process. If you want to further work in China, it would require an entirely different visa, which typically requires that you be sponsored by a Chinese company. Obtaining corporate sponsorship visas is outside of GreatAuPair China's services.
Quick tips for your stay in China:
Do not purchase any type of airsoft/spring gun/toy gun while in China.
Do not insert your chopsticks straight into your rice as it’s considered bad manners.
Never let a child cross the road alone. You must hold a child’s hand while crossing the road.
Do bring tissues with you when going to Chinese public toilets.
Remember to bargain when buying souvenirs or things from market.