An au pair journey to China

Posted on 2nd Mar 2016 in Distant Shores, China, Working Abroad, my gap-year

Isabelle Bradshaw decided to venture to China to work as an au pair. Little did she know, this was just the start of her au pair journey...

I cannot express how glad I am that my journey led me to China, where I spent eight months au pairing in Beijing. Being an au pair in China is a strangely wonderful thing.

I spent my first few days getting to know my host family. There was forever an endless delight of dishes at meal times! The host child I was taking care of was just as quiet as I was in the beginning. We spent a while testing the water with each other until we both found we shared a love of Transformers. From there on, our evenings were spent running around the living room being chased by imaginary monsters, and being saved by our awesome kung fu moves. We became super heroes ourselves in those hours and I can’t help but look back on those fond memories with a grin on my face.

There is a culture and an energy that just being in China brings like nowhere else. I found my niche in the city, my place among people with customs and behaviours very different to my own.

Through my Mandarin classes, I met other au pairs and made friends who I still keep in touch with now. Suddenly, Beijing expanded from my host family’s flat to a wealth of new adventures to explore. Together we discovered the enthralling capital’s wonders, and we shared endless hours of laughing and smiling, gossiping and groaning, but most of all they understood and helped with the ins and outs of fitting into this strange new world.

Though it saddened me when they left, I developed new found friendships as new au pairs arrived. To learn such a different language to your own is challenging and yet I found such ecstatic joy from being able to use it in a conversation that I’m glad it’s a challenge I undertook. China has been the biggest adventure I ever undertook, I can’t say it wasn’t without difficulties, but each hurdle built me up stronger. I loved my time in China. I loved the people I met and the memories I shared. I loved it all.

However, my story doesn’t stop there. After I returned home to England, my host family got in contact again, asking if I – with my family’s help – would like to try and set up our own au pair company. We both knew how we should be treating the family and the au pair, and we were all dedicated to putting their best interests first. I want as many people as possible to have the same life changing experience as I did, to find their own adventure and that’s why we have set up our own au pair company in China. I finally have a great excuse to visit China once again!

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