China

China

China is a country with a rich culture, dramatic history and is rapidly growing into a top destination. Until the 1980s, China was virtually closed for the outside world, but now it is one of the world leaders in business and economy, putting itself in the spotlight by hosting world-known events such as the Olympic Games and the 2010 World Expo. Au Pair New Zealand offers you a possibility to explore a culture different than your own and get a lifetime experience.

Application and requirements

To China with Au Pair New ZealandYou need to be at least 18 years old if you want to become an au pair in China and maximum 30. The minimum duration for an au pair stay in China is 3 consecutive months and maximum 12 months. You can choose to participate for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months.

To start the procedure and become an au pair in China, we will start by giving you all the information you need, before registering with Au Pair New Zealand. You will then have to register yourself online. You can start filling out the application forms and upload the required documents. It’s important to know that you cannot  SAVE the documents and come back later to finish it. You will need to fill it out at once.

 

The documents that we need are:

An application form, 1 character and 2 childcare references (not by family members or friends), a medical report (partly filled out by yourself and partly by your GP), a letter to your host family, a photo collage (in PDF or Word) or a video, 1 profile photo, a copy of all pages in your passport (to be send in one document and your passport shall be valid 6 months after leaving China), a police clearance (not older than 3 months when you apply) and a copy of your high school diploma, a signed form of the information about China and the IAPA au pair agreement. We also need you to bring a birth certificate to China, but you do not have to upload it online.

As soon as our partner agency has received all documents, the matching procedure will start. It can take a few weeks before a host family is found. When a family is interested we will send you some information about them as well as some photos and a Skype interview is arranged. We recommend you to keep in touch with your host family, even after a match is made. After you and the host family have agreed to cooperate, the host family will receive all documents from our partner agency to start the visa procedure and our partner will help to get the visa. We will inform you when your visa is approved and let you know what documents you need to bring with you to the embassy.

When you book your flight, make sure that it is valid for 365 days and can be changed. Upon arrival you will receive an information pack to get you started smoothly.  You will also receive support from our partner during your stay and they will get in touch with you a week after your arrival, and also after 2 and 6 months.

You are expected to be open and adjust yourself to the culture of your host country. As families in China often only have one child, they often behave like ‘little princes or princesses’. This can come across as rude, but this is part of the culture. Parents teach their children to be respectful though from a very young age.

Tasks

Go to China with au pair New Zealand 6Part of your tasks as an au pair will exist of light household duties. Although not all families require the same, washing dishes, loading and unloading the dishwasher, preparing simple meals, keeping the kitchen in order and general tidying up, shopping light groceries, loading laundry into the washing machine, packing away laundry/clothes, ironing, tidying and cleaning of children’s room(s), tidying and cleaning of own room(s), tidying and cleaning in general, vacuuming, dusting, keeping floors clean, taking out garbage but only on the ground floor, walking and feeding pets, watering plants and taking care of plants/flowers and making and changing one’s own bed are all seen as part of these chores.

Other tasks that may not be in the list of light household duties, but may sometimes be required are all and any tasks for which the au pair is solely responsible within the host family, all tasks with regard to gardening, washing of windows (inside and outside), scrubbing, mopping/scrubbing any area larger than 30 m2, washing/cleaning a car or automobile and cleaning of bathroom facilities unless such facilities are to be used solely by the au pair.

Rights and Responsibilities 

Work and free time

You will work maximum 30 hours per week, spread out over a maximum of six (6) days, during which you are not allowed to work more than a maximum of six (6) hours per day. Babysitting activities can be undertaken over a maximum period of three (3) evenings per week. It is absolutely not allowed for a family to ask you to work more than 30 hours, even if they pay you extra. Working hours shall be agreed upon between your host family and yourself before arrival in China. You will get 1 and a half days per week and a minimum of one full weekend once per month.

Holidays

You are entitled to two (2) weeks of paid vacation per 12 months, during which time your pocket money will be paid in full. If your  placement is for a shorter period of time, vacation is awarded accordingly. It is your and your host family’s responsibility to agree on the holidays together.

Language course

You will receive no less than 4 hours per week and costs for the language course will be paid for by our local partner. They will also send you the mandarin book before lessons start.

Accommodation and meals

All costs during your au pair stay with regard to food and drinks are to be bought completely by your host family. You need to be registered at the same address as the host family, while at the same time actually staying and living there. In other words, you live with the family at one and the same address, thus becoming part of the family, which is the whole spirit of the au pair programme. At this address, you will have a room with a window containing a bed, a desk and a chair. Bath/shower facilities must be offered if and when desired.

Pocket money, travel costs and insurance

You will receive at least 1000 – 1500 CNY per month (approximately 230 – 345 NZ$).

Length of stay 3 months 6 months 9 months 12 months
Flight ticket support 3000 CNY 5000 CNY 6000 CNY 8000 CNY
Visa service All visa fees will be covered by our partner agency in China
Completion bonus 300 CNY 600 CNY 900 CNY 1200 CNY
Insurance Paid by our partner agency in China

 

You will receive your flight ticket support from our partner agency when you have successfully completed your au pair period

Insurance will be paid for by our partner agency on Go to China with Au Pair New Zealand 5the first day of your arrival.

The host family will provide you with a cellphone and a transportation card to use, but are expected to be returned to your  host family after finishing your au pair stay.

Changing families

 In case you or your host family have problems, a representative of our partner agency will always talk to both of you and advise you in the best possible way. If the problem is not possible to resolve and the family or/and you decide to not continue with each other, our partner agency will try to replace you and find a new au pair for the host family.

Our partner agency will always invite you to their office (or if not possible, a Skype interview will take place) for a replacement interview. During the replacement interview they will ask you some questions to find out what kind of family you are looking for and if you are suitable to be replaced. It sometimes happens that after this replacement interview it is decided that you will not be replaced. In most cases, our partner will try to find you a new host family. Please note that there is a  two weeks notice. This means that from the moment you or your host family have agreed to stop the cooperation, that you can only stay for maximum 2 weeks with the host family. This means that we need to find you another family within two weeks.

Cultural differences

Food etiquette

Food etiquette in China is different from other cultures. Slurping and reaching for food is totally acceptable as it removing food from one’s mouth and putting it on the table. Note that playing with chopsticks and making faces at the food (no matter how disgusted you might be) is not acceptable. Showing this emotion is considered a loss of face. Also note that going “Dutch” is seen as unfriendly. If you offer to pay for everyone’s meal it will develop your relationship with him or her or them, even though they may not let you actually pay.

Crowds

There are a lot of people. If you choose to travel or go out you will be exposed to crowds. On public holidays the masses of people will become readily apparent as you shop with 1.5 billion Chinese. Don’t expect people to wait in line/queues. There is very little sense of personal space.

Visiting someone’s house

 If invited to a Chinese person’s house, which will happen, always take a gift of fruit or flowers. A pre-made basket of fruit costs about 30RMB. A bag of oranges or a bunch of flowers only costs a couple of Chinese RMB. Red flowers are good to take. White flowers are only used at funerals.

Smoking

Smoking is seen as a manly thing and very few think of it as a health threat or as being offensive. Often people will smoke in restaurants with little or no regard for smoking or non-smoking sections. Chinese men constantly offer cigarettes and alcohol to other men. The type of cigarettes a person smokes establishes a class system. To decline an offer of a cigarette or alcohol say gently, “Wo bu hui. Xie xie.”

Physical contact/holding hands in public

Chinese are not big on public displays of affection, you will rarely if ever see couples kissing or making out in public. Shake hands but refrain from hugging, kissing, winking, patting or making physical contact. As a “friend”, you will find that men will hold hands with men and women will hold hands with women and walk on the street. This may be “weird” in the west, but it is a common friendly practice for young people/adults in China. You may even have a friend of the same sex try to hold your hand at some point. It’s a very weird feeling.

Eye contact

In Western countries one expects to maintain eye contact when we talk with people. This is a norm we consider basic and essential. This is not the case among the Chinese. On the contrary, because of the more authoritarian nature of the Chinese society, steady eye contact is viewed as inappropriate, especially when subordinates talk with their superiors.

Chinese students are not brought up to maintain constant eye contact with their teachers. Eye contact is sometimes viewed as a gesture of challenge or defiance. When people get angry, they tend to maintain steady eye contact. Otherwise, they keep talking looking elsewhere or nonchalant. Also, try to avoid physical content and eye contact with the opposite sex.

Bowing

Bowing or nodding is the common greeting; however, you may be offered a handshake. Wait for the Chinese to offer their hand first.

Spitting

Not one of the most beautiful elements of Chinese culture but definitely a predominant one. Many Westerners are put off by the “horking” and violent raising efforts of Chinese people. Even in a restaurant spitting and littering occurs.

Chinese hosts offering something

Usually when a Chinese host offers a guest refreshments, if the guest declines, the host will ask again twice. Remember this if you entertain at your place. If someone declines they may really want something so you should really ask a couple more times.

Animals/”pets” in China

Animals are not treated with kindness in China. This is because they have not yet established a “pet culture”. Animals are just there.

Visa

The latest updates regarding visas you can find on the homepage of the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand.

Fees

The cost to participate in the Au Pair China programme is 350 NZD and covers the preparation of your stay. This also includes an interview, assistance to find you a host family and local support when you have arrived for the duration of your stay.