How to make friends as an Au pair in China
One of the hardest parts of being an Au pair can be meeting people
and making friends. Even though you are living with a family, being an
Au pair can be lonely at first. Most Au pairs who are brand new to a
country don't know anyone outside their host family. Even if you do your
homework, ask all the right questions and are placed with a really
great family, getting to know people outside your new home can still be
difficult. So here are some tips on how to meet people and make friends
Number one is without a doubt your language course. The room will
be filled with similar people of a similar age and similar mind set to
your own who won't live too far from your host family, and although you
may have to step out of your comfort zone, which I'm not saying will be
easy peasey, you will not regret it. Many Au pairs meet their closest
friends in these language classes. This is also a very good way to work
on your Chinese. So remember to use it as much as possible.
Au pair agencies host a lot of activity days and have gathering
points all around your city. This will not only introduce you to other
Au pairs but also to the expat hang-outs where there is a very
international feel, Almost everyone speaks English and have gone through
a similar experience, so they will have great tips for you regarding
your specific town.
Many Chinese cities have expat magazines. Here in Hangzhou for
instance, I read THAT'S and MORE, both are filled with things to do and
places to go. Being an active person, I chose a fitness center, where I
met people of a similar age with similar interests to mine. Meeting up
with friends is now a great incentive to go to the gym. These magazines
also contain many interesting articles on what there is to do in your
city on a day-to-day basis, where to meet people, useful maps and
articles about expat life.
The larger Chinese cities all have universities, which offer many
leisure and sporting activities. The atmosphere is automatically
international so enroll in a sporting course or participate in a
sight-seeing tour. It is important to get familiar with your surroundings, so walk or
take public transport as often as possible, say Nǐ hǎo and get to know
your neighbour, the local shop owner and so on. Once you feel relaxed
and comfortable in your neighborhood, you will be more confident.
Just get out there, talk to people, sometimes it is the best way!!