28-year-old Valentina from Italy stayed in Beijing with a local host family as part of the long term EduCare program.

Valentina travelling

How has your experience been on the EduCare program?

It has been a great experience. I always wanted to go to Asia and thanks to EduCare I could make it. It’s the easiest, cheapest and most fun way to stay longer, to study Chinese and to get connected to this different and special culture. 

I totally recommend it, in particular cause the staff are really helpful and support you every time you need. I also got very lucky with my family— I was a family member for them and I travel a lot with them.

Why did you choose the EduCare program?

I’ve never been to Asia before, and this experience was the best option for it! It’s an easy way to get a long visa, aside from it being cheap. 

The cultural exchange enriches you deeply, and living with a family gives you first-hand knowledge on Chinese traditions and language. 

Valentina Great Wall
city tour

How was the support provided by our in-country partners, Lopair?

The staff of Lopair have been really helpful with anything that I needed and at any time I needed help. They literally pick up the phone anytime you give them a call.

Of course, as an adult, I always try to figure things on my own before asking for help. However, when I find myself having some doubts about stuff (thank God I had no big problems), they always offered the best solution for me!

What is piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

My advice is for people to be open-minded and be ready for a bit of a culture shock. It’s a totally different way of living compared to what you may be used to at home. 

However, after the first 2 to 3 weeks of immersing in the culture, I promise, China will give you a lot back! Your patience will pay off, and it will be totally worth it!

Just a short train ride from Shanghai, Hangzhou offers a more relaxed way of life in a comfortable, well-developed city. Centred around the beautiful West Lake, Hangzhou is famous for its greenery and parks. Participants can stroll along the waterfront, explore ancient temples, and hike among traditional tea plantations.

What does an average week look like as a participant in the EduCare program?

Week days are pretty easy. Host kids are in school on Mondays to Fridays until 4 to 5 PM. They often have classes and have a very busy schedule.

I therefore have a lot of free time. I made a lot of new friends, and together, we spend our time off hanging out and traveling. I love to look for cool spots or brunch places or restaurants, and I also love exploring.

You will be busy with Chinese class twice per week. On weekends, au pairs are usually working because it’s basically the only time you have with your host kids.

what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it?

I’m 28 years old, and my biggest fear was thinking I may be too old for the experience. I thought that I should probably just start thinking about settling – finding a job, building a family, buying a house. 

However, I realized that experiences such as this one are also a way of working on my future. They make my CV fuller, and they also give me confidence and strength. My view now is more positive, and I feel like there is no rush in life.

Valentina Studying

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