Yes it is scary! New country, new culture, new language, new environment and, of course, new family. But there is a reason why you jumped into this adventure: to live a personal challenge. The culture shock can be a little hard at first for an Au pair (a lot to adjust to), and it is totally normal.
One thing for sure is that your host family can be a significant help in this adjustment.
You and your host family have different ways of thinking. Culture can be a gap between people and can create misunderstandings but only if we flee from communication.
By discussing any topics, delicate or not, you might help clearing the air and build a climate of trust and honesty. Whatever differences might be, don’t forget that they are human beings like you and that there is always a way of compromising.
The communication with your host parents has to start before setting a foot on Chinese soil. It actually begins on the very first interview. Prepare a list of questions without fear of ridicule. Know this: only on solid ground can be built a solid relationship.
There are basic rules for a successful conversation with the host family. Make sure you follow them to start on the right foot:
1. Choose a suitable time, for example, when the children are already in bed.
2. Be open, explain your thoughts and feelings and describe what is going on.
3. Focus on specific moments and behaviors. Avoid generalization.
4. Make sure to be clear and address content that is relevant.
5. Listen to what you are told. If you’re not sure about your understanding, ask.
6. Be open to compromises. Always consider the well-being of the children first.
An other asset that you have? Us. We will always be there for you but be sure that you have try and talked with your host parents first.
Now that you are holding all the keys: keep calm and communicate!