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Volunteer Abroad in China

China Program General Information

China is the largest country by landmass in Asia. Over 1.3 billion people live in China. Even though China has maintained a high growth rate (averaged per capita growth of 8.7%) for more than 30 years, there are still 200 million people in China live on less than $1 a day. Our programs are designed to help the local communities at the same time of providing a rewarding learning and living experience to our volunteers. We have flexible start dates/durations, and customized programs tailored just for you.

Locations of China Volunteer & Intern Programs

We have volunteer work placements in both urban and rural China. Most volunteer placements take place in surrounding areas of the capital city Beijing, namely the beautiful town of Chengde and Zhangjiakou. Possible locations include but not limited to:

  • Formerly known in English as Peking, Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. Beijing is one of the six ancient cities in China. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People’s Republic of China. More than 140 foreign embassies are located in Beijing.
  • Both Chengde and Zhangjiakou are very close to Beijing, about 2 hours drive or a few hours by train. As one of the most famous historic and cultural cities of the nation, Chengde has incredible sceneries. The Mountain Resort and Eight Outer Temples are listed as the world cultural heritage sites, which have made Chengde a famous city worldwide. Zhangjiakou is a real Chinese city, as yet unspoilt by the arrival of Western Tourists. Indeed it was a city closed to foreigners for military reasons until about 20 years ago. Even today there are still very few foreigners. As a result visitors are made very welcome in Zhangjiakou.
  • Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and in the world. The city is very modernized and multicultural. Shanghai’s culture is an unique blend of the western customs and Chinese traditions. It is a major financial center and a global city drawing more and more attention from the world. It is the most influential financial, cultural, and economic center in East China. It is one of the best places to do an international internship.
  • Other areas can possibly be arranged upon request

Start Dates and Durations

We pride ourselves for our flexibility. With advanced notice, you can arrive any week of the month, any month of the year.

You can volunteer for periods of 1 week to 6 months.

China Volunteer Work Placements

There are volunteer work placements available in both urban and rural China. Our volunteer/intern work placements include 4 major categories:

    (1) CAREGIVING

    • Orphanage Work
    • Caring for the Elderly
    • Caring for the Disabled

    (2) COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

    • Developing Business Plans
    • Business Coaching
    • Women’s Empowerment
    • Sharing Your Skills

    (3) HEALTHCARE

    • Medical Placement
    • Assisting Health Professionals

    (4) TEACHING

    • Teaching Children
    • Tutoring Help
    • Teaching English
    • Sharing Your Skills
    • Sports Education
    • Special Education

Please note that some work placements may require a surcharge since they are harder or more costly to arrange. Also, more works can possibly be arranged upon request.

China Volunteer/Intern Requirements

  • Age Requirement: You can apply on your own if you are 18 years or over at the start of the program. For participants who are 15-17 years old at the start of the program, it is possible to enroll if the legal guardian gives permission and signs our waiver form to waive our liability.
  • Language Requirement: You must be able to speak English.
  • Cooperation and Adaptability: You should be able to work well with others, including people who are quite different from yourself. Also, you should be able to adapt to foreign environments, other cultures, and new situations. There is a need for international volunteers to be cooperative and flexible. The success of doing a project abroad also depends on you.
  • Some positions may require volunteers/interns have relevant training or certification.

China Program Prices

Our fees are the lowest in North America and extremely affordable. Our program fee starts as little as USD$180. Program fees mainly help us cover the variable costs, such as food, accommodation, and orientation, etc. Program fees vary according to the length of your program.

Program Length Program Fee USD$
1 Week 180
2 Weeks 350
3 Weeks 470
1 Month (4 Weeks) 580
5 Weeks 680
6 Weeks 770
2 Months (8 Weeks) 980
10 Weeks 1150
3 Months 1320
4 Months 1630
5 Months 1950
6 Months 2300

To see an estimate of these prices in your local currency click here.

Note: There is an additional fee of USD$290 (enrollment fee) on top of the program fee for all the programs. This enrollment fee helps us cover mainly the fixed costs, such as program inspection, staff salary, marketing cost, etc. Also, certain work placements and certain locations may require a surcharge since they are harder or more costly to arrange. Participants are fully responsible for any surcharges and transaction costs.

Total Price = Program Fee + Enrollment Fee (plus transaction costs and any surcharge)

What is included?

  • Arrival Welcome
  • Program Orientation
  • Accommodation and Meals
  • Volunteer Work Placement
  • Hotline for Local Support
  • Most Hosts also Arrange Regular Cultural/Recreational Activities (Personal spending not included)

What is not included?

  • International and Local Transportation Costs (One way local bus tickets in China cost around US$0.2.)
  • Medical/Travel Insurance (Optional but Recommended)
  • Visa Application Costs and Personal Spending

Working & Living Agenda of China Programs

Accommodation and Meals

Accommodation and meals are provided by host families. Volunteers live with a local home-stay family or guest house or orphanage home.

The majority of our home-stay families in China can provide the following features:

  • Electricity
  • Running Water
  • Bedroom with basic furniture (Either private or twin shared with another volunteer of the same gender)

In the rural areas, the resources are limited and the living condition can be basic.

Three meals a day are provided by the home-stay families.

Breakfast is usually either traditional Chinese breakfast or tea, milk, bread and butter. Lunch is usually packed by your host family in a lunch box so that you can eat at your project if you wish. Typical dinners consist of vegetables and meat served with rice.

If you are a vegetarian or if you have other special eating needs, you can indicate that while applying. Even though special eating needs are not something we can guarantee, we will do our best to meet your needs.

It is exciting to live with a local family. This way, you can easily learn the local way of life, meet local people, and feel more like a part of China rather than just a tourist. We strongly encourage you to try the local flavors and experience the local culture and traditions as much as possible. Keep in mind that it is important to be open-minded and to be flexible. You shouldn’t expect that you would eat the same food or have the same lifestyle as you do at home. Actually, one of the most important things you will learn abroad is how their way of living is just as correct as ours.

Arrival and Orientation

Day 1 (Arrival Day)

On arrival day, we will

    1) Give you a warm welcome upon arrival.

    2) Then we will take you to your home-stay family in China.

    3) Introduce you to the home-stay family members. They will give you a warm welcome.

    4) Then we will leave you to rest after your long flight. Keep in mind that the program orientation usually takes place the next day.

Day 2 (Orientation Day)

This orientation is important and it is mandatory for ensuring a safe and pleasant stay. You will need to bring your packed lunch and some drinking water with you.

    1) Introduction to Your Work Program

    • You will be introduced to the expectations of the institution and the host project

    2) Introduction to Your Environment

    • We will show you how to take bus from home to some important places (such as workplace, town, supermarket, ATM, etc.)
    • (Usually it costs around 1RMB for a one way bus ticket in town.)

    3) Introduction to China

    • Culture
    • Language
    • Communication
    • Transportation
    • Safety
    • Travel Opportunities

    4) Getting Connected

    • After the Introduction to China, you will be given some time to exchange contact information with other volunteers.
    • It is a good opportunity for you to get connected with other volunteers. After getting connected, you may want to socialize or plan your weekend trip together.

Workweek and Workdays

Our volunteer programs are highly flexible and can be customized for you. You can either do full time or part time work depending on your preference. Some volunteers would like to work a lot, while others like to have more free time to travel, socialize, and relax.

The amount of work will be customized for you. Certain work placements do require full time volunteers or have a fixed schedule, but many works can be very flexible.

  • If you think it is more important to get your favorite placement rather than your preferred work schedule, please indicate that while applying so that we can put more weight on work type when we customize the program for you. If you don’t indicate anything, we may give your preferred work schedule more consideration while we customize the program for you.

Workweek Options:

  • Workweek option 1: (Regular) Work from Mon. to Fri.
  • Workweek option 2: (Long weekend) Work from Mon. to Thursday.
  • Workweek option 3: (Work and Rest) Work only on Mon. , Wed. & Fri.
  • Workweek option 4: (As Much As Possible) Work 6-7 days per week if possible.
  • Workweek option 5: (Fully Open) Come in and help whichever day you want.

Workday Options:

  • Workday option 1: (Full day) Approximately 8 hours from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
  • Workday option 2: (Part time early bird) Approximately 4 hours from 9am to 1pm.
  • Workday option 3: (Part time afternoon) Approximately 4 hours from 12pm to 4pm.
  • Workday option 4: (Fully Open) Come in and help whenever you want.

(If you have different preferences, you can let us know so that we can try to customize further for you).

Leisure Time (Enjoyment and Friendship)

Our volunteers usually form life-long friendships with their host family, workplace co-workers, and other volunteers. Chinese are friendly and welcoming to foreigners. The chances are that you will find it easier to make friends in China than in your home country.

We aim to fulfill your leisure time with enjoyment. Most of our partners abroad arrange recreational activities regularly. You can join weekend tours or add a wildlife safari and/or a coastal tour after your volunteer program for an additional cost. We have partners who can perform tours and can offer discounts to volunteers. We recommend that you book Safari or tour through us since the our long term relationship with the local tour operators usually mean more reliable services.

Other Useful Information

China Entry Requirements (Visa Information)

You will need to get a pre-arrival tourist visa for China. The issue of a tourist visa is very straight forward. It usually takes 4 business days after the application submission. You usually don’t need to have hotels booked or tours booked. Just go to the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country and do the necessary paperwork for application, then you will be set to go. There are 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day pre-arrival tourism visa available. The best tourism visa you can get is a 1 year multi-entry tourism visa (with 90 day duration of stay per entry). After your arrival in China, you can extend your tourism visa for a maximum of 90 days (30 day extension each time for 3 times maximum).

For a trouble-free entry, we recommend that you write the purpose of your entry as tourism or vacation, which is true since our volunteers are classified as volunteer tourists.

For the most detailed and updated information, please check with the local Chinese embassy.

Travel Services (Tours and Flights)

Whenever our volunteers need, we provide travel services/advices. The tour prices from our partners are usually discounted for volunteers, thus we recommend that you book with us. If you are going to buy flight and book tours, we strongly recommend that you get price quotes from different sources and compare them before you make your purchase.

China Country Profile and Pictures

Capital: Beijing

Population: 1,324,655,000

Population Density: 139.487/km2

Official Language: Mandarin

Time Zone: (UTC+08:00)

Climate:

Beijing’s surrounding areas are located in the warm temperature zone and have a continental climate. The average temperature throughout the whole year is 11.7 C. The average temperatures of the hottest month, July and the coldest month January range from 27 C and -4.6 C.

The four seasons in Beijing’s surrounding areas are distinct. Winter is dry and cold and has little snow, Summer is hot and rainy.

  • If you come in spring, you could wear jeans and sweater. You may also bring a warm cap because it is a little windy during this period.
  • In summer the temperature could reach as high as 30 C. T-shirts and pants are the best bet. Sunglass and parasol are necessary to shelter from sunshine.
  • Autumn is a beautiful season in this area, but it is better to bring some heavy clothes with you.
  • In winter, you should prepare a heavy woolen sweater, and a long wind coat or a down jacket. Generally there will be several snowfalls each winter.

The Local Currency

The local currency is the Chinese Yuan (RMB). US$1 is approximately 6.3 RMB. We strongly recommend that you bring a debit card for ATM cash withdraws. ATMs are easily accessible in China and most of them accept international debit and credit cards. It is probably the safest and easiest way for you to access your cash.

Personal Expense in China

As meals and accommodation are both included, you don’t need to expect to spend much money at all. Actually, you will probably find that US$20 is enough for your weekly personal expense.

Safety

Going global can be an exciting experience and nervous at the same time. Regardless of where you are in the world, safety can never be guaranteed. China is one of the most popular tourism destinations and is considered to be reasonably safe.

While it is unlikely for something to happen to you, we do recommend that you take the following precautions.

  • If you must carry a handbag, try to keep your handbag in front of you.
  • Be careful when crossing the streets.
  • We recommend that you bring two bank/credit cards when you travel but keep them in different places. You can probably keep one in your wallet with you for daily use and keep the other card in a very safe place for back-up purpose. In this case, if anything happens, at least you won’t loss both cards at the same time.

Communication

Communications infrastructure is reasonably good in China. It is easy to call and to send emails. Internet cyber is also affordable (around US$0.3 or 2RMB per hour). The country code of China is +86.

Things to Bring

  • You should at least bring a lunch box, a water bottle, and other personal necessities.
  • A plug adapter is strongly recommended as you will probably need to charge your electronics.
    • Electrical Plug/Outlet and Voltage Information for China:
      • Primary Socket Types: Chinese Grounded, Chinese Non-Grounded
      • Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
      • For Multi-voltage electronics/appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adapter.
      • 110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer
      • Hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter
  • A digital camera is recommended.
  • Laptop is not necessary, however many volunteers like to bring their own PC.
  • If you forget to bring some things (such as basic shampoo or basic water bottle), it is easy to buy them in China. Other things (such as electronics or a special brand of body wash) can be hard or more expensive to get in China.