Working volunteers in China see a country that has seen some huge changes in recent years and has evolved both economically and diplomatically and become a major player on the world stage. However, many people in China are still living in poverty, especially those in the most rural areas. For that reason Lattitude Global Volunteering’s gap year placements in China are more vital than ever. Teaching English to young people can directly affect their ability to work in many professional fields which are vital to the country’s overall development.
China Placement Roles
Please note: a basic knowledge of Mandarin (or willingness to learn!) is required for these placements.
You will be based at a primary school (ages 5 to 11), middle school (11 to 18), vocational school (16 to 18) or college/university (19 to 23). Several of the colleges also offer teacher training. In collaboration with the Chinese teachers of English, you will be teaching conversational English. You will also operate ‘English Corners’, offering enthusiastic students the opportunity to have more informal discussions and to learn about western culture and traditions, which Chinese people are often very interested in. In return, there will be opportunities for you to practice your Mandarin Chinese in language lessons that suit your needs.
Chinese students enjoy team games and competitions. You may have text books to support you in planning lessons, but you can also use role play and songs and word games which help students practice the language they have learnt in other lessons. Volunteers in China are regarded as teachers, not students, and having Lattitude volunteers in their school is considered a privilege by students.
There is a huge demand and need in China to learn English and as a result teaching volunteers are very popular and treated very well. There are also opportunities for volunteers to get involved with other aspects of school life, such as joining the teacher football team or other clubs.
The schools Lattitude Global Volunteering work with in China are generally very large and as such there will always be activities going on that will keep you busy!
What To Expect
We offer a range of different placements teaching English throughout China. Depending on your personal interests and goals, you will have the choice of teaching primary school children, secondary school pupils or students at teacher training colleges and universities.
If you opt to teach in a primary school, you could be placed in our host school in Huai’an City. This school is responsible for the education of 500 students and you will form part of a team of 300 staff members. Your duties as a volunteer would involve teaching around 14-16 classes of English per week to different age groups and different ability levels as well as helping to run and lead “English Corners”. These corners are informal English conversation groups that allow students to work on their speaking and listening skills in a relaxed setting outside of the classroom.
You might decide that you would prefer to work in a middle school, teaching students between the ages of 15-19. Our teaching placement in the town of Longyan in the Fujian province, for example, would involve helping existing staff members educate the school’s 2700 students English. You would be expected to take 12 lessons per week, with groups of around 50 students, as well as helping with English corners on Wednesday lunchtimes. The school is also keen for volunteers to organise extra-curricular activities for pupils.
On the other end of the scale are our placements in teacher training colleges or universities. One of our host placements in this category is Yibin University, which has 11,000 students between the ages of 16-23. Your role in this placement would be to teach English as a foreign language to college students training to be kindergarten and primary school teachers. You would take between 16-18 classes per week from Monday to Friday and may also be asked to teach some classes in the nearby middle school.
Is it for me?
If you are looking for a new cultural experience then China is for you. It is best to go to China with an open mind and open eyes and be open to understanding the Chinese way of thinking. It is a truly unique cultural experience and will give you the opportunity to improve your students’ English language skills and future prospects. It will suit those who are enthusiastic, engaging, can think on their feet and have the confidence to teach up to 50 children at any one time.
Need to know
- Pre departure briefing – all volunteers are invited to a group briefing prior to departure
- Volunteers take part in a Teaching skills course as part of the orientation upon arrival in China
Free time & travel
China is a vast country with lots of exciting things to see and do. Although the country’s size may make it difficult to venture too far at weekends, most of our placements are situated not too far from a local airport and there will be plenty to get involved in in your home town. As well as festivals like Chinese New Year, Qing Ming Festival and the Dragon Boat festival, you will have the opportunity to visit local sights such as the beautiful Longkongdong caves near our placement in Longyan.
Most of our placements will also be located in towns where there are all the local amenities and conveniences you would expect back home such as bars, restaurants and leisure centres. There will also be the opportunity to learn Mandarin in your free time.
During your holidays when you have more time to explore China’s expansive breadth, the country offers some of the world’s most breath-taking tourist destinations. Among China’s must-see sights, the Great Wall, Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors, Hong Kong and the Yuanyang Rice Terraces of Yunnan are good places to start!
Dates & Costs
Lattitude Global Volunteering fee for New Zealand applicants:
All departures: $3900
- In depth matching process to align your skills and interests with a placement that really suits you
- Assigned Volunteer Coordinator to help with all your pre-departure advice and guidance
- Links with returned volunteers
- Advice on obtaining police checks
- Advice on obtaining a Visa
- Pre-departure briefing
- Airport pickup on arrival
- Accommodation for the duration of stay in China (either with a host family or on placement site)
- Food provided by host (may not include every meal, but you will know what to expect before your arrival)
- In-country orientation as part of country programme network of international Lattitude volunteers
- Day to day support from your placement host and a member of staff as your mentor
- 24/7 support from Lattitude, including in-country support from local reps and the Lattitude Country Manager
- Focus on your personal volunteer learning and development
- Returned Volunteer follow up and Debrief Event
- Opportunity to join the Lattitude Alumni Association
- Certificate of completion and references (on request)
- $150 application fee
- International Flights
- Onward travel to placement (if applicable)
- Travel insurance
- Inoculations (if applicable)
- Pocket Money for weekends/ holidays/post-placement travel
- Accommodation and food during holiday periods
As a charity we always recommend our volunteers to fundraise to help meet the costs involved in volunteering overseas. In many ways it is part of the whole experience. For more information and fundraising ideas please click here
Planning your trip
We always recommend applying as early as possible in order to secure your place.
Please note that the application deadline is the last possible time allowed to get an application form in that allows us enough time to match volunteers and begin sorting out visas.
We are currently accepting applications for departures in 2018.
Placement Availability – 2018
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|English Tutor||August 2018||5 Months||Spaces Available|
Placement Availability – 2019
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|English Tutor||February 2019||5 Months||Spaces Available|
|English Tutor||August 2019||5 Months||Spaces Available|
“China has somehow turned my life around, it was just amazing, I have made some lifelong friends and enjoyed the most incredible experiences – It was truly worth it.”Tom, English Teacher