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Volunteer in China

Volunteer in China with International Volunteer HQ! IVHQ has a range of volunteer abroad projects available in China, including Teaching English, Special Needs and Childcare.
Map of China
Capital: 
Beijing
Population: 
1.351 billion
Official languages: 
Standard Mandarin
Currency: 
Chinese Yuan (CNY)
Time zone: 
UTC+08:00
Weather and climate: 
The climate of China is extremely diverse; subtropical in the south to subarctic in the north. Xi’an has a continental temperate climate with four distinct seasons; dry winters, a warm but variable spring, hot, wet summers and cool and rainy autumn. The warm season lasts from May to August with an average daily high temperature above 26°C (78.8°F) and monsoon rains are heavy and frequent. The cold season lasts from December to February with an average daily high temperature below 9°C (48.2°F). The coldest time of the year is mid-January, with an average low of -7°C (-19.4°F) and high of 3°C (37.4°F).

LOCATION OF CHINA VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROGRAM

IVHQ has volunteer placements located in and around the ancient Chinese city of Xi’an (home to the world famous Terracotta Warriors).

START AND DURATION OF CHINA VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROGRAM

Volunteer programs begin on the first and third Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.

CHINA VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

Volunteers must be 18 years or older on the volunteer program start date. All volunteers are required to bring a letter from their local doctor or a medical certificate, declaring them fit and healthy with no known transmittable medical conditions (a requirement from local officials for working with children). All volunteers must have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ program staff on arrival in China. 

HOW MANY OTHER VOLUNTEERS WILL THERE BE?

Between 10 and 30 volunteers start on our program in China each month. What does this mean for you? More people to socialize with and travel with, more people to meet from different cultures, more people to volunteer with, more projects to work on, more staff support, better infrastructure for volunteers and lower fees!

CHINA VOLUNTEER ABROAD REVIEWS

"I felt very helpful at the school as I was the first foreigner that most of the students had met. I felt that I was really able to help them, not only with their English studies, but also with their knowledge of the western way of life in general. It was wonderful living in the volunteer house with the other volunteers and our Chinese hosts. The house was very comfortable, very clean and located in a very nice area with everything we needed close at hand." - Naama Hecht (Teaching English Volunteer in China)

Visit our Volunteer Abroad Reviews page to read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in China.

China volunteer project descriptions

Teaching English

The Teaching English project focuses on developing the conversational English skills of Chinese students. Volunteers work with either Chinese government owned schools or community schools in local villages, located in and around Xi’an. With the unprecedented economic growth China has experienced in recent years, the importance of English education has also grown considerably. Many schools in China have established an English Corner, where a certain area is designated to teaching/learning English. However, many of the English teachers within these schools struggle with their spoken English and as a result there is a high demand for native English speakers to assist with these classes. Volunteers simply need to have a great deal of enthusiasm, an open mind, a caring nature and patience. If English is not your first language, it is important you are fluent and have both advanced written and verbal English skills to join the Teaching English project. Volunteers do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate on this project, however IVHQ offers volunteers with the opportunity to upskill for their Teaching projects by gaining an internationally recognized TEFL certification. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn more.

Special Needs/Childcare

Many parents in China cannot afford special education or focused care for their children with physical or mental disabilities. There are however, community centers which offer programs for children with special needs, who come from poor backgrounds and are unable to receive an education through the mainstream school system. Volunteer assistance is desperately required as these centers are very understaffed. Volunteers on the Special Needs project work in community centers alongside a small team of local staff, assisting children and adults with a range of physical and mental disabilities. Volunteers assist with daily operations, such as preparing food, serving meals, cleaning, and arranging games and activities for the children and adults. However, the most valuable contribution volunteers can offer is providing love and support to the students. Given China’s one-child policy and the value Chinese society places on male babies, the country has seen a significant increase in the rate of child abandonment. Most Chinese orphanages are understaffed and short on necessary resources and funds. Volunteer work includes feeding the children and preparing them for school, arranging after-school activities (games, crafts, sports), helping them with homework, and providing love and care. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to teach English, depending on the age and English capabilities of the children. Please note, while you can indicate your preference of workplace, we are unable to guarantee the type of placement you will be working at, as your placement depends on the need and availability at the time of your volunteer program.   

The Childcare project in China supports an orphanage in Xi'an city that was founded in 1922 and is now home to more than 500 orphans. Volunteers on this project work with children between the ages of 0 and 19 years. Childcare volunteers assist with a wide range of tasks within the orphanage, including administration, cleaning, feeding, caring for children, teaching, assisting with homework and arranging activities, such as painting, singing, and sports activities. This project also provides an invaluable opportunity for the children to interact with foreigners and gain an insight into Western culture, as well as learning some basic English skills to assist them as they grow older.

VOLUNTEER ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS 

Volunteers are accommodated in a volunteer house in central Xi’an and can expect to share a bedroom with one to five other volunteers of the same gender. Bedrooms are comprised of double beds, single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. Living is comfortable and the volunteer house has electricity, running water, Wi-Fi and western bathrooms with hot water. The volunteer house is safe and secure, located in a compound of apartments with a security guard and a security gate. In the volunteer house, there is a cook who cooks the meals for the volunteers.

On some Teaching placements, volunteers work outside of the city of Xi'an and are accommodated in either a homestay with a local family, or in an apartment within the school grounds. Both the homestays and school apartments are based between 1.5 and 4 hours outside of Xi’an city. Staying with a family is a great way to learn the Chinese way of life, meet local people, try local food and engage in local customs and traditions. Living is basic, however all homestays have electricity and western bathroom facilities. Volunteers can expect to share a room with one other volunteer in their homestay or apartment. Both homestays and school apartments have been inspected thoroughly by local staff and selected based on their safety and security.

For volunteers who are based in central Xi'an and would prefer to not live in a dormitory situation with shared facilities, there is the option of upgrading to a 3-star hotel located nearby the volunteer house. Volunteers have a private room and bathroom with meals provided in the hotel restaurant (breakfast and dinner) and lunch is provided at the volunteer placement. The upgrade costs an extra US$25 per person, per day for a single room, or US$15 per person, per day for a twin/double room (if there are two of you traveling together).

Volunteers are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Breakfast and dinner are prepared by local cooks and served in the volunteer house or school apartment. Lunch during the week is served to volunteers at their placements. It is important to note that lunch is not provided during weekends. The meals consist of fresh, nutritious and safe local foods for volunteers to eat. Bottled water is readily available in China and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for this (2 liters per day).

The variation in climate and typography across the different regions in China, mixed with the influence of international cultures has led to the development this diverse and tasty cuisine. Chinese staples include rice, noodles, bok choy (Chinese cabbage), dao-mieu (Chinese spinach), on choy, yu choy, bitter melon, and Chinese broccoli or gailan, herbs and seasoning. Cuisine in Xi’an blends traditional Chinese and Middle-Eastern style cooking with flat bread, pita bread and barbecued meat, often sold at street stalls. Soups and dumplings are some of the favorite dishes in Xi’an, along with dishes of fried rice and vegetables. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you. 

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION

Orientation is hosted by our China team at the volunteer house in Xi'an. Orientation is held on the Sunday evening, and your volunteer program begins the following day. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in China – Introduction to China, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

VOLUNTEER WEEK

First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays: A typical volunteer day on the Teaching English and Special Needs/Childcare projects are as follows:

7.00 AM  Breakfast at the volunteer house.

7.45 AM  Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements, in most cases by public transport. Work and hours is dependent on the project and placement that the volunteer is working at. 

12.00 PM – 2.00 PM Lunch break.

5.00 PM  Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel back to their homestays, go sight seeing, or do some shopping.

7.00 PM  Dinner at the volunteer house.

Please note, this schedule can vary depending on the project the volunteer is participating on. 

VOLUNTEER WEEKENDS

During the weekends, volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Xi’an and wider China. Popular tourist activities and destinations include visiting the Terracotta Warriors and Xi’an City Wall, traveling to Beijing or Shanghai, checking out Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace, walking the Great Wall of China, cycling through rice fields of the Guangxi province, or viewing the incredible limestone peaks of Yangshuo.

See our China Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in China! 

China Volunteer Fees: 
Volunteer periodProgram fee US$
1 Week270
2 Weeks420
3 Weeks570
4 Weeks720
6 Weeks1020
8 Weeks1320
10 Weeks1620
12 Weeks1920
16 Weeks2520
20 Weeks3120
24 Weeks3720

To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
Please note: All programs attract a Registration Fee of $279 USD on top of the Program Fee.

What do my fees pay for?

Registration Fee (refundable if you choose not to go*) – ongoing support from IVHQ staff, program marketing costs, information pack, administration costs, IVHQ Fund, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.
Program Fee – airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

What additional costs will I have?

Visa, flightstravel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, transfer back to the airport at conclusion of program, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours and spending money (volunteers in China generally find US$50 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses).

* - Terms and conditions do apply.