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.
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.
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.
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!