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Special Needs Care Volunteer Program in China - Xi'an

Special Needs Care Volunteer Program in China - Xi'an

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is Nov 15, 2021

Want to care for people with Special Needs in China? International Volunteer HQ’s Special Needs project empowers volunteers to assist and interact with young disabled people who aren’t able to attend mainstream school. Volunteers will help at centres where they will gain experience working with people with disabilities and give them care, attention and education to help them grow and thrive as individuals and members of their community.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
  • Affordable fees from AU$437 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Care for and support young people with disabilites

  • Discover China’s fascinating ancient history

  • Stay in Xi’an, home of the Terracotta Warriors

Apply Now

Who is this program suited to?

Warm, caring volunteers who are patient, compassionate and want to help disabled people. You’ll be working with local staff so no experience is required, but specialist disability care is relatively new in China so experienced volunteers can be extremely helpful.
Who is this program suited to?

Key information

Provide care & connection for those with disabilities
Based in special needs programs in and near Xi’an
Volunteer house or homestay accommodation
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day
Fully hosted experience from AU$437 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 24 weeks
Discover China's fascinating history

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Special education for children with disabilities is considered too expensive for many families in China, but community and government centres offer programs for those who are unable to receive an education through the mainstream school system. However, these centres are commonly understaffed and underfunded, meaning volunteer assistance is crucial to their efforts to deliver quality care.

As a Special Needs volunteer with IVHQ you’ll be helping a small team of local staff to care for children, teenagers and adults with a range of physical and mental disabilities. The most valuable contribution you can make is providing compassion and support.

Special Needs volunteers may find themselves helping with a range of tasks including:

  • Assisting special needs teachers
  • Helping with the basic activities of daily life
  • Preparing and serving meals
  • Cleaning
  • Supporting therapeutic activities and rehabilitation

Please note, staff at these placements often don’t speak English, so you’re encouraged to download a mobile translation app on your smartphone. You can do this with the guidance of the local team when you arrive. The local team will also do their best to place at least two volunteers together, providing you with an additional level of support. If you speak Chinese/Mandarin, you may be placed independently.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Good mental and physical health is key to sustainable development and building healthy and happy communities. Now more than ever, we must increase access to free healthcare and health education across the globe to achieve an acceptable standard of living and wellbeing for all.

Why do Special Needs Care volunteering in Xi'an with IVHQ?

While volunteering on the Special Needs project in China, you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Supporting young people with disabilities
  • Helping improve access to care for people with disabilities
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining experience with disabled youth
  • Immersing yourself fully in Chinese culture
  • Learning about China’s ancient history

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.

”The local team are very supportive. They care for each of the volunteers from arrival till departure. They spend time with the volunteers and introduce local cuisine, places and culture. The host family were also friendly and approachable. They welcomed and treated me as though I was part of their family. My favorite moments were the friendly and warm welcom...read more

Read reviews from Special Needs Care volunteers in Xi'an

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Volunteer Abroad in China with IVHQ

Location

In the middle of China lies the ancient city of Xi’an. It is home to many of IVHQ’s China projects as well as the legendary Terracotta Warriors and one end of the Silk Road. A popular stop on tourist trips to China, Xi’an has much to offer visitors including a rich cultural history and many hotels, restaurants and activities.

Other IVHQ projects are based an hour away in Weinan, an agricultural centre with stunning natural features like the five peaks of the breathtakingly steep Mt Huashan. Still more projects are set in the villages of the Shaanxi province, 1 to 4 hours drive from Xi’an. Volunteers will stay in accommodation near their placements.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of the month and volunteers need to arrive in Xi’an before 4pm on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Xi’an Xianyang International Airport (XIY). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation in Xi’an. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the Sunday night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in China prior to your volunteer program, the local team can arrange for you to be picked up on the Sunday before your program begins.

Orientation is hosted by the 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 – an introduction to China, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

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

Weekdays Typical volunteer days on the Teaching English and Special Needs Care projects are as follows:

7:30 - 8:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
8:00 - 8:30 AM Travel to your placement to join local placement staff. Start time and daily workload depends on the project that you are participating on.
12:00 - 2:00 PM Lunch break. In China, all workplaces have a lunch break for about 2 hours in the afternoon. Some start earlier, some later. You are welcome to stay at your placement with the children or in the office. All placements will offer you food.
4:00 - 5:00 PM Work at your placement usually ends.
4:30 - 5:30 PM Dinner at your placement. You are free to travel back to your accommodation, sight-see or go shopping.

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, travelling 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.

Accommodation and WiFi

Your accommodation will be in either a volunteer apartment or in homestay accommodation near your placement. Both homestays and school apartments have been inspected thoroughly by local staff and chosen because of their safety and security.

Xi’an accommodation: You’ll stay in a volunteer house located in a compound of apartments with a security guard and a security gate. You can expect to share a bedroom with up to five other volunteers of the same gender. Bedrooms have single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. Living is basic but comfortable and the volunteer house has electricity, running water and western bathrooms with hot water.

If you 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. You will have a private room and bathroom with breakfast provided in the hotel restaurant. The upgrade costs an extra AU$35 per person per day for a single room, or $15 per person, per day, for a twin/double room for two people travelling together.

WiFi is available for volunteers to use at the volunteer house in Xi’an. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone to keep connected.

Weinan accommodation: Volunteers on the Teaching project in Weinan will be accommodated in an apartment within the school grounds. Living is basic but comfortable and you can expect to share a bedroom with up to five other volunteers of the same gender. Bedrooms have single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. There is WiFi available and western bathrooms with hot water. Weinan is a 1.5 hour trip from Xi’an City and you will travel by metro and train.

Village accommodation: You will be accommodated in a homestay which has electricity and very basic facilities including a squat toilet. Due to the lack of heating in these homes, you would usually only be placed in a village during the summer months. Staying with a family is a great way to learn the Chinese way of life, meet local people, eat local food and engage in local customs and traditions. IVHQ gives the family money from your fee for support, food and board. You can expect to share a room with one other volunteer in the homestay. The village placements are located 1-4 hours drive from Xi’an and you will be driven there by taxi.

Meals

Food in Xi’an blends traditional Chinese and Middle-Eastern cooking. Flatbread, pita bread and barbecued meat are often sold at street stalls and noodles, soups, dumplings and steamed buns are some of the favorite dishes in Xi’an. Meat is a staple of the Xi’an diet however, there are plenty of vegetable options on offer. Unlike other areas in China, food is generally spicy in Xi’an.

You will be given breakfast, lunch and dinner during your stay. Typically, volunteers eat breakfast at their accommodation, with lunch and dinner provided at their placement. During weekends you will be provided with brunch, rather than breakfast and lunch.

Bottled water is readily available in China and you should budget approximately $5 per week for 2 litres a day. Filtered water is also provided in some of the accommodation.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know and the local team will do their best to accommodate you. However, you will need to be flexible and should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of.

Pricing

Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
1 week AU$437 Equivalent to AU$63/day
2 weeks AU$690 Equivalent to AU$50/day
3 weeks AU$944 Equivalent to AU$45/day
4 weeks AU$1198 Equivalent to AU$43/day
5 weeks AU$1452 Equivalent to AU$42/day
6 weeks AU$1705 Equivalent to AU$41/day
8 weeks AU$2213 Equivalent to AU$40/day
10 weeks AU$2721 Equivalent to AU$39/day
12 weeks AU$3228 Equivalent to AU$39/day
16 weeks AU$4243 Equivalent to AU$38/day
20 weeks AU$5258 Equivalent to AU$38/day
24 weeks AU$6274 Equivalent to AU$38/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteering

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of AU$421 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in China generally find US$50 per week to be sufficient for expenses.

Check what's required to visit China

Fill out the quick form below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for China, based on your country of residence.

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Safety and support with IVHQ

Protecting against COVID-19:

Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel

Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel

Health & safety information provided during orientation

Health & safety information provided during orientation

Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation

Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation

Greater physical distance between volunteers

Greater physical distance between volunteers

Essential country information

Capital Beijing
Population 1.4 billion
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).

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How to get started

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