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Teaching English Volunteer Program in Xi'an - China

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is Jul 19, 2021

English is not commonly spoken in China, which means those who do know the language are at a distinct advantage when it comes to jobs in international industries and in cultural understanding. Volunteers play a big role in teaching English, as Xi’an is not a common place for fluent English-speaking teachers to spend their time.

As a volunteer English teacher, you’ll be based in government-owned schools, helping to teach the language to students aged between 3-21 years old. You can teach classes independently, with a fellow volunteer or as an assistant to a local teacher. Most often your students will be early in their English studies, so you’ll be focusing on basic words and phrases.

Teaching volunteer in China with IVHQ

Teaching English placements are typically based in Weinan, an hour away from Xi’an, however, there are some opportunities closer to the city.

If you’re someone who has great deal of enthusiasm, an open mind, and a patient nature, you will be well suited to Teaching English in China. It is also important to be self-directed and creative, as you will need to take initiative in identifying where you can add the most value at your placement.

As you will be volunteering with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, you don’t need to be a qualified teacher. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.

Please note, during July and August schools have their summer break, so volunteers in this time will work on educational outreach projects in nearby communities.

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Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $310 for 1 week
  • Help to teach English to local students

  • Volunteer in government-owned schools for students aged between 3-21

  • Lead the classroom, volunteer in pairs or assist a local teacher

  • Suited to volunteers interested in education and teaching English

  • Volunteer for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
China at a glance
  • Based in the city of Xi’an in central China

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a volunteer apartment or homestay

  • Between 10 and 30 volunteers start in China each month

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.

The IVHQ China volunteer program is based in the ancient Chinese city of Xi’an (home to the world famous Terracotta Warriors), where orientation and general administration is carried out by the local team. Volunteer projects are located in the cities of Xi’an and Weinan, and in villages within the Shaanxi province, 1 to 4 hours drive from Xi’an.

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.

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 transported 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 traveling in China prior to your volunteer program, our local team can arrange for you to be picked up on the Sunday before your program begins.

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 Care projects are as follows:

7.30 AM - 8.00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.

8.00 AM - 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 PM – 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 in the care center or in the office. All placements will offer you food.

4.00 PM - 5.00 PM Work at your placement usually ends.

4.30 PM - 5.30 PM Dinner at your placement. You are free to travel home, sight-see or go shopping.

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

Your accommodation will be in either a volunteer apartment or in home-stay accommodation near your placement.

If you are staying in Xi’an, you will be accommodated in a volunteer house which is 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 are comprised of 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. In the volunteer house, there is a cook who cooks breakfast for you. Lunch and dinner are provided at the placements.

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.

If you have a Teaching placement located in Weinan, you 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 are comprised of single beds and bunk beds with bedding, WiFi and western bathrooms provided, including hot water. Weinan is a 1.5 hour trip from Xi’an City and you will travel by metro and train.

If you have a Teaching placement in the villages, you will stay in a home stay, which has electricity and very basic facilities including a squat toilet. Due to the lack of heating in these homes, you would typically 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. We give that family money from your fee for support, food and board. You can expect to share a room with one other volunteer in their home stay. The village placements are located 1-4 hours drive from Xi’an and you will be driven by taxi.

Both home stays and school apartments have been inspected thoroughly by local staff and chosen because of their safety and security. 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 the volunteer house in Xi’an. You will have a private room and bathroom with breakfast provided in the hotel restaurant and lunch and dinner is provided at your placement. The upgrade costs an extra $25 per person per day for a single room, or $15 per person, per day for a twin/double room (two of you traveling together).

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. Noodles, soups, dumplings and steamed buns are some of the favorite dishes in Xi’an and meat is a staple part 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 provided with three meals per day for the duration of your stay (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Typically, volunteers eat breakfast at their accommodation, with lunch and dinner provided at their placement. It is important to note that 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 this (2 liters per day). Filtered water is also provided in some of the accommodations.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know and the local team will do their best to accommodate these. However, we need to stress the point that you 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, but as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.

“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)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in China here

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 $310 Equivalent to $45/day
2 weeks $490 Equivalent to $35/day
3 weeks $670 Equivalent to $32/day
4 weeks $850 Equivalent to $31/day
5 weeks $1,030 Equivalent to $30/day
6 weeks $1,210 Equivalent to $29/day
8 weeks $1,570 Equivalent to $29/day
10 weeks $1,930 Equivalent to $28/day
12 weeks $2,290 Equivalent to $28/day
16 weeks $3,010 Equivalent to $27/day
20 weeks $3,730 Equivalent to $27/day
24 weeks $4,450 Equivalent to $27/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 $299 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • 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.

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!

Capital Beijing
Population 1.351 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).

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in China.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!