Volunteer and gap year placements in China
In recent years China has become a major player on the world’s stage, both economically and diplomatically. However, many of it’s people are still living in poverty, especially those in the most rural areas. For that reason Lattitude’s 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.
Lattitude operates in three Provinces in China, Fujian, Sichuan and Yunnan.
The cities where our volunteers work are generally in medium sized Chinese cities, not large cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, or Guangzhou. Most cities range from 250,000 – 400,000 in terms of population. In some cases, Lattitude volunteers will be the only Western residents in the city.
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: attempt to view things from a Chinese perspective and to understand Chinese ways of thinking. In China you will constantly find new doors opening for you. 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.
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 an excellent opportunity for you to practise your Mandarin Chinese in weekly one on one language lessons. 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, songs and word games help students practise 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 by students to be an exceptional privilege.
A small amount of pocket money is paid each week.
Accommodation and Food
In most cases meals are provided by the schools, usually in the school canteen. Alternatively, you can self-cater or eat off-site relatively cheaply. Most volunteers live on-site in a furnished flat. These usually have air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen (including washing machine, fridge and microwave) and separate bedrooms. In most cases you will be placed with another Lattitude volunteer. Your partner may be from the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Canada.
Need to know
Pre Departure Briefing: All volunteers will be invited to a pre departure briefing
On Arrival: Volunteers will attend an in-country orientation and teaching skills course in Kunming, Yunnan. This will be an 8-day course specifically focused on the requirements of Chinese schools. The cost is $200 approx, including accommodation.
You will have weekends, public holidays and the time after your placement ends to explore your province and other parts of China! There will be lots for you to do near your placement, but for those of you looking further afield here are some key tourist attractions: The Great Wall of China: you can climb to the top of the wall near Beijing and walk a mile in either direction. The Silk Road: routes used to stretch from northern China to the ports of either the Caspian or the Mediterranean Sea. The Yangtze River: you could travel on the third-longest river in the world, which stretches for 4000 miles! The Terracotta Army in Xian – an amazing spectacle
Accommodation & food
You will also need to budget for: