There is an extraordinary mix of cultures alive in China, from the ancient history of dynasties gone by, to the thriving metropolis’ of Beijing & Shanghai. In recent years China has become a major player on the world’s stage, both economically and diplomatically. As the world’s most populous country, education is very important and there is great emphasis on learning English and discovering more about Western culture. 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 plays a valuable role in this by teaching conversational English, and our volunteers are highly valued by students & staff alike.
Placements are in one of seven provinces: Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujan, Guangxi, Yunnan and Sichuan. The cities where you will work are generally medium sized, with populations ranging between 250,000 and 400,000. In some cases, Lattitude volunteers will be the only Western residents in the city. Click here to view a map.
Is It For Me?
Teaching English in China will see you preparing & teaching your own lessons, in conjunction with the school curriculum. Injecting fun into the classroom is key, and your job is to inspire your students to use the English they have learnt by playing games and participating in engaging dialogue. 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. You will constantly find new doors opening for you and it is a truly unique cultural experience.YOU make the learning fun! If you are enthusiastic, engaging, can think on your feet and have the confidence to teach up to 50 children at any one time then China is for you.
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). Volunteers support local Chinese teachers with English classes, particularly enabling students to practice conversational English and learn more about Western culture. Several of the colleges also offer teacher training. 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 in weekly one on one language lessons. You may have text books to support you in planning lessons, but you can also use role play, songs and word games to help students practise the language they have learnt in other lessons and Chinese students enjoy team games and competitions. 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. There is huge demand in China to learn English and volunteers are very popular and as such treated very well. Furthermore there is plenty of opportunity for volunteers to get involved with other aspects of the school life, such as joining the teacher football team or other clubs. A small amount of pocket money is paid.
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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. The living conditions volunteers experience are usually on a par with those offered to other full time teaching staff and as a consequence are very good.
Need To Know
- Pre-departure Briefing - all volunteers are invited to a group briefing prior to departure
- On Arrival - volunteers attend a three-day orientation organised by Lattitude before commencing their placement
- Teaching Skills Course - this course is organised by Lattitude and undertaken in Palmerston North at the volunteers’ own expense prior to departure
- We find out about each volunteers strengths, skills and interests through an in-depth interview which helps us select the right people as well as identifying what they are hoping to achieve while away and helps us select the right people to be Lattitude volunteers
- A second interview with our In Country Programme Manager (often via Skype) helps match them to a placement perfect for them.
- Once you have been accepted by the in Country Programme Manager you will be looked after by a specialised Volunteer Coordinator in our NZ office who assists with all preparations, support with logistics such as flights and visas, and are there to answer any questions.
- Everyone attends a predeparture briefing to meet other volunteers, Lattitude staff, other professionals such as our travel agent, travel doctors and insurance company representatives as well as hearing from returned volunteers, learning in person about the expectations and exciting prospects that lie ahead.
- Volunteers are seen off at the airport, where they travel together to their destination countries
- All volunteers sign our Term and Conditions to ensure that Lattitude's expectations of each volunteer are agreed and clear from the outset.
- Volunteers attend a group orientation upon arrival in-country and, where needed, undertake training such as a local language or teaching skills course.
- We have paid staff based in each country. Our Country Managers oversee the program and work with a team of Local Representatives who provide support in the local areas and develop close relationships with placement hosts.
- Each volunteer is visited at their placement soon after arrival by an in-country staff member to check how things are and provide additional support if needed.
- We work with Embassies and High Commissions to ensure we can respond to any situation and provide 24/7 emergency support from the Lattitude office in New Zealand.
- We recognise that coming home can be difficult and provide one-to-one support, with onward referrals for further professional support if needed. Volunteers are invited to debriefing events and become part of our network of alumni.
- Our debriefing session will include discussions from industry professionals regarding the identification and articulation of the new skills the volunteer has invariably acquired during his/her placement, and how to use these new skills to get ahead.
- We are always happy to supply written and verbal references to our successful volunteers upon return home, to aid in applications to higher education or the workforce.
These costs are for Lattitude placements in China in 2017 and a full explanation of costs can be found here:
|Lattitude fees (exact costs)|
|Lattitude Application Fee||$150|
|Lattitude Contribution Fee||$3,900|
|Lattitude In-country Orientation||$450|
|Lattitude Teaching Skills Course (if required)||$350|
|You will also need to budget for the following (approx costs)|
|Return Airfares (approx cost of group flight)||$1,500 - $2,500|
|Travel Insurance (6 months)||$560|
|Medical examination||$50 - $200|
|Travel Doctor Consultation & Immunisations||$0 - $200|
|Total cost (approximate)
||$7,240 - $8,590|
Population: 1.3 billon
Time Zone: Minus 5 hours from time in Auckland (UTC/GMT +8 hours)
Climate: Being such an expansive country, China experiences a variety of climates and temperates throughout the year mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons.
Currency: Chinese yuán
“China has somehow turned my life around, it was just amazing, I have made some lifelong friends and enjoyed the most incredible experiences – It was truly worth it.”
Tom, English Teacher