Free Summer TEFL Program Across China

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Summer camp in China
Summer camp in China

About

Interested in traveling abroad this summer? Join Gotoco in China to gain a TEFL certificate and useful work experience in teaching, education and activity leadership. No prior experience in China, Chinese or teaching is required—just a passion for education and travel.

All FREE and FUNDED:
- Earn a TEFL certificate (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language)
- Explore China and its diverse culture
- Learn some Mandarin, and take part in fun cultural exchange activities
- Gain valuable work experience and references
- Begin a summer of backpacking across Asia
- Give Chinese students the chance to experience a new style of teaching
- See stunning scenery, including the Karst mountains around Yangshuo, Guangxi
- Check our website for more information

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Gotoco is a social enterprise focused on boosting cultural exchange and exploration opportunities between China and the West. Gotoco works with over 70 programmes in 50 locations across China. Join us!

Highlights
  • Free/funded (*no fees for participation!).
  • TEFL Certification included.
  • Travel around China (dual location projects - all culminating in a stay at our mountain base in Yangshuo).

Questions & Answers

Reviews

91%
based on 227 reviews
  • Benefits 8.7
  • Support 8.5
  • Fun 9.2
  • Facilities 8.5
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 15 of 227
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Siobhan
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Avoid at all costs

I would not recommend GoToCo for a number of reasons:

1. It is free and funded. We had to pay for food and travel. False advertising. They only cover a certain amount. I am out of pocket by hundreds.

2. The accommodation we were placed in was disgusting. We didn't have a working toilet or working aircon (in upwards of 40 Celsius weather). Our rooms had terrible mould so we found it difficult to breathe without the window open.

3. I was told that GoToCo would provide a sim card when we go to China but the sim card they provided did not work. I couldn't contact my family for weeks.

4. The placement where I was meant to "teach" was nearly 2 hours away from my accommodation, I got back so late that on two occasions I was locked out of my accommodation. Most accommodation closes their doors at 10pm-12am so I had to wait outside on a bench in a park until about 5am-ish until they opened the doors again.

5. GoToCo have been bribing people to leave "good reviews" online. I wouldn't trust the reviews on Trustpilot, Glassdoor etc. and since I left a bad review online, they have withdrawn my TEFL.

6. Lastly, I just found out their operation is illegal as students aren't allowed to teach English in China under a F or Z visa without sponsorship. One girl got sent home at the airport... I guess I now know the reason why.

What would you improve about this program?
Scrap it. I do not think this programme is legally allowed to run. Again, I do not recommend you apply.
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Edouard
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Glad I did it

The first thing to note is that your experience will vary widely depending on where you are posted, something you do not get much choice about. Mine was with a fairly large group on a proper campus, which was good, but also there was not much to do locally. The length of the programme also affects how it goes - two weeks was more than enough for me, and a two-month programme will be very different.
The teaching was fairly straightforward but hard work, everyday I had to draw up lessons plans and then deliver the lessons, in English, general British culture and in food. If you like teaching or want to teach, you'll enjoy it.
Yangshuo was the highlight of the trip. While it is a relatively sort stay (4 nights, often 3 days), it is very lively and social and you get to meet lots of other gotoco people. However, it is not much of a reward compared to what you get on other programmes, where you are often paid a lump sum.
Like similar programmes, it does provide a start (or end) point for travelling more widely in China, which is brilliant.

What would you improve about this program?
Payment would be nice, and there does need to be better vetting of the different programmes available.
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Christopher
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Go for it!

Had an amazing time living and teaching in Beijing. Gotoco were fantastic and provided help and support throughout the application and during our stay in China. If you want to spend a productive and fun summer this is the programme for you. We stayed in a lovely hostel which was less than ten minutes from the centre of Beijing and the organisation we worked for was full of wonderful people who would be extremely supportive. During the stay we visited loads of different places in Beijing and had an amazing time exploring the city. The food in Beijing is fantastic and even for vegetarian people there are always an amazing array of options. The teaching itself was extremely fun and rewarding. The staff of Gotoco was very welcoming and friendly and even invited us out for a meal on our first weekend there to make sure we were settling in alright.

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Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing summer

Gotoco made travelling to China much easier and less daunting than it would have been on my own. The application process was smooth and they sort out any queries fairly quickly. Such a great way to earn a TEFL qualification and develop new skills. I was matched well to a programme I enjoyed, met interesting people and saw places I'd never heard of before. My accommodation was located in a caravan park so I didn't get to live like a real local and the kids' parents were paying very high fees to attend our summer camp - but the facilities were very good (apart from the days they switched off the water and the electricity). I massively improved my confidence teaching drama, singing, dancing and baking as well as leading outdoors activities and joining in with the painting and drumming classes. Most of the local teachers at the camp did not speak any English, so communication was challenging but we always had at least one teacher that could help us out. Also, the trip to Yangshuo was class - really worth the visit. I understand that experiences vary depending on which camp you are sent to and how organised they are but personally, I had an extremely fun and enriching experience which I'd highly recommend.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Learn a bit of Mandarin beforehand. Enough to order food, taxis and chat to locals. The city I lived near to had no English speakers at all and it made ordering food a nightmare.
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Noah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GOTOCO

I was at the camp for just over one month, and I can honestly say that every day I woke up happy to be at camp. There was never a time at which I felt like I should’ve been somewhere else. The camp staff and coworkers were a blast to be around. They were fantastic with the kids, and also helped the other English teacher and I assimilate into the new cultural territory with. I can not recommend the experience enough. I’m glad, to put it lightly, that I took a leap of faith to come to China this summer. My experience gave me a personal look at Chinese culture and has sparked an interest to stay in China for a longer period of time. Of course, Gotoco was instrumental in orchestrating the experience from application to camp completion. It is impossible to describe the fun that I had in my month at camp using words alone, but I can definitely reiterate that it was worth it and that I can’t imagine a better way to have spent that part of my life.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The first morning after arriving at camp I was a bit nervous, but I overcame it by simply engaging in friendly conversation with my new coworkers. That completely erased my nerves, and I realized that I was surrounded by people who seemed to only care about creating a fun camp atmosphere.
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Daniel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Guizhou Gotoco

Teaching and being with the kids was really amazing. It was so great to see the difference inn them at the end of week, and how much more confident they were. I have made a friend for life in the other foreign teacher at the camp. I absolutely loved Yangshuo and being with him for a few days was great. We had some amazing laughs and the whole atmosphere at the camp was just very happy and uplifting.

It's a great way to explore a different part of the world which would otherwise be quite difficult to see. My programme was incredible, and the whole trip was life-changing. I love travelling, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone else who is adventurous or just wants to see the true China.

I have hugely gained confidence and independence in the travel after the programme. I have made some amazing friends that I will never forget. I've had some life-changing experiences, that have shaped me. I have impacted the lives of countless children and that gives me a lot of pride.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate some pretty crazy stuff while I was in China. Chicken heads with the eyes and beak was pretty weird, rabbit skull, various other bits like intestine, brain, heart, kidney etc. I think the locals found it quite funny watching me eat all these things too!
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Felix
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A challenging but rewarding experience

The programme enabled me to visit a part of China I would not have otherwise visited and having an occupation upon arrival gave me the confidence to travel to China solo after the end of the programme, something I probably wouldn't have done otherwise. My favourite part of visiting China was befriending Chinese people and the Yangshuo trip. Having an organised camp enabled me access to an intense experience with Chinese teachers, the sort of local interaction that is difficult to achieve when simply travelling alone. Working days are quite long as even when you are not teaching you will be expected to interact with and oversee the children on the camp but this opens the door for a more immersive experience and provides constant exposure to Chinese culture.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To accept that things may change last minute and that customs and expectations are different in China.
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WAFIA
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Feedback

My advice is be adaptable in every situation and have fun. Also, make the most of your time and enjoy every moment of it. I really enjoyed working as part of a team and making a difference in people's lives. Wanting to do something good that benefits others. I liked helping others and building good healthy relationship among my co workers. Also getting to know the students and learning each other's cultures. It was a great opportunity and gain a qualification. I would definitely recommend this trip to my friends and university students. It's worth it. And an unforgettable time. Everyone really had a great time and fun. If you get a chance go for this programme. It's something you can never experience anywhere else. Just go for it and see if you like it

What would you improve about this program?
Rooms and food. Overall it was fine but so many bugs.
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Matthew
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience for teaching

It is a great experience in showing you what kind of person you are when you are thrown into a experience that is different to anything you would normally do. It is also a great opportunity to meet likeminded people with similar interested as well as mixing with people from different walks of life as yours. Furthermore Gotoco is also as close to being a real teacher as you can get with little experience, making it a great way to see if teaching is an option for you after university and to gain experience for your CV.

Teaching the children was the best experience on the trip as it gave me the opportunity to see what the real life of being a teacher was like.

Exploring Shantou and Chenghai was also a great experience as they are city that have not been touched by tourism and the people haven’t met many foreigners there, so everything felt very real and authentic. It also made you kind of like a celebrity and everyone wanted to speak to you have take photos with you. In the first week we were there we went to the park to play some American football and got surrounded by other 100 Chinese people wanting to join in.

Hosting the bilingual festival was also a highlight for me as it meant I got to interact with the kids and parents very regularly, which was very interesting. Finally, the downtime with the other participants was a lot of fun because we were allowed to do whatever we wanted as long as we were in the scheduled lessons. So things like chilling on the roof and having a laugh while overlooking Chenghai at night is a definite highlight for me.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just throw yourself into every new experience the program can give you and you will come out with amazing stories.
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Lauriane
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A really rewarding experience

I really enjoyed discovering Chinese culture: visiting places after class, eating local food, learning Chinese custom. I also really enjoyed spending time with other gotocoers in Yangshuo, as well as spending time with the teaching team during my placement.
I think the highlights of my experience are the trip to Yangshuo and the teaching part. The relationship you develop with Chinese students and the other Gotocoers is very rewarding. I would recommend Gotoco to a friend because the experience is unique and really enriching. Even if it is not an easy experience because days are long, teaching is tiring and being in a completely different country with a really different culture can be complicated, the overall experience is really gratifying.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
The visa application process was a bit complicated for me because I did it on my own. So, I would probably apply through an agency.
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Nicola
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer 2019 participant

I participated in the program this summer and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I think this was such a good opportunity to gain valuable experience, visit china and make a difference.
This program allowed me to visit china with free accomodation, food and a TEFL, on a budget. The only things I had to pay for were flights and my VISA, as well as the extra travelling I did after.
The company paid for a trip to Yangshuo after where we were able to meet other participants from other schools and exchange experiences. It did seem from other people that having a good experience was luck of the draw - it depended what school you got as they were all extremely different and what the other participants were like. Its also worth saying that the company give you information about the school and area before going out- although the information I received was completely inaccurate. The area was nothing like they said really, it was advertised as having lots of things to do and places to hike around which it didnt. it also said that we would be doing activities with the kids outside, but we did nothing like that except teach english. I think I only enjoyed the experience this much due to the people I met and my travels after. Had I not got on with the people, the teaching would have been far less enjoyable.
My only negative for the program was the lack of response from the company and the length of time it took them to respond to my emails; they were not contactable by phone either. This was annoying as when I initially started my application they were great at responding to questions but as soon as I had problems with anything such as my interviewer not turning up and changing the times, not hearing from the school or not recieving my deposit back, it took numerous emails to get a response.
Overall I would recommend this to my friends but make them wary of certain parts.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have liked to recieve more information about the program, the location and the school.
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Miles
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Gotoco

Staff were responsive and helpful, quickly finding me a suitable placement in which I was very happy.

I would recommend GOTOCO as a unique opportunity to challenge yourself by working abroad in an extremely different culture, build teaching skills, confidence and making new friends while also travelling.

The highlights of my experience in China were meeting and befriending Chinese people, this helped me build an understanding of the culture.

The welcoming environment of the camp I was working in was also a major positive. The places I was able to visit, rural and urban were enriched by the people I visited them with.

This programme provided me with a range of experiences I would not have had the chance to have otherwise.

Spending such an extended time in China, working with a multitude of Chinese people, making new friends and exploring the country have broadened me as a person.

Experience teaching has taught me the importance of approaching new challenges with enthusiasm and energy. For this, you will often be rewarded.

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Aisling
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Free Summer TEFL Program Across China

My programme was in two different locations, Wuhan and Beijing, which allowed me to experience two different cities in China. In both locations, I thought the accommodation (we stayed in university accommodation) and food provided were great.

I enjoyed interacting with the students and learning lots about Chinese culture. I also really enjoyed the time off from our program, getting to explore the city and its attractions, especially the Great Wall. It was also really nice to have a big group of Gotoco participants so it never got lonely and I ended up making lots of great friendships. I also really enjoyed the Yangshuo trip at the end, I would definitely recommend going!

Overall, this was an amazing way for me to spend my summer vacation. It allowed me to gain experience teaching, obtain a teaching qualification, meet new people and experience life in China.

What would you improve about this program?
The application process was pretty straightforward. I was also pleased how flexible Gotoco were and they were quick to respond to queries. I would just say that we weren't given much information about our program so I didn't really know what to expect.
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Sophie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Summer Opportunity!

This is a very unique program and it offers a great opportunity to visit and learn more about China. It was so rewarding to work with the kids and help them develop their skills and confidence in English. It was a reciprocal feeling as we also had a chance to build our skills in communication, organisation, and leadership. Traveling to China and meeting the local people as well as the foreign teachers who are from all over the world has made me more curious - I want to explore more! The Gotoco alumna is a diverse network and has really expanded my world. I would recommend this trip to someone who has a big sense of adventure, wonder (China's natural beauty is stunning), who is flexible and can quickly adapt to new situations, and is open to learning and feeling vulnerable at times.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Some of the programs are disorganized. You need to be prepared to be very flexible, patient with the kids, and keep reminding yourself that you're in China! Traveling is daunting on the mainland, especially with the large language barrier but it really builds character and you become much more independent.
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Ana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience

The highlight of my experience was definitely bonding with the kids and meeting other camp counselors. Furthermore, it was invaluable in terms of gaining experience teaching and learning how to step out of my comfort zone (there was definitely some culture shock at first, but I learned how to manage it). The biggest benefit that I gained from this program was definitely in terms of teaching. I had never taught before and had always been curious to see what it was like, and this program gave me an unrivaled opportunity for a taster.
The staff was very friendly and helpful, always keen to listen to new ideas or even criticism and be proactive about it. Furthermore, the accommodation provided was very comfortable, and the food good and varied from day to day.

About Gotoco

Since 2011, the Gotoco team has been helping students from around the globe to visit China. Starting in Yangshuo, Guangxi six years ago, the Gotoco team has built up an extensive network of summer camp partners all over China. Daniel and Richard...