Free Summer TEFL Program across China!

Video and Photos

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: www.go-to.co

**
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 94 reviews
  • Benefits 8.8
  • Support 8.4
  • Fun 9.1
  • Facilities 8.6
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 15 of 94
Default avatar
Izabela
8/10

GOTOCO china

Gotoco provides an amazing opportunity of spending a self fulfilling summer. I really enjoyed teaching and actually plan to do it in the future in my gap year after university. The TEFL qualification that you earn through the programs really is an invaluable qualification you can fall back on. As you are in a completely different place the people you meet and the bonds you make are really strong. I have met one of my best friends during my summer in china, something i never thought id do.

Spending so many weeks somewhere so far away may seem very daunting at first but the memories you make during this time are worth missing a few weeks with home friends. I feel like the independence and the self reliance that is tested when your so far away is really character building. My and my friend from the program travelled to nearby cities together which was very fun and Yangshou was the most beautiful place I have seen in my life.

How can this program be improved?
More support and communication between GOTOCO and the partner schools.

Yes, I recommend this program
Harry
10/10

My time at GotoCo

What was the best thing about your experience in China?

It's hard to choose one thing that stands out as the best from my experience in China, however I feel that the entire experience revolved around teaching the children, and allowing them to grow within my care. I loved putting on the performance at the end, and seeing the children display what they had learnt. The children excelled and being able to actually gauge their progress was very rewarding.

Would you recommend participating to a friend and if so why?

I would definitely recommend participating in this program to a friend as I have found it both informative, hugely educational, and wholly rewarding. I am genuinely moved to have been a part of the education process for these children, and having a TEFL qualification means I can help children communicate better with the world, no matter where they are. Also, being able to learn more about another culture from within it in a educational capacity has taught me to be more curious about the world in general.

How did you find the recruitment process?

I found it easily accessible and the people I interacted with were very helpful and kind. I would happily recommend the program to a friend. However, I would make the relationship between the family and the tutor more transparent, in terms of money paid to house the tutor, and the specific expectations. It might be better to arrange a tutoring schedule with the tutor and the parent through the school, as this would sidestep and language barriers.

How can this program be improved?
Wonderful program in general, I would liked to have had more contact with my hosts prior to meeting them, but as I said over all a great program, little to improve!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Anna
10/10

I loved getting to know my class

Being able to travel around at the weekends were a highlight, and I also loved getting to know my class. By the end of my trip, we had visited the attractions multiple times, and so the novelty of them had worn off. This was perhaps something I would change. We were taken around the outdoor activities and told to listen to the narration given by the guides, so that we could speak to the children about the attractions. We couldn't understand the speaker, so when we went round the places with the students, we weren't able to discuss it with them. Visiting China was amazing, and I would absolutely love to go back. The experience give fascinating insight into Chinese culture which, and the experience of teaching was also very enjoyable. Yangshou was a stunning place to live and was probably the highlight of my placement. I have never been somewhere so beautiful, and being able to spend time there and get to know the city was amazing.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Robert
10/10

My favorite memory of my trip

My favorite memory of my trip was when my host family brought me to a small village outside of town. We climbed a mountain before dawn in order to watch the sunrise. It was truly spectacular to see the sun rise over the rugged terrain. My favorite memory of my trip was when my host family brought me to a small village outside of town. We climbed a mountain before dawn in order to watch the sunrise. It was truly spectacular to see the sun rise over the rugged terrain. I think the experience made me a much more worldly person and truly opened me up to traveling more places. The idea of going to China by myself was initially daunting, but now I don't feel intimidated by traveling to far away places on my own. The best thing was the relationships I made with the people there. I am excited to stay in touch with them and hope to travel back and visit again.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Zac
10/10

I can apply these lessons in the future and further understand other cultures

My school had a few excursions (such as a museum and the cinema) and a water fight, which proved fun as you could bond with the children without having to stress over improvements to your lesson (it mainly involved me playing with them and therefore acting like a child). The first proper day in Yangshuo was nice as it involved everyone on the programme doing the same activities together (visiting a cave and mud-bath, swimming in an outdoor pool, and bathing in a hot spring, where in my school we were split into groups who couldn't see each other often. For me the main highlight was the water fight, as I could fight back against the kids without having to worry about hurting them. Every kid I taught, aimed (successfully) to get me, and I initially got them when they were filling up their pistols to begin. Another was during a day where the kids visited a farm near the outskirts of Guangzhou, in the afternoon while watching some of the class to climb a ladder, some of the kids taught me a little bit of Mandarin (it helped their English as they had to explain what the word meant) and were excited when I wrote the character correctly. It definitely helped me to adapt and use my initiative, as we were given a timetable with vague headings that we were supposed to plan (including resources) and create lessons out of. In the beginning, we had to plan a lot and our plans would not cover the entire lesson, so we would have to think of activities for the children to do during the lesson, in case our lessons were too short. Another thing is confidence as we were supposed to behave in a certain way to maintain the kids? attention, so initially we had to front confidence, which grew throughout time. I found that the ?culture shock? had no negative impact on me, in fact the opposite. Every day, I spent there I felt that I was learning something, not only about teaching, but the way that the culture works: such as the good restaurants are the small ones that I would avoid in England, and that you don?t have to be fluent in a language to survive in that nation (though I would advise learning it) that I couldn't learn in the UK, so that I can apply these lessons in the future and further understand other cultures.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Shubhi
10/10

Meeting wonderful people

Before this trip, I had been dealing with a long bout of depression and this trip really helped me out of it. My kids, the people I met and the love I got from all of them is the dearest thing from the trip. Just the enthusiasm of the children to learn from somebody who didn't even speak their language was heartening. The overall experience reminded me that the world is too big for my worries to not get lost in. All the wonderful people I had the chance of meeting. Personally I found the most enjoyable part of this experience was to see how quickly I made friends, grew new habits, and actually ended up feeling like home in Quanzhou. I had expected a big culture shock, but it was quite the opposite for me: I made several good Chinese friends, loved the food, and even found a good coffee shop - the only Western thing I can't give up on!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Margaret
10/10

The students were really kind and funny

The students were really kind and funny and I enjoyed feeling independent and adventurous. I saw really interesting sights that were very different from my home. My best experience was renting a moped in Yangshuo and driving around the countryside and seeing Waterbuffalo. My school did not have a lot of organized activities and had no excursions or outdoor activities. There seemed to be poor organization. They mostly left me to myself. The best activity was a Chinese cooking lesson. It improved my confidence and perspective as well as gave me experience travelling abroad on my own. It improved my maturity and ability to command a room and instruct students. Helped me to navigate travelling on my own and dealing with unfamiliar situations. The overall uniqueness and adventure of the experience pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to challenge myself, I saw how people live outside the US and it gave me a better understanding of how things work beyond my small realm of past experiences. As well as the friendliness of the Chinese people and that you never knew what each day could hold.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Tanya
10/10

The friendships I made have been really memorable

I think the satisfaction of seeing the kids achieve things they were afraid to do and building their confidence over the week was something really enjoyable. Being able to take part in these activities with them and participating in their fun, whilst also seeing them learn and grow was something amazing.

For me personally, the friendships I made have been really memorable and spending time in a place where camp culture is really strong was a very enjoyable experience. At Camp Greenwoods it was mainly outdoor activities - seeing the kids confidence grow just in the short space of a week was amazing.

It was also really fun to be able to participate in all the activities that we don't really have the opportunity to do at home. I think that this whole experience has helped me grow as a person. I've learnt to become more patient, and I feel as though my confidence grew over the 4 weeks as well. By the end of it I was leading a couple of activities and was really able to connect with the kids, which I think is what helped my confidence. Working with kids of a different cultural background has also helped me become more understanding as you begin to learn to appreciate the different ways in which people react to things and the different ways in which they learn. The best thing was definitely the people. Both the staff, foreign and Chinese, as well as the kids, made this experience one of my most memorable. The directors of the camp were very welcoming and open, and the staff all became really good friends. It made for a very fun environment to work in and a place that really helped you grow as a person.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Susannah
10/10

The teachers took us on days out each week

The teachers took us on days out each week and showed us the most amazing places that we wouldn't have known to explore otherwise. However, the highlight was travelling to Yanshuo after the teaching was finished. Getting to know the children and what they enjoyed meant that the lessons became more and more fun each time, as I knew exactly how to keep their interest. To begin with, my classes changed each week which made it hard to connect with my students, but once I was given a permanent class the whole experience became much more enjoyable. It has helped me to gain the confidence to teach and travel to other countries across the world, and through it I have made lifelong friends both in China and back home in England. Travelling to Yangshuo at the end and exploring it on motorbikes.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Kayla
10/10

It was nice to be able to teach at a university

The most enjoyable parts were meeting all the new people. It was nice to be able to teach at a university, because many of the students were my age. Because of this, we were able to make friends and do activities that we liked doing.

I made a lot of friends from all over the world in China. It was really nice. When I was teaching at the school with middle-school aged children, it was so nice to teach. They were all so excited to learn, so they were very engaged in my activities. I think that going to China really helped me grow more confident. To go to a country where I cannot communicate was a big challenge for me.

It was my first time traveling abroad, let alone traveling by myself. The whole trip was a huge learning experience for me to gain confidence. Once again, the people I met at the school, in Yangshuo, and in my teaching team were all amazing people. I know that they will be my friends for a very long time, and that I will still be able to talk to them years down the line.

Also, China is a beautiful country, and taking the train to Yangshuo was such a good way to see the beauty of a part of the country.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Josh
10/10

I liked living with my host family

I liked living with my host family after having initial worries, as they were very friendly. They gave me presents at the end of the trip, and paid for all of our trips out to see the different sights of Hangzhou. I also enjoyed playing games with the children in my class as they always had a lot of energy. I went to Yangshuo and went Whitewater drifting which was very fun. I enjoyed visiting different landmarks of Hangzhou with the family. It gave me confidence that I could be pushed out of my comfort zone and get by. I did not receive the support from the school that I thought I would in terms of helping me with my lessons, so I had to quickly adapt to my surroundings in a very unfamiliar environment. I had to quickly make decisions and it developed my problem solving skills. Spending time with my host family and meeting new people.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
William
10/10

most enjoyable moments of my trip

The most enjoyable moments of my trip fell into my larger sensation of amazement experiencing totally new cultures and being in a completely different environment. But beyond this general overall enjoyment, I'd have to say that I remember excursions to the Great Wall and the walled city of Pingyao with particular fondness. I would advise future Gotoco-ers to travel as much as possible whilst in China - done right it can be quite inexpensive! I particularly enjoyed forming a relationship with my students over the course of my trip to China. By the end I was personally proud of their achievements in English and so encouraged by their continued progress. My trip to China has made me more confident in my world outlook - most specifically as a traveller. Having been immediately apprehensive about placing myself in a country whose language I am unfamiliar with, and whose culture is largely alien from that of the UK, I am now comfortable finding myself in new environments and can't wait to travel to and around China, East Asia, and indeed the larger world again. The best thing about my trip to China would have to be the people I met. Both fellow gotoco-ers, Beijing expats and Chinese locals were so welcoming and happy to help in any way they could, and immediately made me feel at home.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Georgie
10/10

Some of my most enjoyable moments of the trip

Some of my most enjoyable moments of the trip happened thanks to the other volunteers involved. I liked the community feel and positive atmosphere that was built throughout the programme. I also really enjoyed getting to experience life in real China and being put into contact with so many different adults and children from all different walks of life was really eye-opening. One of my most memorable moments was meeting with all of the volunteers for the first time at the Olympic Sailing Centre in Qingdao! It was very exciting getting to see it in reality. The highlight of the lessons was probably getting to know all of the children and helping them to learn English. Teaching them in the classroom and watching them develop their skills and abilities was really rewarding to see. The outdoor activities at the camp were really exciting and I particularly enjoyed snorkelling and riding on the segways. Watching the children (and volunteers) overcome their fears during the activity helped the group to bond and added to the general sense of community. Volunteering in China has definitely benefited me as a person as it has allowed me to face and overcome challenges that I didn?t think I would be able to. Planning, preparing and teaching age appropriate lessons and activities to classes of 30 children (most of whom had different learning abilities and varied English skills) has built on my own personal confidence. Due to limited resources I often had to think on my feet and be creative in my approach. Ensuring that all children were engaged, interested and motivated during lessons and games has really helped my communication and people skills. I think the best thing about my experience in China was getting to see China in its true light. I got to live and work in a country with a completely different culture to what I was used to, which was at times slightly unnerving but was extremely exciting. Working with and supporting the children in learning new skills which will hopefully have a long-term effect on their language abilities was really rewarding. Meeting all of the other volunteers was also a highlight and most of us will stay in contact after the programme has ended.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jack
10/10

Building relationships with the students

Building relationships with the students, and seeing their progress in the time we were teaching there was very rewarding. I loved meeting the students and fellow teachers. Embracing a new culture through the routine of day-to-day life and cuisine was a good experience, and perhaps better than usual as we had an opportunity to immerse ourselves. My highlight was the trip to Guangzhou, where we had an opportunity to do a wide variety of activities including horse riding. Encouraged me to travel more, especially in China, and motivated me to learn Mandarin and explore other opportunities in China. I've gained lesson planning skills and teaching skills that I did not have before. Sharing new experiences with existing friends and new friends I made on the trip.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Alicia
10/10

I really enjoyed the teaching itself and getting to talk to the students

I really enjoyed the teaching itself and getting to talk to the students. Their experiences and views were very insightful, and they were always curious to learn more about me and where I came from. Some of the students invited us summer teachers for dinner at a typical hot pot restaurant and we saw the chefs make noodles in front of us, which was amazing! The food there was delicious!

I also really enjoyed exploring Yangzhou, where I was based, and meandering down Donguan Street; tasting the street food and browsing the shops. The highlight of the lessons was witnessing the students' progress throughout the summer. One of my regular students when I started teaching them was working at a high level 3 (basic conversation). And, when I left, they were almost fluent and were comfortable and competent in my level 6 classes. Building relationships with my students really made the trip worthwhile.

In terms of the cultural excursions, Hangzhou was another one my favourite places - especially exploring West Lake and hearing about the traditional Chinese legends. The tea and food there is notoriously delicious and its rich history was awesome.

Also, climbing Yellow Mountain - although it almost made me cry with the extent of stairs and exercise - was an unforgettable and amazing experience. Seeing the clouds beneath me and seeing how high we had climbed was something to be really proud of. I feel - and other people have commented - that I am more confident in myself. Teaching students and hearing their positive feedback was a real confidence boost, and meeting all the wonderful people I did in Yangzhou has given me some friends for life. Plus, travelling half-way across the world independently has made me realise that I am braver than I give myself credit for, and I am proud of what I have achieved this summer. Teaching the students was an incredible experience! They are so diligent, friendly and engaged, which really surprised me. Their enthusiasm and kindness is something I will never forget, and I will always hold dear the memories of teaching them.

Whilst the teaching was invaluable, the opportunities to explore China were one of my favourite aspects of the trip. For instance, a group of us summer teachers spent three days exploring Shanghai, which is only four hours away from Yangzhou. I loved the diversity, vastness and nightlife - it gave me perspective on how big and incredible China is!

Yes, I recommend this program

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...