WorldTeach China Global Leadership Year
94% Rating
(13 Reviews)

WorldTeach China Global Leadership Year

As a member of our China Global Leadership cohort, you will live in and experience a country that makes up 20 percent of the world's population and is on the brink of becoming the world's largest economy. What does this mean for the future of global trade and the global workplace? In what ways does China's modernization impact Chinese society, overall, and its next generation of entrepreneurs, teachers, and professionals? How are traditional norms being impacted during this period of rapid industrialization and urbanization? These questions will be among those posed and explored during your fellowship. While serving as a full time teacher in a local school in Hunan Province, China volunteers will develop highly coveted 21st century skills, Chinese cultural expertise, and a basic understanding of Mandarin, making them more competitive in the global marketplace.

Teaching Practicum
Training Type
Training Length
120 hours
Job Placement
Starting Price
Price Details
The volunteer fee covers visa sponsorship, housing (generally with a host family), a monthly stipend, training conferences, meals and housing during training conferences, in-country transportation to training conferences, health and emergency evacuation insurance, full-time field support, continued professional teaching development from US-based coordinators and an international alumni network.
Other Locations
Changsha, Zhuzhou, Xiangtan

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 13 reviews
  • Benefits 9.2
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9
  • Facilities 9.2
  • Safety 9.8
  • Instruction 2
  • Support 3
  • Value 3
  • Difficulty 6
  • Job Assistance 4
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
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We were mislead and poorly supported

When I first became interested in sacrificing a year to work in underserved communities overseas I heard great things about WorldTeach and decided to apply. The staff in Boston were incredibly polite and assisted me greatly in preparing the necessary paperwork to travel and teach ESL in Hunan, China. Upon arrival though it quickly became apparent that further supports were limited and the schools we were told we were helping appeared to be given a raw deal. We were supplied no teacher-made lesson plans throughout our year of service, severely under-compensated when it comes to a stipend, and expected to hand over all of our intellectual property while receiving no feedback whatsoever.

The issue that I and other "volunteers" had the most difficulty with was the fact that it appeared that none of our schools knew that we had volunteered our time and were being so poorly compensated. This made sense once I discovered that all of the schools were paying a premium fee to have us as teachers (more money than they would pay a non-volunteer teacher from an agency) and were told that our travel expenses among others were covered by said fee in their contract even though that was not the case. I believe the program cost for the schools was the same regardless of whether the school was urban or rural. Furthermore, many of the schools were not in the least bit "underserved" as the pre-departure and online WorldTeach literature had us believe, and in fact some "volunteers" were working alongside fellow foreign teachers hired by the school who were paid double what our stipend was for less work and limited oversight. This last fact made rationalizing our service and sacrifice nearly impossible. A majority of WT volunteers needed to find extra jobs after work or on the weekends just to make ends meet because we received the lowest stipend allowed by US law so that WT could maintain its nonprofit status.

The program has now changed (along with the WT website and online descriptions 3 times in the last 2 years) to be a "China Fellowship". We were not told of the change in the programs name or new focus while we were serving as volunteers. I believe the new "China Fellows" will be doing essentially the same thing past volunteers had been doing.

Essentially, in my opinion WT is acting as a regular ESL teacher agency with stricter rules for its ESL teachers and not an altruistic entity connecting decent people with underserved communities in China. If it is your desire to work in impoverished or needy schools in China I encourage you to find a legitimate agency to work with or find a school and negotiate your own contract.

I can not speak to the other locations that WT works with/in. I do know that China is awfully unique in its ESL programs and schools so I don't extend my poor experience unto the other programs. But after a year of dealing with WorldTeach I would not feel comfortable suggesting this opportunity to others because it simply is not worth your time and sacrifice, nor the time and money of the school you hope to support. There are better options for you if you want to teach English in China.

P.S. Teaching in China was fantastic and I loved my school, students, and community. I would recommend the job to any decent, hardworking, and caring individual. I was just upset to discover the volunteers' altruism was taken advantage of.

How can this program be improved?

There is a huge need for greater transparency, communication, and teaching support between the home office in Boston and the teachers in China. Program information needs to be updated (although the program has now changed in name and purpose). We need to be supplied with tried and true lesson plans considering volunteer teachers have been forced to submit theirs for the last few years under penalty of withholding pay only to have the plans never seen again. Our first month of "training" focused almost exclusively on the theory behind teaching ESL, and there was very little emphasis on the practice. Also, the underserved schools we are working in are paying far too much money to employ a "volunteer" and they should better understand the nature and intentions of the WT program for the benefit of themselves as well as to the benefit of the volunteer/s they receive.

Response from WorldTeach

Dear Griffin,

Thank you for your feedback. As you are aware, we offer many opportunities for feedback throughout the program and we appreciate your concerns. This opportunity to provide feedback extends to the Executive Director, whom you spoke with personally. We thoughtfully and directly responded to your misconceptions and concerns back in June 2017, at which time you expressed gratitude for our transparency and support. There are many different considerations that must be taken into account when planning and executing an international program, including but not limited to cultural context, volunteer experience, and governmental and policy limitations. We pride ourselves on running quality programs that successfully navigate all of these factors. We wish you all the best in the future, and please contact us directly with further questions.

No, I don't recommend
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China was an experience!

China was an experience like no other!! It really brought to light a lot about who I am as a person and helped to clarify more about my career goals. So in that way, it really helped me "find out more about myself". I also grew in independence and resilience. The World Teach staff and support were stellar! They provided us with 3 weeks of teaching training and a practicum. We were also taught about culture & food. The other volunteers in the program were also a great part of the experience. Seeing them during the mid and end of year trainings was like going home to see family in a way. I really feel like the year went by too fast! Oh, and my students were ADORABLE! At the same time, keep in mind that Chinese winters are depressing. There is very little sun light and it gets really cold. Also, the pollution goes up, so please invest in a face mask and air filter for your home. Its not a two week study abroad in Rome, its difficult and challenging, but extremely rewarding!! Good luck!!

How can this program be improved?

No need.

Yes, I recommend
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A life changing experience.

Coming to China with World Teach was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The field director and assistant director provided useful training, and support second to none. They take our welfare seriously and are always there for issues that arise and guidance. The middle school were, I was placed, was very welcoming and provided a fully furnished apartment, located 5 minutes from the school. The liaison I got is a wonderful friend and very helpful navigating me through the language issues. The students are amazing and dedicated to their studies. It's good to see the changes in confidence they have gained these past 8 months, which makes me wish I could stay longer. One of the things I wish I had paid more attention to was not to bring so much clothing, because the shopping here is amazing. One thing I would have liked to have brought with me are Index cards, and board games. Other then that, you can get everything else here.

How can this program be improved?

If I could change one thing it would be the length of time. 11 months is not enough time, just as you get the hang of things, it time to leave. It would be great if the time could be extended.

Yes, I recommend
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Great way to live abroad and learn about China

I was one of three WorldTeachers at my very rural school and taught 15 classes per week - different students in every class. At my school, these classes were not really formal English language/grammar classes, but were instead just to get students excited about learning English, so we sang a lot of songs, played a lot of games, and generally just tried to spend the hour with as much communication practice and fun as possible. When I wasn't teaching, I was free to do whatever I wanted, so I picked up a couple of new hobbies like the guitar, tutored a few students, trained for my first marathon, and spent a lot of time studying Chinese. Weekends and holidays we could travel, so I visited a lot of other volunteers in their sites, and spent long vacations visiting other parts of the country, including big trips to Tibet, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang. Our stipends were enough to live on in our towns and enjoy luxuries like massages and eating out a lot and some weekend travel, but not enough to cover big vacations, so expect to use some savings if you want to be able to take cool trips. WorldTeach gave us a lot of freedom and the staff were there if we needed them but not constantly monitoring what we did (in contrast with Peace Corps, for example), which was nice - as long as we fulfilled our obligations at our schools, we could travel as much as we wanted and pretty much take care of ourselves. There were about 60 volunteers in the program when i did it, which was nice because we had an instant network of friends and support, and we often got together on weekends and for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many of the people in my program are still some of my closest friends, even ten years after we finished the program. Overall, it was a fantastic experience for me, but as always, it depends on your attitude and what you make of it, because it definitely wasn't without its daily frustrations and challenges.

How can this program be improved?

I had the feeling that the field directors didn't really know how to handle situations where volunteers were drinking a little too heavily, and we had a handful of those volunteers who went a little crazy and did a lot of drinking. I don't know how to prevent that, but maybe the field directors could have some training on how to deal with substance abuse overseas or something.

Yes, I recommend
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WorldTeach China is the best!

As I'm finishing my year in China with WorldTeach, I honestly wish I could start all over again. You learn so much about a new culture and about yourself when teaching and traveling in this beautiful country.

WorldTeach has your back no matter what! From the first day of acceptance, to pre-departure, to in-country they make sure you are mentally prepared for what's to come and consistently check in. I always know I can ask them any question, big or small. They also did such a great job preparing us for working in the classroom. Without the 3 weeks of training, I wouldn't be having a successful year with 900 students.

Teaching high school students is so rewarding. I am excited to go to "work" everyday and see them. After 5 years working as a professional in DC, I can definitely say this job is fun, rewarding, and you learn something new everyday. The school will absolutely love having you and will make sure you are comfortable and happy to be there.

As someone who loves traveling, you are also afforded time off to explore the world. We just had a 5 week break and I was able to save enough from our stipend (as a volunteer you receive $500/month) to travel throughout Thailand for a few weeks.

This experience is like nothing you will have with any other program. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves traveling and exploring the world while learning a new skill and giving back. Please ask me any questions you have! You won't regret this decision if you go for it and move to China with WorldTeach.

How can this program be improved?

I don't think I'd change anything! I feel supported by the program but not suffocated by it. It's really been a great experience!

Yes, I recommend
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Best Choice You'll Ever Make

I can't talk up WorldTeach enough. China is a popular country for English teaching. I have met other foreigners in the city who are teachers and who have had difficulties with their school, been thrown into the classroom the day they arrive and have had little support.

WorldTeach is NOT that kind of program. It comes highly rated. And schools in Hunan Provence want WorldTeachers because of our training. For a whole month with WorldTeach you live in a hotel with other volunteers. You get the chance to make a support group as well as spend the month learning how to teach, learning Chinese, as well as about china's laws and customs.

You get to choose the type of placement you want city or rural. I chose rural and have no regrets. I love my school. The staff is friendly and helpful, my students can be rowdy but no more so than any other bunch of middle-schoolers and my liaison is always available when I need help.

You will not regret choosing this program.

How can this program be improved?

I personally wouldn't change anything but one thing to note is that this is a volunteer program so you will be paid a stipend of about 500 USD a month. This doesn't sound like a lot, but it's very easy to live on this here. It is something to keep in mind though, because you can make more money with private companies - though the support will definitely not be the same.

Yes, I recommend
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Changsha Hunan China Program WorldTeach

I had the time of my life volunteering in Changsha, China. WorldTeach provided over the top in country support. I would highly recommend WorldTeach as a credible legit organization. You'll learn so much about yourself and the world with this organization!

How can this program be improved?

No improvements needed, LOVED it!

Yes, I recommend
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WorldTeach in China

I spent an amazing year in China thanks to WorldTeach. I had previously visited China during a summer study abroad program but my year in Hunan really allowed me to integrate myself into the community and understand the culture. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in education or Chinese culture. I made friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life. To this day, many of my wonderful students email me just to check in. Unforgettable!

Yes, I recommend
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Awesome experience!

I had an incredible field director who gave all of us as much support as we needed/wanted. The students in Hunan province are excited to meet foreigners and are bright and eager. There are discipline problems, but they weren't as bad as what you will find in the US.

How can this program be improved?

I needed more instruction on how to deal with discipline problems.

Yes, I recommend
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China - Worth It.

After graduating with a degree in Modern Chinese History and International Studies, I found myself working in a research group writing science curriculum. Wanting to experience the world I had studied in school, I started looking for a way to live in China. I applied to several programs (many listed on this very site) but after talking through it with some friends who had lived in China before, I settled on WorldTeach for two reasons:
1.) I could live in a rural village in a relatively rural province. As my friends pointed out, rural placements are a rare opportunity.
2.) WorldTeach's reputation meant it might look better on my resume. Pretty selfish, I know.

Well that was my thought process, though it turned out my reasons were fine, but it was only later that I learned the real reason I had made a great choice: support. The WorldTeach China program both cared that I was a competent teacher and had the local reach to make sure that was possible. Over 18 months of living in China and Taiwan, I came to learn that support from most other international programs extends to a 5 day "training" session, a pat on the head, and a boot out the door. FYI, you can't learn how to be a teacher in 5 days. Ok, you got me, you can't learn to be a teacher in WorldTeach's 20+ day training program either, but I was certainly a lot more prepared than my fellow foreign teacher expats. Then when something went wrong, my friends-from-another-...program were just left to deal with it. School say they can't pay you this month? Too bad. Mold so caked on your bathroom you can roll your toes in new green fuzzy carpet? Tough. School makes you sleep above the coal-fueled boiler room and you get lung disease? Solve it yourself. But in each of these very real situations, WorldTeach stepped up and solved the problems within days, if not hours. Their strong partnerships with provincial education officials make short work of any day to day school problems. I cannot stress enough how much this improves the day to day life of living in China.

Of course WorldTeach was not my mommy. I did not move to the literal far side of the globe to be babied. Most smaller things I could handle on my own - and did. Things like the occasional cancelled classes or power outages lasting a few hours were fairly normal, but easy to handle on my own. Living in a different culture always comes with myriad of challenges, but that is the core of the personal journey. Any year long program will push you, as it should. Learning to be my own person faced with situations far outside my comfort zone is another reason I think the WorldTeach program was the correct move for me.

Aside from that support, WorldTeach provided a good social group. I made some life long friends, and met amazing people from all around the world. While the nightlife in my sleepy two stop-light town was nonexistent, it was easy to travel with friends all around China and Asia at large.

Looking back on it, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. While I feel my experience living abroad (in China, Taiwan, but also Russia, a bit in Thailand) has now prepared me to live and work on my own, if I was just starting out I would never go with anyone other than WorldTeach.

Yes, I recommend
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The Chinese Enigma

Going to China is not a decision to be made lightly, but the comprehensive and continual support provided by the WorldTeach organization, both in the US (predeparture) and in country (upon arrival and throughout the year) made it possible. The group of volunteers becomes extremely close, and made amazing travel partners throughout Hunan, China and Asia. In China, you are continuously learning and growing and everyday is an adventure! The teaching level and time commitment were right were I wanted them to be, and the free time allowed me to explore China, as well as the language. Deciding to participate in WorldTeach in Hunan was one of the best decisions I have made yet!

How can this program be improved?

The amount of work on the TEFL assignments throughout the year was heavy. Our stipend while sufficient came no where close to what other foreign teachers outside of the program were making, and we were not allowed to receive pay for outside tutoring. Also, between volunteers there was not equality in workload; some taught 10 hrs a week, others 18+.

Yes, I recommend
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Great in-country support

The in-country orientation and on-going support from WT staff is what sets this program apart. Without these resources I would have felt alone and unsure of myself, but with the help of the other volunteer teachers and in-country staff I felt safe and prepared to teach. Overall the experience was life-changing and something that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for an adventurous and fulfilling experience abroad.

Yes, I recommend
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Great Program

The staff at WorldTeach China make the effort to make sure you're a successful teacher. The program starts off with a 3 week teaching process where you get to interact with the other 40 or so volunteers in Hunan Province. Becoming friends with the other volunteers is definitely one of the highlights because these are the people that you'll visit on weekends, travel with during Spring Festival, and share lesson ideas.

I'm about 6 months into the program in Hunan and we recently finished our mid-service in February where all the volunteers met in Changsha and got to share their experiences so far. Changsha is also a blast. If you want the city life, it's a good mix between old and new china. But if you want to completely immerse yourself into the culture, the rural sites will definitely give you an authentic taste.

Yes, I recommend

About WorldTeach

WorldTeach was founded in 1986 by a group of Harvard students who were motivated by the desire to promote local education initiatives in places where teachers and resources were lacking. Today, we continue to provide opportunities for individuals to...