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 231 reviews
  • Benefits 8.7
  • Support 8.6
  • Fun 9.2
  • Facilities 8.5
  • Safety 9.2
  • Instruction 8.8
  • Support 8
  • Value 9
  • Academic Rigor 8.5
  • Job Assistance 9
Showing 46 - 60 of 231
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Lucy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Gotoco

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting a variety of different people including Gotoco students, the monitors and of the course the children. I enjoyed engaging and interacting with them and gaining an understanding of different cultures.

It was rewarding seeing the children’s English progress throughout the camp.

Gotoco were very supportive and helpful, answering any queries I had.

The post camp week in Yangshou is amazing, offering a variety of different activities including Kayaking, bamboo rafting, rock climbing, cycling etc. This week is a great way to meet others who have been on other camps and compare experiences.

The one thing that I believe that needs improving is going through the visa process. Gaining more help and guidance here would be very beneficial as it took multiple attempts before securing mine.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To check out exactly where the camp is as some are so remote you don’t get to leave and travel.

I would also recommend having additional travel plans for after the camp to ensure you get the full chinese experience.
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Zuzanna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great time, great people!

I had an amazing time at the Baobei nature camp in China! Chinese staff as well as the kids were absolutely adorable and amazing. Living close to Hangzhou, both me and other participants had a good amount of opportunities to explore the city and get to know a bit of a local life. Despite the beauty of both the city and the countryside, the best part of my stay in China was amazing, welcoming people that I met everywhere I went- I would never forget hiking up the mountain and being invited for tea and dinner by Taoist monks at the very top!
The company was very helpful and reliable. All of my questions were always answered as soon as possible by my assigned contact, on all stages of my trip as well as at the beginning with registration process.
Thank you Gotoco! 😊

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The best part of my stay in China was definitely the people I met. So my advice is: never be scared of language barrier and just keep trying to communicate as much as you can with everyone you meet, you will learn so much even if you can't speak the same language!
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Angelica
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GOTOCO Hangzhou

I enjoyed working with the kids and relaxing at the end of the camps. Yangshuo was amazing and there was plenty to do when I got there. I wish I could have stayed longer. It is a good program and the place I stayed in was great. The staff was amazing as well and the kids were generally well behaved and ready to learn. This program forced me to manage my time wisely. I was also in charge of 45 kids at one time in a tiny classroom. I was challenged and learned how to handle that on my own.
The organization at times were somewhat lacking but the staff on hand was well equipped and could handle any situation in a timely manner. There were times that I missed the US, but the people I worked with were very encouraging. Some even felt the same way about their own homes, so we were able to help each other out.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate a fish eye. I am used to eating fish, but I have never eaten the eye before.
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Callum
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

When out in China

I had an amazing summer both teaching and travelling. Richard, a director of the company, was very accomodating and made my stay in China enjoyable. GOTOCO enabled me to have an enriching experience both teaching and seeing China. To sum up in three words, this program is... Thrilling, immersive, enriching! If you are seeking to change your outlook in life then this is the program for you. Whilst both teaching and travelling then your outlook of the western world will change dramatically. Prior to departure I thought that China was an enclosed country. However, being immersed into the culture has made me realise that both China and the opportunities provided are enriching to say the least. If you wish to seek experience teaching and an enhanced credible CV then this is the program to consider.

What would you improve about this program?
facilities and the contact details prior to departure.
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Isobel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience

I had a great time teaching in China this summer. I was in Zhouyue English college in Yangshou. The programme leader Angie was amazing and made me feel so at home and welcomed. I loved the school and found the experience really improved my confidence and independence. The camp was based in a really beautiful area and there was such a variety of fun things to do. At the weekends I would go hiking, cycling and visit the town centre of Yangshou which is very bustly and fun. I met loads of really lovely people, both other students who had come to teach and Chinese students who helped as teaching assistants in the English classes, I am sure I will stay in touch with many people I have met. This programme is a great way to really immerse yourself in chinese culture and meet new and likeminded people.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that Gotoco themselves could improve their communication. I had very little information about where I was going, what to take ect. The packing list is very generic and there is little clarity on exactly how things will work. I was also stressed by their handling of visas and it sometimes took them a long time to answer my emails. This being said, I had the best time this summer and am very grateful for Gotoco for the opportunity.
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Katrina
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing gateway to China

Gotoco allowed me to have an experience that I would not have otherwise been able to afford. By being immersed in the culture I really discovered so much about China and got to travel around which was incredible! The only issue was that the program I was put on did not allow us to teach which was a big shame as this was what we signed up to do. However, luckily we were placed in Shanghai which I absolutely loved and our time off allowed for plenty of travelling to cities around like Hangzhou and Suzhou. The trip offered to Yangshou after the program was incredible and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is thinking of taking part in Gotoco, as this was probably the highlight of my whole experience. Meeting other gotocoers there made for an altogether fun trip.

What would you improve about this program?
Better communication prior to the trip as we were pretty clueless as to what our program was about until we arrived there.
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Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Authentic, Challenging, Rewarding

On my Gotoco trip, I was placed in Jiaozhou, a small city outside Qingdao on the east coast of China. I taught English to all different age levels, from 5 years to adult, and during my off time I explored the city with my fellow Gotoco teachers and host teachers. It was authentic in that I got to meet a lot of locals and experience the city through their eyes (although the language barrier made it difficult to talk to most Chinese people; the experience was authentic insofar as it can be for a western visitor). It was a challenge, inevitably, to adjust to a different world, but it was a challenge I was up for, and, maybe, I needed...and the last adjective I chose was rewarding. What rewards did I get from it? I may still need to contemplate my experience to comprehend fully, but now, fresh from my flight back to the west, I can say that I gained a wider vision of the world, valuable teaching experience plus a TEFL certificate, and a whole lot of fun, maybe enough to satiate my sense of adventure for up to four months. Gotoco, as an organization, I can commend, as they fulfilled all their obligations satisfactorily, with clear, thorough, and timely communications on all fronts.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I tried pig's feet and pig's stomach. It was really weird, and after that experience I couldn't build up the courage to try anything else unfamiliar.
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Dominic
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GOTOCO Summer in China

Overall I would recommend the experience. I had a great time travelling around China and living in Yangzhou. The teaching was also more enjoyable than I had expected and if it is something you are really interested in doing then this is definitely a very worthwhile programme. Although once I arrived I enjoyed myself a lot, I was actually not looking forward to going after the stress of the application process. My place was confirmed very late after having to pay £200 deposit and at this point flights were not so cheap. The visa also costs £150 so although GOTOCO don't charge for the experience (which I'm very grateful for), the trip does end up being very expensive still. I also felt they were very distant during the application process and some of the information they gave was not fully accurate.
Despite this I'm still very glad I went through with it and will look back on this summer with lots of good memories when I'm older.

What would you improve about this program?
The application process. I understand that maybe the lateness of my project being confirmed may have been out of their control but it would have been appreciated if they had given more updates and also provided a number to call as the email responses could be very slow.
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Anthony
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience in China!

My overall experience with Gotoco and China was very favorable. I think that the whole program overall was a huge success and very fun. Going to china was quite the adventure; I was able to meet many new friends, of whom I would spend the next six weeks with. We made many cool memories, having fun together such as exploring the city, bike riding, etc. I had the opportunity to explore multiple cities across China as well. I think it was a very fun and cool experience and program! It was a cool experience being in China for a month and a half, and to improve cultural awareness but also to do something that might be out of our comfort zones. I've also learned a lot about time management, teaching, explaining concepts to students, assisting the study advisors and students, but also overall improving on speaking skills. I learned how to be patient while helping students and answering their questions.

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Rhys
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Easy, reliable, amazing programmes

Really the best organisation to find work in China through, can't really fault them. Sometimes slow to reply and offers some interesting advice regarding visas, but use your own common sense there and you won't have a problem. I made lasting friendships and have gone back twice in a row. My experience in China through them has lead me to apply to university in Beijing, as well as learn mandarin. They have some excellent benefits and events like linking up other participants. They put you in good accommodation and give you more than enough for food, and transport. They also offer in country help including booking private cars, helping us navigate, and express genuine interest in our safety and goings on. The interns at the company as well as Richard, who I spoke to most, are extremely helpful and great people.

What would you improve about this program?
Improve visa advice. Just go to the embassy or visa centre yourself.
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Jess
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer in China

Volunteering at an English language school in China for 6 weeks has been very fulfilling and I will not soon forget it. During the program I was given the opportunity to explore the local areas and experience the real China, and make close friendships with the other volunteers. The program provided a short training course on how to teach, and at the end of every term (3 weeks) there was a festival to showcase the talents of the kids and the volunteers to the parents.
After the program ended, I have been able to travel to several other locations in China which I previously would not have been able to do without being accepted onto a program in the first place. I had an amazing time and I’m thoroughly glad that I chose to spend my summer in China.

What was your funniest moment?
Funniest moment was helping the kids develop their bilingual festival performances for their parents.
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Antonina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Review of Trip

I had an amazing time in China which would never have been possible without the incredible opportunity given by Gotoco. I felt completely safe in China as I always had contact with Gotoco through Wechat or email.
One of the best parts of the Gotoco programme was the couples days I spent in Yangshuo. It was a great chance to relax and bond with other Gotoco people who had had similar experiences and exploring the scenery with other participants. It is the most beautiful place I have visited and was the perfect end to the trip.
I would definitely recommend the programme because not only does it provide an incredible opportunity to travel independently but also provides you with essential skills that can be translated straight to a work environment.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
At the first camp we were given Chicken Feet to try. I cannot say I enjoyed the dish.
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Eleanor
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Yangshuo/Rongxian

What I most enjoyed about this programme was the fact that I got a really immersive experience of Chinese culture. I loved meeting lots of Chinese people, who were very friendly and made a real effort to make us feel welcome, even trying to teach us some Mandarin! I think that that kind of immersion is really impossible to achieve just by going somewhere as a tourist, and that this is the main selling point of a programme like this. In addition, I feel that I gained a lot of confidence and important skills through teaching. I really enjoyed interacting with the kids on a daily basis and I think that the experience of different cultures was mutually rewarding. In addition, on the programme I got to see some beautiful parts of China, and experience them in quite a unique way.

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Eleanor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Guangxi placement

Genuinely, doing Gotoco was one of the best experiences of my life. I was more than sceptical about going and extremely nervous about travelling to China on my own to the rural-ish area of Southern China, Rongxian in Guangxi, and as many other people would agree, had never done something like this before! From the moment I arrived I felt at ease and the teachers gave us a really warm welcome and made us feel safe.

I was very glad to have been put in this programme that had such kind and welcoming teachers and parents. The students were keen to learn and it was fun teaching the different ages.

The thought of going to China on my own was so scary and now i have done it i feel so much more confident and now feel able to do other trips and teach in other places. I saw things I've never seen before and experienced a completely new culture. Teaching was such a good experience and something completely new.

If you decide to do the placement, you should definitely go to Yangshuo as offered by Gotoco. It is a beautiful place and cycling through the mountains and rafting down the Yu Long river was one of the best experiences of my life. I was really lucky to have got on well with the other volunteer on my placement and felt that it was such a good way to meet likeminded people and hear from other volunteers who did other placements around China.

Overall, I'd recommend people to use Gotoco if they want to experience something completely new, in a place that is unique whilst gaining a TEFL certificate. I never thought I'd actually go as I was sceptical at first at how legit it was. Yet, Gotoco communicate with you throughout and you get put into a groupchat with representatives from Gotoco who can help if need be. We also were put into a groupchat with the other volunteer and the lead teacher of the placement to get to know them before arriving.

Obviously each placement is different so one experience will vary from another, but most people I met at Yangshuo had had a good experience on their placement. I was really happy to have gone with Gotoco for the placement and hope that other people will feel confident to go to China too.

What would you improve about this program?
It is good that you get a TEFL through Gotoco although be aware that some of the smaller placements don't offer enough teaching hours to gain a 120 hour TEFL that you need to teach in China in the future. Although it is still great that you get a teaching qualification as it something different for your CV.

It was sometimes difficult to understand what was going on and what was expected of us, for example, when the Chinese teachers were off sick we would be expected to last minute cover a lesson. If you do the programme you should be aware that often things are disorganised at the school and you are thrown in the deep end so you need to embrace this and be confident. You will probably work long hours and so should also be aware of this. As with anything do your research and think of the positives you will gain from doing something out of your comfort zone.
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Gianna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fanatastic opportunity to try teaching and explore China

I think the program is a great way to experience Chinese culture first-hand and not from a tourist's perspective. Teaching on the summer camps is a very fun and rewarding experience.
The opportunity to go to Yangshuo at the end of the trip is a great way to meet other volunteers from around the world and explore a stunning rural area of China.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Zhuhai Youngster Club. The training week at the beginning was a good way to get to know our Chinese hosts before the summer camp began. I also felt that it was a good way for the volunteers to engage with the lesson plans and discuss any ideas that we had about the teaching.
The summer camp itself was very enjoyable. In the lessons we often played games to help the children learn vocabulary, which they enjoyed. The teaching was a good way to improve my self-confidence at public speaking and it was rewarding to see the children's confidence at speaking English improve over the course of the camp.

The afternoons were spent playing sports such as Badminton, Tennis, Golf, Skiing and Kayaking. I enjoyed being in the outdoors and being able to relax with the children outside of the classroom environment.

What would you improve about this program?
Let people know about their programme sooner, so there is more time to sort out the visa application.

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...