Experience the Real China – As a Volunteer Teacher

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Join Global Volunteers in China to teach children and teachers English - for one to three weeks! This unique and meaningful experience lets you discover the fascinating nation of China, which makes up one-fifth of the global population. Volunteers will help with the educational growth of communities in the Xi'an and Kunming area through a variety of volunteer projects focused on teaching English. This system is meant to give you personal insight to life in China through specific volunteer work.

Picture coming to a classroom each day and being greeted by students standing, ready and enthusiastic to participate in your English lessons and practice sessions. After class, you and your students can shop, visit local attractions, or attend musical shows. Global Volunteers and local Chinese partners assist volunteers to ensure premium education for students. This allows us to give participants an extraordinary chance to volunteer and have an authentic experience.

The main needs of these communities include:
  • Teaching conversational English to students of varied ages
  • Educating teachers on English skills
  • Looking after mentally challenged students
  • Supporting the development and education of young girls

Questions & Answers


based on 4 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Two weeks teaching at Yellow River Primary, Boarding and Day schools

Sara and I prepared for teaching in Xian by: a) reading up on China; b)meeting with a former Chinese mother I'd helped learn English for tips on Chinese; and c) cruising up the Yangtze to Chunging for the week before we were to start. We'd never traveled so far before starting our tasks, but we knew that two older ladies in their 70's needed to be a bit rested in order to be at their best.
Our interaction with Chinese travelers and then our Chinese hosts was delightful in every way. Our 'tutor' had told us not to be surprised if people just stared. So we smiled back. Those who spoke a bit of English were eager to try and chat, which can be done in words, gestures and smiles.
Global Volunteers always has program leaders to help you find your way. All nine of us stayed at the Holiday Inn across from the Old City gates of Xian. We had various assignments ... some with teenagers; others with elementary students. We had ample time to plan, but for me, it was a challenge because I'm used to secondary students. My first assignment was Grade One (7 year olds, 50 of them sitting at small desks on small stools, packed together like sardines.
My theme for the week: the Human Body. Each class was 50 minutes long. The teacher, Miss Lily, said she'd never taught English before, so was interested in my techniques.
So, we did 50 minutes of song and games. By the end of the week, I also drew figures on the board and had them label them in English. 'Head and shoulders, knees and toes,'... I'm sure you've sung the song and know the movements. I found the second verse ... and there's even a third verse, which was new to me. But the children did learn English names for major body parts. Five could come up to the front of the room and demonstrate the song; then have the class join in.
Actually, the Body lesson plan was usable for second and third grade as a review. After the first day, we received a schedule of the classes for each day, so we could plan and prepare. Teachers in the older classes used us as native speakers. I've always wondered what Miss Lilly did the following week.
Sara found a sixth grader with such proficient English that he lectured her about our Civil War. He was a history buff and read voraciously.
Each day was an adventure with attentive, well behaved students and friendly teachers. The food was fabulous. We wandered through many shops in the neighborhood near the hotel, and managed to visit museums like Shaanxi History Museum, Hu'Xian Peasant Exhibition Hall where we met artist, Li Finglan. All nine of us taught Sunday morning for a trip to the famous Terracotta Army, 221-206 B.C. in the afternoon.
I love traveling as a Global Volunteer. You get to meet and interact with real people, and make new friends, always feeling safe.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Conversational English, Kunming, Yunnan, China

The purpose of this volunteer program in Kunming, Yunnan Province, is to help Chinese teachers of English with their spoken English. The teachers come from elementary and middle schools in Kunming and the surrounding counties. They range from young new teachers to experienced teachers who have taught for many years. For many of these teachers the conversations they have with us are their first extended experience with native speakers of English. Our job is not to teach English (most of them know English grammar better than we do), it is to encourage them to speak and feel comfortable with spoken English.

The classes are held on a college campus where we spend two or three weeks, two volunteers with each class of 15 -18 teachers. We talk, discuss current events, play word games, sing, dance, go out to lunch, and generally have a good time. After a day or two of shyness, their natural curiosity, humor and enthusiasm start to show through and the conversation and play become very animated.

We volunteers are housed in a very nice business class hotel, a short van ride from the campus. All logistics (meals, transportation, etc.) are taken care of by our Global Volunteers leader who lives with us in the hotel. The meals are great (Chinese of course, except there's an omelet station at the hotel's breakfast buffet) sometimes at the hotel, sometimes at local restaurants.

My wife and I have volunteered in China with Global Volunteers five times. Once we took our teen-aged grandchildren who were full fledged members of the volunteer team. We are planning our sixth trip for 2012 – hope to meet you then!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Bringing Teachers New Skills Has a Broad Impact

The program at the teachers college in Kunming is well run; I have volunteered for three summers, and plan to go again. Using Global Volunteers' philosophy, developed over more than 25 years, teams of two volunteers guide 12 to 15 Chinese teachers of English in increasing their conversation skills. We decide on the curriculum, which may include games and songs and folk dances that the teachers can then teach their students. Although some have taught English for years, they may not have not heard a native speaker in person; they are eager for new ideas that will encourage their students to learn English, which is now required in Chinese schools, beginning in kindergarten.

A plus to teaching in Kunming is the weather. At 6,200 feet, this "city of eternal spring" is pleasant in the summer. Our hotel is comfortable, and the food, while quite different from what we're used to, is a tasty adventure.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Conversational English, Xi'an, China

This was my first global volunteer experience. I went with an open mind and eager to learn. For two weeks I taught conversation English at the Xi'an Biomedical Technical School. The age group ranged from 15 to 22 years of age. The school had a "foreign affairs" office, comprised of native Chinese who spoke and taught English. They were very supportive. We were allowed to be creative and were energized by the students, who were very respective to our presence.

I felt welcomed, accepted and valued. The Country coordinator met with us daily to review and refresh. We documented our days by journaling. We learned basic Mandrin, cultural traditions and had an opportunity to visit historical sites on the week-end, including a Tang Dynasty Opera, Peking Duck, the old city, Terra Cotta warriers to name just a few.

I learned a lot about the people and the country by first hand interaction with the local people. You would never experience such an intimate "view" if you were only there as a tourist.

Plan to return. I've written a poem and journal about my adventure and also prepared a collection of pictures on a DVD presentation that was shared with our host school.

Teri Calvin
Surprise, Arizona

Yes, I recommend this program


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About Global Volunteers

Global Volunteers, a non-profit organization, has been giving short-term volunteers the chance to provide essential services to local people on service programs since 1984 - and trusted by 34,000+ volunteers. Volunteering for one to three weeks under...