Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in China from $310

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About

Trusted by 110,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer programs in China and 50+ other destinations around the world.

You can choose from 3 volunteer project options in China and give back for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks. Your Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in a volunteer apartment or home-stay, with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for China, you’ll receive outstanding personalized service from your expert Volunteer Program Manager and exclusive access to superior pre-departure volunteer training.

With IVHQ, you can expect to establish real connections within the local community while supporting projects that make a genuine difference.

Highlights
  • IVHQ’s China program is available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of every month
  • Highly affordable program fees starting from $280 - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining between 10 and 30 other IVHQ volunteers who start in China each month
  • You’ll be traveling with IVHQ, the volunteer travel experts, and joining a network of 110,000+ volunteers. Our outstanding safety systems and track record set us apart, we are the world’s safest organization
  • Your efforts will have a positive impact because our programs are community-driven with a focus on supporting long-term local needs

Book With Confidence: Added Flexibility & Free Changes

IVHQ makes it easy to change your travel plans should you need to – or if you simply change your mind. As long as you cancel or reschedule at least 15 days before your program start date this year, it's free to change your dates, volunteer program or destination.

Questions & Answers

Absolutely!

Reviews

9.18 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.5
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 11
Default avatar
natsaha
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing adventure

My experience teaching English in China was very special. Not only did I learn a lot about the culture, but I also felt I made an impact in the small villages near Xi'an. I would recommend this program to anybody who is looking for something out of there comfort zone, and to experience a new way of life! It was truly inspiring. Also, you get a lot of free time, so you can easily go to other cities near your placement. It gives one a sense of independence, especially if you do not speak the native language. Travelling is very good by fast train; you can drive to cities within 30 minutes to an hour, if the city is close enough. I would highly recommend climbing mount Hua Shan. It is known as the most dangerous, but beautiful mountain in China!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing I saw was the sense of community in certain places. It was very beautiful to see the people coming out at night to play ping pong, badminton, and dance with each other.
Default avatar
Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ China teaching English program

I volunteered in China for 4 weeks on the teaching English program and I can honestly say it has been the best experience in my life. I arrived on the Saturday evening and the airport pickup ran smoothly. for the project itself I was placed at the school in Weinan. I was expecting Weinan to be a small place, but it is a good sized city with lots of places to eat. The school was really accommodating and helped me in any way possible. In the morning we would go out to a different kindergarten every morning which transport provided by the school. I loved the Kindergartens's the children are so tiny and cute and they are fascinated by foreigners teaching them. Be prepared for the children to repeat back to you whatever you say to them. I would say the children really respond well to songs, games and dancing. In the afternoon I taught at the school where I was staying. The classes are 40 minutes long, I structured my lessons by doing a refresher activity from the previous lesson and then I introduced a new concept to them. At the weekends we went back to Xi'an where we mixed with the other volunteers. In xi'an there are lots of things to do which included terracotta warriors, the city wall and the Muslim quarter. As well as having lots of placed to eat. Get ready for a big culture shock and embrace the Chinese culture you will have an amazing time!!!!!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

It's wonderful to hear your time on the program has been your best life experience so far! It sounds like the students responded well to your classes and I'm sure your lesson suggestions will be valuable for other volunteers preparing for their trip. It's great that you immersed yourself in the local culture and made the most of what Xi'an has to offer for weekend activities. Thanks for being an awesome volunteer!
Sarah - IVHQ China Program Manager

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

A week in Xian,with a group of special ones

It was my first time to care for the mentally disabled,but at the beginning,I felt like a freshman.Everyday during that period,I got up at 6 a.m. to catch the bus,and it took me more than one hour to reach our destination.Despite that,what I want to say is,it was of great value.
Jingjieniao Centre was a special place,which acted as an asylum for the mentally disabled.Most of the members there were intellectual disabilities,who were adults physically but very young children mentally.Among them were several autism boys,who were even tougher to communicate with.In general,almost all of the students there were those who had already been rejected by The Special Education School,due to their poor mentally conditions.They could neither adapt to society,nor get systematized education.
Although they will never understand all of the knowledge you taught them,you can feel their passion towards learning new things.For those who can hardly speak a single word,a small act like playing with them and helping them concentrate on tasks,is even more worthful.During this whole process,kindness and patience are needed.You must repeat your words again and again to them in order that they can remember a small part of them,and sometimes,drawing pictures and giving examples are efficient ways.
Language barrier is a big problem,since most students don't speak English.Body languages like taping their shoulders or shaking their hands will always be feasible. Autism students seem to be more introverted than others,so that you may stretch your hands towards them and invite them to join you.Don't forget to encourage them after they have interacted with you.
Xian is a beautiful city,which is known for its ancient buildings and local flavor snacks.The week in Xian was a wonderful,and even valued memory to me.Every time staying with my partners from all over the world,I felt like being energetic.

What would you improve about this program?
For volunteers,some tools are needed,like picture books and small games.I hope that volunteers can get this kind of resource from volunteer accomodation.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Xiaoning, Thanks for sharing this beautiful review! It is heartwarming to hear about the experience you had on the Special Needs project and we are so grateful to have had you volunteer with us. We hope you will join us again in the future.
Sarah - IVHQ China Program Manager

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

Volunteering with IVHQ in CHINA!

I have never been out of the country. I haven't even gone out of state without my family! When I graduated high school, I decided that I was going to go halfway across the world all by myself! I was "in the moment" and wanted to do something new!
I researched many volunteer organizations to narrow down which ones seemed trustworthy and safe. After about a week I had decided on going with IVHQ and it was the best decision I made! IVHQ has a great online system full of helpful links and tools. Online there is also a tool to where you can chat with IVHQ staff and the response time is unbelievable! The staff was very helpful and answered my millions of questions. I even got to meet the lady that was helping me online when I was volunteering in China! she came to China for a visit and she was as nice as she was online!
While I was in China, my accommodations were so comfortable, I instantly felt at home. I was staying with a host family and they were very great to have around. The family took great care of me while I was with them and we bonded over dinner and card games. I was sad to leave and cried as i said my good-byes!
Volunteering was very rewarding with IVHQ! The placement provided me with many tools to work with the children and teach them English! The children were so cute and fun to be around! I wanted to be around them forever! The staff and children were so sweet to me the whole time I was volunteering!
I am definitely going to volunteer with IVHQ again! I got to travel and experience a whole new culture while I was doing something good and rewarding! I definitely achieved all I wanted and more while I was volunteering and the feeling of volunteering is like no other!

What would you improve about this program?
This program needs no improvements! It is very up to date and the staff is extremely friendly and helpful!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Brittany, What a great review! Thanks for sharing and for making the brave decision to travel halfway across the world on your own. We are so thrilled to hear that you felt instantly at home with your host family in China and that you found your volunteer work rewarding. Thanks for being an amazing volunteer and we can’t wait to have you join another IVHQ program!

Default avatar
War
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Reflection on Teaching English in Shaanxi Province

I'm here to write the best review possible and I'm gonna do just that. Taking this trip was such a thrilling experience for me because I really got to build my public speaking skills, see new parts of the world,dabble in some exotic gourmet foods, and get the chance to be on the other side of the teaching spectrum and see what it's like to be teaching. This trip made me realize about how difficult it is to be a teacher because not every student will be able to grasp what you are trying to communicate across. Teaching is also such a rewarding feeling because the look on the students faces as I was teaching brought some happiness to me. I tried to make this experience as fun as possible for myself and all those that I taught and I am guaranteed that was accomplished successfully. The food is so delicious, the surrounding area is so beautiful in Xi'an city, and the people are so funny and admirable. There's so much to say and I don't know how to get it all down in writing but part of me actually wishes that My duration could have been extended so I could have stayed longer in China. I was getting so comfortable there besides having to deal with the language barrier, I could actually picture myself living there for quite some time. In summary, Asia is an awesome place to do some volunteer and humanitarian work. You will not regret taking your time to venture out into the global world and see what else life has in store for you and I'm so delighted I was fortunate and able to have participated in this traveling program experience. Do not hesitate or think once more, if you want to come to China do it!or anywhere else for that matter. IVHQ IS FANTASTIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

What would you improve about this program?
There's not much to say about how it could be improved. I'd like to add that maybe there can be more volunteers and staff that can speak English more fluently but that's not a big issue at all. Other than that I really don't have any concerns in my head to state.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi War, Wow! What a great review! We are delighted to have had you volunteer with us. Thanks so much for making the whole volunteer teaching experience fun for you and your students. It sounds like you really enjoyed your time in China and we would love to have you join us again in the future.

Aliénor
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A couple of weeks in Xi'an

During that first week of summer, the heat seemed unbearable. The kind that sinks beneath the trees and rises from the pavements, from which there is no escape under a perpetually cloudy sky. At work we were set to cleaning a large rug. The orphanage centre didn't have a hoover, so we were scooping dust with a dustpan and brush. Of all the cleaning jobs I had to do, that was probably the worse (and that includes Chinese toilets). As I stopped to give my aching arms a rest, my heart sinking because I realised I was only halfway through, I noticed one of my co-volunteers had disappeared. I was lucky enough to work with two people, a mother and a daughter. I asked was told that there was a commotion downstairs: one of the special needs kids was being sent home. You have to understand that the people I worked with were good people, they were giving and cared for every disabled child there. However, the children who still had families were required to pay a small monthly contribution.
The child in question was one we'd nicknamed 'Little Fatty', his plump face giggled when we swung him around, and he'd often slip his hand into yours as you climbed a flight of stairs. He had been in this care centre for over a year.
His parents were no longer able to pay the school fee. The father had little income and even less training or education, and his mother was blind. Their son was crying and refusing to leave the Special Needs Centre.
I worked with a wonderful woman who exemplified all the kindness and spirit the Chinese are so often capable of, and went down to see if she could help. She ended up paying for the little boy to stay another month, and paid for medical examinations which would ultimately grant him help from the government. To top it all off, she bought enough chicken for the whole orphanage, and we had it with rice and vegetables that very lunchtime.
I was fortunate enough to witness other scenes disproving all our theories on humanity's ultimate selfishness and greed, but this was the first and of which I keep a fond memory.
The orphanage cut up a watermelon that afternoon, which we ate whilst caring for the kids, who gleefully let the juice dribble down their chins.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Alienor, Thanks for sharing this story from your time on the program in China. It is always heart-warming to witness kindness. It would be our pleasure to welcome you onto another IVHQ program in the future.

Default avatar
Kadri
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Be prepared for amazing experiences as well as emotional drain

First of all, I applied for my program about 4-5 weeks before I started so it was a rather spontaneous decision. I'm glad I had prepared myself for this adventure by learning some basic mandarin Chinese and talking to some Chinese acquaintances so I could build up some general knowledge about Chinese culture.
I would suggest everyone to learn some of the language at home, otherwise it might seem to be an unsurmountable barrier which I wasn't prepared for at all- most people in Xi'an, where I spent four weeks volunteering at a special needs care centre, do not speak English.
This is what I was told by the driver who picked me up at the airport after I had arrived in Xi'an, after I had not found my baggage in the baggage claim area, as it was late and I had tried to talk to the staff at the airport. The only thing I had asked for was to step outside for 5 minutes to find the person who would pick me up and I realised very late that nobody understood what I was deperately trying to tell them. So by talking to them in Chinese I finally managed to get out of the airport.
When I arrived at the volunteer house I met David, our host, who was very nice and welcoming, he also helped me with my baggage so I eventually got it in the evening the day I arrived.
The next day, my program started and we (we were two volunteers working at our placement) were picked up at the house by our shuttle bus. The commuting time took about 45 minutes to one hour each day in the morning and in the afternoon.
I'm not sure about my expectations, I hope I didn't have any because everything would have been different than expected anyway but as soon as I arrived and met the special needs children for the first time I have to admit I was shocked.
Shocked about the overall conditions. I used to work at a special needs school near where I live, in a rural part of Germany, so I thought I would be prepared for a special needs school in China as well.
In fact I suddenly felt so bad and priviliged when I noticed the bad hygienic conditions, it seemed like there were no rules, some of the kids were peeing anywhere they wanted and nobody really cared. Everywhere around me there were special needs- but the care was missing most of the time. I can't blame the teachers- they probably didn't have much training before they started their job so they just learned based on their own experiences.
I stopped comparing the place to the school I had worked at because I didn't see it as a school, more like a waiting room. At first I waited for the teachers to tell me what to do, but they didn't. That's what I was used to, orders, but here there were none so my project partner and I tried some small activities like drawing and playing ball with some of the children. When we were doing these things everybody seemed to become more active and happier and these were the only times I didn't feel useless. As long as we weren't just sitting around waiting for the day to end I really enjoyed working and playing with the kids as they are very lovely. There's a big difference in what they're capable of, some of them didn't seem to interact at all and it was difficult to draw their attention, sometimes very frustrating.
In general, I found it frustrating to see the problems at the placement and not actually being able to help, the only thing we could really do was talking and playing with the children, some of them were able to remember English vocabulary so we also tried to teach them some.
I wish I could say it was a rewarding experience but I personally had a hard time getting along with the placement, especially with the missing structures etc.
It was hard to communicate with the people I was with because... of course they didn't speak any English.
Nevertheless, I am very happy I went there. I liked most of the kids very much and it was sad when one told me she'd miss me when I'm back home, three kids even said they love me, something I had experienced at my "old" school before- you should be prepared the children are craving for body contact. Sometimes sitting next to each other closely is enough, sometimes they need hugs.
Something I liked about the placement was that they're trying to help the children through music. They were listening to music every day and even had musical instruments which is a big plus. Some of them enjoyed dancing and singing very much, others just watched but I'm sure this concept is a good start.
I was very happy about my accomodation at the volunteer house and the overall support from David and his assistants. They showed us around and we had a really great time with them. Exploring the city by night, watching the fountain show near the famous Big Wild Goose Pagoda, going to a karaoke bar are only some of the things we did together.
The City of Xi'an is definitely worth a visit, you'll love the atmosphere and all the sights, the city wall and the muslim quarter were my favourite places.

What would you improve about this program?
It would have been a big help if there was an English speaking person at our centre. My project partner had to translate for me a lot...
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kadri, thank you for taking the time to submit such an in-depth review. Your review provides such real insight and it will be helpful to those who are considering our volunteer program in China. It is great that you used your initiative to play games with the children at your placement and we are sure they would have been so grateful to have had this interaction. Thanks for being an IVHQer who went above and beyond and we look forward to welcoming you on another IVHQ program at some point in the future.

Default avatar
Tony
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering With IVHQ Is A Good Way To Acclimated to China

By Tony Mangia
I spent two weeks teaching English at the Aurore Kindergarten school for the International Volunteer HQ program in an outer part of Xian, China and can tell you it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

It wasn’t the first time I had gone overseas to volunteer, so I did know that it’s a great way to get acclimated with a new country and its culture before, as I did, traveling around some more on my own.

The IVHQ project leader in China is named David Zou. He was always available to answer questions of mine before the trip and, when I arrived in Xi’an, was a gracious host and guide. He immediately gave all of the new volunteers a rundown of the city, the program, and our teaching assignments before taking us to a restaurant to get acquainted. Later during my stay, David even helped me with my personal travel plans and hotel accommodations.

And David’s mom is a great cook. Dumpling night was not to be missed.

On teaching days, once you get used to the commuting (mine was a 45-minute ride on a crowded bus and a 20 minute walk to the school) I’d look forward to each and every day. I worked with Cindy, my Chinese teaching host, and usually taught English to three or four different classes (usually 20 children each) a day. Cindy and all of the other teachers were friendly and made the experience a fun experience.

The children (ages ranged from 4-6 years old) are a delight and the 4-year-olds aren’t shy about poking, hugging and, in my case as a man, plucking the hairs off my arms and legs. It’s usually about curiosity but sometimes they just want to be noticed.

The 4-year-olds’ attention span is really short so word games and a little song-and-dance (you don’t have to be good. I’m not) will keep them watching you. The children love to sing and it helps them remember words and phrases. And, if you voice is as bad as mine, it will get a good laugh from the class.

The 5 and 6 year-olds are not as messy and will pay attention more— although playful punches and making faces will be directed at you. The high-five as a reward always worked and I introduced the ‘fist-bump’ which caught on quickly and became a big hit.

The teaching staff is great and really want you to succeed. They care about the kids. They won’t ask you to do much so volunteer to help out with moving things, cleaning or whatever you feel comfortable assisting them with. The staff will appreciate it and it will help fill up your time during the day.

The lunches are standard Chinese fare, but are very good. Bring extra water. The two-hour nap time for the kids gives you an opportunity to explore the surrounding area so bring a camera. Most of the locals don’t mind have their photo taken and I found an rustic old temple about a mile away.

I filled my weekends with a bike ride on the City Wall in Xi’an, a trip to see the Terracotta Warriors (a 2-hour bus ride) and saw a wonderful Chinese opera. The city is filled with cool areas to just wander and taste and I wish I had more time to explore.

By the time my two weeks ended, I felt as if I lived in Xian and gotten to know the children. Later, back at home, I still look back at the experience with a smile and glad I took photos.

I can’t recommend the IVHQ volunteer program enough.