Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in China

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Join Projects Abroad as a volunteer in China and take part in any one of our meaningful volunteer or internship programs: Care, Teaching, Sports, Veterinary Medicine, Business, Journalism, Law, and Medicine & Healthcare. All of our volunteers leave a direct impact on the local communities we work with.

Our programs are primarily located in the Shanghai and Chengdu areas. We hope you will consider joining one of our volunteer program in China! You won't regret it. Visit our site for more details.

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Popular Programs

Learn Mandarin in China

Study Mandarin with a professional language teacher in modern Shanghai.

Volunteer Teaching English in China

Travel to China and get practical classroom experience helping children improve their English.

Volunteer Work with Children in China

Teach English to children and equip them with the skills they need to succeed when they start school.

Questions & Answers


8.5 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 50%
  • 7-8 rating 37.5%
  • 5-6 rating 12.5%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 8.5
  • Fun 8.6
  • Value 8.3
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 8 of 8
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Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in China 2017

I volunteered for two weeks in Chengdu, Sichuan province. As this was my first time away from home in another country, I was initially very nervous as this was so far out of my comfort zone, but as soon as I landed I felt wecolmed and realised this would be an amazing experience.
The first week was spent working with autistic children, helping with their rehabilitation, also we spent some time at a primary school helping the children learn about our culture whilst also learning about China.The second week we helped out at a panda conservation centre, helping feed and learn about China's most loved animals.
This program was an amazing experience and one that I'll never forget. I met some amazing people and learned so much about Chinese culture.
I definitely recommend this program, if you love meeting new people, playing with cuddly pandas, and working with kids; this is definitely the program for you.

What would you improve about this program?
At times it felt a little unorganized and we weren't sure what to do. So maybe have more activities that people either can do or don't have to do.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Marketing work experience in Shanghai

I had such an amazing time! I worked in Shanghai for 6 weeks and the level of support from projects abroad before, during and after my trip was fantastic. And they had a great volunteer community out there so we meet up every week to do different local activities!
The projects abroad team helped with my visa application and any other pre beforehand. When I arrived they met me at the airport. Food and accommodation and travel were all covered too so all I had to take was spending money.
I worked in an interior design company and whilst there we taught each other bits of English and Chinese respectively, they took me out for food occasionally and took me to tourist attractions. I also got to travel to another location with them to meet potential clients and learn how the Chinese work culture works.

It was brilliant! Can’t wait to do another one!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don’t be afraid to try new things, go to new places and get fully immersed in the culture !
1 person found this review helpful.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Georgia,
I'm so glad to hear you had a rewarding experience on our Business project in China. Your effort towards the project is greatly appreciated. We can't wait to have you back again with Projects Abroad.

Tifa Wang, Country Director for China

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Yes, I recommend this program

Projects Abroad- Shanghai

My name is Kevin, I am an American university student who recently went abroad to Shanghai China with Projects Abroad. It was an amazing experience, and I would recommend it to anyone. I was excited to volunteer abroad and was initially nervous. But Projects Abroad made me feel prepared even before I left the US. When I arrived in China, they made me feel warmly welcomed and continued to show me the beautiful large city of Shanghai. I made several friends in the city through Projects Abroad. We had a lot of group events which I appreciated because this way I can connect with locals, other volunteers around the world, and engage in the setting. Soon I fell in love with Shanghai. I feel like my placement where I worked in Shanghai is perfect and is everything I looked for that matched what I wanted to do and similar to my studies. I was very gracious to have this opportunity and would 100% do it again. I would recommend Projects Abroad to anyone!

2 people found this review helpful.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Kevin. Thank you for sharing! We invite every volunteer to join in our local events so it's easier for you to connect with the rest of the volunteers and make friends. Soon, you are all planning activities around the city on your own, which is always fun. It's great that you were able to enjoy the country and your work at the same time. Hope to see you again soon!

Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

12 Weeks in Chengdu - General Care Project

I want to preface this by saying that, overall, I had a good experience in China. This was down to the other volunteers, the staff and the placement I was moved to and the efforts of the projects abroad staff there.

I was placed in an autism care centre. A few days after starting I was concerned by the behaviour of the staff at the placement, which I saw as abusive. 1 week after starting there I raised this with a Projects Abroad staff member, who agreed with my concerns, adding that she also disliked the way the children there are treated. She said she would talk to the staff member who was in charge of the placements. I continued voicing how uncomfortable I was at the placement and how much I hated it, it had a real effect on me emotionally. Only one member of staff at the care centre spoke limited English, and the rest were stand offish. I was extremely bored there, spending most of the time sitting at the back watching. I saw some really nasty things, children as young as 2 and a half were hit, slapped, smacked, dangled upside down, sat on, pushed down and humiliated. It was really distressing. I then found out that another volunteer had left the placement due to this abuse just 1 week before I arrived, and she had moved to another placement, yet I was still placed there. After 3 weeks the PA staff member in charge of placements rang to tell me she could move me to a kindergarten. However, she spent the phone call telling me that it was good for the children for me to stay, and that I would be seen as a source of comfort. I was emotionally exhausted after three weeks though. I refused to stay and was moved. Apparently they have stopped sending volunteers there.

What really concerns me is that this abuse is still going on, and there is no PA issue with it. The children in the centre behave the way they do because of a disorder, not because they are naughty. On my last day I was in a 'classroom' for elder children, and was playing with the kids who were not being seen by a 'teacher'. One boy incorrectly counted to 10, and kept making the same mistake. The teacher slapped his arms, then smacked his hand so hard it left a mark. At this point the child was sobbing, but was continually hit. He was then sent to play with me, and instead sat there clutching my hand and crying into my shoulder, and trying to hide his face from the teacher who did this to him. It was heartbreaking.

I was moved to another placement, and enjoyed it, but this experience has left a real mark on me.

There are a number of other issues I had with this organisation.

1.) Inaccurate information. The information given on the site before you sign up (& pay) for your trip is entirely wrong. It said volunteers would have a chef for meals. We didn't, instead having a food allowance - which is ok, but annoying when you were told something else, especially when the food allowance is pretty low. The information about appropriate clothing was wrong. Information about responsibilities at the placement was wrong. It's just incredibly frustrating to pay for something and then find out everything is much different.

2.) I was given distressing news 6 weeks in, and had to fly home for a funeral 2 weeks later. I had booked my flights through Projects Abroad, and was told that everything was fine and they could move my flights. However, I told them the date of the funeral on a Friday - wanting to fly back the Tuesday after the next - no one from the 'Travel Team' picked up on Friday, then I was told they don't work weekends. By Monday lunchtime no one in their office was picking up, and I was unable to change the flight online myself as it was booked through the company. I was having an awful time and projects abroad just made it more difficult. In the end I got so mad that I asked if there was anything I could do to move these flights, as if I waited too much longer it would cost a lot more to change them, or I could risk not making the funeral. So I ended up using my lunch break to go to the airline office myself to move the flights. What am I paying projects abroad for 'services' if their travel team are incapable of sorting anything out over a course of nearly 4 days.

3.) The day before I left for the funeral (the same day I was informed of more distressing information about the death), I was visited by a staff member to be given my allowance - which is essentially the money you pay distributed at different times - as I was returning to finish my project after the funeral. I was told that for the 4 days I was back in the UK my allowance was being deducted for this time as I was "travelling". No other volunteer who took days off from work for actual fun travel had this happen. I was so mad that the staff member did go back to the office, talk about it, and then decide to give me the money (which is basically my own money). This seems small, but its just the fact that at every corner there's some stupid issue that needs to be sorted and not everything is straight forward. It's just tiring.

There were other small fights, for example, where I could leave my bag during the 2 weeks (actual) travel time you're allowed on a 12 week project. It's just that everything has to be complicated and arrangements are constantly backtracked on.

However, I had a great time meeting other people from all over the world, gaining independence and working with the children and my second placement.

2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Two Weeks in Chengdu

Traveling to Chengdu, a city in China's Sichuan province, with Projects Abroad for a two week High School Specials program in law and business was an unforgettable experience! Prior to deciding to travel with Projects Abroad, I had studied Mandarin at my high school for a year and was researching a number of programs that offered trips to China. I ultimately chose to visit China through Projects Abroad, because I felt that their law and business program was both unique and tailored to my interests.

I had never travelled abroad alone before my trip to China, and the Projects Abroad employees did a wonderful job at answering my questions and easing my concerns prior to my departure. When I arrived at the airport in Chengdu, I was immediately greeted by a friendly staff member and introduced to other students who I would be working with throughout the trip. I was then brought to my home stay, where I met my lovely host family, who taught me about traditional Chinese holidays and everyday life in Chengdu throughout my time with them.

My days in Chengdu were filled with various sorts of activities that taught me about both Chinese culture and business. We spent multiple mornings taking language and cultural lessons at the Mandarin Club. It was these lessons that enabled me to feel comfortable interacting with locals during my stay. We also visited China Linguist, a linguistics company which we worked closely with to construct our final projects. When we were not in class or working with China Linguist, we were visiting law firms to learn about both the Chinese legal structure and the similarities and differences between eastern and western law.

I spent my free time immersing myself within the local community with the help of my host family. I was able to see pandas, visit the Leshan Giant Buddha, attend the Sichuan Opera, and eat at many local restaurants, including a number of different hot pot restaurants.

Ultimately, my trip with Projects Abroad was fantastic! The staff’s amazing work allowed me to feel comfortable while I travelled so far from home and allowed me to fall in love with a city so different from my own.

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing about the program, it would be to incorporate some of the cultural immersion that I did in my free time into the daily agenda. My home stay family allowed me to travel throughout the region and fully experience Chengdu; therefore, I feel it would be beneficial for the program if they made sure every participant had this opportunity.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Journalism in Shanghai

As a recent graduate of university, my project in Shanghai was a great way for me to discover what journalism is all about and if it was something I wanted to do. I feel really lucky to have been able to write for such a distinguished magazine as Shanghai Business Review and can trace great improvement in not only my writing skills, but also in communication, people skills and working in an office environment specific to the field of journalism. A bit doe eyed out of college, I can honestly look back and say that people in the office, both Chinese and foreign, provided guidance and advice as to how to become a successful adult in the real world. While at the time I may have been sensitive to criticism, in the long term it has offered me introspection and I can more clearly envision who I want to be and how I can achieve more concrete goals. As far as, the social aspect of volunteering with Projects Abroad it deserves an A+ because Shanghai is such a fun and happening city all by itself, but thanks to the PA team, all the volunteers came together once a week for lovely traditional meals and great activities were always going on to meet and chat with others.

What would you improve about this program?
If I could change one thing it would be to have volunteers live closer together in the city so that we could have that additional tight network of support. I think networking and meeting new people is an important part of doing a projects abroad and it certainly makes the overall experience much more fun and insightful.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Medical Volunteer Program!

Overall the experience was amazing! I worked as a medical volunteer in Shanghai, and it was a very rewarding experience. I spent weeks going on rounds to see patients, observing surgery, and learning traditional Chinese medicine. The staff at the volunteer office was amazing, and were always more than willing to help. I encountered very few difficulties while in China, and would very readily recommend the program to anyone who was interested.

1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Medical Internship at Ruijin Hospital

I did a medical internship at the Ruijin hospital (located in the French concession area of Shanghai) for a month from July 20th to August 20th. I spent two weeks at the Ophthalmology department and the other two weeks at the Gastroenterology (GI) department. It was mostly observing surgeries and patient care while shadowing several doctors.

When I was at the Ophthalmology department, I was lucky to shadow a doctor who did his fellowship at the School of Medicine of institution where I went as Undergrad.
In the morning, I watched a lot of surgeries including cataract (most common), glaucoma, LASIK, and lazy eye etc. Then I would go out for a lunch to enjoy some food in Shanghai. Quite often, you'll have a chance to personalize with the people there by having lunch together. In the afternoon, I spent most of my time in the Outpatient center to watch doctors providing eye care (diagnosis, prescribing glasses etc) to patients with eye-related conditions.

The time I spent at the GI department was quite a unique experience for me. In the morning, I would join with medical students and go around the ward to learn about many different conditions and proper way of managing patients with severe condition. I didn’t understand what the doctors were saying since I don't speak any Chinese, but doctors were kind enough to translate for me. In fact, a lot of them were pretty articulate in English, and it was interesting how I was able to pick up what they're saying through key medical terms (in English) they used. In the afternoon, I observed many surgeries, endoscopy or sometimes I would go over to the outpatient center.

In a typical day, I had to wake up early to get to the hospital around 8am, and leave around 5 pm. Once in a while, I had a chance to leave early when there's not much patients. After 5pm, I got to socialize with other volunteers from all over the world and enjoying Shanghai.

I really enjoyed my time in Shanghai. I loved my internship since I was engaging in areas relevant to areas of my interest. Also, I got to build up new connections outside of U.S., and make new friends. In fact, a lot of volunteers were from Europe, all of my roommates were Europeans.

In addition, I had an opportunity to learn any similarities and differences between the system there and here. The problem I had while I was there was the language barrier. I felt it would have been ideal if I can actually understand and comprehend Chinese.

The last advise that I have is that “expect the unexpected.” I wasn’t very familiar with china in general since it was my first time there, but it was definitely worth a visit!

1 person found this review helpful.