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Volunteer in China

Have you ever imagined visiting China, where you can look into the past and contemplate the future at the same time?Do you want to experience the amazing culture of this unique country? Are you interested in helping those in need while seeing the world? Volunteering in China is a perfect way to make these objectives a reality.

In Beijing, see The Forbidden City (with its feng-shui red buildings for luck and yellow roofs for power), Tianamen Square, and The Summer Palace.Walk The Great Wall, appreciate China's diverse cuisine (far beyond your neighborhood take out), and absorb the country's breathtaking landscapes, inducing the Yangtze River.

Despite its status as a major world economic power, China is still a developing nation with many living in poverty, especially on the edges of and outside the big cities. The gap between rich and poor is most notable in the countryside, where infrastructure lags far behind urban areas and schools lack technology and qualified teachers.

Today, China desperately needs volunteers more than ever.This is where you can contribute. Teach English to students attending summer camp or in local schools. Paid teaching opportunities are available to those lacking the budget for volunteering.

Enhance your global perspective and be inspired while you bring positive, permanent change to families and their communities.Gain valuable life experience while helping those in need. Request information about volunteering in China and choose a program that speaks to you!

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Available Volunteer Projects in China

If you are interested in traveling abroad, but you can't pay the high fees for most volunteer abroad programs, consider joining IFRE's paid Teaching Program in China. This program offers you opportunities for exploration and cultural immersion while earning money and utilizing your skills. Besides a one-time program fee, there are no monthly fees or hidden charges. IFRE's partner schools offer decent salaries, free accommodation, prepared meals, and even airfare reimbursement for long-term, contracted teachers.

Go to the project page to find pricing and complete information.

The volunteer program to teach English in China focuses on teaching conversational English to Chinese students. IFRE presently works with Chinese public schools, most of which are located in rural parts and serve the children of farmers and lower class people. Non-native English speakers can also join this project.

Go to the project page to find pricing and complete information.

The China Panda Program is a wonderful combination of volunteering with the Pandas and cultural tour activities in China. You will be able to learn about the rich Chinese history and culture as you visit the famed landmarks while stimulatingly working towards protection of the endangered Giant Pandas and their habitat.

Learn more about the pricing and complete information by visiting the project page.

In our China Panda Volunteer program, you will not only make a lasting impact in the lives of the Pandas but also visit some of the renowned locations in China. You will help better the life of pandas and ensure their continued survival while immersing yourself in the local culture and history of China.

Visit the project page to find pricing and complete information.

With this program, you will make a meaningful difference in the life of the Giant Pandas and contribute towards their conservation efforts. You will also experience the interesting sights and sounds of China. You will visit the fabled landmarks with a tourist guide and learn about Chinese culture and history in-depth.

Go through our project page to find pricing and complete information.

In addition to the above projects, we also offer group programs for college and high school students, family volunteering, alternative spring breaks, and many other programs. Contact IFRE for further information.

Program Dates

IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year.

Please check the program page for the available dates

Our Fees

Since 2006, IFRE Volunteer has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.

We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured; we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.

Volunteer Program Fee (US$)

Weeks Volunteer/English Teaching Program China
  1 Week   $350
  2 Weeks   $450
  3 Weeks   $550
  4 Weeks   $650
  5 Weeks   $750
  6 Weeks   $850
  7 Weeks   $950
  8 Weeks   $1,050
  9 Weeks   $1,150
  10 Weeks   $1,250
  11 Weeks   $1,350
  12 Weeks   $1,450

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day »

Paid Teaching China fee - $399

Summer English Teaching Camp China - $299

How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Accommodation (host family)
  • Food (local food 3 times a day)
  • Airport Pick up/Transfer
  • Program Orientation
  • In-country support
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program Fees Exclude:

  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

The volunteering programs in China fees will cover expenses that will begin on the first day of the program (usually the first or third Monday of the month) to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day, you will be responsible for the additional expenses.

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We offer a "home base" in Qingdao, China. Our home base is located in a beautiful area of Qingdao. This area /community is very safe, clean and accessible to local transport. Residing within this community are many business families, high ranked government officials and people with a high social status. It's near to the supermarket and the shopping mall and you can easily walk to the local bus station if you choose to go into town.

The nearby internet café, restaurant, police station and supermarket are just 1-3 km away. Our home base accommodations offer volunteers a wonderful place to rest and relax after a day's work or weekend travel. This is the ideal setting for individuals looking for a "home away from home" and the perfect arrangement for sharing your daily experiences with fellow volunteers, or local staff. Volunteers joining Panda Conservation Project will stay in local economy hotel.

Dependent on the season and flow of volunteers, you may be placed with a local host family or with the family of our in-country coordinator. Our host family homes provide similar amenities as our home base, but you will also have your own room. Staying with a host family offers a valuable chance to learn more about Chinese people and their culture. When selecting home base or host families, we were primarily focused on the safety and comfort of our volunteers.

In all China volunteer projects, breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided throughout the duration of the project. We offer 3 meals a day of local cuisine (Chinese food). Typically, volunteers eat breakfast and dinner at the home base and have lunch at their project. We offer fresh, nutritious and safe local foods to our volunteers to eat. We also work extremely hard to maintain our facilities in a positive condition.

Most of our volunteer projects in china are within 5-30 minutes away our home base in local bus. China has very strong and reliable system of local bus so you will be traveling to/from in local bus each day. Volunteers at our Panda Conservation project will stay at a modest economy hotel, close to the Conservation Center. We have a strong partnership with this hotel and they treat our international volunteers with kind respect and offer a very safe environment.

Internet is available at this hotel. Breakfast - lunch - dinner is provided at a nearby restaurant, which offers very delicious Chinese food. In China, our in-country staff provides highly effective field support. Whether you stay in our home base or with a host family, our coordinators visit you regularly (even day or within 2-7 days) to ensure a successful and happy volunteer experience.

Free Time and Weekend

Volunteers have free time for the duration of their volunteer project on weekends and during evenings. While IFRE does not arrange activities during this time off, our local staff, members and coordinators can provide priceless assistance in making appropriate arrangements for travel in China.

It's the time for self-discovery and learning. It's time to explore this foreign culture and exotic land. It's definitely time for cultural exploration and sightseeing when in China! Our IFRE local coordinators/staff are available to give you free advice, travel tips and helps to book your travel.

IFRE offers volunteer programs in many exciting cities like Qingdao, Ya'an near Chengdu and Xi'an. In Qingdao, the city steeped in Chinese history, you will discover a modern, clean and one of the most livable cities in China. Xi'an is one of the oldest city in China and the city still contains many treasures of the past including the Bell Tower, the City Wall and the Museum of Terracotta Warrior.

Ya'an near Chengdu is a fascinating place to visit. Not only is it home to the panda conservation project, it is a frontier town from where caravans traveled the Erlang Mountains on their way to Tibet, Nepal and even India.

Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs

When you are considering volunteering abroad, there are a million questions you are bound to be wondering about. Learning the answers to these questions will help you figure out which program is best for you, how to prepare for your trip, and how to make the most of your experience abroad. Here we’ve compiled commonly asked questions all in one place to help you on your journey!

Which airport do I need to fly in?

Your arrival airport for teaching will depend on where you are assigned, for the Panda Conservation project you will fly into ChengDu Shuang-liu International Airport.

Do you organize airport pick up?

We provide airport pick-up.

Where do I go from airport?

You will be transported to your placement.

What happens if I missed flight or arrived late?

Please let your country coordinator know immediately so that they can make the appropriate alterations to your pick-up.

Who will come to pick up me? How do I recognize the person at the airport?

One of our program members will greet you at the airport displaying a placard with your name.

If my assignment begins on Monday, when should I arrive?

Volunteers generally arrive the Sunday before, however if you need to come in earlier do to flight availability we can assist you with arranging accommodations for a minimal fee.

Who will bring me to the airport for my departure?

Return transportation is not provided through our program, however in country staff will be more than willing to assist you in making arrangements.

Can you help us arrange our flights? Do you recommend any cheapest flights to fly to China?

We do not assist with flight arrangements; however please let us know your flight details once they have been confirmed.

What kind of food do we eat in the project?

The food will depend on your placement. If working in a school, food is provided by the school and if volunteering with pandas, food is also provided by the conservatory. Traditional Chinese food should be expected.

Do the accommodations have internet and electricity?

Yes, the hostel, the voluntary service center has internet connection and electricity.

Do we get hot shower in our accommodation?

Yes you will get a hot shower in your accommodation

Is water safe to drink or do we need to buy bottled water?

If you boil the water first it is safe to drink, you do have the option to buy bottled water though.

Is it an issue if I am vegetarian? I am wheat allergic; would it be a problem to the host family?

It won’t be a problem, however please inform your country coordinator of any dietary restrictions prior to your arrival.

Do I get my own room?

Yes, you will get your own room, however if you would like, you can share a room with other volunteer if any as well.

Do the members the project speak English?

Yes, there will be member of the staff whom speak English.

If I arrive with my friend, or girlfriend/boyfriend, can we stay together?

Yes, arrangements can be made for this.

What are the bathrooms and toilet facilities like?

All bathrooms come with a westernized toilet and shower facilities.

What are the laundry arrangements?

Public washing machines are available for your use.

Can I use appliances if I bring them from my home country?

Yes, you can use your own appliances but you will need to get an adapter.

What bedding materials like? Do I need to bring sleeping bag?

One set of bedding is provided, but you can bring your own sheets if you like.

Are ATMs easily available?

ATMs are readily available in most locations.

Where should I exchange my money?

Local Chinese banks will have the best exchange rate.

How much money should I bring with me?

The amount of money you bring will depend on your personal spending habits and your placement. Meals are provided, however any additional activities you see yourself participating in will need to be paid for.

What does the weekly program fee covers?

Generally accommodations, food, airport pick-up.

Is it safe to carry cash with me?

Yes, it is safe to carry cash with you.

For further readings:
Cost /money matter
Why to pay for volunteer abroad
How to reduce the cost of volunteer abroad
Pay fee directly to host family

s it safe to travel to China?

Yes, it is safe to travel in China.

What are safety measures you take for the volunteers? How can you guarantee volunteers’ safety?

Those volunteering and traveling with IFRE are provided an in-country coordinator who is available at all times to assist in any emergencies.

How can you help volunteers in case of emergency? Is there someone we can get hold of in case if we need immediate help or support?

Our staff is available by phone 7 days a week.

Is it safe to travel alone?

Yes it is safe to travel alone.

What are the principle health risks in China? Is there any mandatory vaccination we need to take?

Please consult your local physician in regards to any necessary precautions you should take while traveling abroad.

For further readings:
Volunteer Health and Safety

What kind of visa do I need to apply?

A tourist visa will suffice for either volunteer position; however a working or business visa will need to be obtained by those traveling to China for the paid teaching position.

How do I apply for the visa?

You can apply for your visa in any Chinese embassy, and we can provide the documents you need for the application.

How much does it cost for the visa application?

The cost of the visa varies from country-to-country, please consult with your local Chinese Embassy.

Do I need any documents to apply for the visa?

You will certainly need your passport, we are more than happy to assist you with getting the necessary papers for your application.

How long does it take to get the visa approval?

It can take up to 4 working days for the embassy to process the visa and longer if you apply for your visa through a travel agency or use a postal service.

How do I contact to the local coordinator?

All our staff will make sure you have the telephone numbers, email addresses and office address.

How do I contact my family and friends once I arrive in China? How can my family members contact me?

It is best you use email or Skype to contact family and friends.

Can I bring my mobile from my home country? Does it work?

Yes, you can bring your mobile phone from your home country, contact your provider before you travel to China to make sure international calling / texting is unlocked.

Where can I use internet? Is there a place where I can use phone to make a call to my family and friend?

Internet is available for communication; the ability to make international phone calls will vary dependent on your placement.

Please provide detailed information on year round climate in the country which consists season you have, average temperature and average rainfall in each month.

All four seasons in Qingdao are mild without extreme hot or cold temperatures. Qingdao air is temperate and humid with abundant rainfall, and the temperature differences during a day are slight. The hottest season is in August with the average temperature of 25.1 C (77.2 F) and the coldest in January with the average temperature of 0.9 C below zero (30.4 F). Autumn and winter in Qingdao are windy; in winter.

Could you please provide me the packing list?

  • Camera
  • Mobile phone (you can use mobile phone after changing SIM Card after arrival in China, SIM Card normally costs RMB100Yuan, roughly US$15)
  • Sleeping bag (we offer basic bedding but you are encouraged to bring any of your own linens and such)
  • Sun-block/First-aid kit/Flash light
  • Electricity adapter/converter
  • Footwear (for work and travel)
  • Towel
  • Seasonal clothes
  • Hand disinfectant
  • General medicine (headache, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.)

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