In recent years China has become a major player on the world’s stage, both economically and diplomatically. However many of its people are still living in poverty, especially those in the most rural areas. For that reason, Lattitude’s placements in China are more vital than ever.
Teaching English to young people can directly affect their ability to work in many professional fields which are vital to the country’s overall development.
As an English Teacher you will be based at a primary school (ages 5 to 11), middle school (11 to 18), vocational school (16 to 18) or college/university (19 to 23). In collaboration with the Chinese teachers of English, you will be teaching conversational English. You will also operate ‘English Corners’, offering enthusiastic students the opportunity to have more informal discussions and to learn about western culture and tradition - which Chinese people are often very interested in. In return, there will be an excellent opportunity for you to practice your Mandarin Chinese in weekly one on one language lessons. Chinese students enjoy team games and competitions. You may have text books to support you in planning lessons, but you can also use role play, songs and word games help students practice the language they have learnt in other lessons. Volunteers in China are regarded as teachers, not students, and having Lattitude volunteers in their school is considered by students to be an exceptional privilege.
Volunteers receive food and secure accommodation at their placement and generally share a two-bedroom flat with their partner volunteer of the same gender or live in dorm accommodation which would be a self-contained private studio. Food is typically provided in the school canteen and is either free or very cheap. You will also have cooking facilities in your apartment.
There is a monthly minimum allowance of 1200-1600 Yuan, which includes an element to cover food and is adequate to ensure a reasonable standard of living by Chinese standards.
Is it for me?
If you are looking for a new cultural experience then China is for you. It is best to go to China with an open mind and open eyes: attempt to view things from a Chinese perspective and to understand Chinese ways of thinking. In China you will constantly find new doors opening for you. It is a truly unique cultural experience and will give you the opportunity to improve your students’ English language skills and future prospects. It will suit those who are enthusiastic, engaging, can think on their feet and have the confidence to teach up to 50 children at any one time!
Lattitude operates in three Provinces in China, Fujian, Sichuan and Yunnan. The cities where our volunteers work are generally in medium sized Chinese cities, not large cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, or Guangzhou. Most cities range from 250,000 – 400,000 in terms of population. In some cases, Lattitude volunteers will be the only Western residents in the city.
You will have weekends, public holidays and the time after your placement ends to explore your province and other parts of China!
There will be lots for you to do near your placement, but for those of you looking further afield here are some key tourist attractions: The Great Wall of China: you can climb to the top of the wall near Beijing and walk a mile in either direction.
The Silk Road: routes used to stretch from northern China to the ports of either the Caspian or the Mediterranean Sea.
The Yangtze River: you could travel on the third-longest river in the world, which stretches for 4000 miles and don't forget the Terracotta Army in Xian – an amazing spectacle!