Search Search guidebooks
  • Volunteer
  • Prof. Development

Top 10 Tips for a Successful Volunteer Experience in China

Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer

China is a country of incredible variety, where bustling cities filled with millions of people exist alongside quiet rural areas with ancient traditions. It’s a place of deep history and modern marvels, like the Great Wall of China, which is so huge it can be seen from space. Beijing, the capital, is filled with historical treasures, and in Xi’an, you can find the mysterious Terracotta Warriors and soothing hot springs. Chengdu offers a chance to get up close with giant pandas in a conservation effort to save them.

25 Best Places to Study Abroad: 10 Countries and 25 Program Destinations - China

Volunteering in China gives you a chance to travel and experience its rich history and culture firsthand. Volunteering in China is a chance to dive deep into this vast country, learn Mandarin, and help out in meaningful ways. Many volunteers teach English, help with wildlife conservation, and more. It’s a learning adventure where every meal and conversation adds to an unforgettable experience. It’s truly a unique place with endless opportunities to learn and grow.

Top 10 Tips for a Successful Volunteer Experience

  1. Choose the Right Program: Look for volunteer opportunities that match your interests and skills. Whether it’s teaching English, helping with wildlife conservation, or assisting in healthcare, picking the right program will make your experience more enjoyable and impactful. 
  2. Research Thoroughly: Before you decide, read up on the organization’s mission and reviews from past volunteers. Make sure they are reputable and have a clear impact on the community. 
  3. Understand the Requirements: Some programs might have language or skill requirements. Knowing these beforehand will help you prepare better. 
  4. Learn Basic Mandarin: While you don’t need to be fluent, learning basic Mandarin phrases will help you communicate better and show respect for the local culture. 
  5. Respect Cultural Differences: China has a rich and diverse culture. Be open to learning and respecting local customs and traditions. 
  6. Stay Healthy: Follow all health advice and regulations, especially those related to COVID-19, to keep yourself and others safe. 
  7. Be Flexible: Sometimes, volunteering can involve unexpected challenges. Being flexible and adaptive will help you overcome these smoothly. 
  8. Pack Appropriately: Research the local weather and living conditions and pack accordingly. Don’t forget essentials like medications, appropriate clothing, and personal items. 
  9. Keep Safety in Mind: Always follow the program’s safety guidelines. It’s also a good idea to register with your embassy when traveling abroad. 
  10. Reflect and Share: Take time to reflect on your experiences and share your stories with others. This can inspire more people to volunteer and spread awareness about your cause.

Can I Volunteer in China for Free?

Volunteering abroad offers a unique chance to support global communities, yet it involves costs that extend beyond just good intentions. Ethical and sustainable volunteer programs often require participants to pay fees to cover necessary expenses, ensuring the program’s effectiveness and safety. 

These fees handle administrative and operational costs like accommodation, meals, and local transport, crucial for providing a supportive environment for volunteers. The fees you pay help organizations stay independent and ready to act whenever they’re needed. These fees also go toward things like the cost of keeping offices running and paying local workers who help make sure everything goes smoothly. And, if something unexpected happens, like fewer volunteers coming or an emergency situation, there’s money set aside to keep things going.

Best internships abroad - i-to-i

By paying these fees, volunteers contribute to the quality and sustainability of their efforts, helping communities benefit long after their departure. This structured, fee-based approach supports safe, impactful, and ethically managed volunteer experiences.

Foreigners Volunteering in China: What You Should Know

Volunteering in China can be tough for foreigners for a few reasons. First, the Chinese government keeps a close watch on non-profit groups and the types of work they do. This means there are strict rules about what foreign volunteers can do, especially in more sensitive jobs or areas. 


There is also a strong preference for involving local citizens, to boost local employment within communities. This could reduce the availability of opportunities for foreigners. The most likely opportunities for foreigners will likely fall in English teaching, or, if for any reason, a task cannot be performed by a local. 

That’s not to say that volunteering in China is impossible! Here, we share a few great programs offered by reputable providers. 


The types of visas that may be applicable for those wanting to go to China to volunteer would be as follows: 

  • Tourist Visa (L Visa) – Issued to those who intend to visit China for tourism, sightseeing, or visiting friends and family.
  • Student Visa (X Visa) – Issued in two categories: X1 for long-term study (more than 180 days) and X2 for short-term study (less than 180 days).
  • Non-Commercial Visit Visa (F Visa) – For exchanges, visits, study tours, and other non-commercial activities.
Young man with backpack in airport near flight timetable

Check with your provider or the volunteer organization to see what visa you should apply for. Each type of visa has specific requirements and conditions, so it’s important to consult with the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate to ensure you apply for the correct visa based on the purpose of your visit.

List of Available Volunteer Programs

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

Volunteering in China with International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) provides an immersive experience in Xi’an, a city rich in history and culture. All-inclusive program fees cover accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, and orientation, and volunteers can stay in a volunteer house or a local homestay. 

Volunteer Forever - Teach English in China

These projects provide volunteers with a chance to contribute to impactful work while exploring the ancient sights and engaging with the local community in meaningful ways.

Here’s an overview of the available volunteer projects:

  • Teaching English Volunteer Program: Located in Xi’an or Weinan, this project involves teaching English in areas where foreign language resources are scarce.  
  • Summer Outreach Project: This project takes place in northern Chinese villages during school holidays in July and August. Volunteers assist with English lessons, helping to improve the quality of education.  
  • Special Needs Care Volunteer Program: Volunteers work in Xi’an and nearby areas to assist young disabled individuals who cannot attend mainstream schools. 


Join GoEco in China and take part in the extraordinary opportunity to volunteer at the Giant Panda Base, a leading conservation center near Ya’an City. As a volunteer, you will immerse yourself in the daily care of these iconic animals, participating in tasks like preparing specialized meals and maintaining their habitats. The program gives you a unique chance to learn about panda conservation directly from experienced keepers and through educational tours within the reserve.


Your journey begins with a warm welcome in Chengdu, the cultural heart of Sichuan Province, followed by a comprehensive orientation at the Panda Breeding Center. Accommodations are split between a city hostel in Chengdu and dorm-style rooms at the Panda Center, surrounded by mountains. The program fee of $1,150 not only covers your stay but also contributes significantly to the conservation efforts at the reserve. This experience is perfect for those eager to contribute to wildlife conservation while exploring the rich cultural landscape of Western China.

Unlock China’s Hidden Treasures through Volunteering

Volunteering in China offers a gateway to both ancient traditions and modern innovations, making it an enriching experience for those eager to contribute their skills and learn simultaneously. Whether you choose to volunteer teaching English in China, participate in wildlife conservation, or help with educational projects, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and make a significant impact. 


For anyone looking to volunteer in China, provider-organized programs cater to a variety of interests and skill levels. The structured, fee-based volunteer programs ensure that your efforts support sustainable community benefits. Moreover, volunteering in China is not only a great way to gain new skills but also a profound way to understand different perspectives and the global impact of volunteer service

Overall, China volunteer opportunities range across educational, environmental, and cultural fields, providing an invaluable global perspective and hands-on experience in one of the world’s most fascinating countries. Happy Volunteering!