About Rustic Volunteers

Volunteer Programs in China

A Life-changing, Rewarding and Affordable Chinese Experience!

Experience the world and truly make a difference! Rustic Volunteer invites you to go beyond your boundaries, challenge yourself and be part of something meaningful and rewarding. Volunteer and travel to China and immerse yourself into an ancient civilization with cultures dating back more than 4000 years. China is also a modern country that has seen impressive economic growth in recent years. The people are forwarding thinking, hardworking but steeped in their custom and tradition. Presently, Rustic Volunteer offers numerous volunteer programs in Qingdao, one of the most livable cities in China, Ya'an near Chengdu, and in Xi'an, one of the oldest cities in China containing rich history and culture. Regardless of your personal interests, China offers something for everybody.

With Rustic Volunteer, you can join their China volunteering program and experience all China has to offer. You can choose from a variety of programs such as working in a panda conservation, an orphanage, teaching English or work in rural library project. No matter what the program, you will have an experience of a lifetime and touch the lives of others.

Email us now! Contact us for more information so you can begin your journey to one of the most intriguing countries in the world, overflowing with history, power, culture and beauty.

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Fees and Dates

Start Dates:

All volunteer programs start on the first and third Monday of each month.

If you are tired of expensive volunteer programs but want to make a positive contribution in the world, look no further! Rustic is dedicated to offering high quality, well-organized and meaningful programs at the most affordable price in the United States. We work hard to keep costs as low as possible, focusing on the effectiveness of our projects, the safety of our volunteers and the quality of participant experiences. We currently offer the most competitive price possible in today's market including an application fee (of $299) AND a small weekly fee as follows:

Duration 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

Paid Teaching China fee - $399

Summer English Teaching Camp China - $299

Mandatory Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day

Program fees cover

  • Accommodation (volunteers house or host family)
  • Food (local food 3 times a day)
  • Airport pick up (arrival)
  • Business visa for paid teaching
  • Program Orientation
  • In-country support
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program fees exclude

  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on 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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Volunteer Programs in China

China Volunteer English Teaching

As a volunteer teaching English in China, you can dramatically change the futures of your students. With international trade, rapid industrialization and tourism, the importance of English is rapidly growing in China. Young students are put under tremendous pressure to learn the language; therefore, volunteers can help poorer students professionally compete in the local and global markets. Many Chinese English teachers lack resources and are not properly qualified to teach young students proper English. Recognizing this, Rustic Volunteer collaborates with local schools and invites volunteers to join the English Teaching program. As you volunteer to teach English in China and help students improve their English, you will undoubtedly open doors for them personally and professionally.

Project/Volunteer's Life

You will teach in local schools and depending on your experience you can teach at the primary, secondary or even college level. As a volunteer English teacher in China, you will be assisting the main English teacher in the school with lessons. However, if you have experience teaching, you may teach your own classes independently. You might also be asked to help the teachers with their English skills. Each English class has about 20 to 40 students, who are eager to practice their English with you as Chinese students have great respect for their teachers. Classes are held during the week from Monday through Friday and volunteers usually teach three to six hours per day. Examples of activities may include:

  • Teaching basic English to the children (from a set curriculum)
  • Assisting the main English teacher with lessons and activities
  • Teaching other subjects such as math or science
  • Playing with the children
  • Organizing extracurricular activities such as music, dancing, sports, art, games, etc.
  • Promoting nutrition and health
  • Helping to fundraise for schools
  • Working with local teachers on curriculum development
  • Assisting school administrations with daily tasks
  • Helping with basic maintenance of schools
  • Aiding local school staff in any way possible
Skills and Qualification

There are no specific arrangements during the evening time. The hostel does not have internet, so please bring books or other items for entertainment. There is Mandarin television and you will have plenty of time to interact with fellow volunteers.

China Paid English Teaching

  • No special qualifications, must be a native English speaker
  • Teach English 6-12 months, 6 months must
  • Reliable Partner Schools, Excellent Salary and Benefits
  • Since 2007, Hundreds of happy teachers each year

Instead of paying high fees for volunteer in china, you can now earn money while working and touring abroad. Join the paid teaching project in China and stay for FREE in a nice apartment while you get paid to teach. Rustic Volunteer offers native English speakers wonderful paid English teaching opportunities in different areas of China. You will teach young Chinese students, who are usually well behaved and very curious to learn from native English speakers. You can also learn another language yourself (Chinese) and tour the country on your own free time. This is a great opportunity to immerse yourself into Chinese culture, explore a beauty country and help others, all while getting paid!

Presently Paid teaching program is available in most of the major cities of china: Xian, Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Zibo, Weifang, Qingdao, Binzhou, Kunshan, Zhangjiagang, and many other parts of China

Benefits of Paid Teaching Program

As a volunteer in China working in the Rural Library Organization Project, you can enrich the lives of children while immersing yourself in China and experiencing all the country has to offer. Volunteer work schedules are flexible and varied. Depending on individual skills and interests and the needs of the local center, duties may include:

  • A salary of up to 3,000 RMB per month for a native English speaker
  • Up to 3,500 – 4,500 RMB per month for a native English speaker with a degree in English and some teaching experience
  • Up to 4,500 -5,000 RMB per month for a native English speaker with a degree in English, at least one year of teaching experience, and TEFL or TOSEL training
  • Free food and accommodations. In some cases (when there is no school cafeteria), schools provide food allowance/coupons for groceries, which are paid together with a salary on a monthly basis. Volunteers will then prepare food themselves
  • Free health clinic at school
  • Help in obtaining a visa.
  • Services and support of field staff
  • Guaranteed placement
  • Round-trip international airfare reimbursement for a 10-month contract
  • Teachers will be responsible for utilities
Skills and Qualification

There are no specific arrangements during the evening time. The hostel does not have internet, so please bring books or other items for entertainment. There is Mandarin television and you will have plenty of time to interact with fellow volunteers.


Rustic Volunteer arranges volunteer meals, accommodations and strong field supervision for the duration of projects and optional travel packages. In China, volunteers in Qingdao stay in our home base, a permanent home established for our international volunteers. Our home base in China is located in a safe and clean neighborhood. There are internet cafés, restaurants, local bus stations, a police station and supermarkets near our home base. The home base provides a comfortable place to relax after a long day. There are several bedrooms (which may be shared with a same-gender volunteer) and community areas. There is a shared kitchen, television and shared bathrooms, which have running water and "western-style" toilets. Volunteers joining panda conservation project will stay in economy hotel. When the hostel is fully occupied, volunteers may stay with a host family.

Volunteers receive three local meals (Chinese food) per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We can provide vegetarian meal options, but needs must be detailed in a volunteer's application. Snacks and beverages outside of mealtimes are not provided; however, there are local restaurants and grocery stores near the residences in which we place volunteers.

Rustic offers unparalleled field support to volunteers to ensure a safe and rewarding experience. There are many layers of support for you. The most important support comes from our country coordinator/field staff. The secondary support comes from the host project staff and members of the home base staff. Volunteers will have access to our country coordinator's mobile number and they are available 24/7. Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. Our field staff will visit regularly (every 2-4 weeks) to make sure things are going well and as planned. However, if placement is far from our local offices, staff members will stay in touch via email/ phone. Volunteers are also welcome to stop in the offices at any time.

Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival.

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Project Locations:

China VolunteersQingdao is located in the Shandong Province in the eastern part of China. It is one of the largest cities with a population of over 8 million people. Qingdao is considered one of the most livable and beautiful cities in China. Qingdao, however, isn't a stereotypical Chinese city which has swarming market and intense roadside commerce. It is very orderly and clean.

Volunteers can organize different possible excursions during and after the project to visit places of interest. There is a tourist infrastructure already in place in China the volunteer can use during weekends. For example: caves, ancient and modern royal palaces, markets, Chinese dragon boat racing, Mongolian wrestling, festivals, architecture, temples, art, restaurants, beaches, hotels, and many more.

Major FAQs - China

  • Paid teaching In China
  • How long has Rustic Volunteer been working in China? Whom do you work with? Where are you located?

    Rustic Volunteer has been working in China since 2006. We partner with local organizations and schools to focus on projects benefiting special-needs children, schools, orphanages and a panda conservation.

    When should I apply? What happens once I submit my documents and application? How long does it take to process my application?

    We recommend that you apply 3 months before starting your project. If you're late in applying, we might be able to expedite the application process, but you'll have to call our office for more information.

    When we receive your application, it will be reviewed and forwarded to our country coordinator in China. The coordinator will then try to finalize the placement. Once he/she does that, we will be informed and pass the information on to you. This can sometimes take as less as 2 weeks, sometimes more.

    School holidays in China

    Chinese schools, colleges, and universities will be closed for the following holidays so please consider this when you apply for the program (although we will be happy to place you in a similar project if you wish to volunteer during this time):

    School Holidays:

    Schools in China are off first week of October; four to six weeks in January/February for Chinese New Year (all schools open by the 16th of February); first week of May and from July 1st to August 30th for summer break.

    What documents do I need to submit with my application?

    Besides application form, we'll require your resume, a copy of your passport and a copy of any diplomas/certificates/degrees, which you can scan and email or fax. In addition, we will require a letter of reference.

  • Arrival Information
  • Arrival Point:

    Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport

    Airport Pick-up

    Upon receipt of your flight information, our in-country coordinator or other project staff will greet you in the airport and take you to your project site. The address and telephone number of the local contact hotel will be given before departure just in case volunteers miss our representative in the airport. Please make sure to email your flight information to both the USA office and the local in-country coordinator's office.

    Departure Point:

    Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport

    Airport Drop:

    Rarely, a few people request an escort back to the airport, but this is an extra expense of about $75. At the end of their program, most volunteers are very comfortable with their stay and have great ease taking their own taxi or bus back to the airport.

    Internal Transportation:

    Rustic Volunteer manages one-way transportation to project. Volunteers will be responsible for their own personal and return travel. We do not cover daily transportation from host family/hotel to the project. Our program is designed to save you the volunteer as much as possible.

    Start Dates:

    1st and 3rd Monday of each month

    Arrival Before Start Date:

    Rustic Volunteers/Travelers coming to China are advised to arrive one day before their program start date. If you arrive more than one day early or stay after the program, you will be responsible for your room and food expenses.

    Working Hours:

    30- 40 hours per week

  • Visa
  • You will need a valid visa to teach English in China. The process to acquire a visa takes about 1-2 weeks.

    In China, your visa can be renewed by your local Public Security Bureau (PSB) with the help of your local Chinese school. Please don't stay without out renewing your visa as you will not only be deported, but fined RMB 500 yuan/day.

    Always keep a photocopy of your passport, your travel insurance documents, air tickets and traveler's checks' serial numbers to help you recover lost or stolen information.

    What kind of visa do I need to volunteer/paid teaching program in China?

    As a teaching you will be spending 6 months or more in China so you will need to apply for a working "Z" visa, for single entry. Your school in China will help you submit the necessary documents required for the visa.

    When to submit for visa?

    Wait until you receive an invitation letter and other documents needed for your visa from the country coordinator in China. You'll need these documents when you apply for either an F or Z visa to your nearest Chinese embassy. The visa will be valid for 1 (ONE) after it's been issued. Once you are in China, please remember to submit your passport to the school authorities for the local residency certificate, which is mandatory for all foreigners.

    Rustic Travel DOES NOT guarantee your VISA. In some cases Chinese schools may ask teachers to come into China with a visitor's visa and then they will switch the visa status

  • Health & Safety
  • What are the principle health risks?

    No country is immune from health risks. While China has good healthcare system, there are some diseases you have to be aware of before you travel to China. These are:

    AIDS: Growing rapidly. The blood supply is not as safe as at home. Bronchial and Sinus ailments: High rates in cities with highest air pollution rates, especially Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

    Cholera: Notably present in western China

    Hepatitis A and B: Very common due to less than ideal food storage, handling and cooking.

    Malaria: Mostly in southern regions and away from cities.

    Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended if you have not had one.

    High Altitude Sickness: Very common when you travel in Tibet and other mountainous areas. Symptoms are temporary and go away as soon as the victim returns to a lower altitude. Drink plenty of fluid.

    Rabies: Rabid dogs are a problem in most of the rural and semi-urban sites of China. You, therefore, should remain aware of and away from non-domestic or freely roaming dogs in China.

    Typhoid: Consider a vaccination for long stays and if you are an adventurous eater. Numerous others exist, but not in abnormally high or epidemic proportions.

    What health precautions should I be aware of and tend to?

    Consult with your local doctor or a travel health specialist before your trip to China. Make sure you take all the required shots and vaccinations. Make sure you've tested on TB and taken chest x-rays. You will have to be immunized against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid. Bring the result of your HIV test results.

    If you plan to travel to rural areas of China you should get vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis and obtain pills to protect yourself against Malaria. If you intend to stay in cities, these are not required. If you plan to travel to western China or Tibet, it is generally recommended to get a Rabies vaccination.

    Is the food safe if I buy from a street vendor?

    Avoid eating from street vendors. The food they sell isn't healthy and you might end up with stomach cramps or even worse, severe diarrhea. In China, poor food preparation and storage, as well as improper cleaning and disinfecting of cooking supplies is very common among street vendors.

    How safe is China?

    Security is very tight in China and most things are regulated in the country. Hence, China is one of the safest countries in the world. But petty crime does exist, especially around major urban areas. However, there haven't been any serious crimes committed against foreigners. If you're vigilant against pick-pocketing and purse-snatching, you should be fine. Be extra vigilant in crowded places like stations and markets.

    You should also avoid:

    • Showing off your wallet and valuables
    • Carrying all the money with you all the time, instead keep them in a safety deposit box in your hotel
    • Wearing jewelry in the open
    • Carrying your passport and all the traveler's checks with you all the time
    • Quarrelling or starting fights with locals
    • Traveling alone at dark or in closed places
    • Talking about your opinions on Chinese politics
  • Vaccination
  • We strongly recommended volunteers to get vaccination before travel. Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications by CDC (http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationChina.aspx) The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to China. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

    Routine: Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, etc.

    Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG): Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection (see map) where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travelers to developing countries with "standard" tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors.

    Typhoid: Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Southeast Asia , especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water.

    Polio: Recommended for adult travelers who have received a primary series with either inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) or oral polio vaccine (OPV). They should receive another dose of IPV before departure.

    Japanese encephalitis: Recommended if you plan to visit rural farming areas and under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis (see country-specific information).

    Hepatitis B: Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission (see map) and who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment, such as for an accident and for all adults requesting protection from HBV infection.

    Rabies: Recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, hiking or work. Also, children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals and may not report bites.

  • Money Matter
  • Are ATMs easily available? If yes, which debit and credit card are accepted?

    Large hotels and tourist stores accept most credit cards like America Express, Diners Club, JCB, MasterCard and Visa. The local ATM machines and local banks usually surcharge you around $2-4 when you withdraw money from them.

    What is the local currency and how do I know the exchange rate?

    China's official currency is RMB, also called Yuan. The currency comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 RMB. A $100 USD will get you about RMB 798 Yuan, but for current rates, please look online.

    Where do I exchange my money and how much?

    Head for various branches of Bank of China to cash your traveler's checks or to exchange your notes. You can also do it in hotels, tourist stores and in the airport.

    How much money should I bring with me?

    About USD 300 should be enough for 2-3 weeks for groceries, traveling and personal shopping. You can exchange that amount in the airport.

    Is it safe to carry cash with me?

    Carrying cash is not safe. Please don't carry a large surplus of cash because many Chinese are concerned with thieves.

    Important Reminder: Retain your receipts whenever you exchange any currency or traveler's checks to Chinese Yuan. You may be asked to show proof of the exchange. Without receipts, you will not be able to exchange Chinese currency back to any other currency upon your departure.

  • Field Support and Supervision
  • Communication
  • How do I make contact with Rustic Volunteer s local coordinator?

    Our China in-country coordinator stays in Qingdao City of Shandong Province. We will provide you with his contact information in your placement. The information will be included in the pre-departure informational packet as well.

    How do I contact my family after I arrive in to China?

    International Direct Dialing within China is available in most cities. Phone cards are widely available and calls can be made from post offices, hotels and phone booths on the streets. In hotels, local calls are generally charged at a nominal fee. The Chinese mobile phone networks are very advanced. Operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in most towns, although they can sometimes be noisy as they are a popular spot for the youth to play online games. You can use any type of communication to call back home. You also can bring your cell phone (with a new SIM card installed, which maintains your personal numbers in China). Calls to the USA and Canada from China will cost 2-10 cents/minute, depending on your service carrier.

    Can I purchase phone service once I arrive in China and how much it cost?

    Buying a Chinese Telecom SIM card costs you about RMB100. With this you get RMB 50 in calls, the other 50 covers the price of the SIM card number. The SIM card will go into all major brand phones (if you bring your own) and works perfectly. Please notice that before buying a Chinese SIM card, you must check that your current cell phone is internationally capable.

  • Climate of China
  • What is weather like in my placement?

    You can check China weather at the website below:

    When is the best season to travel China?

    It depends. China is a vast country with a wide-ranging climate. Volunteers will probably enjoy autumn the most. It falls around September and early October. You'll experience some rainfall with temperatures remaining very pleasant.

    Spring can be delightful and the average temperatures (50- 71.6 F) are roughly the same as in autumn. Since the weather is unpredictable, you should prepare clothing both for chilly and warm weather.

    Summer (from June to the end of August) can be extremely hot with a temperature above 71.6 F, especially in the rather famous 'furnaces' of China: Wuhan, Tianjing, Chongqing and Nanchang. It is also the time that experiences the most rain fall. Investing in an umbrella and plastic sandals is very necessary and highly recommended.

    Winter can be incredibly cold in the north, but there are also compensations. If you want to attend the Harbin Ice Lantern Festival, winter is the time for you.

    It is a good idea to check the weather conditions of each city on the itinerary very carefully. Of course, if you choose the most attractive season to visit, you also choose the time when tourist spots and hotels are most occupied. Nevertheless, whenever you choose to visit, China is more than capable of offering you various charming scenes around the country.

  • Materials to Bring
  • Most daily items are available in China at a lower price. However, we suggest volunteers pack the following things:

    • Camera Mobile phone (participants can use mobile phones after changing SIM cards)
    • Sleeping bag
    • Insect repellents
    • Sun-block/sun-screen
    • Working gloves (if participants are joining conservation or construction projects)
    • Maps of China, Xi'an, etc.
    • Toiletries
    • First-aid kit
    • Flashlight
    • Electricity adapter/converter
    • Sunglasses
    • Footwear (for work and travel)
    • Towel
  • Gift for Host Family and Project
  • It is a common courtesy to bring a small gift for the family that will be hosting you, but you are not required to do so. If you choose to bring something, it can be pretty simple. We suggest a box of chocolates, a t-shirt with a hometown logo or pictures of your family and some local post cards.

    If you want to bring gifts for your project (and if you are working for an orphanage or a school, please bring pencils, pens, paper, art supplies like markers and construction paper and games. Remember that every child will need these items, so you may wish to bring a bunch of one thing.

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