Live with a Chinese family and take daily Mandarin lessons to improve your proficiency.
Paid Work Placement
Immerse yourself in the community and make an impact by sharing your skills and passions.
During your stay, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of China’s incredible landmarks.
About the paid Gap Year program
Briefing & Orientation
On arrival in Shanghai, you will be met by our China representative. You’ll then continue your journey on the World’s fastest train to Hangzhou, said to be China’s most beautiful city.
After settling into a hotel next to West Lake you can enjoy a number of activities to help you get to know China, such as a welcome banquet, Karaoke night, and a visit to West Lake.
Over three days we will cover:
• Some of the cultural and historical background to the modern Chinese society.
• Program introduction
• Safety issues.
It is a chance for you to ease yourself in to China, as at first, the pace of life here can be a little disorientating! Our Chinese representative will be on hand to help with everything, from getting registered at the police station and hospital to showing you all the places you’ll need to know about in Hangzhou.
After your orientation you’ll move in with a local family and study Mandarin intensively for four weeks. There’s an average of 3 hours of Mandarin tuition per day, 5 days a week, allowing you to grasp a usable level of spoken Chinese, which will be essential for your time spent working in a school.
The teaching style of this Mandarin course is modern and progressive in its approach, with students being placed in practical situations to learn oral Mandarin, and classes often being moved outside the classroom to locations such as local food markets or the banks of West Lake. At the end of the month, you’ll receive an internationally accredited certificate proving a competency in Mandarin (HSK certificate).
Outside of the classroom, you’ll be offered occasional free cultural experiences (e.g. Tai Chi and Kung Fu lessons – depending on the season and availability), and will have plenty of time to make new Chinese friends in the evenings and weekends.
Paid Work Placement
After the welcome period and a month spent learning Mandarin, you will be sufficiently prepared to start working in this exciting bustling city.
We’ll arrange accommodation for you in a nearby apartment or dormitory . You will be working with children aged 6 to 18, who are extremely bright but need some extra help from native English speakers.
Our gap year programs and paid placements in China give you the chance to help with English lessons and other activities. Your time could also include playing sport, and organising after-school clubs for music, drama, etc. You tell us what you want to help with and we will make it happen!
On your days off we encourage you to travel to the surrounding areas – transport networks are good so you can explore and see the real China!
During the induction period, you will stay in a very comfortable hotel next to West Lake in Hangzhou. During this time, all your meals will be included; we will take you to a wide variety of restaurants to show you how much tasty and affordable food is on offer in Hangzhou.
Whilst learning Mandarin in Hangzhou, you will stay with a local family. You will have your own bedroom with shared bathroom, and the family will provide breakfast and dinner for you. However, it is likely you will eat the majority of your meals with friends in Hangzhou’s many restaurants. You will be able to purchase lunch from a restaurant local to the language school.
During your work placement, you will stay in a nearby apartment/dorm room. An important part of the AV experience is living in local accommodation, shopping at the local markets, as well as enjoying some karaoke with your new friends in the evenings. Accommodation will be basic, usually with shared bedrooms, a communal area, a shared bathroom with cold running water and an Asian toilet. You will also have access to the Internet. You’ll be able to get your meals from local cafes and restaurants at reasonable prices – a great chance to get to know people and gain the best possible understanding of living there – you are not a bystander watching from afar.
24/7 AV representative support
Whilst not living with you full time, the AV representative is never far away and there whenever you need them. They can be contacted by phone 24/7 and will visit you during your program.
As your paid work comes to an end, the 24/7 support network that AV offer comes to an end too. But the fun you’ve had so far doesn’t have to end there.
If you don’t want to fly home straight away you might choose to explore the many fascinating parts of China the outside world is only just beginning to discover; or you might decide to return to your placement, work for a little longer and earn some more money. We’ll help you with advice on how to renew your visa.
If you decide to travel, you could go independently, or alternatively, you can join AV’s associated company’s all-encompassing backpacker tour of China at a discounted rate. It could include:
- Hiking and camping on the Great Wall of China
- A bungee jump in Macau
- Panda spotting
“All in all a great trip which leaves you with a great knowledge of Chinese life across multiple demographics, a feeling that you have helped and inspired young children though your English teaching and a set of skills (including a descent chunk of mandarin knowledge) which you did not have before.”Robert, China gap year program
Find out more about the China gap year experience:
Everyone from US lawyers to Mark Zuckerberg have been taking Mandarin language classes, as China has emerged as a global superpower. But it’s a challenging language to get to grips with, hence the reason our AVs spend the first month of their gap year in China learning Mandarin intensively.read more
These kids show the lengths they go to after the school day, to seek out nature, excitement and a new experience. Let’s watch them head to the bat cave….read more
Our gappers teach basic English language through lessons, games, songs and art activities.read more