Gap Year in China

Learn Mandarin, gain work experience and travel. The ultimate gap year.

Mandarin Course

Live with a Chinese family and have private Mandarin tuition to improve your proficiency.

Work Experience

Immerse yourself in the community and make an impact by sharing your skills and passions.

Adventure Travel

During your stay, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of China’s incredible landmarks.

Gap Year China: Program Summary


Departs: February / July / October

Accommodation: Hotel / Home-stay / Hostel

Program: Mandarin, Tutoring, Working with children and adults

Explore further: The Great Wall, Yunnan, Tibet, Inner Mongolia



About the China Gap Year program

Briefing & Orientation

On arrival in Shanghai, you will be met by our China representative. You’ll then continue your journey 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. 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 learning the basics of China to showing you all the places you’ll need to know about in Hangzhou.

Mandarin Course: Optional

After your introduction to China, if you have chosen to include the optional Mandarin Course, you’ll move in with a local family and study Mandarin for four weeks. There’s an average of 10 hours of private Mandarin tuition per week, allowing you to grasp a usable level of spoken Chinese, which will be essential for your time spent working in a language centre.

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 will have plenty of time to make new Chinese friends in the evenings and at weekends.

Work Experience

After the welcome period, and the optional month spent learning Mandarin, you will be sufficiently prepared to start your work placement in this exciting bustling city.

We’ll arrange accommodation for you in a hostel (which is included in the cost). You could be working with children or adults of any age (possibly even as young as two) who want tutoring from fluent English speakers.

Our gap year programs and work placements in China give you the chance to help with English lessons and other fun activities, whilst being immersed in a different culture, and giving you the opportunity to practise your Mandarin.

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 hostel. 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, 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 Africa & Asia Venture (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.

Dates & Costs

Travel whenever you like, for as long as you like.

Create your own customized trip, or join a scheduled group departure – the choice is yours. See our Group Program Dates & Costs for full details or contact us if you’re looking for something customized.

Next group departures:

9 October 2018

21 February 2019

25 July 2019

From £40 per day. See our Group Program Dates & Costs for full details or contact us if you’re looking for something customized.

Adventure Travel

As your work experience 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
  • Rafting
  • 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:

Beyond The Great Wall

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

Learn Mandarin, work and travel - what more could you ask for?

Get in touch to find out all the details for this program.

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