February 7th, 2019
Always wanted to visit Asia but struggling on a student budget? Or perhaps you're looking to get off the main tourist trail and really experience Chinese culture firsthand? Travel Boost has searched out the best opportunities to explore China this summer - and what's best, they're FREE or FULLY-FUNDED!
1. Teach English at summer camps
You've heard of Camp America, but did you know that summer camps are also booming in China at the moment? The most popular are English language camps - providing English language lessons and an immersive English language environment for the rapidly expanding Chinese middle classes. They need native English speakers (or non-native speakers who speak a high level of English and have an in depth understanding of European culture) to lead classes and run fun activities for the kids.
As well as being great work experience, they will also pay for your flight, visa and living costs. Not only that, the best camps also offer free trips to local sights and fun cultural activities - yep that's right, basically a FREE HOLIDAY!!!
Our friends at Abridge EduCamp have been working to make this year's EduCamp program the best yet, with all your travel and living costs covered and lots of fun trips and activities. For those interested in doing a gap year or pursuing a career in teaching, you can even earn a free TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate!
2. Study on a full scholarship
The Chinese government is investing a lot of money into building international links, and one of the ways they do so is by providing scholarships for foreign students to study in China. These cover anything from a three week Chinese language and culture summer camp to full degree programs. With China predicted to overtake the USA as the world's largest economy by 2030, learning some of the language and business culture could be invaluable to your future career!
One of the best summer programs we've seen is the Study China program, offered by the University of Manchester and funded by the British Council. You'd need to pay for your own flights and visa, but all in-country costs are covered, including an intensive Chinese language program and lots of excursions.
If you're looking for a gap year or even full degree abroad, check out the huge list of scholarships on CUCAS (top tip: get $5 off your CUCAS application fee with code 1887*QILNR). Whether you want to spend a summer or semester learning the Chinese language, fancy a year abroad during your degree, or want to do your whole undergrad/ masters/ PhD in China they've got a program for you!
3. Volunteer at a summer camp
Love the idea of our Camp China program but want something more flexible? You can volunteer at one of over 60 summer camps across China with Gotoco. Although you'll need to cover your own flight and visa costs, you'll have an amazing time volunteering at activity and educational camps in China - with free accommodation and meals, a free TEFL qualification, and a free post-camp holiday at their base in Yangshuo.
Examples of their camps include a watersports activity camp in Qingdao, a homestay camp in Hangzhou, and an English language camp in Dali. You can express a preference for the location and type of camp, and they will allocate you a position based on your preferences and availability.
As with most other programs on this list, there are no application or program fees. Goodbye expensive voluntourism trips!
4. Participate in a paid cultural homestay program
For a fully immersive Chinese cultural experience, there's no better option than to spend your summer (or even a whole year) living with a local Chinese family. And to make it even better, you'd even be paid to do so! In return for teaching English in your spare time, you can live for free in a luxurious home while practicing your Chinese and experiencing the local culture firsthand, plus you'll earn a minimum 1500 RMB per month pocket money (or free flights for short-term programs) and free language classes!
Previous participants have also joined their host families travelling to other cities in China or even gained internships at their companies - so this is a fantastic opportunity to explore China and improve your employability too!
Travel Boost recommends EduCare as the most flexible homestay program in China, with a choice of locations across the country.
5. Win a free trip
In an attempt to boost tourism in China, several local governments and companies are offering foreign tourists the opportunity to win a FREE HOLIDAY to China. In return for social media promotion (better get those instagram follows up!), you could receive an all expenses paid trip to China.
The best one we've spotted is the Great Wall Hero competition, which is offering up to five prizes for a three day all-inclusive trip to Beijing!
So there you have it, five fantastic ways to travel in China this summer FOR FREE - perfect for students on a tight budget and those hoping to experience Chinese culture in more depth than you could with a standard group tour!
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