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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Beijing


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What is a Volunteer Job?

Volunteer service contributes to the well-being of an individual and the community, and is usually coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization. These positions rarely offer any salary or wage. Volunteering internationally offers a native's perspective into a country, a chance to work with people from around the world, and unparalleled experiences.

Volunteering in China

There are many opportunities for volunteering in China. Different programs offer different focuses, but programs range from teaching English, environmental conservation, work with giant pandas, care for orphans, and more.

Application depends on the organization. Most groups require a formal application, a personal statement, and some kind of deposit. There are periodic deadlines, so check the organization's sites to find out the deadline.

Programs

Transitions Abroad offers a wide listing of different programs throughout China. Use their search engine to find opportunities.

WLS International: Requiring a minimum stay of 1 week, this program allows for great flexibility. The volunteering is from Monday to Friday with the weekend off to explore Beijing. Accommodations are at a hostel in the center of Beijing. The hostel has air conditioning, 24-hour hot water, a self-catering dining room, a laundry room, a game room and a reading room. You can join the program from 1 week up to 24 weeks. There is a choice of different projects including: work at an orphanage, Charity for the Disabled, care for the poor, teaching English and more.

GeoVision: Allows you to volunteer in Yantai in Shandong Province while helping to improve the English skills of local children and experiencing and engaging in an important cultural exchange. The program lasts from 1-4 months.

Panda Conservation: Near Xi'an, China, this is a unique opportunity to work with Giant Panda. With an already low world population in decline, pandas need help. Based in majestic surroundings at the foot of the Qingling mountains, you'll also have the chance to work with other fascinating species indigenous to China such as the Golden Monkey, Crested Ibis and the sheep-like Takin. The program lasts a minimum of 2 weeks with a maximum of 4 weeks.

Teach Dance, Drama or Music: Teach enthusiastic school children in Beijing. This is a very unique experience perfect for anyone who loves Drama, Music or Dance, particularly for those who would like to go into teaching in these areas. The kids here are imaginative, drama-loving kids and so they are generally dynamic and extremely enthusiastic about their lessons with you! Programs last from 2 weeks to 3 months.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS)

The European Voluntary Service is a program that offers young Europeans (between 18 and 25) the opportunity to work as a volunteer for six to twelve months in a non-profit project abroad. Three partners are the key partners of an EVS project: the volunteer, the sending organization and the host organization.
The European Commission take in charge the travel costs for the young, the insurance (health, accident, public liability) and provides a monthly allowance from 140 to 220 Euros.

How to proceed: Find a sending organization that will assist you individually along the procedure (you can find contacts through you National Agency, your National Coordinator or international volunteer organizations). Start contacting potential host organizations through your sending organization. Make sure to find the opportunity that is right for you.

Insurance Abroad

Travel insurance is one of the best protections a traveler can purchase. Investigate coverage, rates, and compare companies. Not all companies cover China so check to be sure their coverage includes the location you will be at.

You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page.

Update 12/05/2011


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