Making a Difference through Friendship and English!

FAQ – Short Term Teaching

1. Do I need to be able to speak Chinese to teach English in China?

Being able to speak Chinese is not a requirement for teaching English in China. However, if you wish to learn some basic phrases we can send you a list of Mandarin language learning resources.

2. How much are roundtrip flights to China?

Roundtrips flights vary in price depending on departure city, time of year the ticket is purchased, and how close to the departure date you buy the ticket. In general, tickets can be anywhere between US $800 and $1,600. We will help you locate the best ticket price available for the assignment for which you have applied.

3. Are my program fees and air ticket to China paid for at my own expense?

We are a volunteer organization where everyone is responsible for their own expenses. Each person will fund their own program fees and flight costs. We suggest talking to your church, family and friends about helping support your ministry expenses.

4. What do the program fees include?

We calculate program fees to cover your Chinese visa, basic medical emergency insurance, housing and 3 Chinese meals daily while in country, transportation from Beijing (arrival city for Changzhi assignments) and back to Beijing after teaching is finished, debriefing with travel to the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City.

5. What type of housing will I have?

You will be housed in small Chinese hotels which are typically clean and modern with hot water and a western style toilet. When at your teaching site you will have a private room. When in transit and not at your teaching site you will share a room with another of our volunteers.

6. How many hours daily do I teach?

You will teach 3 to 4 hours each morning. That time is divided into 3 or 4 classes. The class groups will rotate among the teachers as in schools in the USA. Hence, each morning you will teach the same lesson to each class, meaning you prepare one lesson per morning. You will interact with the students for 2 hours each afternoon. Afternoons are more flexible and will include a variety of activities and lesson types.

7. What is the typical weekday schedule?

This is a general schedule. All times may flex based on the particular placement.

  • 7:00 a.m. Breakfast / possible team devotions
  • 7:45 a.m. Depart for school
  • 8:00 – 11:45 a.m. Teaching
  • 12 – 2:30 p.m. Lunch, rest time, team time
  • 2:45 p.m. Depart for afternoon classes
  • 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. After noon lessons/activities/games/field trips/movies
  • 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Return to hotel, do some shopping, go sightseeing
  • 6:00 p.m. Dinner, shopping, visiting with students, lesson preparation

8. What is the typical weekend schedule?

EEach Saturday will allow time for rest, shopping, sightseeing with some of your students, and lesson preparation. Often school officials will want to treat you to a sightseeing trip as a way to express their appreciation.

Each Sunday you will attend the local Chinese Christian (Protestant) Church, participating in communion, if offered, and other typical worship activities. Free time will be available after church services.

9. What is the food like?

Your program fees cover the costs of 3 Chinese meals daily. Food in China is as varied as the people in China! Different areas have different specialties. Changzhi is known for its noodles and dumplings. At the teaching site you will eat as a team either in the hotel or at local Chinese restaurants. No volunteer has ever starved in China! In Beijing you will have more food options which include western food, like KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway. Your food allowance will be given to you to use as you wish in Beijing.

10. What is the deadline for applying?

There is no deadline for applications. You are encouraged to apply at any time by completing the Application Form and the Simplified Resume. After all reference forms are returned, you will be evaluated and told if you qualify for the current teaching opportunities. Please keep in mind that it takes time to get a Chinese visa and that air tickets increase in price as the departure date nears. Submitting your application as early as possible is better than waiting to the last minute.

11. When is any money due?

If VFC buys your air ticket on your behalf, then $300 is due prior to the actual purchase and the remainder is due by May 15. $400 of the program fee is due by June 1. The remaining $1,000 of the program fee is due by June 15, unless other arrangements are made.

12. Do I need a passport?

Yes, you need a passport that is valid until at least 6 months past your exit from China. If your passport does not meet this requirement, then you need to apply for a renewal. It can take 4 to 6 weeks to renew a passport. Do not wait until the last minute.

13. Do I need a visa to enter China?

Yes, a visa is necessary for entering China. We will guide you through the application process and give you directions on how to complete and submit the forms. It can take 2 to 4 weeks to obtain the visa which is why you should plan ahead and follow the steps we give you carefully.

14. Can I use a credit card or traveler’s cheques in China?

Chinese cash is the only payment accepted outside of big cities. Your foreign dollars can be changed to Chinese yuan at the Bank of China. Bringing dollars which can be easily exchanged into yuan is the best option for money in China. These dollars must be clean, crisp bills. Larger denominations of $100 or $50 are preferred.

Visa and Master Cards are accepted in many tourist stores and shops in large cities like Beijing. Changzhi has ATM machines at the Bank of China and can be used to get Chinese yuan. Foreign credit cards cannot be used at stores in Changzhi. Traveler’s cheques can be cashed at major banks in China, but it takes a long time to go through the process. Traveler’s cheques are not accepted as payment anywhere. Traveler’s cheques are best used as emergency funds.

15. How can I stay healthy in China?

We recommend that you consider following this advice:

  • Do not drink tap water in China. Drink only boiled water (provided at no extra cost) or bottled water (provided by some hotels). Bottled water is at your own cost if boiled water is provided.
  • Eat food that is completely cooked.
  • Avoid eating at street food vendors.
  • Do not swim in rivers or lakes in China.
  • Bring a variety of medications with you from home for things like diarrhea, colds, and other general illnesses. Though medications for these are available in China, often people feel more comfortable using meds with which they are familiar.

Contact VFC if you have further questions.