Explore the countless heritage and cultural landmarks in Beijing while you tutor and live with a local host family on Greenheart Travel’s Teach English in a Homestay program in China. Participants spend 10-15 hours per week tutoring the host family English to improve their language skills and have options to work at a private institute.

This program offers:

  • Volunteer tutoring position with a local host family
  • 15 hours per week teaching experience (some homestay tutoring, some 1-1 private tutoring)
  • A comprehensive Mandarin language course
  • Placements in Beijing (Shenzhen upon request only)
  • Accommodation with volunteer Chinese host family
  • Small monthly stipend for applicants that fulfill over 100 hours
  • 1, 2 or 3 month placements
  • Start dates the first Sunday of each month

This is a volunteer teaching placement designed for deep cultural immersion and exchange. This program is ideal for adults hoping to get their feet wet in teaching, teachers planning to travel during their summer break, or travelers seeking to experience full cultural immersion while teaching English abroad.

What do our alumni say about this program?

My homestay experience in China was the experience of a lifetime. Although my stay was only for a month, it offered me actual first-hand experience and a wonderful glimpse into the lives of Beijingers. I was able to delve into Chinese culture, customs, and cuisine! My tutoring hours were very reasonable and I was able to explore an array of tourist attractions on my own time. I encourage you to plan ahead, pack your bags, and just go! You will not regret this experience of a lifetime.” — Afia Yeboah, China Teach in a Homestay Alum 2016


Program Dates

Start dates

Start dates are available year round, usually the first Sunday of every month*. However, we can be flexible, so if you are unable to start on those dates, please contact Greenheart Travel directly to see what we can do.

*Due to national holidays, start dates in October, December and February will be the second or third Sunday of every month.

Deadline to submit application

You should finish your application a minimum of 3 months prior to your start date to secure a host family and have time to apply for your visa.


We are looking for participants who are open-minded and flexible, as well as meet the following requirements:

  • At least 18 years old – retirees welcome!
  • Speak fluent English (other languages depend on specific demand)
  • Must be a high school graduate – college students and graduates preferred
  • Must have either the ability to prepare a private tutoring lesson plan or have tutored/taught English previously
  • Be a citizen of the EU, USA, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa or Canada
  • Be in good mental* and physical health

No previous teaching experience or certification is required, but we highly encourage applicants to have a strong interest in tutoring. Usually you will teach the children in the home but occasionally an adult will request lessons as well. The level of English will vary depending on the host family but most will be at the beginner level and will only have basic knowledge of English.

All accepted applicants will complete a secondary interview and mock tutoring session. The results of this will determine your schedule while in the country. For example, teachers who receive higher scores will:

  • Teach the host family English for 15 hours a week, or
  • Teach the family 10 hours a week and 5 hours at the in-country partner office.

If you don’t have prior teaching experience, don’t worry! You are still eligible for the program and will tutor 5 hours a week and assist at the in-country partner office for the remaining 10 hours.  Greenheart Travel will provide you access to a library of resources to help you develop ideas for the lessons. In this situation, typically families are looking for you to speak English with them over dinner or for a certain amount of time during the day.


Program Fees:

  • Flat rate fee of $1,140 for 1, 2 or 3 months!

Please note, all prices are listed in USD

What’s included: 

  • Host family search, background check, screening and placement process
  • Single room accommodation with carefully screened host family
  • Three home-cooked meals a day for duration of program
  • Small monthly stipend (only if you complete your teaching responsibilities)
  • Mandarin language course (duration is twice weekly for 1 month)*
  • Local office support in China and opportunity to socialize with other English teachers
  • Airport pick up
  • Online pre-departure orientation with your program manager
  • On-site week-long arrival orientation covering Chinese culture and teaching
  • Comprehensive medical and accident insurance
  • English as a second language teaching resources & training
  • Culture & etiquette guidebook
  • Resume-enhancing experience as a private language tutor
  • Full immersion Chinese language practice (outside of your teaching hours)
  • Background check for the application
  • The Greenheart Travel Atlas, an interactive guide to your cross-cultural experience
  • Donation to support the Greenheart Odyssey, an award-winning youth leadership development program
  • Access to the Greenheart Club, an online community for Greenheart alumni to find resources, log volunteer hours, and apply for alumni grants and scholarships

What’s Not Included:

  • Flight to China
  • Visa to China
  • Meals eaten outside of the host family home

*The Mandarin course can be extended for an additional month for $350 USD

Wondering why you have to pay for a volunteer teaching program?

Greenheart Travel is a non-profit organization, and the program fee for this volunteer teaching project covers the cost of placing you in the program. These fees also aid in providing accommodation, meals, insurance and pre-departure & in-country support to homestay teachers.


Homestay participants live with a local host family during the program. Host families apply in a similar way to participants and Greenheart Travel will match you based on living preferences and personal interests.

Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:

  • Successfully pass a criminal background check
  • Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staff
  • Agree to and pass a home inspection

Participants will have their own private room but may share a bathroom and living areas with the host family. Host families also provide three meals per day except on when going out to restaurants. As an English teacher in a homestay, you will be warmly welcomed into a host family’s home, while having the opportunity to explore the region on your own.



Homestay participants live with a local host family during the program. It’s important to be flexible in your placement location, as there are families throughout the country. Although we cannot guarantee placement in a specific region or city, participants are likely to be placed in the Beijing area (Shenzhen area only upon request). We will ask about your preferences during the Skype interview, and you can see a map of where in Beijing we have placed teachers in the past.


Placement FAQS:

Can I choose where I will be placed?

No. You can choose your destination country, but you must be flexible about where you will be placed within that country. We can never guarantee placements in any specific city or region and we match based on compatibility with the host family.

Once I receive my placement, can I request to change it?

No, we do not change host families based on preferences or location. If you request to change your host family after you have been placed, you will forfeit your $500 placement deposit.

What if I don’t like my host family? Can I request a new one?

No. We do not change host families based on preferences or location. If concerns arise one you are in country, we handle them on a case-by-case basis and do our best to resolve issues amicably.

Can I be placed with my friend/spouse/significant other?

No. We are not able to place more than one person with a host family. It is okay to apply with friends and family; however, you will be placed in separate homes and we cannot guarantee they will be in the same city

Optional TEFL Course

While no certification is required for the Teach English in a Homestay program, an education in ESL teaching methods is extremely helpful in these tutoring positions.

Therefore, we are excited to offer a special discount on the Online TEFL Certification Course. This will allow our Homestay teachers to get formal ESL training alongside the hands on experience of tutoring their host families. Alumni of the online course receive lifetime job placement assistance, opening up great opportunities for future teaching positions around the world.

Adding the 170-hour online course is perfect if you want:

  • To teach abroad in a school in the future
  • To save time – the 20 practicum hours required by the course are fulfilled by your homestay program
  • A flexible course designed to fit around your full time schedule

Teach English in a Homestay travelers can sign up for the TEFL course in their homestay application at a discounted fee of $1,045. Just check the “Add TEFL Certification” box when you apply!

Read more about the course here!


Application Process

1. Start Your Application Here (Approximately 5 Minutes): Greenheart Travel Application.

2. Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 10 Minutes): After you complete Part 1 of your application, you will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.

3. Submit your deposit (Approximately 5 minutes): You will need to submit your $250 deposit at this point in the process. A deposit is required in order to reserve your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee. It’s rare that our homestay applications are denied, but if you are not accepted on the program you will be refunded the deposit.

4. Secondary Application Form (Approximately 30 Minutes): This is the most in-depth part of the application process as it helps us get to know you better. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself, why you want to go abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience.

5. Submit your Required Documents (Approximately 5 minutes): these documents are outlined below.

6. Skype Interview (Approximately 15 Minutes): The final step of the application process will require you to have a Skype interview with your program manager to discuss the program and your goals for being a tutor on this program

7. Acceptance: Once you’ve completed all the steps, Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 business days about your acceptance the next steps.

Required Documents:

  • A letter of recommendation (personal or professional)
  • “dear host family” letter introducing yourself
  • A photo album with 5-7 recent photos of you (used for your host family to get to know you)
  • A self-introduction video explaining who you are and your hobbies (send via YouTube link)
  • Copy of your passport
  • Completed background check. If you are a U.S. citizen we can provide you a free, online service.

You’re Accepted – now what?

Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. If accepted, you will receive your Greenheart Travel program handbook via email, as well as supplemental information about dealing with culture shock and our insurance program.

Before we begin the host family screening and placement process, you will:

  1. Conduct a Skype interview with our in-country partner office assessing your skills as a tutor
  2. Be required to submit a medical form

Schedule a Call

Have questions or want to talk to us about the program? Set up a time to have a phone call below.