Teach English in a Homestay in China

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  • Overview

    Greenheart Travel Statement on Coronavirus in China Jan 31, 2020: Due to the US Department of State’s issuance of a Level 4 Travel Advisory which advises Americans should not travel to China, we will be suspending sending new participants to China for the time being. For our participants currently there, we suggest they consult the US Department of State or US Embassy in Beijing. For those traveling to neighboring countries in Asia, we suggest avoiding layovers in China which could create travel delays or issues with entering your program country/destination. We do not find the risk to be substantial enough to suspend sending travelers to any country except for China at this time.

    Greenheart Travel suggests that all participants refer to the US Department of State, World Health Organization, and Center for Disease Control for updates regarding the coronavirus, as the situation is fluid and changing very rapidly. Greenheart Travel is here to answer questions as we can, as this situation changes. We are here for you!



    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

  • 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.

  • Eligibility

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

    • Be between the ages of 18-50
    • 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.

  • Costs and Inclusions

    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
    • 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.

  • Host Families

    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.

    Greenheart Traveler Shannon enjoying a hot pot experience with her host family.

  • Placements

    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 $300 committment 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

  • Mandarin Course

    Teach in a Homestay China is a great way to develop your Mandarin language skills! As part of your program, you will be enrolled in a Mandarin language course for the first month of your stay in China.

    Classes are small in order to foster a space where the curriculum can be curated to our tutor’s individual needs. We offer classes for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels.

    Mandarin course details:

    • Students will attend class twice a week in the mornings (Tuesday and Thursday, or Monday and Wednesday)
    • Classes include no more than 8 students
    • Courses are taught by native Mandarin speakers who specialize in teaching Mandarin as a foreign language
    • Workbooks are provided, but it is recommended that you bring a pencil, language dictionaries, and a notebook
    • Students receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of their course
  • 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 HereYou will be sent more information as well as the link to our application portal to begin your formal application.

    2. Submit Basic Program Information: The first step in our application portal will be basic things like your chosen start date, etc.

    3. Submit your deposit: A $300 deposit is required in order to apply for the program. This is subtracted from your total program fee. If we are unable to accept you following your interview (very unlikely!) we will refund your deposit in full.

    4. Complete Application & Documents: Provide more detailed information about yourself in Part 2 of the application. In this section, you’ll tell us more information like your work history, motivations for joining the program, travel history, and emergency contacts. You will also submit your documents (below) within your portal account.

    5. Skype Interview: Once you have submitted your online application and paid your application deposit, you will be asked to schedule a video interview with a Greenheart Travel representative.

    6. You’re Accepted! Woohoo! We are usually able to accept people within 1-2 weeks of their interviews.

    7. Commitment Deposit: Once you are accepted to the program, you will need to submit a $300 commitment deposit within 14 days to confirm your spot on the program. We cannot start the host family matching process until we have this deposit. Once you submit your commitment deposit you will unlock the acceptance portion of your portal, which includes things like pre-departure videos, travel and arrival information, the Greenheart Travel Atlas, and more.

    7. Book your flights, and get ready for your adventure to China! Your remaining balance is due in full 60 days before your start date.

    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)
    • 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, an additional $300 commitment deposit (which goes toward your program fee also) is due. 

    A visa may be required for a tourist stay of up to 90 days depending on the destination country. Greenheart Travel will provide you information about applying for a visa, but please check with the embassy of your host country to verify, as visa requirements may change.

  • Schedule a Call

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

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