What to Know Before Volunteering in China
China is rich in tourism resources, with magnificent mountains and rivers, colorful folk customs, unique animals and plants, countless places of interest, as well as unique opera, music, dance and world-renowned food. Every year, China attracts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists. More and more foreigners stay in this charming place for a long time after studying and working in China.
Volunteer in China
China’s volunteer activities are mainly concentrated in urban and rural towns. Many cities have their own volunteer service organizations with active activities, such as caring for the elderly, disabled children, vagabonds, environmental protection and public welfare. But because of language problems and visa issues, many local volunteer organizations do not accept foreigners unless they already live in China. Teaching English and medical services are popular projects, especially in rural areas. It is difficult for individuals to find volunteer service in China.
Timings and Weekends
Chinese enterprises usually run five days a week. Saturday and Sunday are known as the weekend. All restaurants, supermarkets, parks, museums and scenic spots are open on weekends and holidays. On weekends Attractions will be much busier. Restaurants do not rest all year round, they close for several days only during the Spring Festival.
China uses RMB. In some other countries, private exchange shops can be found everywhere, especially in tourist areas, which is impossible to see in China. Therefore, it is recommended that you exchange a certain amount of foreign currency in your country before departure. In China, you can only exchange at the airport or at the bank.
The North to South latitude difference in China is large, and the temperature varies greatly in different places. For example, the southerners in Guangzhou have already worn short sleeves, while the northern cities are still shivering. The south is hot and humid. Volunteers should pay attention to sun protection to prevent heatstroke. It is cold and dry in the north with obvious temperature difference between day and night. In short, when you first came to China, you absolutely need to use APPs to check out the weather before outgoing.
Mandarin is the official language of China. Except in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other mega cities, where young people have a better command of English, the English penetration rate in most places in China is not high. Chinese provinces and cities have their own local languages and accents. In some rural counties, residents are not sure to speak Mandarin, so even Chinese travel in China will encounter language problems. Therefore, the language problem is a great challenge to volunteer in China.
China is a country famous for its delicious food. Different regions have different tastes and different styles of dishes! You are sure to find the right food for your taste. There are many restaurants in China, and there are many flowing snack carts in the streets, so you are absolutely not afraid of starving. In addition to local food, you can buy many imported food, or find restaurants in your country, such as German restaurants, Japanese restaurants, Irish bars and so on. Your stomach will never be homesick.
Markets and Bargaining
It is popular in China to bargain, especially in the open-air market and local market, even along the street. But because of the language difficulty, it’s time-consuming, unless you find it fun to do so. It is more convenient to shop in the supermarket, especially when the budget is limited, because all goods are clearly priced and not afraid of being cheated.
Chinese people are very free to wear clothes without any special restrictions. People wear whatever as they feel comfortable. But access to religious places and high-end restaurants, you need to dress appropriately. Unlike in other Southeast Asian countries, wearing sweat vests and flip flops is very rare. It’s very impolite.
The main transport capacity of big cities is motor vehicles. Because of the safety problems, many big cities do not allow motorcycles to run anymore, but it is still very popular in rural areas, because it is very practical. The main line transportation is very developed in China. You can easily travel and shuttle among different places by taking rail and plane. Most Chinese people like to take public transport because it’s cheap and dense, such as buses, which are always crowded with people. It’s also very cheap to take a taxi. If you don’t know how to get to specific address, you could take a taxi without hesitation.
Accommodation in China is not expensive. Some cities, such as Chengdu and Shanghai, have a lot of youth hostels, just like other youth hostels around the world. The facilities are complete and the price is reasonable. It is worth noting that very few families accept foreigners’ boarding. So free volunteer accommodation is almost impossible, except in schools, where dormitories are provided. Or through the volunteer service organization, which will help solve the problem of accommodation.
China is a country with a thin religious atmosphere. Everyone has freedom of religion. Whether you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim, you can find corresponding organizations and places to worship such as churches and mosques.
In the past, China was not peaceful. Now China’s public security is safe than ever, even better than that of European and American countries, because residents can’t use guns by themselves. Beware of pickpockets in crowded places, like in any other counties. Whenever going out, lock the doors and windows of the apartment to prevent burglary. In addition, because of the heavy traffic in big cities, volunteers need to pay attention to traffic safety when they are on the road.