China Gap Years

Overview and Highlights

China is vast, both in terms of its geography and the richness of its social and cultural history. Anyone considering a gap year trip to China should certainly do some research into the world’s most populous country, which is home to an astounding 1.39 billion people.

China has emerged from the shackles of Maoist communism to become an economic powerhouse in the 21 st century, and the impact of its wealth can be seen all over the country. The bright lights and technologically advanced cities of Shanghai, Shenzhen and the capital Beijing are a draw to many. For others the appeal lies more in the fascinating and bewitching natural beauty of places like Guilin or Yangshou, with its sheer karst hills, or the aptly named Rainbow Mountains of Zhangye.

Add to that a host of manmade wonders including the inimitable Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Army in Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum and the Forbidden City in Beijing and visitors have some tough choices to make.

China Gap Year Companies

We found 18 companies in our database that provide China gap years. Choose one below to learn more.

Gap Provider What They Offer Learn More
Gap Provider
Gapforcebrand-logoWe've been delivering life-changing adventure travel programs for over 20 years. That's why we're a leader in gap year programs.Visit Site »
What They Offer: We've been delivering life-changing adventure travel programs for over 20 years. That's why we're a leader in gap year programs.
CESA Languages Abroadbrand-logoLive in a new country, improve your language skills, mix with native speakers and share the experience with like-minded language learners from across the world! Have fun exploring the CESA world of language learning.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Live in a new country, improve your language skills, mix with native speakers and share the experience with like-minded language learners from across the world! Have fun exploring the CESA world of language learning.
Frontierbrand-logoGap Years, Volunteering and Inspirational Adventures 103,000 Successful Volunteer Placements since 1989.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Gap Years, Volunteering and Inspirational Adventures 103,000 Successful Volunteer Placements since 1989.
POD Volunteeringbrand-logoPod Volunteer is an award winning non-profit organisation arranging ethical, inspiring and supported volunteering opportunities around the world since 2001. Volunteers are needed from 1 - 12 weeks for animal, conservation, child care support, education and teaching, building and community volunteering projectsVisit Site »
What They Offer: Pod Volunteer is an award winning non-profit organisation arranging ethical, inspiring and supported volunteering opportunities around the world since 2001. Volunteers are needed from 1 - 12 weeks for animal, conservation, child care support, education and teaching, building and community volunteering projects
The Leapbrand-logoWith The Leap, every program on offer involves variety. You'll travel to several different places across the country you've chosen to visit, and take part in all sorts of activities along the way. One week you could be entertaining local kids whilst living with an indigenous tribe, the next you could be taking surf lessons on the Pacific Ocean.Visit Site »
What They Offer: With The Leap, every program on offer involves variety. You'll travel to several different places across the country you've chosen to visit, and take part in all sorts of activities along the way. One week you could be entertaining local kids whilst living with an indigenous tribe, the next you could be taking surf lessons on the Pacific Ocean.
Raleigh Internationalbrand-logoRaleigh is a sustainable development organisation with 30 years of expertise in working through, for and with young people to create lasting change.With our project partners, local communities, funders, and over 42,000 previous local and international volunteers, we form a global community who are passionate about working together to build a sustainable future.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Raleigh is a sustainable development organisation with 30 years of expertise in working through, for and with young people to create lasting change.With our project partners, local communities, funders, and over 42,000 previous local and international volunteers, we form a global community who are passionate about working together to build a sustainable future.
Outreach Internationalbrand-logoWe make volunteering abroad possible for gap year students, career break volunteers (those with specialist skills or just wanting a change), and increasingly retired persons who have a life-time of experience and skills to share with a community.Visit Site »
What They Offer: We make volunteering abroad possible for gap year students, career break volunteers (those with specialist skills or just wanting a change), and increasingly retired persons who have a life-time of experience and skills to share with a community.
Gap Gurubrand-logoGapGuru is a gap travel specialist offering a wide range of exciting gap year volunteering, teaching, travel and internship opportunities across Asia, Africa, South America and Europe.Visit Site »
What They Offer: GapGuru is a gap travel specialist offering a wide range of exciting gap year volunteering, teaching, travel and internship opportunities across Asia, Africa, South America and Europe.
Projects Abroadbrand-logoFor over 20 years Projects Abroad have been experts in volunteering abroad, work experience and gap year placements. Founded in 1992, Projects Abroad has now sent nearly 100,000 volunteers from all walks of life to volunteer projects in the developing world.Visit Site »
What They Offer: For over 20 years Projects Abroad have been experts in volunteering abroad, work experience and gap year placements. Founded in 1992, Projects Abroad has now sent nearly 100,000 volunteers from all walks of life to volunteer projects in the developing world.
Lattitude Global Volunteeringbrand-logoOur mission is to educate and develop young people worldwide by providing opportunities to volunteer abroad and to make a positive difference to the lives of others through a distinctive, challenging, structured and supported overseas volunteering experience in a culture and community different from their own.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Our mission is to educate and develop young people worldwide by providing opportunities to volunteer abroad and to make a positive difference to the lives of others through a distinctive, challenging, structured and supported overseas volunteering experience in a culture and community different from their own.
Africa and Asia Venturebrand-logoAfrica & Asia Venture (AV) is a not-for-profit social enterprise. Based in the UK and established in 1993, AV specialises in gap year and summer volunteer projects in the developing world for 17 - 25 year olds.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Africa & Asia Venture (AV) is a not-for-profit social enterprise. Based in the UK and established in 1993, AV specialises in gap year and summer volunteer projects in the developing world for 17 - 25 year olds.
Oyster Worldwidebrand-logoOyster Worldwide is a well-regarded gap year travel and responsible travel specialist. Many of our projects were founded in 1999 and have been nurtured and supported by us ever since. We are known for running life-changing gap year programs, giving you the opportunity to make a genuine contribution and for the first class support you receive.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Oyster Worldwide is a well-regarded gap year travel and responsible travel specialist. Many of our projects were founded in 1999 and have been nurtured and supported by us ever since. We are known for running life-changing gap year programs, giving you the opportunity to make a genuine contribution and for the first class support you receive.
Pacific Discoverybrand-logoPacific Discovery offers experiential gap year semester and summer programs abroad to some of the most amazing places on earth. Our programs are deliberate overland journeys, blending authentic immersion in diverse cultures, meaningful service-learning projects, rewarding adventures, wilderness exploration, and personal development.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Pacific Discovery offers experiential gap year semester and summer programs abroad to some of the most amazing places on earth. Our programs are deliberate overland journeys, blending authentic immersion in diverse cultures, meaningful service-learning projects, rewarding adventures, wilderness exploration, and personal development.
Travellers Worldwidebrand-logoEnrich your life and change you and the lives of others with a volunteering holiday as a vacation, on a gap year or career break, or by gaining valuable work experience to boost your CV/ResumeVisit Site »
What They Offer: Enrich your life and change you and the lives of others with a volunteering holiday as a vacation, on a gap year or career break, or by gaining valuable work experience to boost your CV/Resume
Coral Cay Conservationbrand-logoCoral Cay Conservation is an award winning NGO that specialises in the organisation of community based coral reef and tropical forest expeditions.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Coral Cay Conservation is an award winning NGO that specialises in the organisation of community based coral reef and tropical forest expeditions.
Project Trustbrand-logoProject Trust has 50 years experience of providing Gap Year opportunities for 17-19 year old school leavers. Since 1967, over 7000 Project Trust volunteers have challenged themselves, learnt about the world and discovered how to be a positive force within it. Now its your turn.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Project Trust has 50 years experience of providing Gap Year opportunities for 17-19 year old school leavers. Since 1967, over 7000 Project Trust volunteers have challenged themselves, learnt about the world and discovered how to be a positive force within it. Now its your turn.
Global Vision Internationalbrand-logoWe're a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).Visit Site »
What They Offer: We're a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).
i-to-ibrand-logoA TEFL course opens doors. Not only will you experience new cultures in a way no tourist ever could, but you'll also meet friends for life whilst sharpening your teaching skills. What's more, there's a huge demand for English teachers worldwide - and all you need is our internationally-recognised i-to-i qualification to start your adventure. Exciting times!Visit Site »
What They Offer: A TEFL course opens doors. Not only will you experience new cultures in a way no tourist ever could, but you'll also meet friends for life whilst sharpening your teaching skills. What's more, there's a huge demand for English teachers worldwide - and all you need is our internationally-recognised i-to-i qualification to start your adventure. Exciting times!

Gap Year Opportunities

As China endeavours to sustain its economic power, and indeed its global influence, there are literally millions of people seeking to learn English in the country. It should come as no surprise that opportunities to teach English as a foreign language are plentiful for those so inclined. There are numerous teaching possibilities, so whether you would prefer living it up in one of the modern metropolises, or you would rather explore the rural beauty to be found off the beaten track, you should find a programme to suit.

While China is steaming ahead in technological and developmental terms, there is an increasing emphasis being placed on the environment. As such there are a growing number of conservation projects seeking volunteers, such as working with giant pandas in one of the National Nature Reserves such as Dujiangyan or Gengda.

Those on a career break who are seeking to expand their linguistic horizons can learn Mandarin in situ, with some language placements also including Kung Fu tuition in the package. If you are that way inclined, how about a trip to visit the mystical Shaolin Temple on Mount Songshan? Of course, many people who visit China will simply want to explore and there are innumerable opportunities for trekking in all areas, with some great options in Tibet and Sichuan.

Of course any trip to the country would be incomplete without a visit to the Great Wall, but it pays to avoid the crowds of the most popular sections of Mutianyu and Jinshanling and instead opt for one of the more challenging and rarely visited options such as Jiankou or Simatai, the latter being open for breath-taking illuminated night tours.

Practicalities, Health and Safety

China covers an area of almost 10 million square kilometres, but despite its humongous size, getting around the country is relatively easy. With a reliable and efficient internal flight network and an increasing number of cities and towns being connected by high speed rail, it is relatively easy to criss-cross the country to take in your desired highlights.

The vast majority of visitors to China experience no trouble in terms of crime, but it is worth being aware that there are occasional scams aimed at tourists to extort money at bogus ‘tea tastings’ or similar. If you keep your wits about you and take common sense precautions there is little chance of falling victim to any kind of crime or harassment in the country.

Before travelling, be sure to check the latest travel advice at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office site, and also consult your nearest travel clinic for the relevant health advice as some areas of the country may require vaccinations.