Becoming a Homestay Tutor in China is an affordable international educational experience that will enhance your resume through practical experience. And when you return home, imagine the kind of job you can get when you list this experience on your resume.
Tutor English abroad in China and live as a local for 3 to 6 months when you help a family in China learn English. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before! Your new host family is more interested in learning conversational English than they are grammar. You'll have so much fun living in China by simply speaking English the way you normally do at home. Also, you have a unique opportunity to learn or improve your Chinese! In a matter of hours, you're walking around your new community like a real Chinese citizen. It won’t take long for the locals to start recognizing you and for you to consider your host community your new, temporary home. It’s real and authentic. Get to know the locals. Wake up each day and feel a connection.
This is an immersion opportunity to learn Chinese and enjoy the Chinese culture and food for 3 to 6 months. You'll live as a local with a carefully screened host family and you'll become a part of the community. This is not an "Airbnb" experience for a few days where you live locally but as a tourist. You're an invited guest for at least 3 months or longer.
What really happens? Genuine engagement, not just commoditized “experiences.” You'll live as a local. You won't live locally as a tourist in an apartment.
For up to 15 hours a week, you'll speak to the family in conversational English. In return, you'll receive free room (a private one for you) and board. Typically families are looking for you to speak English with them over a meal or for a certain amount of time during the day. You also get free Mandarin lessons, free airfare and a free TEFL certificate if you want it.
3 months is the minimum length and 6 months is the maximum length.
Homestay Tutors are responsible for the cost of their student visa. The cost is currently $130 for Americans and $30 for citizens of other countries.
Each Homestay Tutor receives an invitation letter, which is needed for a student visa. This allows you to stay in China up to six months.
Families are available year-round.
A weekly stipend of $100 US for 15 hours of English tutoring each week. Usually 1 ½
Before your departure, you will receive a timetable with the days and times the family needs you to tutor English. The family must respect your time off.
After you make sure that you meet the qualifications, the next step is to apply.
Click this button:
1. Submit the online application along with the deposit.
2. You'll receive a link for a supplemental form and additional materials to then submit.
3. We work with our partner in China to match you with a well-screened host family.
4. We'll email you the host family information. Set up a Zoom call with the host family for your interview.
5. Once you and the host family agree that it's a good match, you and the family arrange the exact arrival and departure date.
6. Find and purchase your flights. (Reimbursed at 3 months and 6 months)
8. If you need a visa, please arrange for your visa. We can assist you with the student visa.
9. Fly to China and begin your Homestay Tutor program and cultural experience!
We recommend focusing on family interviews and choosing your location based on the host family that you really “connect with.” Let the family connection guide your decision on where you will live.
All host families are in and around Chongqing, China.
Before you depart, we connect you via email, phone and Zoom with your new host family. You’ll have all the details you want before you ever leave home. GeoVisions spends a great deal of time on match-making. It is the only way the program will be successful. There needs to be a “connection” between you and your host family.
But after you arrive if you’re having issues, we have a way to start the process to fix things or, change your placement, if necessary. This is extremely rare, but we’ve done this long enough to know things can come up on all sides.
Unfortunately, host families needing a Homestay Tutor only have room for one extra person in the home. So we are unable to provide a homestay for anyone except one Homestay Tutor per household. If you want to apply with someone else, they would be placed with another family. We would try hard to find a host family so you would be close to one another, but we could not guarantee that. We are successful most of the time.
Some of our Homestay Tutors tell us the bond they form with their host family can last a lifetime. We know some tutors who actually fly back a few years later for a reunion or to attend a milestone event for one of the children they tutored.
You will participate in family activities, share cultures, make friends in your new community and with other Homestay Tutuors in the area.
Becoming a Homestay Tutor is a serious position … and while you do get paid to travel … your main responsibilities are the children you're tutoring. While you might consider yourself patient, fun-loving and perfect for a job like this … think about how responsible you are and your previous experience with children. If you’re ready … we have incredible families who need you right away, living in amazing locations. It's an amazing cultural exchange!
Here are examples of what it’s like to be a Homestay Tutor, written by our participants from our GeoVisions Blog.
By being aware of some of the cultural differences you lessen the impact of culture shock and you make your life considerably easier. Here is a list of some of the more overt cultural differences of Western culture in relation to Chinese culture:
Food etiquette in China is different from other cultures. Watch what they do. You will be amazed. Slurping and reaching for food is totally acceptable as is removing food from one’s mouth and putting it on the table. Note that playing with chopsticks and making faces at the food (no matter how disgusted you might be) is not acceptable. Showing this emotion is considered a loss of face. Also note that going “dutch” is seen as unfriendly. If you offer to pay for everyone’s meal it will develop your relationship with him or her or them, even though they may not let you actually pay.
We might as well address the one thing you HAVE to get used to. People. And lots of them. If you choose to travel or go out you will be exposed to crowds. On public holidays the masses of people will become readily apparent as you shop with 1.5 billion Chinese. Don’t expect people to wait in line. There is very little sense of personal space.
If you are invited to a Chinese person’s house, which will happen, always take a gift of fruit or flowers. A pre-made basket of fruit costs about $5.00. A bag of oranges or a bunch of flowers only costs a couple of dollars.
Red flowers are good to take. White flowers are only used at funerals. Indian candy or smoked salmon as a “gift from home” always goes over really well.
Smoking is seen as a masculine activity and very few think of it as a health threat or as offensive. Often people will smoke in restaurants with little or no regard for smoking or non-smoking sections. Chinese men constantly offer cigarettes and alcohol to other men. The type of cigarettes a person smokes establishes a class system. To decline an offer of a cigarette or alcohol say gently, “Wo bu hui. Xie xie.”
Today, attitudes towards tipping are changing in China. Although the practice is not officially recognized, tips are now frequently offered to and accepted by travel guides, tour bus drivers, porters and waiters in top-class hotels and restaurants. However, tipping is still not expected in most restaurants and hotels. Consumer taxes are included in price tags on goods but big hotels and fine restaurants may include a service charge of 10% or more.
Chinese are not big on public displays of affection. You will rarely if ever see couples kissing in public. Shake hands but refrain from hugging, kissing, winking, patting or making physical contact. As a “friend,” you will find that men will hold hands with men and women will hold hands with women and walk on the street. This may be “weird” in the west, but it is a common friendly practice for young people/adults in China. You may even have a friend of the same sex try to hold your hand at some point.
In Western countries one expects to maintain eye contact when we talk with people. This is a norm we consider basic and essential. This is not the case among the Chinese. On the contrary, because of the more authoritarian nature of the Chinese society, steady eye contact is viewed as inappropriate, especially when subordinates talk with their superiors.
Chinese students are not brought up to maintain constant eye contact with their teachers. Eye contact is sometimes viewed as a gesture of challenge or defiance. When people get angry, they tend to maintain steady eye contact. Otherwise, they keep talking looking elsewhere or nonchalant. Also, try to avoid physical content and eye contact with the opposite sex.
Bowing or nodding is the common greeting; however, you may be offered a handshake. Wait for the Chinese to offer their hand first.
You are definitely welcome to invite Chinese people to your home. Expect that if you invite them that you will be required to supply everything, just the same as if you invite them to dinner in a restaurant.
Be prepared to be asked your age, or why you are not married or don’t have any children. This is not considered prying but rather friendly and expressing interest in your life.
Usually when a Chinese host offers a guest refreshments, if the guest declines, the host will ask again twice. Remember this if you entertain at your place. If someone declines they may really want something so you should really ask a couple more times. It makes it look like you are really concerned with their comfort.
The main reason I decided to take part in this program was to able to travel to China. I was really interested in the convenience of the program and how it would easily allow me the freedom to travel and explore whenever and whatever I wanted. I have discovered that this unique situation of living with a family in another country is much more than just a place to sleep and eat. It has been very fun to travel to another country and see the different tourist attractions, but staying in and spending time with the family was even more fun. We have exchanged cultural beliefs and practices and learned a lot from each other. Being able to share my culture and also learn about another country's culture has made my time abroad very fulfilling. I feel more pride for my own country, more aware of other cultures, and also less ignorant. This programs offers a very unique opportunity to be able to travel to a new country and experience another culture from a unique perspective that cannot be attained by traveling there normally. This experience has been so unique and I would not trade it for the opportunity to see any landmark or tourist attraction.
I have just spent 12 months living and working in Mianyang, Sichuan, China. Please allow me to preface this by saying that the experience has definitely improved my life- it has forced me to grow and develop, learn an appreciation for the Chinese way of life and its people/culture, and I wouldn't change a thing about what I did. I have no regrets and am grateful for what I have been through. I now have a new appreciation for the luxuries and extravagances of Australian life, and even having mentioned all of these problems, I wouldn't change anything that happened. I have grown from it, I have been encouraged (forced) to learn some Mandarin Chinese just to survive in the city, and I was lucky to get absolutely true and authentic experience.
Katie, Feb 2018