Gotoco Limited summer volunteer programme in the People’s Republic of China (the PRC), running between May and September 2018 inclusive.
Gotoco helps UK and US university students find opportunities to spend a meaningful summer in the PRC with schools, organisations and summer camps by participating in cultural exchange through language learning in classes and workshops in the PRC.
This document provides Terms and Conditions for those who decide to take part in the Programmes arranged and managed by the school, organisations and summer camps in the PRC (hereafter referred to as the “Programme”).
Terms and Conditions of Participation in a Gotoco Partner School Programme
You are expected to pay for the following costs
— Visa, pre-departure immunisation costs and comprehensive travel and medical insurance
— Deposit, to be paid as and when directed by Gotoco and returned by Gotoco upon successful completion of the Programme
— Roundtrip airfare to/from the PRC and domestic travel within the PRC
— study classes and accommodation outside of the Programme
— any damages caused to property in the PRC, including your accommodation
- Travel and medical insurance
You must ensure you have one month global travel insurance or any international medical insurance which can be used in the PRC. You must ensure the insurance cover includes, but is not limited to, medical and emergency repatriation expenses, luggage and personal effects, money, personal accident, personal liability, cancellation and curtailment, rescue and assistance, legal expenses, hijack and travel delay.
Gotoco is not liable for any medical advice given by Gotoco or third parties. If you choose to travel without adequate insurance cover, Gotoco will not be liable for any losses howsoever arising, in respect of which insurance cover would otherwise have been available.
Gotoco provides informal advice to help you with the visa application process and provides you with an invitation letter from your Programme school or education body in the PRC. Gotoco is not responsible for your visa application’s success and will not bear any costs for your visa application, any visa rejection and/or re-application. You are responsible for ensuring your visa for the PRC covers you for the length of your Programme in the PRC and any individual travel plans outside of your Programme. If you have the wrong type of visa, you enter the PRC at your own risk.
On entry into the PRC, and in contact with local officials, it is important to use the correct terminology. You are in the PRC as cultural exchange volunteers on non-business visits. Gotoco takes no liability for any confusion that may arise if you tell officials you are paid teachers. You understand that you are not legally allowed to receive payment for teaching and volunteering in the PRC unless you have a work (Z) visa. For which you need two years relevant prior work experience and a university degree. Incorrectly claiming to be a teacher may lead officials to assume that you need a work visa which could then lead to complications.
Gotoco has a duty to select the suppliers of the services making up your programme with reasonable skill and care. Gotoco has no liability to you for the actual provision of the programme. Any advice given by Gotoco, including its three directors, is informal and does not constitute legal, formal advice. This includes, but is not limited to, advice on visas, international and domestic flights, travel arrangements within the PRC and the content of your Programme.
Gotoco is responsible for providing you with TEFL training documents and instructions and a TEFL certificate upon completion of the Programme.
Gotoco takes no responsibility and is not liable for any third party behaviour or actions, including but not limited to that of the visa processing agents, the assigned Programme school or body and employees at the designated accommodation. You are responsible for ensuring you fully understand your agreement with the Programme before you come to the PRC.
- Hours and Flexibility
You are expected to show reasonable flexibility in arranging your hours of work. When you join a Programme, you may be expected to work the normal school or office hours of the PRC, or according to a given schedule, although exact working hours will vary between specific Programmes and even individual schedules. Your hours will typically be spread over a five day working week, and should not normally exceed eight hours a day. You should never be required to work for more than a maximum of six days a week on average.
- Accommodations and Food
The Programme is responsible for providing you accommodation and food for the period of your Programme. The Programme staff have to obtain permission from and register you with local Police and immigration authorities to enable you to stay in local accommodation during your Programme. It is a condition of their permission that you should not invite guests (either local or foreign) to stay overnight at your accommodation without prior approval from the relevant authority. Failure to adhere to this condition will be a disciplinary matter and will be dealt with according to ‘Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures’ below.
- Special requests
Any special requests must be advised to Gotoco at the time of application e.g. diet, room location, etc. You should then confirm your requests in writing to your programme organisers (the school or education body). Whilst every effort will be made by Gotoco to try and arrange your reasonable special requests, Gotoco cannot guarantee that they will be fulfilled. The fact that a special request has been noted on your confirmation email or any other documentation or that it has been passed on to the accommodation or other supplier is not confirmation that the request will be met. It is fully your responsibility to ensure that the local partner is aware of any needs you may have.
- Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures
Gotoco will be flexible, helpful and friendly – in particular, the Programme or a Gotoco representative will try to help you with your work if you are applying yourself but still finding difficulties. Nevertheless, formal complaints procedures (by you) and disciplinary procedures (by Gotoco) are necessary.
If you have any concerns or problems before you come or when you are in the PRC, please notify Gotoco in writing via email to the Gotoco representative dealing with your application. Gotoco will help you resolve these with any influence or ability Gotoco has, but you are fully responsible for the final outcome.
When you are on your Programme, please bear in mind that you need to show a high level of independence and initiative in dealing with problems yourself as they arise. If you have a problem or complaint to do with your work, please discuss the matter first with your supervisor at the Programme. If it is not resolved in this way please email the Gotoco representative who handled your application who will record your complaint, discuss it with you and help you resolve it to the best of their ability.
Every reasonable effort will be made to resolve any disciplinary matter before it becomes serious. However, Gotoco reserves the right to take appropriate action in the event of behaviour which would reasonably be expected to give offence to the pupils, Programme managers, colleagues, or other stakeholders. This includes behaviour such as serious rowdiness or drunkenness, failure to turn up to classes or workshops, or leaving classes or workshops without any adequate reason, or in the event of an unreasonable inability, from whatever cause, to do the work expected.
A disciplinary problem would be brought to your attention in writing by email. If the problem still stood after five working days (or shorter period if urgent), a further email would be sent saying that, if the matter was not resolved to our satisfaction within a further five working days (or shorter period if urgent), you would no longer be able to continue on the Programme. The Programme would have no further responsibility for your food or accommodation, and has the right to withdraw your visa. It would be at the discretion of your Programme to suspend you from your work during any disciplinary process. If you are no longer able to continue on a programme under these circumstances, you forfeit your deposit. You are under the authority of Gotoco and the Programme throughout the period of the Programme.
- Amendments, Cancellations and Curtailment
Amendments or cancellations prior to departure may be notified to the Gotoco representative handling your application by email.
Extensions to stay on your Programme or attend another Programme can be discussed, but Gotoco provides no guarantee that this can be accommodated.
Amendments, once your Programme has started, are at the discretion of Gotoco.
If you curtail your Programme for any reason other than for a breach by us of our obligations, we cannot be responsible for any additional costs involved, including the cost of repatriation, amendments to travel arrangements, or the cost of accommodation. If your curtailment is not agreed in advance by Gotoco, you forfeit your deposit.
Cancelling your application is possible at any time, if cancelling prior to providing a deposit we require that cancellees fill in our brief feedback form here. In line with the guidance on the deposit FAQs page, you forfeit your deposit if you cancel or do not proceed with your application after paying the deposit.
- Responsibility and Other Matters
Please note that your booking is accepted on the understanding that you come on the Programme at your own risk. It is not possible for Gotoco to be responsible for the actions or omissions of those involved in your Programme over whom we have no direct control, such as the Programme, employees of the Programme, airlines, transport undertakings and others. Equally we are not responsible for loss or expense during your time on the Programme, including losses or expense caused by war, riots, strikes, terrorist activities, natural disasters, or bankruptcies (or similar) of a Third Party. Gotoco is not liable for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or other irregularity which may be caused by defect of a Third Party, or any vehicle or other equipment, or the negligence or default of any company or person engaged in carrying out or performing any of the services involved, other than Gotoco staff.
Some courses, treks and other activities may be provided by independent Third Parties. You should note that Gotoco may arrange bookings for these courses, treks and other activities on your behalf but Gotoco are not appointed agents or representatives of these third parties and cannot accept liability for them or their activities.
Please note that Gotoco offers to help you with accommodation for five nights in Yangshuo at the end of your Programme. Gotoco is not responsible for anything in Yangshuo beyond providing accommodation and is not responsible for your travel to Yangshuo from your Programme or from Yangshuo to your flight. Gotoco may, however, offer informal advice and help as appropriate.
Please note your Programme is not responsible for arrangements outside your working hours, other than in providing accommodation and food. Gotoco and the Programme have no responsibility beyond your Programme period. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times.
Please note that all services and accommodation are subject to the laws of the country in which they are provided. You should be aware that accommodation in a host country may not be to the same standard they would expect in their home nation. Gotoco reserves the right to request the Programme make changes in the agreed itinerary whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for your comfort, convenience, or safety. Gotoco also reserves the right to withdraw, without penalty, any Programme announced.
Please note that Gotoco reserves the right to decline to accept any person on a Programme, or to require any participant to withdraw at any time, when such action is determined by the appropriate Gotoco or Programme staff representative to be in the best interests of the health, safety, and general welfare of the Programme or of the individual participant. In such a case, Gotoco and the Programe accept no responsibility for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a non-refundable ticket or any other cost that you may incur. Gotoco also reserves the right to not return your deposit, if you leave the Programme early for any reason.
Dates, schedules, Programme details and costs are given in good faith, based on information available and in force at the time they are given and are subject to change and revision in the event of a change of circumstances. In the event that Gotoco is unable to provide a suitable Programme of the type requested, we will instead offer an alternative Programme if available.
Proper Law and Jurisdiction – The proper law of the contract between us is English Law. The courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with the contract.
Gotoco will share the information submitted on the application form with its partners, branches and subsidiaries around the world in accordance with its Data Protection policy. This information is not used for marketing or solicitation purposes, and it is never rented, sold, given or traded to other companies.
- The PRC Law
You agree to observe the laws of the PRC and all academic and government disciplinary regulations in the PRC. If you do not abide by the regulations, you agree to abide by the appropriate disciplinary actions up to and including premature termination of the program and will return as soon as possible to your home country at your sole cost and expense, forfeiting your deposit.
- Informed Consent
You are aware that there are inherent risks in travel and study in international settings, and specifically in the PRC. Gotoco has no special knowledge regarding unsafe conditions, health hazards, weather hazards, climate extremes or volatile political situations at locations to which you may travel. For information concerning potential risks to safety at the destinations you will travel, Gotoco recommends consulting the following three governmental sources:
- Travel advisories of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office accessible at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
- Travel Warnings Section of the U.S. State Department at (202) 647-5225 or www.travel.state.gov
- Travel advisories of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade accessible at https://smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/
For medical information, Gotoco recommends consulting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or online at www.cdc.gov/travel.
You are responsible for ensuring your travel insurance covers you for emergency travel if advised by one of the above authorities.
You assume full and complete responsibility for checking and verifying any and all vaccination requirements or recommendations, and all conditions regarding health, safety, security, political stability, and labour or civil unrest in the locations you will be travelling to in the PRC. Any advice given by Gotoco is purely informal.
By applying to and coming on the programmes, you demonstrate you believe that you have been fully and adequately briefed regarding the risks inherent in the overseas experience. You have weighed the dangers inherent in foreign volunteering and travel, the risks presented to your own health and well being, and your personal desire to further your life experiences by volunteering, studying and travelling in foreign countries. You have had the opportunity to ask questions which have been answered to your satisfaction. Nonetheless, you acknowledge that there may be additional factors which may not have been brought to your attention. You have concluded that the risks are acceptable and are outweighed by your desire to participate.
1st October, 2016