Gotoco Camp China

The best way to get answers to your questions is by typing them in the search box above. You can also browse through all of our FAQs below, just click on a section to open up all of the related FAQs. If you have a question not answered in these FAQs please submit it to us (at the bottom of this page) and we will aim to respond within 7 days.

○ General questions - things people often ask us about Gotoco!

Currently, we cannot provide class credit for the programmes. However, we are in discussions with several institutions and aim to offer class credit as soon as possible. Watch this space!

Travelling in a different country is thrilling; it will give you a great sense of independence, confidence, and courage. Not only is this a great teaching opportunity, it is a fun learning experience as well. Our programmes allow you to make meaningful relationships that will stand the test of time. Learning about a new culture will give you insight into different world perspectives, helping you in your future career.

Accommodation and meals are provided free of charge at your programme. Most added extras are also provided free of charge so your personal costs are kept to a minimum, including free

You will need to pay for your own flights, visa and travel within China but will receive meals and accommodation at the programmes. You will then only need money for extra food and drinks and activities outside the programme. For reference or for estimating cost of post-programme tourism, please find some prices of common items below (all prices are averages and vary depending on your location)

  • one litre of Qingdao beer in a bar: C¥3-30
  • a meal in a good restaurant: C¥30 yuan per dish
  • snacks from street vendors: C¥5-10 per item
  • a short taxi journey in most cities costs C¥15-25, journeys of an hour can cost C¥100
  • accommodation in a dorm room in a normal backpacker hostel: C¥30-80
  • an overnight journey of 10 hours or less on a train with a bed: under C¥200

*It is possible to have an interesting time travelling around China after our programmes on a shoestring budget of around 4000RMB/month

**At the time of writing C¥10 was equivalent to £1.10 or US$1.44

Other major costs include

  • flights: we are usually able to suggest cost savings and partnerships with Chinese travel agents that make it possible to get return flights to China from the UK for around £400-500, or from the USA for upwards of $800.
  • visa costs vary by nationality based on diplomatic circumstances and reciprocal fee rates, this link takes you to the Chinese government’s official visa service centre site where you can find out more: 
    • British passport holders must pay £151 to the Chinese consular visa processing centre for a visa. We recommend visas are processed with the help of an agency, this is to ensure that forms are filled in correctly the first time to prevent extra expenses from visa rejections and time-delays (missed flights etc.) Currently we advise UK applicants to process with the help of UVSUK who offer well-reviewed services and offer a 50% discount for Gotoco applicants (£25 service fee+£8 postage)

We are not legally permitted to advise on vaccinations and travel/health insurance. It is up to you to research both and you are advised to take both seriously (please read through our FAQs for further information on both).

Once your programme is confirmed, you will be directed on how to buy flights and upload your arrival and departure information into a webform for the partner schools to view.

Please also read this FAQ on direct flights to China and this one on flights with layovers. You can also check this FAQ to learn about arrival procedures, and this one to learn about visas.

Many universities and colleges provide travel grants and scholarships. Please contact your college committee, student union, university internship or careers services for more information. Gotoco does not offer any scholarships itself though we are able to fund the return flights of those that join us as Campus Ambassadors and meet the requirements, for more information please click here.

Some independent organisations also provide funding for students, such as the Live Like Ally Foundation. Please research organisations online, and if you have questions or need us to assist you with a grant application, please don’t hesitate to email us at recruitment[at]go-to.co.

In line with China’s visa laws, you cannot be paid for your time in China unless you have a work (Z) visa. To obtain a work (Z) visa, you need to have completed an undergraduate degree and have two years of relevant work experience, or already have a TEFL qualification for certain teaching jobs in China.

We provide added benefits: you receive free accommodation and meals at the programmes and 5 nights of accommodation in Yangshuo at the end, as well as options such as Mandarin lessons and cultural excursions. Unlike most similar programmes, as a social enterprise, we impose no fees on participants to make the experience as affordable as possible and allow as many people as possible to explore China and earn a TEFL certificate.  Our social mission is to improve cross-cultural understanding and foster a strong, inclusive global community through accessible international cultural exchange and educational projects in China.

If you are concerned about funding your flight and visa, we also recommend you look into grant and scholarship opportunities at your university or school, or from independent bodies. If you have questions on this, or need us to assist you with a grant application, please don’t hesitate to email us at recruitment[at]go-to.co.

Please also check out our FAQ on how much money you will need for the summer.

Our programmes are funded and free!

Free means:

We won’t charge you any fees to participate!

Funded means:

Our programmes will always cover all of your costs for:

-Accommodation

-Meals

– Chinese lessons and scheduled cultural tours and excursions

-Post programme 5 day tour of Yangshuo – our beautiful home in the mountains (between Hong Kong and Vietnam)

You are expected to pay for

  • your visa, prices vary by nationality of passport. Around £150 for UK passports.
  • pre-departure immunisation costs and comprehensive travel and medical insurance, costs vary depending on the advice of your doctor
  • roundtrip airfare to/from China and domestic travel within China, prices fluctuate but we can help with our local travel agent recommendations. Around £450-700 for a return to China from UK or North America

Please also read this FAQ on how much money you will need for the summer.

Once your programme is confirmed, you will be directed on how to buy flights and upload your arrival and departure information into a webform for the partner schools to view.

Please also read this FAQ on direct flights to China and this one on flights with layovers. You can also check this FAQ to learn about arrival procedures, and this one to learn about visas.

Chinese (Mandarin) competency is not a requirement for our programmes. Every programme will assign teaching assistants who can speak English to you, and many people around town can often speak some English. However, we do recommend bringing a simple phrase book with you to help if you decide to explore China on your own.

It is always an option to go it alone, turn up in China and see what kind of summer experiences you can find. But those of you that would prefer to have our assistance will find multiple benefits including savings on cost and hassle, as well as much-enhanced experiences overall. The opportunity to obtain a TEFL free-of-charge and join a programme in China is unique and highly sought after, and we look forward to helping you have a fun and engaging summer in China.

Gotoco is not a recruitment agency, we are a social enterprise committed to maximising your experience in China. Our social mission is to improve cross-cultural understanding and foster a strong, inclusive global community through accessible international cultural exchange and educational projects in China. We make sure that all positions are as educational, exciting and useful for participants as they are for the local students. Every partner in China is able to offer support for our TEFL training and Chinese lessons, as well as some local excursions.

The Gotoco team has been setting up summer youth exchange programmes since 2011, so we really know how to manage quality and ensure people get the best out of their experiences. Our dedicated team will always be just an email or WeChat message away to help you and make sure you get as much out of the experience as possible.

The team you join will usually be made up of other like-minded individuals who are keen to have an incredible summer learning about China and the world. Participants tend to form life-long close bonds with the others on their teams. We offer good quality food and accommodation and are on-hand to troubleshoot and help with any difficulties you face during any part of the process.

Our pre-departure preparation support includes organising the complex paperwork for your visa, in cooperation with the relevant authorities in China which is something individuals on their own often struggle with. If you have any problems during your placement we will be able to re-allocate you to one of our numerous other programmes around the country—which is something that would be hard to do if you went alone.

Our team strives to make your experience in China as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible, to give you a great learning experience and an unforgettable summer.

Gotoco is an abbreviated form of ‘go-to company‘, we aspire to be the ‘go-to‘ for anyone wishing to ‘go to China!’

We were founded to contest the idea that those wishing to go to China for youth exchange and interesting projects should have to pay hefty placement fees.

It has always been and always will be our aim to charge no fee to those wishing to participate. Because we don’t charge the high fees of similar China placement organisations, we cannot offer package holidays. Instead we provide the networks, ideas, contacts and tools to enable as many people as possible to take part in and create exciting programmes. We have created a system that enables you to have an incredible China learning experience affordably and independently.

We require a small programme confirmation deposit. We are a social enterprise committed to making your trip to China as convenient and low-cost as possible, which is why we don’t charge any fees to take part. The deposit simply confirms your commitment to coming to China, and is returned to you once you have completed your summer programme and provided feedback. 

The deposit is requested in two instalments of £100 each (or equivalent in your local currency). The first is before we arrange for the consultative interview (by phone) between you and the programme in China. The second instalment is to confirm you wish to hold the offer with the particular programme after your interview. We will need this paid in full before we can issue you with a visa invitation letter or TEFL course documentation, to ensure you are committed to coming to China and that your programme can plan for your arrival. The deposits are paid via Paypal, and a payment link will be automatically sent to you when you reach the right points in the application process.

For more information about our deposit terms, such as refund terms, please check out this page: https://www.go-to.co/deposit-faqs/

Chinese visa costs vary depending on your passport type and the duration of stay and number of entries you may need in China. Some nationalities have their visas for free while others must pay a price. British passports, for example, incur a total cost of £151 but luckily get longer stays/numbers of entries than other European passports, you can read more about pricing at this helpful link

We usually advise our participants to process their visa application with the help of a local China visa expert agency, this can add to the overall price. For example, our trusted UK agent adds a £15 commission while our North American agents add $30-50. We suggest this because the Chinese visa application is quite a difficult process and working with an agent ensures that you a/obtain the correct and most legally appropriate visa, b/ avoid mistakes on your application which could cost you a penalty charge (sometimes China charges you double price if errors in your application cause you to resubmit your visa application.c/ get treated well, looked after by experts, and charged a fair price

 

Coronavirus Update, 28th May 2021

Key Summary

  • Summer 2021 programmes are paused and China programmes won’t be going ahead in July due to continued travel restrictions. 
  • All Gotoco’er offer holders for 2021 that have paid their deposits have two options:
    • 1. Defer offer to winter or summer 2022 and join our Summer Global Career Launchpad online in July to complete a TEFL now and access well-paid online teaching opportunities. (Deferred places are valid until 31 December 2022 for both winter and summer programmes)
    • 2. Withdraw from the programme and receive a deposit refund (click here); please note that if you withdraw then you will need to reapply for summer 2022 in the next academic year when places will be limited due to the high number of deferred offers.
  • If travel restrictions are lifted in time for August and September programmes, then we will notify offer holders by 30 June 2021.
  • Summer Global Career Launchpad running from 5-30 July online with a low time commitment for all offer holders that pay a deposit to defer their place to 2022:
    • Earn a TEFL and access well-paid online teaching opportunities (£10-£30 per hour depending on experience)
    • Get ready to join a Gotoco programme in China in 2022
    • Learn skills and prepare for a global career after graduation
    • Join a community of like-minded students and graduates, and receive continued support on your career journey
    • Access jobs in China after graduation
    • Learn about Chinese film, music, literature, art, travel, and more
  • Applications are open for Sumer Global Career Launchpad and Summer 2022

Latest Update from the Gotoco Team

We are very sad to have to pause Gotoco programmes in China for summer 2021. With the pace of vaccinations, we were very hopeful that programmes would be able to go ahead in July and have been doing everything we can to make it possible, but unfortunately our two criteria for running the programmes have not been met: travel restrictions remain in place and quarantine periods are still very long in China. 

The COVID pandemic is under control in China and life there returned to normal a long time ago, but the border remains closed to most international visitors. Our partners across the country are very sad that they can’t welcome you onto their summer programmes and can’t wait for the day that the border re-opens and they can meet you safely in China.

For that reason, we are deferring all offers for summer 2021 to winter and summer 2022. If you have paid your deposit, then you can join any of our programmes between now and 31 December 2022 as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. 

We are also delighted to invite you to join our Summer Global Career Launchpad online in July. The course will give you an online TEFL qualification so that you can start earning by teaching online and save up for travel once travel restrictions are lifted. The course will also give you ideas and the tips and tricks you need to start a global career after graduation, as well as giving you the tools to work out what you’d like to do at the beginning of your career. The course is a low time commitment so that you can fit it around a fun and busy summer. Click here for more information and to confirm your place!

We’ve put together answers to your questions below so that you have all the information you need at this point. If you have any other questions, feel free to get in contact with us by email and we’d be happy to help. 

We very much hope that you’re enjoying easing restrictions wherever you are, and that you and your loved ones are all keeping safe and well. We can’t wait to meet you at the Summer Global Career Launchpad!

Stay safe and enjoy the summer!

Richard, Lisha and Danny

Gotoco Co-Founders

FAQs:

How can I defer my place?

To defer your place, go to this page and fill in the form at the bottom to let us know if you would like to join the Summer Global Career Launchpad. Your place will then be confirmed until 31 December 2022, meaning that you’ll be able to join a winter programme in 2021/22 or join us in China in  summer 2022. 

How do I join the Summer Global Career Launchpad? 

To join the Summer Global Career Launchpad, just go to this link. 

Can I defer my place and not join the Summer Global Career Launchpad? 

If you have paid your deposit, but are unable to join our online summer programme, you are able to defer your place, just go to this link and tick the appropriate box on the form at the bottom of the page.

However, the course is a low time commitment and gives you the opportunity to earn a TEFL certificate that you can use for well-paid online teaching opportunities around your studies, travel or work, so we highly recommend that you take part! You can complete the TEFL training at any point during the summer before 30 September 2021.

I haven’t paid my deposit, can I join the Summer Global Career Launchpad? 

Yes! You will just need to pay your deposit to confirm your deferred place for summer 2022 and then you will be able to access the Summer Global Career Launchpad. You can do so on this link

Is there any possibility of travel to China in August and September?

There is a small chance that travel restrictions will be lifted in time for August and September programmes. We remain ready to move quickly as soon as travel restrictions are eased to confirm programmes and process visas. If this happens, we will notify all offer holders, including those who have deferred their offer, and give you the opportunity to join an August or September programme. We will confirm if August programmes are possible by 30 June 2021. 

How can I receive a deposit refund? 

All deposits are fully protected in Paypal.

If you know you won’t be able to join us in China before 31 December 2022, then you can withdraw from the programme and receive your deposit refund by going to this link.

If you withdraw and later decide that you’d like to join us in China, then you will need to re-apply and we cannot guarantee that you will get a place due to the high number of people holding deferred offers. If you withdraw, you will also be unable to gain a TEFL qualification this year and will thus miss out on the online teaching opportunities. 

I deferred my place from summer 2020 to 2021, what are my options now? 

If you haven’t already completed the TEFL training, you now have the option to defer your place again to summer 2022 (valid for winter and summer programmes starting before 31 December 2022)  and join the Summer Global Career Launchpad this July, or to request a deposit refund by clicking here.

If you completed the TEFL training last summer, then you are not eligible for a deposit refund, but you may still defer your place to 2022 and join the Summer Global Career Launchpad. 

You can join the Summer Global Career Launchpad on this link.

Most organisations in our sector charge hefty placement fees, sometimes as high as $5000 for a summer placement. We established Gotoco in order to rebel against this model. It is very rare to find organisations operating in this way, accordingly our applicants often ask questions such as ” is it real”, “whats the catch”, “is it fake”. These are reasonable questions! Our advice is that the best way to investigate a programme like ours is to check its footprint on Google, if you look us up you will find lots of fantastic content posted over the past decade, some links are below this FAQ.

Why are we free? You can read our mission on the relevant part of this site, but in summary: We make efforts to run this free, as a social enterprise, because we think global people-to-people exchange (particularly with China) is vitally important. We also believe that having opportunities for adventures and experiences overseas is a vital part of anyone’s education, and so we are delighted to devote our time to running this. These viewpoints motivated us to commit to only ever delivering programmes that are free/funded to applicants. Please check out some reviews, blogs, articles, videos and our social media via the links below.

Articles
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2018/mar/28/new-initiative-offers-british-people-summer-camp-jobs-in-china
https://www.oxfordstudent.com/2020/02/16/rock-climbing-and-pottery-in-chao-long-china/
https://www.oxfordstudent.com/2015/11/21/10-weeks-in-china/
https://www.oxfordstudent.com/2019/02/13/representing-the-real-china-oxford-grads-on-starting-their-own-social-enterprise/

Reviews
https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.go-to.co
https://www.facebook.com/gotoco1/reviews/
https://glassdoor.co.uk/Reviews/Gotoco-Reviews-E2044609.htm
https://www.gooverseas.com/organization/gotoco-reviews

Blogs
https://www.travelstorysociety.com/post/lost-in-guangzhou
https://www.travelstorysociety.com/post/yearning-for-yangshuo
https://www.travelstorysociety.com/post/how-china-saved-my-mind
https://www.travelstorysociety.com/post/shenzen-new-destination-for-foodies
https://www.travelstorysociety.com/post/two-months-in-a-mob-town
https://www.redbrick.me/tefl-experience-china/

Social Media
facebook.com/gotoco1/
https://twitter.com/gotocochina/
instagram.com/gotocochina

Linkedin: 2000 people have done our project, many of whom are visible here:
https://www.linkedin.com/search/results/all/?keywords=gotoco&origin=GLOBAL_SEARCH_HEADER

Jack Edwards Youtube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6Yjp5s-lfA

Our Youtube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHCRbae-hXU

What’s included?

Accommodation and meals are provided free of charge at your programme. Most added extras are also provided free of charge so your personal costs are kept to a minimum, including free

  • Free placement service to join one of over 100 exciting programmes across China
  • Funded TEFL training and certification
  • Free bedroom and meals throughout your programme
  • Free 5 day holiday to Yangshuo, a stunningly beautiful mountain town between Hong Kong and the Vietnamese border.
  • Free guidance on applying for a visa and booking flights
  • Free 24/7 support throughout your time in China
  • Free post-programme support for job references and career opportunities
  • For UK based applicants, free background and criminal records check (for UK based applicants, this means a DBS or equivalent)

What’s not included?

You will need to pay for your own flights, visa and travel within China but will receive meals and accommodation at the programmes. You will then only need money for extra food and drinks and activities outside the programme.

How much do things in China cost?

For reference or for estimating cost of post-programme tourism, please find some prices of common items below (all prices are averages and vary depending on your location)

  • one litre of Qingdao beer in a bar: C¥3-30
  • a meal in a good restaurant: C¥30 yuan per dish
  • snacks from street vendors: C¥5-10 per item
  • a short taxi journey in most cities costs C¥15-25, journeys of an hour can cost C¥100
  • accommodation in a dorm room in a normal backpacker hostel: C¥30-80
  • an overnight journey of 10 hours or less on a train with a bed: under C¥200

How much should I budget?

It is possible to have an interesting time travelling around China after our programmes on a shoestring budget of around 4000RMB/month At the time of writing C¥10 was equivalent to £1.10 or US$1.44.

Related topics

○ Programme types - we run 100 projects, find out more about them here

Currently, we cannot provide class credit for the programmes. However, we are in discussions with several institutions and aim to offer class credit as soon as possible. Watch this space!

○ Pre-departure questions - important information for people preparing to join us in China!

Accommodation and meals are provided free of charge at your programme. Most added extras are also provided free of charge so your personal costs are kept to a minimum, including free

You will need to pay for your own flights, visa and travel within China but will receive meals and accommodation at the programmes. You will then only need money for extra food and drinks and activities outside the programme. For reference or for estimating cost of post-programme tourism, please find some prices of common items below (all prices are averages and vary depending on your location)

  • one litre of Qingdao beer in a bar: C¥3-30
  • a meal in a good restaurant: C¥30 yuan per dish
  • snacks from street vendors: C¥5-10 per item
  • a short taxi journey in most cities costs C¥15-25, journeys of an hour can cost C¥100
  • accommodation in a dorm room in a normal backpacker hostel: C¥30-80
  • an overnight journey of 10 hours or less on a train with a bed: under C¥200

*It is possible to have an interesting time travelling around China after our programmes on a shoestring budget of around 4000RMB/month

**At the time of writing C¥10 was equivalent to £1.10 or US$1.44

Other major costs include

  • flights: we are usually able to suggest cost savings and partnerships with Chinese travel agents that make it possible to get return flights to China from the UK for around £400-500, or from the USA for upwards of $800.
  • visa costs vary by nationality based on diplomatic circumstances and reciprocal fee rates, this link takes you to the Chinese government’s official visa service centre site where you can find out more: 
    • British passport holders must pay £151 to the Chinese consular visa processing centre for a visa. We recommend visas are processed with the help of an agency, this is to ensure that forms are filled in correctly the first time to prevent extra expenses from visa rejections and time-delays (missed flights etc.) Currently we advise UK applicants to process with the help of UVSUK who offer well-reviewed services and offer a 50% discount for Gotoco applicants (£25 service fee+£8 postage)

We are not legally permitted to advise on vaccinations and travel/health insurance. It is up to you to research both and you are advised to take both seriously (please read through our FAQs for further information on both).

Once your programme is confirmed, you will be directed on how to buy flights and upload your arrival and departure information into a webform for the partner schools to view.

Please also read this FAQ on direct flights to China and this one on flights with layovers. You can also check this FAQ to learn about arrival procedures, and this one to learn about visas.

Once your programme is confirmed, you will be directed on how to buy flights and upload your arrival and departure information into a webform for the partner schools to view.

Please also read this FAQ on direct flights to China and this one on flights with layovers. You can also check this FAQ to learn about arrival procedures, and this one to learn about visas.

Chinese visa costs vary depending on your passport type and the duration of stay and number of entries you may need in China. Some nationalities have their visas for free while others must pay a price. British passports, for example, incur a total cost of £151 but luckily get longer stays/numbers of entries than other European passports, you can read more about pricing at this helpful link

We usually advise our participants to process their visa application with the help of a local China visa expert agency, this can add to the overall price. For example, our trusted UK agent adds a £15 commission while our North American agents add $30-50. We suggest this because the Chinese visa application is quite a difficult process and working with an agent ensures that you a/obtain the correct and most legally appropriate visa, b/ avoid mistakes on your application which could cost you a penalty charge (sometimes China charges you double price if errors in your application cause you to resubmit your visa application.c/ get treated well, looked after by experts, and charged a fair price