Gotoco

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, 11th January 2021

Key Summary

  • Applications for summer 2022 are open—you can apply here
  • Summer 2020 and 2021 offers have been deferred to 2022. We will contact offer holders about next steps when we start the programme matching process in 2022. 
  • China is operating a zero-covid strategy with closed borders, but may relax its border policy when it reaches 80-85% vaccination rate across the country. For now, we aren’t promoting China projects.
  • We have developed programmes in new destinations around Europe and Asia to create more opportunities for you to get travelling and earn your TEFL in 2022—these include:
  • Thailand programmes: from March, we invite 30 people to join us for funded TEFL training and teaching in Thailand. Check this page for more info.
  • Europe programmes: we are offering summer TEFL programmes across Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. We will soon publish this on our website, meanwhile you can apply anyway here
  • UK programmes: we also have bespoke programmes running in the UK for people studying at colleges in North America. We will soon publish this on our website, meanwhile you can apply anyway here
  • We will keep you updated on COVID-19’s impact on summer 2022 programming throughout the year.
  • Refundable deposits for summer 2022 give you immediate access to our online TEFL training.

 

Latest Update from the Gotoco Team

 

It’s time to start travelling again! With vaccination rates increasing, countries around the world are re-opening their borders and allowing us all to pack our bags and meet old and new friends around the globe. Thailand, the USA, Vietnam, Australia, and many other countries have all announced easing restrictions, while European travel has been open for a few months already.

China’s borders remain closed, but one of the country’s leading medical experts has hinted that they may consider opening up by the end of this year, once the national vaccination rate reaches 80-85%.

What does this all mean for Gotoco programmes in 2022?

Thank you all for your continued support and interest in our programmes throughout 2020 and 2021. It has been a very difficult couple of years for everyone but we’re excited that there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel and an opportunity for us all to start travelling again in 2022. 

While we hope that China’s borders will open for travel in 2022, we are also developing new programmes in countries that have been popular in a survey we have been running among Gotoco’ers over the last few years. We hope you’ll have even more options for travel and TEFL internships with us in 2022, and with all the usual perks: a funded TEFL, free meals and accommodation, language lessons, and a holiday at the end. 

We will provide further announcements about these exciting locations in Europe and Asia in early 2022, and will keep you updated about China’s border policy over the coming months. 

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.

Let’s get travelling!

Richard, Lisha and Danny

Gotoco Co-Founders


FAQs:

Can I apply now? When will my place be confirmed?

Yes, applications are open now! You can apply on this link. 

We are currently reviewing applications and approving successful applicants. However, our matching process is paused until we are able to confirm the exact numbers and locations for our China and new destination programmes in summer 2022. We expect our matching process to start in early spring 2022 to give you plenty of time to plan your summer.

What happens if I pay a deposit but am unable to join a programme in summer 2022 due to COVID-19?

All deposits are fully protected in Paypal.

For summer 2022, we are launching programmes in several new destinations to make sure that you’ll be able to get abroad and earn a TEFL certificate. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions are subject to change and are out of our control. Your deposit remains fully protected and refundable if travel restrictions do not allow you to join one of our programmes and you have not completed our online TEFL certification. 

I deferred my place for summer 2021, what do I need to do?

All offers for summer 2021 have been deferred to 2022, including those deferred from 2020. You do not need to do anything more for now and we will be in contact early in 2022 to confirm your updated dates of availability and preferences.

You can also access recordings from our Global Career Launchpad this summer by going to this page. If you have any issues accessing the content because you didn’t register in the summer, just let us know by email and we’ll be able to help. 

How can I request a deposit refund for summer 2021? 

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.

Please note that you cannot request a deposit refund if you have completed the TEFL certification or joined our Global Career Launchpad in the summer, as the deposit goes towards some of the admin costs for running these courses. If you join one of our summer programmes in future, the TEFL costs will be fully funded and you’ll be eligible for a deposit refund. 

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