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, 1st April 2021

 

Key Summary

  • Applications are still open for summer 2021—you can apply here
  • We will make a final decision on if programmes can go ahead by 31 May 2021 at the latest
  • If you have already applied, we encourage you to continue with your application so that you can be ready to confirm your trip quickly if programmes can go ahead
  • All interviews for summer programmes in China are on pause until we can give the green light to our programmes to avoid issues around individual programme cancellations
  • We are ready to move quickly with interviews and support for visas and flights as soon as we can give the green light for the summer
  • If we have to cancel our summer programmes, offer holders will be able to defer their place to summer 2022 and access our TEFL training and courses this year, or withdraw and receive a deposit refund
  • If programmes go ahead and you hold an offer but can’t go to China due to COVID, then you will be able to defer your place to summer 2022 and access our TEFL and courses this year, or withdraw and receive a deposit refund
  • We are unable to consider deposit refunds until we make our final decision on if programmes can go ahead in May 

Latest Update from the Gotoco Team

As Spring arrives, COVID vaccinations continue at pace, and lockdowns start to ease (at least in the UK), we’re getting excited for a very fun summer and very much hope that we’ll be able to welcome Gotoco’ers to China in July and August. 

The COVID pandemic is largely under control in China. Our school and summer camp partners across the country are planning fun and engaging camps for their students and are keeping their fingers crossed that they’ll be able to meet Gotoco’ers, take you all out for some dumplings or hot pot, and spend the summer with you on our programme.

Restrictions on travel do, however, remain, and we will only be able to welcome you to China safely if they are lifted and quarantine rules are relaxed, as explained in our February announcement below. China’s government has made positive moves in re-opening visa centres and allowing more international travel to China over the last few weeks. We are hopeful that this positive trend will continue, but we must wait for further announcements over the coming weeks.

We will make a final decision on if our China summer programmes can go ahead by 31 May 2021 at the latest, and thank you for your patience while we ensure that you can have a safe and fun summer in China.

When will I find out my final programme location?

For now, all interviews are on pause until we make our final decision on if programmes can go ahead in May. This is to avoid complications caused by individual programme cancellations and to ensure you are given the full information you need all in one go before your interview. 

If we get the green light for travel and programmes in May, then we are ready to organise interviews for successful applicants and confirm everything quickly for all Gotoco’ers. 

What happens if Gotoco’ers cannot visit China in 2021?
 
While we are still working hard to make programmes possible this year, if they can’t go ahead or if you can’t join due to COVID and you have confirmed your offer, then you will have the choice to either stay in our programme and defer your offer to summer 2022, or withdraw and have your deposit returned. Those that stay in the programme will have a confirmed offer for summer 2022 and will be able to access our TEFL training and professional development course this summer. You can find more details about this below in our February announcement and we will release more details after our announcement in May if programmes can’t go ahead.
 
Keep your fingers crossed!
 

The absolutely most important aspect of all of this is that the pandemic comes under control around the world. We are extremely grateful to everyone working hard to contain the spread of the virus, increase vaccinations, and doing anything they can to support others through this difficult time. 

When it is safe to do so, we will do everything we can to support you in having a fun, exciting, impactful, and adventurous summer in China. 

Applications are still open, so if you haven’t applied yet then please do apply today!
 
We can’t wait to welcome you to China again, as soon as it’s safe and sensible to travel.
 
All our best wishes
 
Richard Lloyd, Lisha Tang, and Danny Parrott
 
The Gotoco Team
 

 

Coronavirus Update, 24th February 2021

We are feeling optimistic—early indications show that the tide is turning against COVID:

  • The UK Prime Minister sensationally announced yesterday that Britain is now “travelling on a one-way road to freedom”
  • The new administration in the US is starting to get to grips with the pandemic there
  • Around the world, vaccines are clearly beginning to make a real difference

We are confident that, for many reasons, summer 2021 will be a fun one. But what does this mean for Gotoco?

Will the Gotoco programme go ahead in 2021?

Our partner programmes in China would love to welcome Gotoco’ers back in July-August 2021, and we are constantly working hard to make this possible.

While we remain optimistic, there are two major factors that could prevent this:

  1. Visas: China’s consulates/embassies are not issuing visas in countries that haven’t got COVID very firmly under control. As countries recover, it is expected that China will relax this policy. If your country has a lid on COVID, it is expected that you would be able to get a visa to join our programmes, and we will be there to support you through this process.
  2. Quarantines: even in areas that have COVID well under control, China is enforcing an extensive 14-21 day period of hotel quarantine on arrival. We wouldn’t expect to run our programmes at scale if extensive quarantines are in place in the summer. But, as China vaccinates its population, COVID passports come into use, and the world recovers, we expect changes to the quarantine periods. Policies are changing quickly and we are optimistic that Gotoco’ers will be able to visit China in the summer.

If these two roadblocks are resolved, and conditions are safe, our projects will go ahead. For this reason, we are currently accepting applications and plan to run our programmes at pre-COVID scale. If you want to get away and travel this summer, while developing your CV, then apply now!

We will keep working hard to make the programmes happen —we know how much everyone wants to get back to exploring the world.

What happens if Gotoco’ers cannot visit China in 2021?

We still expect our programmes to go ahead and will take a final decision at the end of May 2021 (although we aim to make an announcement earlier if possible!).

If you have applied and our projects cannot go ahead in the summer, then, as in 2020, we would offer you a choice:

  • Stay in our programme: those that remain with us would be able to roll their offer over to 2022 and gain access to our TEFL training this year for free. We are also excited to be offering a new personal and professional development course to support all Gotoco’ers into finding and preparing for the right career for them. This course and related opportunities (watch this space!) will also be made available to those that stay in our programme.
  • Withdraw from our programme: if the programmes cannot go ahead or you cannot visit China due to COVID, then you will be able to refund your commitment deposit (minus a small PayPal fee if it’s over 6 months since you paid your deposit—more info here). You would still be welcome to apply again in 2022, but would be at the back of a long queue of deferrees from 2020 and 2021.

Right now, you do not need to decide to cancel, nor should you be 100% sure that you can come. When it becomes clear if the programmes can go ahead or not, we will send you all the information you need—our final decision will come at the end of May 2021 (at the latest).

Hang in there!

We can’t wait to welcome Gotoco’ers to China again and for everyone to be able to travel, meet new people from all over the world, and get involved in exciting projects (offline!).

If the world is safe enough, we will do everything we can to offer a fantastic, fun, and well-supported adventure in China.

So please apply if you are interested. We hope to see you in China, soon…

Danny Parrott, Richard Lloyd, Lisha Tang

The Gotoco Team


Coronavirus Update, 2nd October 2020

Summary

  • Applications for summer 2021 now open
  • COVID-19 is under control in China and we expect international travellers to be welcomed safely into the country in 2021
  • Summer 2020 offers deferred to 2021 (deadline for confirming deferral is 15 March 2021)
  • We will keep you updated on COVID-19’s impact on summer 2021 programming throughout the year
  • Refundable deposits for summer 2021 give you immediate access to our online TEFL training
  • Refundable deposits are fully protected and you will be able to request a refund if COVID-19 disrupts your plans (as long as you have not completed your online TEFL certification, more info below)

All of us here at Gotoco would like to thank you again for your continued support and understanding over the summer during turbulent times as the world has tried to get to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic. As a new academic year begins, we want to provide you with clarity on our programmes for summer 2021 to allow you to plan for the year ahead.

Applications for summer 2021 are now open!

COVID-19 is under control in China and we were very pleased to see our partner camps and schools running programmes around the country in July and August to give children a much-needed break from online learning and to allow them to do fun activities in the summer months. Our partners very much missed welcoming Gotoco’ers though and can’t wait to see you all again in 2021!

While China’s borders are still closed to most international visitors, they have now opened for foreign nationals holding valid residence permits. We expect the borders to open for Gotoco’ers before summer 2021 and will keep working with our partners in China to make our programmes safe for you. We will keep you up-to-date on government announcements throughout the coming months and will ensure you have all the information you need every step of the way.

If you are successful in your application and pay your commitment deposit for summer 2021, then the refundable deposit is fully protected and if you are unable to join us in China in summer 2021 after paying your deposit and you have not completed the online TEFL certification, then you will be able to defer to summer 2022 or request a refund.

All of us here at Gotoco hope you, your family, and friends are all keeping safe and well during the global pandemic. 

Best wishes

Richard, Lisha, Danny, and all the Gotoco Team

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