Summer English Programme

Something remarkable happens when people from different cultures start talking to one another. Language becomes an exchange of ideas rather than a text to be memorized. Culture becomes something to be touched, tasted and explored rather than simply imagined.

The Summer English Programme, sponsored by The Amity Foundation, is a way for Chinese teachers of English in more remote areas to gain more confidence in speaking and listening.  Volunteers are placed in teams, so even if you’ve never been in charge of a classroom before, you’ll have plenty of support! There is often a chance to attend church services alongside Chinese Christians, and volunteers are usually taken out on one or two cultural visits emphasising the local area by their Chinese hosts.

Chinese teachers attending the SEP see foreign friends engaged in service that directly benefits their communities, while volunteers gain a deeper understanding of an important and growing nation that is often misunderstood and misrepresented in their own countries.

Application process

Participant volunteers from the United Kingdom usually apply through the Friends of the Church in China. Meetings are held each year for prospective volunteers in March and May, and we will give you advice about costs, applying for financial support and obtaining a visa. You will also be given some ideas about the teaching programme.

The Summer English Programme starts in Nanjing in July, where foreign volunteers are given some training, and then teams travel to their placements where they will spend three weeks. At the end of the programme, in early August, teams travel to Shanghai for debriefing before returning home.

Students may be interested in the Summer English Camp which runs at the same time; volunteers work with children and young people, giving them language practice and organising games and other activities which will make learning fun.

Cost and meetings

It can cost up to £2,000 to take part, as volunteers pay for their air fares, insurance and visa, and also contribute US$1,200 towards costs within China including accommodation, most meals, and travelling. Financial support may be available, particularly for students, but your application for financial support should be made by 1st March in the year in which you hope to take part.

If you are interested in taking part in the Summer English Programme or Summer English Camp organised by the Amity Foundation, please read (link to leaflet in .pdf form) our leaflet. You will also find more information on The Amity Foundation website

If you are a fluent English speaker interested in offering a month of service in China, think about joining Amity’s Summer English Programme. Want to know more? Please e-mail giving brief information about yourself, your e-mail address and a contact phone number.

Due to the spread of COVID-19 in China during the early part of 2020, the Friends of the Church of China have decided not to participate in the Summer English Programme for 2020 but look forward to sending a team in 2021.