Cultural exchange in Asia
Summer EduCamp Program
Join our unique cultural exchange programs - applications open now for summer 2021!
Spend your summer at camps across Asia! Our unique cultural and teaching exchange programs combine classroom teaching, one-on-one tutoring or activity leadership with genuine cultural exchange.
Early bird discount: Apply before 30th September 2020 to reduce your total program fee from £249 to just £199!
The program was phenomenal! There were various different aspects that I enjoyed – from teaching the kids and playing with them to really getting to grips with the outside areas such as Luanping and Chengde.
It was absolutely fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
I enjoyed so many different aspects of the program. I loved working with the kids who were so friendly, funny and sweet.
I also enjoyed spending time with the other volunteers at the camp, it was great to meet so many new people!
It was one of the best summers I’ve ever had, the programme totally immerses you in a new culture. Straight off the plane you’re confronted with new foods and customs.
I’d highly recommend the homestay week as it’s the kind of experience you won’t get anywhere else, it takes a native to really show off Beijing
I had a wonderful time, and really enjoyed experiencing the Chinese culture.
I learnt a lot about Chinese culture and developed my teaching skills. The experiences was also helpful in improving my confidence talking to large groups.
I had such an amazing time and was able to meet such amazing people and lifelong friends along the way, all while being able to challenge myself in the classroom as a foreign teacher and as an individual traveling alone in a new country. It was an honor to be 老师 Lǎoshī to such amazing kids!
Absolutely, I would recommend to a friend! Not only do you get to go to another country on essentially the other side of the world, for free, but you also get an incredible experience that’s sure to help you in whatever you end up going into in the future.
It’s definitely a great way to spend your summer – I’ve learnt so much and I think this kind of experience you wouldn’t really have got in other ways.
It’s a very unique program – you’re teaching what you’re passionate about and you’re also exploring all of this environment around you.
After spending a summer in China on the EduCamp program, I would whole-heartily say that such an experience was rewarding, educational and recreational at the same time.
For anyone out there considering starting off a teaching career or even trying it out over the summer I could not recommend the Abridge programs or any similar programs enough.
The Beijing camp exceeded my expectations. I have met such funny and interesting people on this programme, it has been lovely getting to know everyone and teaching the students. I am very happy I decided to do the camp!
I learned how to assert myself in the classroom and take control of the room while also keeping the class entertained.
The program was a great way to experience the education system in Asia.
As someone looking to be a future teacher, I was able to try many of my teaching techniques and gauge the responses and effectiveness on children overseas.
One of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. I learned so much on this trip. Truly grateful for the experience.
You learn so much from your peers and students. You get to visit all the museums and landmarks in Beijing. You also meet so many amazing people in this program.
The program was so much fun! I learnt so much and met some amazing people. I really enjoyed teaching and getting to know a class and see how they progress with the help and new skills given to them.
It is a great way to travel, gain teaching experience, speak to new people and learn so much.
My experience in China was phenomenal! I met so many different people as well as students and teachers from different walks of life. I learned so much from these people.
This definitely was an experience of a lifetime and one I would recommend to all.
The program was a great experience for personal growth and learning.
Teaching the kids was exciting and challenging at times but always rewarding.
Through teaching I was able to take on responsibility, leading my own lessons, as well as bonding with the kids in extracurricular activities including an amazing waterfight, and I learnt valuable skills from them too, from the dance routine of ‘what makes you beautiful’ to basic mandarin.
When I first arrived in Beijing, I was full of hope that the next six weeks would go well. Looking back now, they far exceeded my expectations!
I learned a lot about teaching, China, and myself. I’m so glad that I had this opportunity and would definitely encourage those interested to apply!
It was a fantastic chance to try out teaching as a profession – gaining experience in everything from lesson planning to assessments, as well as hands-on teaching experience and being able to run fun activity sessions.
Overall, my time volunteering as an English teacher was both an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience
This opportunity was actually great as a first experience of travelling to China. The fact that the teachers and teaching assistants from the school were there to pick me up from the airport, to introduce me to some local customs and obviously translate things meant that I didn’t feel left alone and overwhelmed.
By far one of the best experiences! I have learned so much about my potential that I didn’t know existed when it came to teaching.
It was such a privilege teaching the students and bonding with them. They had so much enthusiasm and drive to learn English and putting it into practice. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing and seeing the evidence that I’ve made an impact on the students’ lives.
I had such a wonderful time teaching and exploring China this summer! The children who attended the summer camp were so bright and lovely, and all of the administration, faculty, and staff wanted to ensure that everyone was safe, comfortable, and having a blast!
We partner with camps across China, Taiwan and Japan – you could find yourself anywhere from major cities such as Beijing or Shanghai through to more rural outdoor adventure programs in the mountains of Japan! During the application process, you are invited to express a preference for a particular camp type (e.g. country, urban/ rural and English teaching/ STEM/ outdoor adventure), and we do our best to take these into consideration when placing successful applicants.
Camps will typically be 3-10 weeks starting from early July. Further details will be released closer to the time, and you will be informed of the program dates before confirming your place.
To maximise your chances of being successfully placed on a camp, please ensure you specify your maximum availability this summer. This is particularly important if you are interested in our new camps outside of mainland China which tend to require a longer time commitment.
EduCamp is very different to your standard holiday or “voluntourism” trip! This is a bidirectional cultural exchange program with a significant teaching element, and as such we expect interns to behave and act as professionals. That being said, there will be plenty of opportunities to travel, with free trips and cultural workshops included during the summer camp and the opportunity to travel around Asia afterwards – with three days of free accommodation included in your package!
We are looking for EduCampers who are passionate about education and cultural exchange, as well as having the skills and experience to have a real impact during the program. Therefore, we operate a competitive application process:
- Initial application – complete our simple online application form
- Online interview via Zoom or Skype – this is an opportunity for you to find out more about the program and for us to learn about your motivations and interests
- Initial deposit due – successful applicants will be asked to pay a £99 deposit to secure your place (only £49 for early bird applications!)
- Onboarding – you can now begin preparing for your experience, including filling out our detailed onboarding form (everything from camp preferences and dietary requirements to your t-shirt size!) and applying for your police record check
- Camp matching process – we will allocate you to a camp, taking into account your preferences, skills and experience. Note that a small number of particularly popular camps may require an additional interview.
- Confirmation fee due – to accept your place at camp, you are required to pay the remaining £150 of the program fee.
- Pre-departure preparations – once you know more about your camp, you can begin your TEFL training course to prepare lesson plans, as well as organise logistics such as flights and visas.
Due to the funding generously provided by host schools, local visa restrictions and the internship responsibilities, applicants must meet the following essential eligibility requirements:
- Be a current student or recent graduate (including gap year students);
- Aged 18 or over on 1st July 2021;
- Have a valid passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia, or be an EU national with experience studying in one of these countries;
- Have a clean criminal record
Additional restrictions may apply for camps outside of mainland China due to the working holiday visa requirements.
Additionally, there is a competitive application process for which applicants will be judged against the following criteria:
- Previous voluntary, teaching or childcare experience;
- A demonstrated passion for teaching, volunteering and working with children;
- Commitment to full participation in all aspects of the summer camp program;
- Passion and excellence in activities or sports played in afternoon activity time;
- Level of spoken and written English;
- Previous experience travelling or living abroad;
- Ability to adapt to different cultures and work environments
Although the majority of our programs are aimed at international EduCampers interested in the cultural exchange experience, we do have a small number of opportunities for those with the right to live and work in our program countries and experience studying abroad. These include:
- Teaching at a camp for Chinese high school students preparing their university applications to study in the UK/ USA
- Volunteering as a teaching assistant/ co-teacher on our English language camps
- Working as a bilingual camp counsellor on outdoor adventure camps in Japan
- Internships with Abridge Academy visiting and monitoring our programs, collecting feedback and providing support
Note that these positions may have alternative financial arrangements to our standard program and may involve a different application process. Teaching positions are particularly competitive, as camps will be considering you alongside local applicants.
There is absolutely no requirement to know the local language, indeed the vast majority of applicants do not. All camps have English speaking staff responsible for helping you over the summer, and you will generally be paired with a bilingual teaching assistant or teacher in the classroom. Some camps will even offer you some free language classes!
We encourage applications from all individuals, and do our best to accommodate those with additional needs. However, please do be aware that the facilities and awareness in some countries is not to the same level as in the west. For example, schools do not typically have lifts or disabled toilets, which may pose a particular challenge to those with physical disabilities.
If you have any concerns about living in Asia, please do let us know at the initial application stage.
Although we cannot make any guarantees, we do endeavour to place EduCampers together if they request – this is usually possible as long as you apply early and are flexible your on camp placement. Please mention your friends’ names on your initial application form.
The majority of EduCampers do not know anyone before they come, don’t worry! We put you in touch with other participants (from all camp locations and our other international programs) before departure via a dedicated facebook group, enabling you to get to know each other and plan post-camp travels if you wish.
At camp, EduCampers typically share dorm rooms with each other, participate in cultural activities, and go on camp trips. This camp atmosphere provides plenty of opportunities to get to know each other and make life-long friends.
Qualified STEM/ Economics teachers (PGCE or QTS) are particularly recommended to express a preference for subject teaching camps, which provide you with the opportunity to broaden your experience by teaching abroad and working with children for whom English is an Additional Language.
Alternatively, you are welcome to join our standard English language camps, which also offer a valuable experience and less intense schedule. Some potential benefits include:
– Experience teaching students with English as an Additional Language
– Diversity your CV with different age ranges and subjects
– Gain international teaching experience
– Receive specialist training in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
On most classroom-based camps, you will be responsible for planning, preparing and leading lessons to classes of students. Most camps focus on teaching English and English culture, however there may also be opportunities to teach topics related to your degree. We also have a small number of STEM camps, which involve teaching your degree subject through project-based learning to high school students interested in studying abroad. Alongside your teaching responsibilities, you will also be expected to contribute more widely to camp activities, as well as engage with the cultural workshops and trips.
Alternatively, our outdoor adventure camps offer the opportunity to coach children learning particular sports, lead more adventure-based activities and really engage in the traditional American-style summer camp environment, with lots of camp activities and games. Note that these camps may require longer hours and less comfortable living environments, often in camp “bunks” with a group of children, but are a lot of fun if you love the outdoors!
The camp schedule does vary significantly between summer camps, and improvements are made to each camp every year. Therefore, it is not possible to provide a detailed schedule in advance. However, expect there to be a mixture of classroom teaching, afternoon sports/ games and evening activities. Most camps will also include activity days or visits to local sights, and during your days off they generally organise additional activities/ trips for EduCampers to enjoy.
All summer camps provide:
- Return flights from your country of origin (a maximum reimbursement value will apply)
- Accommodation in school dormitories
- Visa invite letter
- Canteen meals or a food allowance
- Online TEFL training course
- Airport pick-up
- Trips to local sights
- Cultural activities and workshops
- Three days free accommodation for your post-camp travels
However, please note that there is some variation between each host school in terms of the quality of accommodation/ food provided or the trips/ cultural activities available.
Interns will be responsible for any additional costs outside the program, for example visa application fees, evening meals out, post-camp travel or souvenirs.
Although our camps are very well funded, thanks to generous support from sponsoring schools, there are a few additional costs participants will need to budget for. Please note that all costs below are approximate and subject to change.
- Visa application fee (£151 for UK citizens)
- Police record check / DBS check / International Child Protection Certificate (£0-£60)
- Vaccinations (£0-£175 depending on previous vaccination records)
- Travel insurance (£30-£50)
- Transport to airport at end of camp (£5-£30)
- Personal spending, souvenirs and meals out
- Pre/ post- camp travel
We encourage EduCampers to apply for additional funding available through their university or college and are happy to write a supporting letter if required.
Additionally, each year we offer a small number of “media scholarships” for EduCampers willing to help us out with blog posts, social media features etc. over the summer. These are prioritised for those meeting certain widening participation criteria but all are welcome to apply! Further details will be sent to successful applicants shortly before the summer.
You will generally be accommodated in the school’s dormitories, which are similar to budget youth hostels in style. This typically involves staying in bunk beds (generally 4-6 people per room) with either an ensuite or shared bathroom. Although all accommodation meets local standards, please do not expect the same quality as you may have in your home country – dorm rooms may be very small or basic, toiletries and towels are rarely provided, and the room may not be sparkling clean when you arrive. This is all part of the experience!
Note that some camps offer alternative accommodation arrangements, such as a homestay – this is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the local culture in a more comfortable living environment.
You are welcome to travel before or after the summer camp program provided that the duration of your visa allows you to do so. We even offer you three nights of free accommodation you can use as you wish! Please note that the program does require a full time commitment, and most camps will run over weekends. Therefore, please do not make any travel plans during the summer camp program unless you have confirmed it directly with your camp director. Your host school will also provide you with trips to local sights of interest.
All host schools are able to issue visa invite letters, which you can use to apply for the appropriate visa at your local visa application centre or embassy. Please note that you are responsible for the cost and process of applying for a visa. Although Abridge Academy may provide informal advice, we cannot be held responsible should your visa be rejected or you choose to participate in the program on an inappropriate visa type.
All EduCampers are encouraged to complete our free, internationally accredited online TEFL training course. This aims to provide you will the skills needed to teach English at summer camp – covering topics such as lesson planning, suggested class activities, language teaching methods, and top tips for engaging students in lessons. Many former EduCampers have used their TEFL qualification to apply for online or overseas teaching positions upon completion of the program!
Don’t worry though, we have worked hard to ensure the course is easily accessible and quick to complete, without complex background theory, providing directly implementable tips for teaching English.