Rural Individual Volunteering

Get to know another side of China, while participating in an individual volunteer placement with Stepping Stones!

  • Dengfeng, Henan 2017


  • To bring outside support to neglected students;
  • To encourage English learning among students outside of the major cities;
  • To connect communities and promote responsible high-impact volunteering.

Key Information:

  • Minimum of one week
  • During school term time (September-January, February-June) or summer holidays (July-August)
  • Teaching 3-4 (40 min) lessons, 5 days per week
  • Class size: approximately 40-50 students in schools or 10-20 students in community centers
  • Schools or community centers outside of Shanghai


Rural children and young adults, including migrant and ‘left-behind’ children

Provided by Stepping Stones:

  • Accommodation and domestic transportation costs (for placements of 3 weeks or more only)
  • Online Orientation
  • Placement Briefing
  • Teacher Training
  • Access to teaching resources (for example lesson plans, flashcards, game ideas, etc.)
  • Liaison with partner school or organization


  • 18 years or older
  • Individually arrange and pay for visa, insurance, meals, any international transport, etc.
  • If less than three weeks, cover the transport and accommodation costs individually
  • Speak English fluently (native-level English NOT required)

Get involved:

Register as a volunteer here.

After registration all volunteers must complete our online Orientation, submit their resume, sign a supplementary volunteer agreement, and participate in an interview. Those accepted will attend a briefing and training session and we will confirm dates and location for placement.

For more information and questions regarding this program, please email our RIV Program Manager, Ann Zhao at

Volunteer & Partner Testimonials:

“I think this trip exceeded my expectations, and definitely expanded my views on what is considered “rural,” in China, and also opened my eyes to the education system in rural areas. Honestly, before leaving on the trip, I was apprehensive about the environment and what awaited me in Taohuajiang. What did I get myself into, signing up for rural volunteering? What would the kids be like? What were their English levels? What were the teachers like? By the end of my first week in Taohuajiang, I felt more comfortable both in the town and at the school, which was aided by the wonderful teachers and students at the school. Furthermore, my experience really opened my eyes to the differences between the education systems between more urban and rural areas, allowing me to see how much more support those in rural areas need.” (Connie Yuan, volunteer – Taojiang County, Hunan – Oct-Nov 2018)

“Stepping Stones allows volunteers to enjoy an enriching experience with children from rural China and to explore the difference between Chinese cities. I learned to prepare a course, explain and teach it to the students.” (Sebastien Brion – Luyi, Henan – June 2018)

“I experienced how much power a teacher could have over his/her students so that being a teacher implies great responsibility. I want to dedicate myself to the education sector in the future.” (Zhou Luoyi, Yuzhong, Gansu – EGRC – July 2018)

“Volunteering with EGRC and Stepping Stones allowed me to see firsthand the transformational and life-changing value of education. I had a fantastic time and experience and would highly recommend it to anyone considering it!” (Emmelyn Wu – Longxi, Gansu – EGRC – July 2018)

“I learned how to deal with kids. Before I always thought they are annoying, but now I find them cute and smart. For the kids, I think it’s good for them to have a relaxing learning environment and a friendly teacher, because they are too stressed out at school… The highlight was on the last day when a student asked us if we could come next year. That was when I felt I succeeded as a teacher. ”  (Nevile Wang – Qiuzhuang, Jiangsu – July-Aug 2018)

“The training I received beforehand really helped me. I was feeling kind of nervous because it was the first time for me to ever teach children, let alone teach children English in a foreign country. But during the training I was given tips to help me make the children behave, ideas about games I could play during class. It brought me a lot of joy and also a sense of pride when students could answer my questions, especially when I tested them by asking somewhat difficult questions.” (Hannelore Vervoort – Sangzhi, Hunan – April 2017)

“I didn’t really know what to expect or didn’t really think much of what I should expect. I was surprised with Henan. You can still feel traditions you can’t easily grasp in the big cities. People are friendly, open and very curious. Our students were always playing with huge bugs, which made me smile a lot.” (Isabelle Roske – Dengfeng, Henan – July 2017)

 “If you are considering taking part in a Volunteer Placement with Stepping Stones, definitely do it! The experience will offer a completely new view on China, give you the chance to make a very real difference to the lives of ambitious students, and be one of the most rewarding and inspirational things you do.” (Helen Roxburgh – Longxi, Gansu – August 2017).