Have you always dreamed of studying abroad? If you want to go to China, you can learn about a fascinating culture while expanding your career prospects. Plus, you’ll solidify your mastery of the language and build a lifetime’s worth of memories in a few short weeks or months.

The primary barrier many people face to studying abroad is the financial burden, but there are ways you can ease the economic load. Here are seven ways that you can travel and study abroad in China without breaking the bank. All it takes to see the world is a touch of creativity.

1. Teach ESL in China

If you look at nearly any internet job board, you’ll find scores of opportunities to teach overseas in China. You don’t have to be a certified English teacher in many cases as long as you have your bachelor’s degree. Many programs provide housing as well as a generous stipend — you could return home in significantly better financial shape than when you left.

2. Become an Au Pair

What is an au pair? If you are unfamiliar with the term, it’s similar to a nanny — but it consists of more than changing diapers. Many families prefer assistants who have degrees because they want someone to help the kids with their homework. You may also perform household chores, like tending to the laundry and preparing meals.

One significant advantage of this method for financing your travel in China experience is building your language skills. You will have the perfect opportunity to practice your fluency without feeling foolish. Since you’ll enjoy adult conversation and interaction with younger native speakers, your host family can gently correct any mistakes — it’s much less embarrassing than uttering a faux pas in public. Plus, you’ll primarily communicate with the children you mind, and they often resort to visual clues to clarify meaning.

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3. Spend a Semester in College Abroad

Compared to the high cost of education in America, you might find it less expensive to study abroad than in the States. For example, a semester at Sichuan University, for a bargain compared to many state universities in the U.S. Plus, you’ll find that the cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment near major city centers is significantly lower than most areas here.

Talk to your advisor. They can provide you with specifics about various programs and help you make the right decision. They can also ensure you take the requisite credits to graduate on time, adventure abroad and all.

7 unique ways to study abroad in China

4. Enroll in a Summer Study Program

Maybe your graduation is approaching quickly and you don’t want to risk potential credit snafus. That’s understandable. Even if you take the recommended 15 credits per semester to complete your studies in four years, a single missed required class can postpone your cap and gown. Why not enroll in a summer study program? That way, you can keep your fall and spring semesters on point for graduation.

5. Find an Internship

Internships can provide valuable work experience and give you a foot in the door when it comes to hiring for upper-level positions. You have two approaches you can choose from — investigate completely Chinese organizations or seek partnership opportunities with international firms. If you’re fortunate enough to work part-time for such an organization while you’re in school, talk to your employer. If you have consistently performed well, and they have a need, they might fund your trip.

6. Participate in a Cultural Exchange

A cultural exchange occurs when students or athletes from one nation travel to another to learn about diversity and promote mutual understanding. Your school might have such a program — you may have heard of foreign exchange students. Why not become one yourself?

If you are rapidly approaching graduation, don’t feel dismayed. You can find virtual pen pal and language learning programs that help you form friendships overseas. Once you gain familiarity, you can arrange for visits.

6. Participate in a Cultural Exchange

A cultural exchange occurs when students or athletes from one nation travel to another to learn about diversity and promote mutual understanding. Your school might have such a program — you may have heard of foreign exchange students. Why not become one yourself?

If you are rapidly approaching graduation, don’t feel dismayed. You can find virtual pen pal and language learning programs that help you form friendships overseas. Once you gain familiarity, you can arrange for visits.

7. Swap Work for Lodging

Like Europe, China has hostels that offer inexpensive lodging to students and other travelers with limited financial means. Some of these accept forms of payment other than currency. If you are the handy sort, you might be able to swap light construction and maintenance labor for a roof over your head. The answer is always “no” if you don’t ask — so prepare your pitch in Mandarin or Cantonese and go for it.

How to Travel and Study Abroad in China on the Cheap

If you want to travel or study abroad in China, you might hesitate for financial reasons. Thankfully, the seven tips above can help you live the dream and learn more about another culture.

About the Author

Alyssa Abel is a college, career and learning writer who loves to talk about travel, study abroad and lifestyle. Follow more of her work on her blog, Syllabusy.

Shanghai Summer School strives to provide you with a summer experience unlike any other. The summer school is primarily about learning the Chinese language in an immersive way, but it’s also about going out and discovering a new culture and making meaningful connections with its people. We would even go as far as to say that delving headfirst into the bustling metropolis of Shanghai will allow one to adopt a new and expanded worldview, and a deeper understanding of cultures different than our own.

The knowledge of new languages combined with heightened cultural sensitivity and awareness has become ever more important in the global world we live in today.

About the Author

Alyssa Abel is a college, career and learning writer who loves to talk about travel, study abroad and lifestyle. Follow more of her work on her blog, Syllabusy.