Global Volunteer's partners have guided our teams since 1996. The ancient history and vibrant economic development of Xi'an is alluring to tourists from all corners of the globe. Perhaps it's because Xi'an perches on layers of ancient cities of different names, surrounded by fertile farmland renewed yearly by the silt from the Yellow River. The Qin Dynasty - the first to unite all of China under one empire - was founded in Xi'an (then called Chang'an) in the third century BC. Long-lasting legacies included the first standard system of currency and written language. Until recent decades, China was a country of walled cities. Most were torn down to make way for urban expansion during the Cultural Revolution. Xi'an, however, is one of the few cities where the exterior wall remains, and is used as the backdrop for high-level contemporary political and cultural gatherings. Learn more about China's culture and people.
An inland province along the middle reaches of the Yellow River and a gateway to northwest China, Shaanxi links west with east and north with south. As Beijing is the political heart of China, Xi'an is its historical center. Several primary and secondary schools, along with public and private universities host Global Volunteers in Xi'an. Volunteers teach conversational English skills in classrooms and in small groups.
Kunming has long been called the "City of Eternal Spring" for it's temperate climate and vast natural attractions. Yunnan Province is home to 25 minority nationalities -- comprising almost 50 percent of the total ethnic groups in China. Within the modern city exists the old, previously walled city, a modern commercial district, residential and university areas. The city has an astronomical observatory, and its institutions of higher learning include Yunnan University, Yunnan Normal University and a medical college. On the outskirts is a famed bronze temple, dating from the Ming dynasty. Its economic importance derives from its geographical position. Positioned near the border with Southeastern Asian countries, serving as a transportation hub in Southwest China, linking by rail to Vietnam and by road to Burma and Laos. This positioning also makes it an important trade center in this region of the nation.
Outside the Host Communities: In land size alone, China is the fourth largest country in the world. For centuries, much of this mysterious nation was hidden from outsiders. But when traders and foreign adventurers explored within China's borders, they found mountains, high plateaus, deserts, plains, deltas, and hills that rivaled those of legends.
The world-renowned Chang Jiang (Yangtze) is China's longest river, traveling over 6,300 km through China's most economically developed regions. First constructed around 605 AD to serve commercial and military interests, The Grand Canal connects the Yangtze and the Yellow Rivers from north to south in the longest artificial waterway in the world.
China is an agricultural country. The Eastern third of the country--that portion east of the Tibetan Plateau and south of the Great Wall--forms the core of "China proper." The western region is comprised of mountains and deserts as well as plateaus that do not provide much arable land for agriculture. The densely settled North China Plain along the lower course of the Huang He includes the eighteen traditional provinces of imperial China, and can be divided into Northern China and Southern China.