These are exciting times to visit China, so it’s ideal for gap year travel. It may be emerging as an economic superpower, but it’s still a country in development, and one that’s not all that used to visitors. You’ll find yourself that much closer to the everyday reality of a land that has purposely kept itself apart from the rest of the world for centuries. Beijing alone has the imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City and the elegance of colonial Art Deco alongside the new buildings that appear almost daily, and the clash of ancient and modern is the same all over the country.
In China, adventure travel takes on almost mythical proportions: you can climb into the clouds on Huang Shan, follow the Great Wall across the landscape, make your own pilgrimage to Tibet and the holy city of Lhasa, or trek into the impossibly deep Tiger Leaping Gorge. These are truly experiences you’ll find nowhere else.
Away from the big cities and the former colonies of Hong Kong and Macau, the cost of living in China is still low, so it’s good for student travel. Meanwhile, transport is efficient (bordering on space-age in places) and getting more so all the time. You can get around this vast country with little trouble, whether you’re heading for the Great Wall, to view the extraordinary terracotta army in Xian or simply bussing around Beijing.
The best way to really explore the life and culture of China is to get involved with volunteer work. We have projects on offer including conservation work with the giant panda, and there are also opportunities for paid teaching of English.