Need help or further clarification? Here's a list of helpful articles and answers for frequently asked questions.
What is the Horizon Explorer Program?
The Horizon Explorer Program is an opportunity to go to China, live with a host family and mentor their children in a major Chinese city for 4-12 weeks, during summer or winter break. Learn more about Horizon Explorer Program
What is the Horizon Mentor Program?
The Horizon Mentor Program is an opportunity to go to China and live with a host family and mentor their children in a major Chinese city for 6-12 months, starting any time of the year. Learn more about Horizon Mentor Program
What is the Horizon Teacher Program?
The Horizon Teacher Program brings qualified teachers to China to live independently and work in schools with children aged 5-18. Applicants must be qualified to teach English in China, through one of multiple available credentials. Learn more about Horizon Teacher Program
How long are the programs?
Horizon Explorer lasts from 4-12 weeks, Horizon Mentor lasts from 3-6 months, and Horizon Teacher lasts from 1-2 years.
What are the costs of our programs?
Each program has a $500 deposit, refundable upon completion of the program. There are no extra fees associated with the programs. However, HCE does not cover the costs associated with obtaining a passport, Chinese visa, or visa-related documents. Your host family provides your room and board while you are in China. In addition, you’ll receive a monthly stipend of 1700RMB - 2800RMB (is it 1700-2800 or 2000-2400? Should be consistent across all pages), which more than covers recreational activities, day trip, dining out and shopping. Check out this article for more details on the cost of living in China, how to spend your stipend, and other topics relating to life in China in general.
Are my food and housing covered?
Before leaving for China, HCE will work with you to find a compatible host family. You’ll be able to get to know them over Skype and email before deciding on a family. Your host family will provide your meals while you’re in the house. Your monthly stipend will cover for times when you want to dine out by yourself or with friends.
What are my responsibilities while participating in the program?
Depending on whether you’re an Explorer or a Mentor, you will spend between 25 and 35 hours each week playing with, accompanying, and teaching the child or children of your host family. Host families hope to give their children an educational advantage by exposing them to the English language and American culture from an early age. You’ll be a combination of a big sibling and an au pair. The responsibilities of a Horizon Teacher are different from those of an Explorer or Mentor, and more like a standard English teacher. Learn more about your responsibilities in Horizon Teacher program
What can I do with my free time?
Since you’ll only need to spend 25-35 a week playing with and helping your host siblings, you’ll have plenty of free time. Spend it however you want! Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are full of exciting activities. Explore the city, take classes, play sports, or try delicious new foods…the possibilities are endless.
Can I talk to people who are in or have completed the program?
Absolutely! Just let us know and we’ll put you in contact with someone who is in or has completed one of our HCE programs to learn more from firsthand experience and see whether HCE is right for you.
How do I apply?
You can apply online here. Simply fill out and submit an application, and we’ll review it and reply within two business days.
How are students matched with families??
Once we receive your application, we create a profile for you and show it to prospective host families. When we find a possible match, we connect you via email and Skype to help you get to know each other decide whether you think you’ll make a good fit.
How long does the application process take?
The application takes about 6-8 weeks or less from submitting your application to booking your plane ticket. Make sure to consult our application flowchart, complete all documentation in a timely manner, and have a valid passport to help expedite the process.
How do I apply for a visa?
The application process varies by country, so consult your nearest Chinese consulate if you live in the United States or Canada for more information. In general, you will be required to submit an application form along with your passport and our letters of invitation. The processing takes about one to two weeks.
I don’t speak Chinese! How do I talk to my host family?
Most members of our host families have at least beginner English skills, and the children usually have a basic to intermediate level of English by the time you arrive. Communication can be tricky at times. However, our participants pick up daily practical Chinese quickly, and our host siblings rapidly improve their speaking skills while helping participants adjust to life in China. HCE also has English-speaking staff members on hand in all of our cities who in case of emergencies.
How do I teach my host siblings?
However you want! We believe the best way for children to learn English is through constant engagement and encouragement. Your role is more than a teacher: consider yourself a big brother or sister. Play games, watch English movies together, read before bed, go outside, and have fun. At HCE, we believe in teaching beyond textbooks.
Will I live in a safe area?
Yes. China is an extremely safe country with a lower rate of violent crime than both the United States and Canada. Additionally, our host families tend to live in nice areas and complexes throughout our cities. That said, it’s important to watch out for pickpockets and keep an eye on your valuables, especially in big crowds.
Will I have time off to travel to other Asian countries?
Most likely. Our Explorer and Mentor programs are built on a mutual agreement between you and your host family, and our families are usually very understanding. As long as you present your plans well enough in advance and consider their needs and schedules, most families will be very supportive.
What should I bring to China?
Aside from your own personal belongings, you’ll be able to find everything you need for daily life in China. To start your relationship off with a smile, we recommend bringing some small gifts representative of your home country to your host family.
What will my living situation be like?
All HCE host families are required to provide their students with their own room and bathroom. In general, our families are upper class and live in high-quality accommodations in nice areas of their cities.
Will I have insurance in China?
HCE provides health and travel insurance to all participants staying in China for over 3 months. HCE Explorer students are responsible for their own insurance.
How do I get a subway pass or SIM card?
Our local assistants will help you get settled during your first few weeks in China. We will help you sort out anything you need during your stay, including cell phones, bank accounts and subway passes.
My host family and I do not get along. Am I stuck?
We recommend open and honest communication to resolve conflicts, especially in the beginning when you’re still adjusting to your new life. But if you find that you and your host family are truly incompatible, we’ll work with you to find a new family.