Need help or further clarification? Here's a list of helpful articles and answers for frequently asked questions
What is the Horizon Explorer Program?
Selecting the Horizon Explorer Program means you have to opportunity to go abroad to China and live with a host family and work with 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?
Selecting the Horizon Mentor Program means you have to opportunity to go abroad to China and live with a host family and work with their children in a major Chinese city for 6-12 months, any time of the year. Learn more about Horizon Mentor Program
What is the Horizon Teacher Program?
The Horizon Teacher Program focuses on bring qualified teachers to China to work in schools with children ages 5-18. Because of this, the requirements are different, it is not a homestay program, and you must be qualified to teach English in China. Learn more about Horizon Teacher Program
How long are the programs?
We offer three programs: Horizon Explorer, Horizon Adventurer, and Horizon Teacher. Horizon Explorer is from 4-12 weeks, Horizon Mentor is from 3-6 months and Horizon Teacher is from 1-2 years.
What are the costs of our programs?
Each program has a $500 deposit that will be returned to you upon completion of the program. Other than that, there are no extra fees associated with the programs. However, HCE does not cover the costs associated with obtaining a passport, required documents, or the visa to China.
Your host family provides your room and board while you are in China. So you do not really have any expenses. In addition, you will receive a monthly stipend of 1700RMB - 2800RMB. While it’s not a lot in USD, the cost of living in China is much cheaper than in the States. Please see this article for more details on cost of living in China, how to spend your pocket money, and other topics relating to life in China in general.
Where would I live and how would I pay for food?
You live with a host family we will match you with before leaving America. You have the opportunity to Skype with them, write emails, and ask them as many questions as you want. Your host family will provide meals for you, while you are in the house, but any meals you want to eat by yourself or with friends must be paid from your pocket (this is where a monthly stipend of 1700RMB - 2800RMB, that you will receive, comes in handy).
What are my responsibilities while participating in the program?
Depending on the program you choose, 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’re a combination of a big sibling and an au pair. This is a bit different if you wish to apply for our Horizon Teacher program Learn more about your responsibilities in Horizon Teacher program
Will I have any free time and what can I do with it?
Since only 25-35 helping hours a week are required, you will have free time. It is free time to spend however you would like. You can go out and play sports or take classes or walk around the city. Your free time is yours.
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 the program!
How do I apply?
You can apply online here. Simply go trough our application process and we'll review it and reply within two business days.
How do you match students 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 decide whether you think you'll make a good fit.
How Long Does The Process Take From Start To Finish?
Altogether, our application takes about 6-8 weeks or less from submitting your application to booking your plane ticket if you already have a passport. Make sure to consult our application flowchart and complete all documentation in a timely manner.
How do I apply for a visa?
The application process varies by country, so consult your nearest Chinese consulate (USA, 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 of the host families have at least a very basic level of English, and the children usually have a decent level of English by the time you arrive. But this will teach you how to communicate with people that don’t speak your language and help you learn Chinese. One of the benefits of not speaking Chinese while going into the program is that the children quickly learn they need to express themselves in English to communicate with you. However, every location has HCE staff members who speak English and are always reachable in case of an emergency.
How does the participant teach the members of the host family?
There is no curriculum or textbooks. We believe the best way for children to learn English is to be constantly engaged and encouraged to speak and practice English in fun ways. You are not so much a teacher as you are a big brother or sister to the child. Engage with them. Play games, watch English movies together, read before bed, go outside, there are lots of ways to teach without ever having to use a textbook.
Will I be in a safe area?
Yes, though you should always exercise caution, especially in big crowds where there might be pickpockets, but China is a safe country in general. And the families we match people with tend to live in nice areas throughout the city.
Can I take some time off to travel to other Asian countries?
Usually yes, this is not a formal working contract. It’s a mutual agreement between you and your host family. Talk it over with your host family and most of the time they 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. It's recommended to bring 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.
Will I have insurance in China?
HCE provides health and travel insurance to all students 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 in your first few weeks in China. We will help you sort out anything you think you need during your stay from a cellphone to a bank account if you would like.
My host family and I do not get along. Am I stuck?
We recommend open and honest communication and dialogue in the face of conflict, especially in the beginning when you are settling into your new life. But if you find that you and your host family are truly incompatible, we will work with you to find a new family.