A nation shrouded in mystery and famed for its unique culture, China’s influence is hard to ignore. Everything from technology to cuisine, science to art can be traced back in some way to this fascinating country, but did you know that the ‘People’s Republic’ is one of just 17 megadiverse countries? For this reason alone, why not consider volunteering abroad in China?
China’s wildlife conservation efforts have come under some scrutiny throughout the years, but improvements have been underway. 15% of China’s total land mass consists of nature reserves, and the country’s endangered species are protected by law. Additionally, animal conservation in China has seen the recovery of the beloved giant panda, a species which would have been long-since extinct without the assistance of scientists and conservationists alike.
By taking part in volunteer work in China, you could be part of an exceptionally positive change in the county. Why not take a detour from one of China’s major sites, such as the Great Wall, to become a volunteer with pandas in Chengdu? Pay a visit to the Far East and join a volunteer programme in China today!
China is one of just 17 countries in the world to earn the title of ‘megadiverse’, a word given to countries with no less than 5,000 species of plant and other elements of extreme biodiversity. In fact, China has over 34,000 species of plant and animals, making it the third most biodiverse country of all.
At least 551 species of mammal can be found in China, as well as 1221 species of birds and 424 species of reptile. Some of China’s most famous animals include:
• the giant panda
• the red panda
• the golden snub-nosed monkey
China’s biodiversity is so rich that it’s actually home to around 10% of the world’s overall species, but this staggering amount of life is at risk if more is not done to protect it. Infrastructure, extreme population growth and – tragically – the prevalence of traditional medicine each pose a real risk to some of the country’s most vulnerable animals, and if we wish to see these creatures survive for much longer, intervention is certainly needed. With volunteer opportunities in China becoming increasingly popular, now is the perfect opportunity to help make a real difference.
China has one of the oldest and most fascinating cultures in the entire world, spanning as far back as 2070BC with the Xia Dynasty (though it is thought that China’s people have been around since approximately 7000BC, as agricultural evidence suggests). Such a rich, extensive history has, of course, made a mark on the world as we know it, with countless other nations borrowing influence for their own foods, arts, and technologies. That said, there are certain elements of China’s cultures which are entirely their own:
• Calligraphy – aesthetically pleasing, this popular method of writing is more than just a stylistic choice. It takes great patience and skill to learn correct calligraphy, but once mastered the artform is simply unmistakable.
• Literature – like calligraphy, Chinese literature is famous around the world, with a history extending back thousands of years. Some of the most famous works include Dream of the Red Chamber, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Journey to the West – do you have any of your own favourites?
• Celebrations – China is well-known for its culture of celebration, from hosting its own New Year festivities to the releasing of lanterns in the first lunar month. Red envelopes containing money, winding dragons in street performances, even the so-called ‘longevity noodle’ (a noodle reaching up to 3km in length, representing a long life and good health) are all unique to this vibrant nation, and time spent joining in with festivities is never time wasted!
If wildlife and culture are not the main reasons for your visit to China (though they’re very important elements all the same!), it is without doubt that the country’s ancient sites are a major touristic attraction and should not be missed. Three unmissable excursions can be seen below: