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Summer Programme for Immersion in Communicative English


First Established


Children Participate

Each Summer


Student to Teacher Ratio


Number of days of each programme

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Children learn best when they enjoy a subject and see the value in what they are learning. When they make progress, they become more self-confident and continue to learn better - it is a virtuous circle.

  • SPICE aims to create an initial spark of interest in children and make them excited about learning

  • It is intended to show them that learning English can be fun

  • It aims to help some of the most underprivileged children in HK increase their self-confidence

  • It provides exposure to different cultures to broaden horizons and raise aspirations

  • The young teachers also increase their international understanding, cultural awareness and tolerance by taking part in this programme


  • SPICE is a non-profit English Summer Programme founded in 2015 as a Just Volunteers! project by Josephine Chesterton in collaboration with the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong working with interns from the City University of Hong Kong English Department and universities in the UK 

  • For a number of years, she had wanted to start such a cross-cultural English summer programme for underprivileged HK children

  • In 2015 the dream became a reality thanks to the encouragement and practical support of Wenda Wong Pui Ying, Lorna Fullgrabe and Professor John Tse Wing Ling

  • In that year Professor John Tse introduced her to Dr Bonson Lee Hing Wai who enthusiastically embraced the concept; put the support of Chinese YMCA of HK behind the programme and SPICE began!



  • SPICE is managed by its two directors; Josephine Chesterton and Mayumi Eguchi

  • Each year they appoint two coordinators to run the programme on a day to day basis

  • The classroom activities are lead by interns and volunteers

  • Our Head of Pedagogy prepares these interns and volunteers before the programme begins at the start of the summer

White Structure


The Organisers

The Donors Whose Generosity Make It Possible
  • Participating schools - various primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong

  • Interns – University students from Hong Kong

  • Overseas volunteers (in normal years) - students from various universities in the UK










Sports Activities










And More!



  • Every year we take 15 young adults to teach this programme

  • Volunteers from the UK and interns from City University and other universities in Hong Kong

  • Young people who want to learn about teaching or who just wish to gain international experience

  • The 2-week training programme will be provided under the supervision of the Head of Pedagogy, an experienced primary school teacher and Senior Lecturer in Children and Families at the University of Worcester in the UK

  • We favour applicants who can bring at least one extra skill (such as playing a musical instrument, sports & making handicrafts etc.)


  • 240 children from 10-12 schools, the age range is 10 to 12 years

  • Three 7-day programmes each summer

  • Activities are all conducted in English

  • The daily schedule is approximately 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

  • Free lunches are provided to all children and teachers

  • No traditional language training/ grammar classes

  • Five days are spent in the schools; two days are spent on outings

  • Every year the children are invited for a day of activities at The Hong Kong Country Club.

  • Other outings have included EpicLand, The American Club and Chinese YMCA summer camp, etc.


  • All programme costs are covered each year by the donors. The Chinese YMCA and City University provide support in a number of ways and host schools provide the venues. In addition, all participating schools apply for small grants from the HK Government's Life Wide Learning Fund (as of 2021)

  • We are able to deliver the programme completely free of charge, but all families must pay a refundable deposit to ensure attendance

  • Volunteers from overseas will be provided with free accommodation at the Chinese YMCA (Wu Kai Sha)

  • They will also receive help towards local costs and local transport

  • Interns generally receive a small allowance from their university


  • There will be no international volunteers in 2021 due to COVID-19

  • All Hong Kong undergraduates will be confirmed by end of March

  • Training begins at the start of July for two weeks

  • Summer camps begin immediately afterwards and run until mid-August




February 2020

Lasting Friendships

" We worked together as a team to achieve the same goal - i.e. to provide an interactive learning experience for the students and help them build confidence. We also keep in touch with the people we met in those 2 months. "

White Objects


Intern, summer 2019

(the last year the programme was held)

February 2020

Career Exploration

" I was unsure if teaching is my cup of tea, but SPICE provided me with a very good opportunity to explore my career path. The experience is also a great asset to put into my CV. "

Notebook and Pen


Intern, summer 2019

(the last year the programme was held)


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September 2019

Rewarding and Fun

" It was very rewarding to see them progress from having little confidence to speak English to chatting in English by the end of the week. Also, a definite highlight for the kids (and adults!), were the outings to Epicland and Hong Kong Country Club, as children were able to have fun and try new activities, they otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to. "

Read more

White Objects


Volunteer, summer 2019

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October 2018

Unforgettable Experience

" It was great to be able to help children improve their confidence as well as their English level. The choice to deliver these lessons through fun activities was a good choice as they already have English classes at school so through SPICE they were able to know that learning English can be fun. "

Read more

Notebook and Pen


Volunteer, summer 2018

Open Book


Back to School




Who can participate in the programme?

HK children between the ages of 10 and 12 (P5-S1) who are students of participating schools and were deemed to qualify for SPICE by their school teachers. 

When is the programme held?

SPICE programmes are held over the summer holidays. Each programme consists of seven full days. Two of those days are usually spent on outings. SPICE hosts three sets of these seven-day programmes each year.

Where are the programmes held?

Three host schools amongst the participating schools provide us with the location to hold the programme. These schools are in Tin Shui Wai and Kwai Chung.

How should children get there?

Children chosen from nearby participating schools are expected to make their own way to the host school during the programme. For those children selected from schools that are in other districts, free bus transportation will be provided every day of the programme.

What time does the programme start and end?

Each day begins at 10 am and ends at 4 pm. Children are expected to arrive by 9:45 am to ensure ample time for registration and preparation for a 10 o’clock start. It is a full-day programme. 

Are the lunches provided?

Yes. All participants will be provided with free lunches every day, including on outing days.

How are the classes run?

Great emphasis has been placed in making the programme fun and interactive. Activities include games, handicrafts, cooking, plays and sports that are all conducted in English under the guidance of the teachers. There is no book-based learning and certainly no grammar lessons!   

What is the student to teacher ratio?

In order to make it truly interactive and meaningful, our student to teacher ratio is high, at 5:1. Each class usually has around 15 students and three teachers – two interns and one volunteer.

How much does it cost to participate for a child?

Participation is free for all children. Each child will be required to place a deposit of around HK$300 prior to the beginning of the programme which will be forfeited if children are absent for more than one day. Otherwise, it will be fully refundable upon completion. The cost of lunches, necessary transportation, outings and all materials needed for the programme is provided by SPICE.

You may also contact us directly at if you have further questions!



What kind of person can become an intern or a volunteer?

  • Currently an undergraduate or has recently graduated and has an excellent command of the English language;

  • Interested in education or other people-oriented professions, likes interacting with children and is enthusiastic about working with colleagues from diverse backgrounds;

  • Self-motivated and work well in an international team;

  • Strong sense of responsibility;

  • Strong role-models for the children;

  • Volunteers from overseas should be young people interested in travelling and experiencing new and different cultures; 

  • No background in English Language Education or Education is required although it would be an advantage;

  • In the past, all our Hong Kong interns have been English Language majors;

  • Volunteers so far have come from Edinburgh, Leeds and London Universities and have mostly been studying Education or Chinese.

What is the difference between interns and volunteers?

  • Interns participate from universities (generally in HK) that offer the SPICE teaching position as one of their officially-recognised internship programmes for the summer;

  • Volunteers (generally from overseas) come from universities which do not offer such internships but are interested in volunteering as SPICE teachers;

  • However, there are no differences in terms of work;

  • Interns and volunteers undergo the same training and work in teams together and share the same responsibilities;

  • Each class has three teachers – two interns and one volunteer, who work together as a team throughout the three programmes over the summer.

What does SPICE provide in terms of support for volunteers from overseas?

  • Volunteers receive free accommodation during the six to seven weeks they are in HK over the training period and the programmes; 

  • During the three programmes, lunches will be provided every day to interns and volunteers who are expected to sit down for lunch together with the children;

  • In addition, volunteers will be given a food and transportation allowance;

  • However, volunteers should plan to bring a small amount of spending money to cover casual outgoings during their stay - we would be happy to discuss this in detail with any interested applicants;

  • Volunteers are expected to cover the cost of flights to and from HK.

What does it cost to become an intern or volunteer?

  • There is absolutely no charge for joining this programme;

  • Universities offering this as an internship provide a small allowance;

  • Overseas volunteers are given financial support but must pay their own airfare.

How many holidays do Volunteers and Interns get during the assignment?

  • Saturdays, Sundays and HK public holidays will be rest days;

  • In addition, should a day in between two programmes fall on a weekday, it will also be offered as a day-off;

  • Volunteers are welcome to stay at the YMCA accommodation a few days before and after the programme, free of charge.



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