Published 12th October 2015

Doing TEFL can take you to some amazing places on this planet. If you’ve imagined teaching in the jungles of Borneo, on a tropical island in Fiji, or a village in Kenya, then all you need to do is get your TEFL certificate and you can be on your way. Many people embark on TEFL adventures for financial reasons as well as the thrill of living in new places, but if you’re not too focussed on the dollar signs there are some incredible opportunities for you out there.

Volunteer positions by their very nature are unpaid but in the case of TEFL, chances are you will be provided with accommodation, food and possibly even a stipend to help you survive. You may be required to stay in a homestay (if you want free room and board) but if you are the kind of person who signs up for volunteer positions, then you will probably enjoy the authentic experience living with a local will provide. 

So while other volunteer positions may actually require you to pay a fee to join a programme, doing a TEFL volunteering stint can be done at no cost to you. What’s more, volunteer teaching is generally less stressful than in, say, a language school or a high school, so it can be a great way to get some real teaching experience, without having to worry about if your job is on the line or when you will be observed. 

Probably the most appealing aspect of volunteer positions, though, is the fact that you are likely to be in a community which would otherwise not be able to experience an English learning situation. Often you will find yourself in remote or underprivileged areas where you will be held in high regard and your teaching will be highly appreciated. In these communities the value of English and the prospects for a better future that it can provide is understood. Your students will appreciate the importance your efforts. While you may not have the resources at hand as you might in other classrooms, never will you find such willing and eager students, which will make your job that much easier and more enjoyable.

At the end of each day you will be able to go home knowing that you have played your part in giving back to the global community.