Published 4th December 2019

In this day and age, we are becoming more and more aware of how privileged we are and how much we have. The problem lies with living to work rather than working to live. It’s a vicious cycle – earning money so you can spend money, and needing to earn more money to spend more money. Thankfully, there is a growing trend to Kon Mari our lives and live with less. This is further seen in the growing trend for volunteering and volunteer tourism, or voluntourism. The United Nations has mandated December 5 as International Volunteer’s Day – a day to celebrate and mobilise volunteers and promote working with non-governmental organisations and communities in need. 

One of the ways we can give back as TEFL teachers is to volunteer teach in places where they perhaps cannot afford foreign English language teachers. Alternatively, volunteer teaching is a great way for newly qualified teachers to gain some experience and find their feet in the classroom.

Don’t get us wrong, volunteering is not necessarily an easy way of getting teaching experience on your CV. Volunteer teaching can mean you will be teaching in a challenging situation. You might be in a very rural area with very few resources; you might have large class sizes with no teaching assistant; you might be the only foreigner in your area. But whatever situation you find yourself in, there is no doubt you will find ways to be the most effective teacher you can be, and you can take comfort in the fact that you are not only challenging yourself but helping other people at the same time.

Let’s have a look at a few of The TEFL Academy’s volunteer internships:

Volunteer in Costa Rica

If you are a citizen of the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa or Australia, are between the ages of 21 and 65, have a degree and a TEFL certificate, and a basic Spanish ability, then you should consider joining this volunteer programme in Costa Rica.

Funded by the Costa Rican government’s Department of Labour, the Volunteer English Teaching Programme in Costa Rica sponsors young adults to receive English language lessons in their community. Volunteer teachers will teach these adults English 40 hours a week to improve their English to prepare them for the workplace. They will be provided with lesson plans and materials. 

For a £250 admin fee, volunteers will receive accommodation for four months with a host family, including meals, as well as $500 towards your airfare on completion of your contract.

Volunteer in Cambodia

On the other side of the world, volunteer teachers are needed to teach 80 children in rural Siem Reap. Volunteers will teach at a rural community school which provides free education to children from low-income families. Volunteers will teach not only English but also Maths, arts and crafts, and sports. Accommodation is provided with other volunteers, just a short tuk-tuk ride from the village. 

This programme is great in that you are able to sign up for just one week or anything up to 24 weeks and you don’t need a degree or any teaching experience to sign up. You also don’t need to be able to speak the local language. All you need is a TEFL certificate and an adventurous spirit. 

Volunteer in Thailand

For something a little different, you can volunteer teach monks in Thailand. On this programme you will teach young monks in the small town of Bang Pa In, in Ayutthaya. Bang Pa In is not a very big town but it oozes history and culture. Its main attraction is the magnificent Summer Palace. If you are craving somewhere a bit busier, you’re only an hour from Ayutthaya or Bangkok.

The placement is from one to four months, teaching 15 hours a week. You don’t need a degree or teaching experience, but you do need a TEFL certificate. Accommodation is provided.

These are just three of many amazing volunteer opportunities available through The TEFL Academy. If you’re influenced by International Volunteer Day this year, have a look at our website and see if you can find a volunteer programme that suits your needs. 

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