Volunteer English teaching is a very popular option with many people. It can take many forms and can be undertaken in a wide range of countries worldwide. Here we look at a few questions that might help you to answer the question: Where are the best places to teach English as a volunteer?
Why should you teach English as a volunteer?
There are numerous reasons why volunteer teaching is a good idea. Here we will outline a few of the most common:
a) To find out about the country: There can be no better way to learn about a country than by being there.
b) To experience the culture: As above you need to be immersed in the culture if you hope to understand it.
c) To experience the job of teaching: Volunteer teaching is a great way to find out what the job entails.
d) No contract: You can enjoy all the benefits above without the need to commit to any long term contract.
e) Live with a host family: Many volunteer positions include the possibility of living with a host family.
f) To add experience to your CV/resume: Volunteering is a great addition to your CV or resume, showing you are willing to put yourself in a new situation and learn new things.
g) Service: Being able to give something of yourself in the service of others builds humility.
h) To learn a new language: Immersion in another country is the best way to learn another language.
You may also have some of your own personal factors that should be taken into account when considering any program.
Where can you volunteer?
There are volunteer opportunities available on every continent and within many countries in each continent. There are too many opportunities to mention individually and the best idea is to do an internet search for any country you are particularly interested in.
What do you mean by….best?
There is obviously no “best” place to volunteer as each individual will have their own criteria and desires. The most important thing is to look for opportunities that best match what you want. If you really want to learn a new language for example, what opportunities are there on the program to allow you to do that? If you have to teach 50 hours a week on a program you will be too tired to do anything else.
Are you willing to put up with discomfort? Volunteering, by its nature, takes place in many countries that cannot afford to pay salaries and therefore need unpaid workers. These countries may not have the infrastructure and facilities you are used to. It is important to do your research so you are not overwhelmed with what you find when you arrive “in-country”.
Here are some variations on the volunteering theme.
There are a number of volunteer opportunities that you can undertake for free. Some of the better known programs are:
Take a look at the VSO website
Take a look at the WWOOF website
3. Peace Corps
Take a look at the Peace Corps website
Affordable volunteer program (starting from $180)
International Volunteer HQ
Take a look at the International Volunteer HQ website
Volunteer program with pay
UN Volunteers can receive a monthly Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA)
Take a look at the UN Volunteers website
Paid volunteer programs
There are too many of these to list, but use all the information previously discussed to carefully research any program to ensure your expectations will be met when you pay to volunteer.
Organizations such as the International Forum for Volunteering in Development can provide useful information and insight into various programs around the world.