Volunteer Teaching Abroad

TEFL opportunities around the world

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in teaching, volunteer teaching abroad can be a brilliant starting point. The most common way to do it is teaching English as a foreign language – usually abbreviated to TEFL. You’ll get classroom experience with numerous different age groups, learn different teaching techniques, and gain invaluable experience to put on your CV when you return.

Even if you are often restricted to teaching English, there are numerous different kinds of placements in countries all over the world. You might teach in developing communities in Africa, where learning English can be a great path out of poverty, or teach the next generation of business tycoons in China. This variety of options means you can choose a placement to suit both your career and your travel goals! You might even choose to transition volunteer TEFL work into a career in TEFL!

Below are some frequently asked questions about volunteer teaching abroad to see if it’s the right move for you.

Top teaching volunteer placements abroad

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Costa Rica Teaching

from £395

7 - 140 days

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most breath-taking countries in the world. Travel to this tropical paradise and take part...

Tanzania Teaching Aid & Beaches

from £395

7 - 14 days

Tanzania

Your teaching aid assignment will integrate you into your host community. You'll help teach students basic English and other subjects...

Teach English in Sri Lanka

from £205

7 - 168 days

Sri Lanka

Trusted by over 80,000 volunteers, IVHQ is the world's leading volunteer travel organization, providing affordable, safe and responsible Teaching programs...

Gap Year China

from £1120

28 - 180 days

China

Learn Mandarin, gain work experience and travel.

Costa Rica Teaching

from £395

7 - 140 days

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most breath-taking countries in the world. Travel to this tropical paradise and take part...

Teach or Coach Sport in Brazil

from £995

14 - 112 days

Brazil

Head to vibrant Brazil and volunteer at an exciting youth centre that helps over 9000 young people. Bring skill, passion...

Teaching Placement in Fiji

from £2300

90 days

Fiji

As one of our volunteer teachers in Fiji you will work in either a primary or secondary school and can...

Volunteer with Children in Thailand

from £1095

14 days

Thailand

Discover Thailand's idyllic Andaman region when you volunteer with local communities. Help them to improve their future opportunities by teaching...

26 Week Teaching Adventure

from £2795

182 days

China

Start in Beijing with a group of like-minded participants and embark upon a 4 week TEFL qualification with added classroom...

Gap Year and Summer Program in Kenya

from £410

14 days

Kenya

"I participated on this Africa & Asia Venture program and it was honestly one of the most impactful and incredible...

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Phuket Sailing Adventure

from £1085

Just imagine seven fabulous days enjoying sublime seascapes of shimmering turquoise water, white sandy beaches and craggy limestone peaks. That's...

Pronto Italia

from £1025

As you travel from the romantic beauty of Florence to the ancient sites of Rome by way of the fashionable...

Lima Fly & Stay Independent Adventure

Add a night in Lima and a flight to Cusco to complement your ongoing adventures in the Cusco area. A...

Cape & Dunes Overland (Northbound)

from £1062

Journey from the city streets of Cape Town to the desert of Namibia and experience the diversity of Africa on...

The Inca Trail

from £729

One of our most popular trips in the region for those looking to combine the cultural highlights of the Sacred...

Sailing Greece – Santorini to Mykonos

from £697

A yacht adventure is the ideal way to experience what many consider the world's most beautiful islands: the Greek Islands....

Bhutan Adventure

from £1784

Imagine a country where a land’s worth is measured differently – think Gross National Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product....

Caesar’s Footsteps

from £889

The Roman Empire was truly one of the world's greatest civilisations, spreading out from its home in the city of...

Zanzibar Spice Islands Sailing Adventure

from £1295

The Zanzibar archipelago is a stunning collection of 40 islands sprinkled across the Indian Ocean, each with a dazzling array...

Glaciers Independent Adventure

Spend four days in El Calafate and explore a piece of Argentina's incredible Patagonia region. Witness active Perito Moreno Glacier,...

Articles about teaching and TEFL

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How do I choose the right volunteer teaching placement?

It really depends on what you hope you to get out of teaching abroad. While any volunteer teaching is likely to boost your career prospects, different placements can suit different ambitions. The best way to choose the right placement for you, and to make sure you will be prepared for the work involved, is to take into account your skills, interests, and career aspirations. If the experience won’t be useful for your future career, you may not be motivated to see your placement through to its end.

So if you’re interested in teaching at a primary level, you can find a volunteer teaching placement that pairs you with younger children, for example. Always read carefully what any volunteer teaching placement involves and includes so you can have all the information you need to decide if it’s right for you.

Where should I do volunteer teaching?

As above, this can depend a great deal on what you want to get out of your time spent volunteering. If you are taking the first step on the road to a teaching career, you might choose to teach somewhere like China or Japan, where standards are often considered to be higher and you might have the opportunity to make strong contacts within the industry. If you are more concerned with really making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged people, you could consider teaching in developing communities in Africa. You might experience more challenging conditions, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have made a real difference to disadvantaged lives.

You should also consider your wider travel plans. Although you will spend a lot of time teaching, your time off is your own. Choosing a destination you are keen to see as a visitor can make balancing your workload feel that much easier.

Should I volunteer or get a paid teaching job?

As above, this depends to some extent on your reasons for pursuing this line of work. Many of these roles require volunteers instead of paid teachers because they are in communities that can’t afford to pay a wage. If you are most interested in making a difference in developing communities and improving the prospects of disadvantaged children, volunteering work instead of paid work can be a route to achieving that. If you are more interested in improving your career prospects by getting some experience under your belt, getting paid at the same time might make more sense for you. Think carefully before you commit to anything.

Do I need qualifications to be a volunteer teacher?

Many volunteer teaching positions will require you to hold a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) qualification before you can start. This is something that can usually be earned in a weekend-long course back home, and is a valuable qualification to hold in general if you are interested in a teaching career in future. It is also used by many placements as a gauge of how seriously you are likely to take the work. However, it is possible to find volunteer placements that will not require you to have a TEFL or other teaching qualification.

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