Rural Teaching Opportunities and Homestay Living in Traditional Thailand

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Volunteer to teach English as a foreign language in small village or large town schools in the North Eastern part of Thailand, arguably the most untouristed and traditional place in the country.  This is also a cultural experience, as you will be living with a local family in a rural homestay  with the opportunity to experience traditional customs - as well as offering assistance in some of the poorest schools in the region.

You can volunteer to teach in Thailand for 2 weeks up to 12 weeks and we have places available all year round.

Individuals, groups and couples all welcome.

Cost for food, accommodation at a rural homestay, programme materials and training start from £395.

Volunteer Julie Eaglen with Thai ladies in traditional costume Local bus in Isaan province Kids going to school Children waiting to go into school Sunday at Temple School Visiting a Silk village - Isaan province is the capital of silk in Thailand Yvonne having with lunch with teachers  of Prangku High School Yvonne and colleagues from the foreign language department Farewell lunch with other teachers Prangku Khmer monument Students getting dressed for the temple dances Teaching older students Offering food to Buddhist monks Typical volunteer homestay

The Project

As an overseas teaching volunteer in Thailand you will:

  • Be working in one of twenty selected target schools in the rural provinces. 
  • In general, teach in rural high schools with 500-2000 students, from twelve to eighteen years old. 
  • Work with the schools’ English teachers to develop lessons for the classroom (songs and games are preferred), as students already have basic English skills
  • Be expected in to teach in the classroom 3-4 hours per day.
  • Be able to choose if you would rather work in a smaller rural school or a larger town school.

A teaching volunteer with her students in ThailandWe work almost exclusively in the North East (South of Laos and North of Cambodia) in a region called Isaan. The mountains of the North and the islands of the South of Thailand are fine for vacations, but the NorthEast is the poorest region of Thailand, but also the most traditional, where people are very welcoming and friendly. It is very rewarding to go somewhere that hasn’t been over-touristed and lost their appreciation of foreigners already.

Volunteer in Thailand and also experience true Thai culture

Training

When you meet our Programme Manager for training, we’ll show you basic language and culture skills. Most of our schools are secondary level, age 12-18, with 500-2500 kids in them, and you will probably see all the students in a month. We can give you advice on where to get ideas for teaching games. After a few classes, generally volunteers understand what they need to do. The level of English in rural Thailand is so low that you won’t be teaching anything too tough, and creating plans to fit your kids is part of the whole experience. There will be teachers around to help you if you ask them to. You will have internet access at school. There are also phones for making/receiving calls. On the weekends you can either chill at home, arrange to meet other volunteers, study Thai culture, or Thai food, sit with Buddhist monks or travel with your hosts.

Rural Thailand

We do not work near sensitive border regions, nor do we work in areas where malaria is a risk. Doctors and hospitals are nearby and up to Western standards. Overall, Thailand is a very safe place to be.

Dates & Costs

Most teaching volunteers join for 1-2 months, but 2 weeks is the minimum.   It is also possible to extend another month or two, after the initial 2 months when you are on the project (max 3-4 months in total). We have places during the following months:

Volunteer to teach in Thailand and make classes entertaining1st to 30th November 2014
1st to 31st December 2014

1st to 31st January 2015
1st to 28th February 2015
1st to 31st May 2015
1st to 30th June 2015
1st to 31st July 2015

1st to 31st August 2015
1st to 30th September 2015
1st to 30th November 2015
1st to 31st December 2015


We are flexible with dates, you don't need to start on 1st of the month. These dates are there just as a guideline. You can join anytime throughout the year, except for during the schools holidays (October and March-April). Couples and families are also welcome.

Costs:
The cost for 1 month (or less than 1 month if you join for just 2 weeks) is 395 GB pounds, 2 months cost is 530 GB pounds, 3 months is 665 GB pounds.

All meals and accommodation while at your homestay are covered by your host school. The above cost covers:
  • Administration costs organising your volunteer programme in Thailand with your host school, homestay and with WorkingAbroad Projects
  • More specific info about the Volunteering experience, including contact info for your host school and instructions for obtaining a visa
  • Info about where to stay in Bangkok, how to get there from the airport, and plans for your first meeting with us in Bangkok
  • Basic travel advice and preparation advice before you arrive in Thailand
  • An orientation in Chaiyaphum (a small town between Bangkok and your homestay) that includes language, culture, and eating!
  • Food and accommodation while at your homestay
  • Access to our staff by phone and email
  • Access to internet at your school or in your village
  • Weekends free to relax and explore
  • Nearby clinics and hospitals that are up to Western standards
  • Access to shops, temples, exercise areas, etc , while at your homestay

What is not included are your flights to Thailand, your own transport to your homestay and your own personal expenditure. In addition, it is mandatory for you to take out a medical/accident insurance coverage, which is also at your own cost.

Food, Lodging, Travel

A typical homestay where volunteers would live in ThailandAs a teaching volunteer in Thailand, a main aspect of the programme is the rural homestays. You live with a Thai family in the community. Indeed, one reason this programme has been so successful is because the Thais take such good care of their guests.

Teaching volunteers eating traditional Thai foodThough you will be teaching very poor students in the most remote provinces of Thailand, the homestays are quite comfortable (see typical homestay house to the left). You will get a Western style house, a proper bed, bathroom, and three fine Thai meals a day (see to the right). Most of the homestays are in small towns in rural areas. You will have access to email, a telephone, and shops. Hosts are middle to upper class Thais with the means to support a foreign guest. Students are generally farmers’ children who may see English as a way to gain entrance to a college in the future.

Requirements

You may apply if you meet at least six of these seven requirements:

- Have a College/University degree
- Are at least twenty years (20) old
- Have some teaching or volunteer experience
- Don’t drink or smoke every day
- Likeable personality and tidy appearance
- Outgoing, creative, and independent
- Willing to adapt to another culture

A teaching volunteer with their students in the classroom

Teaching English as a foreign language in rural Thailand does not require any special training. You need to look good, dress well, smile, make jokes, and constantly adapt yourself to new situations.
 

The motto of this programme is: “Expect the unexpected”. If you are not flexible, patient, or adaptable, you will not enjoy life in rural Thailand.

Visas

Once you are confirmed on the project, we will offer advice on your visa. There are usually several options, depending on how long you’re travelling in Thailand and how long you’re volunteering with us.

Interactive Map and Background

Below is an interactive map showing key locations for the project:


 

About Isaan

For most travellers, and many Thais, the northeast is Thailand’s forgotten backyard. Isaan (or ìsǎan), the collective name for the 19 provinces that make up the northeast, offers a glimpse of the Thailand of old: rice fields run to the horizon, water buffaloes wade in muddy ponds, silk weaving remains a cottage industry, peddle-rickshaw drivers pull passengers down city streets, and, even for those people who’ve had to seek work in the city, hearts and minds are still tied to the village. This colossal corner of the country continues to live life on its own terms: slowly, steadily, and with a profound respect for heritage and history.

Find out more at LonelyPlanet: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/northeastern-thailand#ixzz2Le6BmJ62

Volunteer Testimonials

Roslyn Castle from NSW, Australia:

Just writing to say thank you so much for placing me with the family Buphata. Kamon and Somkid have been just wonderful and have taken me so many places so generously. The school children have been wonderful as well and I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Ban Pho school. My singing and dancing careers are taking off wink as well I have been playing volleyball with teachers from some of the other schools. Once again thank you for your efforts in placing me here it is very much appreciated and I have had an amazing time.
Korp Khun Ka.

Yvonne Hendrych, a textile professional from Brussels, gives her feedback:

The project was amazing grinImmerse yourself in Thai traditions and cultures

Everything worked out so smoothly and everyone was so extremely kind and nice to me that I had the most wonderful time there.

Everyone was incredibly nice and helpful and I felt at home right away. Also my host family was amazing. I really found a second family in Thailand and we got along so well even without speaking the same language. My host mother made a great effort to learn some English and I did my best to learn a couple of Thai words. Teaching was great fun but also quite challenging because I was teaching many different classes and all different levels of English. So I always had to first check and then quickly adapt to the level of English they had.
But luckily all the previous teachers kept a teacher’s diary and wrote down their experiences with the students so I could check in advance Volunteer to teach in traditional classroomswhat kind of games or exercises they had been doing. Anyway the emphasis is on conversation. And this is best done through little games or quizzes. Students love the competition and teaming up against each other. It sometimes takes a bit to involve them because often they are very shy. But once they warmed up it was so much fun. I must say I enjoyed all classes and never had a boring moment.

On Sundays I went to temple school to teach the little ones (5-8 years) together with other teachers from Prangku who teach on a voluntary basis on Sundays. All the teachers at Prangku are so committed and engaged and dedicate also so much of their free time to the school and the students. It is really remarkable. Teaching volunteers can teach in modern schoolsBig compliment. And the students were just wonderful. They were so nice and polite and really eager to learn English. I can only recommend this experience to everyone who enjoys being with children and to everyone who is interested in getting to know a new culture.

Thank you Working Abroad. This is really a remarkable initiative which offers unforgettable experiences for both sides.

 

ex-Volunteer Julie Eaglen describes her time with the programme

A teaching volunteer stands with Thai students in traditional costume"...most of the students were completely lovely, whether or not they were any good at English: as I walked along the corridors, there were constant greetings of 'Hello, teacher!', followed by heads bobbing in a 'wai'. It's true what they say - Isaan is very much a pocket of Thailand left over from twenty years ago, with small farmers living the traditional way of life. I found it enchanting."

How to Join

If you are interested in volunteering in Thailand as an English teacher, you will need to fill out the online application form (you can also print it out and send it to us by post) – to secure a placement on the project, please complete and submit the form including two references and your deposit of £140. In addition, we require you to email us a recent photo to show to your host (aaron@workingabroad.com). If for some reason we are unable to offer you a place, your deposit will not be taken. However for those who are accepted, the full amount needs to be paid two months before departure. Once you have been accepted on the programme, you will receive a pre-departure package with all detailed information on your project, suggested items to bring, teaching tips, information on travel to Chaiyaphum, Thai customs and more.

 

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