Volunteer in Cambodia and teach English as a foreign language. Volunteers are needed to work in Phnom Penh as English language teachers in a school project which provides affordable conversational English language courses for Cambodian students. The aim of this project is to provide regular funding for a local NGO working to improve the situation of rural communities in Northern Cambodia. Initiatives focus on poverty reduction, sanitation, agriculture, and environmental conservation. Students attending the classes pay a small fee, and these funds are channelled back to the NGO.
You can join for fixed 3 month periods, and we have places available all year round.
Individuals, groups, students and couples all welcome.
Cost includes lodging in comfortable volunteer house, 3 meals/day, airport pickup, orientation & training, internet & bicycle use; £950
Your experience as a teaching volunteer in Cambodia begins when we meet you on arrival, usually at Phnom Penh Airport. A 10-day relaxed orientation period will be followed by 11 weeks of teaching, including a one-week break which will generally coincide with a Cambodian festival. For the benefit of the school and the students, we accept teaching volunteers for three months and on our specific group starting dates only. Volunteers will teach conversational English courses designed to create an informal learning environment with small groups (maximum of 12 students) and fun topics.
- Courses are part-time and each group of students takes a one-hour class each day from Monday to Friday for 10 weeks.
- You may also teach one-to-one conversational tutoring classes, depending on the schedule.
- Students range from 15 to about 40 years of age, but are typically existing secondary school and university students. This project does not teach young children.
- All students and teachers have books, from which to learn and teach - support and lessons plans are provided by the school and support teachers, which makes it easier for volunteers.
- You will teach up to five hours per day from Monday to Friday. Most volunteers also spend time preparing their classes.
- You will most likely teach from 6:00am to 8:00am, then have a break during the day before teaching two hours between 4:00pm and 8:00pm. These hours reflect that students like to study English before and after going to work or high school/university.
- All students have at least a basic understanding of English, but all lack practice in speaking and listening with foreigners.
30th May to 26th August 2018
A 10-day relaxed orientation period will be followed by 11 weeks of teaching English as a foreign language, including a one-week break which will generally coincide with a Cambodian festival. For the benefit of the schools and the students, we can accept volunteers for three months and on our specific group starting dates only.
The total cost to join this programme for 3 months is £950. This covers your rental for the full 3 months in the shared volunteer house, airport pickup on arrival, 3 meals per day (except on weekends and school holidays), costs of house maintenance charges, all training and orientation, plus project backup and support. In addition, some of the monies go towards the Cambodian NGO that the school is supporting to improve the welfare of rural communities in the country.
If you choose to live and eat independently, then you would just have to pay the £195 application payment and make your own food/lodging arrangements. We can offer you advice on finding somewhere to stay depending on your budget & requirements, but you would have to arrange & pay for it yourself. Expect to spend around 300 USD per month at a minimum when living independently.
What is not covered:
You need to pay for your airfare to and from Cambodia, medical/accident insurance, Business (E) visa (about US$100 total), police check and any travel and personal expenses.
During your 10-day orientation program, volunteers will have the opportunity to visit one of the NGOs projects in provincial Cambodia. We currently alternate between Koh Pdao and Koh Preah, small islands along the Mekong River north of Phnom Penh. Here volunteers can experience local hospitality in traditional stilt-house homestays, try to catch a glimpse of the critically endangered Mekong Irrawaddy Dolphin, and see first hand the work that the project does in remote communities. The cost of this excursion (4 days/3 nights) is around $100 to cover accommodation, homestay, meals and transportation, and is in addition to all other costs.
Food and Accommodation
If you choose to live in the volunteer house, you will share a bedroom with an ensuite with one other volunteer in a house with up to 12 volunteers. The volunteer house is about ten minutes walk from the school and we have bicycles to use to get around. There are fans but no air conditioning. There are no hot showers in the house. Bedrooms are lockable and secure.
All meals - breakfast, a cooked lunch and dinner (both usually rice) are prepared by our Cambodian cook. Vegetarian food is simply the standard meal served without the meat. Meals are provided weekdays, but not at weekends.
There is an internet connection to a desktop computer shared with your housemates at the house. You can also make reasonably priced overseas calls at an internet café which is about two minutes walk from the house.
Another option is to live and eat independently in separate accommodation - if this option would interest you, we can offer you advice, but you have to arrange this yourself. For more details, you can email: email@example.com
Teaching experience and/or qualifications are an advantage, but are not required. All volunteers receive two days of teaching orientation, to help them get started.
Safety and Security
We have friendly staff experienced in supporting international volunteers and we will ensure you are living and working in a safe and secure environment. Western advisers are available if needed.
You need to get a Business (E) visa (not a Tourist (T) visa as they can't be extended for the required three months) on arrival using a letter provided by us. Visas are easy to get, and further information will be given after your application is confirmed.
Below is an interactive map showing key locations for the project:
Cambodia is a South-east Asian nation bordered by Vietnam to the east, Laos to the north, Thailand to the north-west, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south-west. It lies completely within the tropics and has a coastline of 435 km and extensive mangrove stands. The dominant features of the Cambodian landscape are the large Sap (Great Lake) and the Bassac River Systems and the Mekong River, which crosses the country from North to South. The capital is Phnom Penh, located on the banks of the Mekong River. The city was once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’. The total population of Cambodia is 15 million, with a 74% literacy rate. 90% of the population is Buddhist. During the Angkor period (9th – 14th century) Cambodia’s achievements in art, architecture, music and dance flourished and influenced many of its neighbours such as Thailand and Laos. During this time, many iconic temples were built such as Bayon and Angkor Wat. Cambodia has a wealth of traditional and international festivals. Much of the predominantly rural populace congregate in the capital to join in the celebrations and watch the fireworks displays which accompany the festivals. You can read more about Cambodia at http://www.lonelyplanet.com/cambodia or http://wikitravel.org/en/Cambodia
Micaela Wiegand from Canada volunteered at the project from November 2016 - February 2017:
I had an excellent volunteering experience in Cambodia and have nothing but good things to say about my time there. I found the organization I was working with to be very professionally run, and also conscientious about the impact of their work. Every aspect of the project was respectful of Cambodia and its culture, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a similar volunteering experience. I would like to pass on my thanks to Working Abroad for giving me the chance to find such a great organization.
Previous volunteer Danny McDonagh, joined the project in August 2016:
I undertook this programme as part of an extended career break and am 100% satisfied with my choice of country and also the voluntary organisation. I elected to live independently very close to the school and the cost of living is very affordable in Phnom Penh. $400 rent per month for a 2 bedroom apartment and weekly living expenses totalling a little over $100 including eating out each night. $5 will get you a main meal at many good restaurants within walking distance.
I was a first-time teacher and found the support from key staff fantastic, as was their general support should any needs arise. The fact that the programme focuses on conversations does make taking on teaching for the first time a very achievable task. And for those wanting to build your fitness in your spare time over the three months, there is the Phnom Penh Sports Club with gym and pool just 100metres from the school. I joined for 3 months giving unlimited visits for $150. The 25-metre pool is very nice in Cambodia's hot climate.
The students are great, ranging from 15 to 40's in age and are, almost without exception, very appreciative of what insight we provide as an overseas teacher. And do explore Cambodia during your free time over the semester. For me Koh Rong Sanloem was the favorite trip and the new weekend passenger train is a great way to travel around the countryside.
I highly recommend the programme overall and it is great to see a good portion of the net income from our teaching assisting rural development. Here are some pics of our farewell dinner, the beach at Koh Rong Sanloem and a weekend day trip to Kean Svay, 10 miles out of the centre of Phnom Penh.
Natalie Roussouw from South Africa joined the project from August to November
My teaching volunteer experience in Cambodia was fantastic. The whole volunteer set up is very well organised and the staff really are fantastic. They constantly make sure that you get the most out of our time in Cambodia by organising day trips on weekends and cultural activities.
The experience is very much about getting a taste of life in Phnom Penh, Cambodian culture and working as a teacher at the school, which was fantastic. The students are amazing and they alone make the whole experience worth while. They care so much about you and making sure that you are happy in their country.
"My time as a volunteer at the school was one of the most rewarding, enjoyable and interesting experiences of my life. I have done similar things in other parts of the world but Cambodia was by far the outstanding. It is an excellent in-ditement of the organisation that many of the volunteers do more than one semester, staying on or returning at later date. As with myself many also maintain an active association with the school even after we have volunteered.
They are a very professional group of young Cambodian, who are true to the Vision, Mission and Objectives of their charter. A big plus is the one of the family atmosphere that seems to be a part of the overall operation. Their Volunteer Coordinator is an excellent example of how the role should be carried out. From the time you are met at the airport to the day you depart nothing is overlooked. Social functions, travel bookings, visas, health and well being, getting clothing made etc all with a smile nothing is too much trouble.
The volunteer house is well run, comfortable and far less expensive than living independently.
The whole point of volunteering is to teach English. This does require some effort and commitment on the part of the volunteers. The big plus is that it is conversational English and does not require the volunteer to be a trained teacher. The course books are good and being improved all the time. The model, speak and be understood, hear and understand is excellent. It works with all levels of ability to speak English. Support of the teaching programme is provided by past volunteers who live in Phnom Penh and work there as professional teachers in the commercial international schools.
Cambodia is an interesting place to visit and the people are amazingly friendly and hospitable. The country is small enough that volunteers are able to visit most of the areas in their free time. Travel is inexpensive and the bus services are good."
Best wishes, Rod Bourke
Having quit my job, given up my flat and heading to my first third world country, I was rather nervous as I made my way to Phnom Penh for a 12-week volunteer stint. From the moment I was introduced to the school and staff however, I knew that this 12 weeks was going to be an experience I would never forget.
Rickety street carts offering delectable donuts, banana fritters and hot waffles (all washed down with a sugar cane juice of course); children bursting at the seems to spend their pocket money on crispy crickets, spiders and snake kebabs; a forever growing abundance of tuktuks, speedy motos and their happy drivers ready to transport you anywhere, anytime; manicured green spaces filled with khmer elders moving and grooving to 80’s aerobics tracks; teenage boys skilfully knocking a football around; streets and schools overflowing with children in uniform, possessing a thirst for education; colourful markets supplying every essential need on every possible corner; the aroma of fresh sweet coffee wafting out from the hundreds of Khmer owned cafes and coffee shops….Phnom Penh is alive and addictive!
As a volunteer teacher you are adopted into the family of staff, students and fellow teachers, instantly forming a network of welcoming, caring, loving, and helpful friends. I will be forever grateful for the introduction to and experiences in Cambodia that they gave me. Visits to my students provinces, market shopping with staff, language lessons, group birthday and festival celebrations, shared dinners, weekend trips away, river cruises and cycle explorations of the city and its suburbs….all 100% genuine and authentic Khmer. These are the memories every tourist searches for but never creates.
The working model of the school and the relationship that they have with the Cambodian Rural Development Team allowed me to use my skills to benefit not only the students in my classes but also to indirectly support those with much greater needs in the rural areas - ensuring access to running water, adequate toilets and means for sustainable farming.
Not a trained teacher, I initially thought I might struggle to get through the 12 weeks. Although the teaching itself was not always a stroll in the park (this is your job for 12 weeks and like all jobs some days just don’t go according to plan), my students made every moment in the classroom enjoyable and rewarding. The students display nothing but the upmost respect for you as their teacher and just as much as they learn from you, you too will also learn from them - gaining an insight into the amazing and inspirational Khmer people and their culture.
Whether you live with the other volunteers in the volunteer house or you live independently, the staff make your experience pleasurable and memorable. They will do what ever they possibly can to give you advice, help and assist you to safely enjoy your time in Cambodia. From booking bus tickets to finding a regular moto driver, from getting clothes made to scouting the local area for the very finest street food….all you have to do is ask.
My time spent in Cambodia opened my eyes to a world I had never been privy too. My time spent there gave me the opportunity to do this.