English Teaching Volunteering in Luang Prabang, Laos

Join this volunteer project and work with young Laotians, helping to develop their skills and potential. You will work with a wide variety of students, teaching both practical and conversational English across different levels.

You can join for 1 week up to 6 months all year round. We have places available all throughout the year.

Individuals, groups, students and couples all welcome.

Cost including accommodation, airport transfer, breakfast meals, training & supervision; starts at £400.

A volunteer with a study groupVolunteers can help to teach young monks and learn about their lifestyleVolunteers can explore the surrounding area in their free timeTeaching practical EnglishAn enthusiastic studentVolunteers can visit many local landmarks during their stayVolunteers exploring Luang PrabangTeaching English to Buddhist monksSitting down to a traditional mealArts and crafts with studentsChildren playing in the riverTypical Laos scenery

About the Project

Volunteer with students at the end of classThe project was founded in 2013 by local staff who strongly believe that education, both formal and informal, is key to providing long term solutions to sustainable development and poverty reduction in Laos. This is a small grassroots organisation working in Luang Prabang (a world heritage site), which is also the educational hub of Northern Laos. The aim of the project is to work with young Laotians and develop their skills and potential, so they can have better opportunities in the future.

Being a Teaching volunteer in Laos means that you will help to provide educational opportunities for motivated Lao youth, and strengthen and enrich their lives.

About the Teaching Volunteer Projects

As a teaching volunteer in Laos, you will work with a wide variety of students teaching both practical and conversational English across different levels. This challenging but rewarding role will provide volunteers with an insight into Laotian culture.

Teaching volunteers in Laos will work on the project Monday to Friday, planning and delivering English lessons. Weekends are yours to explore the surrounding area or simply relax at base with your fellow volunteers. Whilst volunteering in Luang Prabang you will be given the opportunity to be part of several projects and teach in diverse environments. Below are a list of the teaching projects volunteers can get involved with.

A volunteer with students

Teaching English in the Local High School

Santiphab school is the biggest School in Luang Prabang. In addition to serving the town and countryside, it provides a home (complete with dormitory) for the 30 brightest students in maths and literature in each grade from the entirety of Northern Laos. These students have received scholarships from their countryside homes, and many of those students have served as library volunteers. Teaching volunteers working here will have the opportunity to assist with conversational English, reading, and playing games. The library is open 6 days a week, 9 hours a day and 5 evenings and It is set within the grounds of one of Luang Prabang about 2 kilometers outside of the town centre and a 5-minute bicycle ride from the volunteer accommodation.

Teaching English to Monks in Laos

Volunteer to teach young monks and learn about their lifestyle in a fascinating monastery. These monasteries have realised that the monks need to learn English in order to help them spread the teachings of Buddha and communicate effectively with the outside world. Teaching English to Buddhist monks as a volunteer is an excellent opportunity for volunteers who are interested in Buddhism and its culture. In the monasteries, volunteers will also have an opportunity to learn about Buddhism and witness colourful rituals and prayers. The classes are mostly focused on conversation and usually contain 5-6 novice monks.

Thumbs up at the end of class!

Pikhan English Centre - Teaching Disabled Students

Volunteer at an English centre that provides English lessons at a very low cost to local students suffering from disabilities. Often these students have been deformed at birth or affected by land mines which is still a huge problem in rural Laos. They provide private classes for students who have low budgets, the price is only $7 a month. This school has also worked with the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise of Lao PDR and non-Government organizations including POWER and World Vision and has a close relationship with UXO Laos Visitor Center in Luang Prabang.

English Learning Centre

Volunteers also teach private classes at the Mitta PHAB Learning Centre. It is a private school which costs the students USD $12 per month. Whilst it is a private school, the need for English speaking volunteers is still the same. No matter the financial situation of the students or parents, volunteers are needed in all of our projects due to the insufficiency of the public education system in Laos. 

Dates and Costs

Some local children10th to 24th February 2018
24th February to 10th March 2018
10th to 24th March 2018
24th March to 7th April 2018
7th to 21st April 2018
21st April to 5th May 2018
5th to 19th May 2018
19th May to 2nd June 2018

2nd to 16th June 2018
16th to 30th June 2018
30th June to 14th July 2018
14th to 28th July 2018
28th July to 11th August 2018
11th to 25th August 2018
25th August to 8th September 2018
8th to 22nd September 2018
22nd September to 6th October 2018
6th to 20th October 2018
20th October to 3rd November 2018
3rd to 17th November 2018
17th November to 1st December 2018
1st to 15th December 2018
15th to 29th December 2018

For the majority of our teaching volunteer projects in Laos, you can join us for any amount of time from 1 week up to 6 months. We are flexible with dates, as long as you arrive on a Saturday. However, some projects have a minimum stay, if you have any questions about availability or dates please email aaron@workingabroad.com. We usually recommend a stay of 1-6 months since it offers the best value for your trip, but it is by no means essential. Regardless of the length of your stay, you will be able to learn a lot. You will have time to get to experience a new culture, come to know its people and form relationships that will outlast the duration of your stay.

Project Costs

Monks from a nearby templeThe cost to join this teaching volunteer project in Laos is £400 for 1 week, £500 for 2 weeks, £580 for 3 weeks, £670 for 4 weeks, £860 for 6 weeks, £1050 for 8 weeks, and every extra week costs £80. For prices for any other duration not listed above, please email aaron@workingabroad.com

What is included:

  • Airport pick-up
  • Support from long term experienced staff in Laos
  • Welcome meeting and all necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Safe and basic accommodation
  • A guided tour of Luang Prabang to show you the sights and point out the best restaurants, internet cafes, banks, etc.
  • Learning about Lao culture, history, food, religion and language
  • Donation to the ongoing work of the project
  • Daily breakfast at the guesthouse

What’s Not Included:

  • Flights to and from Luang Prabang, Laos
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs (about £20)
  • Police background check (about £25)
  • Personal items, drinks and gratuities
  • Meals (excluding breakfast)
  • Extra local excursions you may wish to join (trekking, tours, etc.)
  • Transportation to your project location(s)

Accommodation, Requirements and Travel

Volunteers outside their guesthouse in LaosVolunteers will stay in a family run guesthouse in Luang Prabang. The rooms in the guest house are comfortable, equipped with fans and have en-suite bathrooms with electric hot water showers and western style toilets. There is a simple but well equipped kitchen where volunteers can keep some small essentials in the fridge, there is also a menu where the volunteers can order food from the family and they will cook for them (meals costs between US$2-US$4). There is also free wi-fi, and a safe available to use at reception. The kitchen is also equipped with an automatic washing machine where volunteers can do their own washing for just over US$2 per kilo.

The guest house is a short ten-minute walk away from the shops where you can buy most everyday essentials and also from the library where you will volunteer. Popular bars and restaurants are only a 5-minute walk away from the Guesthouse. There are internet cafes within the town centre that cost just over US$1 per hour for access. Volunteers can also be provided with a free bicycle at the guesthouse which is an effective way of getting around town.

Volunteer Requirements

Volunteer accommodation in Laos

All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and need to be self-motivated, flexible, willing to adapt to a new culture, and be fluent in English. Volunteers are also required to obtain a police background check from their home country and bring a printed copy with them to show to local staff on arrival in Laos. Teaching experience is not a requirement, but any experience, interests or skills you do have will, of course, be useful to the project. 

 

Travel in Laos

Volunteers enjoying traditional Laos cuisine

If coming by air, you should book a flight to arrive to Luang Prabang Airport, where you will be picked up on arrival to begin your stay with us. The most convenient way of travelling from one province to another is by air with Lao Aviation, which provides daily flights from Vientiane to almost all of the cities in Laos. There are also regular buses linking cities in the north to the south.

Luang Prabang is served by Lao Airlines, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and PB Air, with regular services to Vientiane, Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

You can easily get a tourist visa on arrival at most border crossings and at all Lao International airports. A normal entry tourist visa is valid for 30 days. The visa fee upon arrival is 25 to 45 USD depending on your nationality. Extension of your stay is possible for another 30 days, and can be done 2 times, for a maximum stay of 90 days. If you are planning on staying for over 90 days, please email us for visa advice.

About Luang Prabang

Local people using a traditional boat

Luang Prabang was previously the ancient capital of the Lane Xang Kingdom. With a long historical background as a political, cultural, and Buddhist centre, it has become a ‘legend’ in the Southeast Asian world. The former royal capital is classified by UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE in 1995, and known as the ‘best-preserved traditional town in Southeast Asia.’  Luang Prabang has become a popular point to journey into the very heart of Laos.

Luang Prabang has been considered one of Southeast Asia’s “must see” destinations for over a decade. Its landscape, golden stupas, monks, natural and historical sites, ancient traditions and cultures all come together forming a charming town, which is increasingly hard to find in the region. In 2008 the New York Times put Laos at the top of their list of “Places to go”.

In addition, this World Heritage city received the award for “Top City ” for three consecutive years from 2006-2008. In 2009 it was one of the top 10 in the same category. It won the “Top City” award again in 2010, 2011 and this year (2012) it takes the top spot again for the third year running.

Worldwide readers of Wanderlust, a leading British travel magazine, voted Luang Prabang as the best city in the world to visit. Quoted from Wanderlust : “This top city isn’t about bright lights and fast living. No, laid-back Laos city Luang Prabang likes to take things slow. Really slow. You can’t get enough of its serene temples and jungle ecolodges”, this is so true. See for yourself Wander lust Travel Awards 2012 – the Winners. Very recently, Luang Prabang ranked 1st in the “Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2012 According to Facebook”.

Volunteer Testimonials 

James LaPlante, from USA joined the project for 3 months from January-April 2017: 

To start off with, the man who runs the organization was very helpful. His english was quite good and thanks to him my transition into teaching went very smoothly. He also helped me and the other volunteers with our travel plans and scheduled anything we wanted for us. I did not see him on a day to day basis, but this was perfectly acceptable, as he was always available when I needed him. I had a great amount of independence during my time in Luang Prabang. I had the option to teach all day if i wanted to, or to have a few hours to explore and experience the city. Luang Prabang is a city which I grew to really enjoy. It is quite touristy, but it is beautiful and interesting to walk around, it is very relaxed, and has some great food and people. Generally, the students are fantastic to teach. Most are very eager to learn and respectful. The very young students (9-13 year olds) were a bit of a handful sometimes, but that is to be expected. Students were extremely open about their culture and me learning about it greatly enriched my experience. The accommodation was very acceptable, and the family of the guesthouse is extremely nice. The breakfast there is acceptable as well. My time in Laos gave me insight into the Lao/Hmong culture, the opportunity to (try to) learn a new language, an experience with a new city/country and its people, and so much more. I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering volunteering.


Teaching English to monks in Laos

Michael Wilder, from USA describes his time at the project in December 2016:

I was so honored to volunteer in Laos. The Director of the program is exceptional and ensured all the logistics of airport pick up, housing and orientation to the program was completed with the highest standards. He was accessible 24 hours as day if needed. The orientation materials were very detailed and reviewed prior to stepping into the teaching environments.

I was fortunate to teach at the library at the public school in the mornings, one on one teaching at a local temple in the afternoons and then a group teaching in the evenings at the temple as well. The youth were exceptional in their hospitality shown towards me and were eager, motivated and excited to attend classes. The more creative you can be in your approach to teaching the more energized each student will be to learn.

Volunteer with monks in LaosThe guest house was exceptional and in a great location with a 10 minute walk to the teaching sites and a 10 minute walk to the center of Laung Prabang. The area is rich in color and culture and very welcoming of travelers from all over the world.

I would encourage any student teachers, gap year students or older adults like myself, to volunteer at this program. The needs are great, the students so eager to learn English, and I can ensure you that your life will be changed by emerging yourself into this remote location of the world.

This is an incredible program making a real difference in the lives of youth each and everyday.


Previous volunteer Tosh from Canada describes his time on the project:

Local templeI tutored secondary aged children in the local library for 4 days per week for 2 hours per day in the late morning, mostly helping them to read books in English (pronunciation, vocab, etc.), and arts, crafts, and games while practicing English. Later in the day I assisted teaching a class at a school with a local teacher, following the national curriculum. The most important part of this was pronunciation and vocabulary, as well as introducing new teaching activities and games to make the class more dynamic and fun. 

I then would teach an early evening class at a private school next door. I would lead the class, but would also have the aid of a Lao teacher to be able to explain things in Lao to the students if necessary. I was able to make interesting lessons and activities myself, while loosely following along with the school curriculum, which seemed complex for many students. I think it was important have the opportunity to work more practically like this, based on class skills rather than following the book completely.

After that, I would go back to the Library at about 6, where many local college students would be waiting for tutoring and practicing English. Most of these students were very poor students from the countryside that were on a scholarship. It was really rewarding because they were all so determined, motivated, and grateful to have help from a native English speaker and to be able to talk with a foreigner, which some had never been able to before. This was probably my favorite experience.  Some volunteers really liked the library during the day and doing arts and crafts and interacting with the younger children, but for me, to be able to talk with these extremely curious and motivated college students from the countryside was the most rewarding aspect, as I could see their strong determination and how they valued the opportunity so much.

With these college students, our coordinator, myself, and other volunteers also organized different weekend activities such as going to the market and cooking together at the school, a bicycle trip to see local attractions (which many students from the countryside had never seen!) and having an amazing sports day at school. These were really amazing times for everyone.

Everything was well organized and laid out, there was a good initial orientation,  any questions were readily answered, and the programme was very flexible based on how much I wanted to spend my time, at what school, with whom, and doing what. Once things were started, I was also able to change schedule a little based on what I liked. E.G. More time in the library in the afternoon with the college students and less in the morning with the kids. 

My experience was really great and I would highly recommend volunteering with this programme to anyone, male and female, both young and old!

Teaching English at a local temple

How to Join the Project

If you are interested in teaching English as a volunteer in Laos, 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 your application payment of £180. In addition, we require you to email us a recent photo as well as your CV/resume (aaron@workingabroad.com). If for some reason, your application is not accepted, we will reimburse this payment fully. However for those who are accepted, the final balance needs to be paid two months before departure. Once you are confirmed on the project, you will receive pre-departure information with all details on your project, when to arrive, contact details, visa & travel details etc. All volunteers also need to do a Background Criminal check which will need to be supplied to local staff on arrival to Laos.
 

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