Teach English and Volunteer in Thailand

Volunteer to teach English as a foreign language to students in a range of schools and locations in the North of Thailand, one of the more untouristed and traditional areas of the country. We can place English teaching volunteers to help students of all ages, based on your background & interests, from small primary schools, to large high schools in major towns, to schools for Buddhist monks or poorer hill tribe communities. This project is also a cultural experience, as you will be living with a family near to your school in a homestay and have the opportunity to experience traditional Thai lifestyles & customs and become a part of the local community, as well as offering assistance in some of the poorest schools in the country.

You can volunteer to teach English in Thailand for 2 weeks or longer 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 £480.

Volunteer Julie Eaglen with Thai ladies in traditional costumeChildren preparing for some classroom gamesKids going to schoolChildren waiting to go into schoolSunday at Temple SchoolVolunteers can also teach Buddhist monksVisiting a Silk village - Isaan province is the capital of silk in ThailandYvonne having with lunch with teachers  of Prangku High SchoolLocal bus in Isaan provinceYvonne and colleagues from the foreign language departmentChildren during playtimeWatching boat races from the riverA typical volunteer homestay houseA temple in Nan provinceFarewell lunch with other teachersA large high school in Nan provincePrangku Khmer monumentStudents getting dressed for the temple dancesTeaching older studentsChildren at a smaller primary schoolChildren walking to lunchVisting a local temple

About the Project

Teaching volunteers in Thailand

As an English teaching volunteer in Thailand you will:

  • Be working in one of many selected target schools in rural provinces. We currently place volunteers in several locations in Northern Thailand including Isaan, Nan, and Mae Sot.
  • In general, teach in large rural high schools with 500-2000 students, from twelve to eighteen years old. However, we work with many types of schools around the North of Thailand which welcome volunteers to teach English including; small primary schools for younger children (e.g. 50 students), schools for Buddhist monks, schools for poor students from hill tribe communities who travel from border regions and so on. Volunteers can choose a placement to suit their skills and interests in their application.
  • Work together with the schools’ English teachers to develop lessons for the classroom (fun songs and games are preferred), as students have basic English skills
  • Be expected in to teach in the classroom 3-4 hours per day (however you are welcome to teach for longer if you wish, or even spend time in multiple schools)
  • Be able to choose your preferred location & type of school you wish to teach in

A teaching volunteer with her students in ThailandWe work almost exclusively in the North of Thailand, in Mae Sot, Nan Province and Isaan (South of Laos and North of Cambodia). The mountains of the North and the islands of the South of Thailand are fine for vacations, but the North East is the poorest region of Thailand, and arguably the most traditional, where people are very welcoming and friendly. Our volunteers often find it is very rewarding to go somewhere that hasn’t been over-touristed and lost its appreciation of foreign visitors.

Volunteer in Thailand and also experience true Thai culture

When you meet our Programme liaison in Bangkok, we’ll show you basic language and culture skills. Most of our schools are secondary level, age 12-18, with 500-2500 students 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 our 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 and enjoy themselves 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 your school. There are also phones for making/receiving calls. On the weekends you can take the time to experience your new surroundings & Thai lifestyle, for example relaxing at home with your host family, arrange to meet other volunteers in the Region, study Thai culture or Thai food, sit with Buddhist monks, visit nearby areas, temples and landmarks 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, and all volunteers will be able to get in touch with our coordinator if they have any issues.

Dates & Costs

Volunteer to teach in Thailand and make classes entertaining

Most teaching volunteers join us for 1 or 2 months, but 2 weeks is the minimum, and 2 months is generally the maximum. If you are interested in staying longer than 2 months please let us know. We have places available to teach English in Thailand during the following months:

1st to 31st May 2018
1st to 30th June 2018
1st to 31st July 2018
1st to 31st August 2018
1st to 30th September 2018
1st to 30th November 2018
1st to 31st December 2018


Boat race on the river in Wiang Sa, ThailandPlease note we are flexible with start and end dates, you don't need to start on the 1st of the month. These dates are listed just as a guideline. You can join the project for 2 weeks or longer starting on any date throughout the year, except for during the school holidays (October and March-April). Couples, friends, groups and families are also welcome to join the project together.

The cost for 1 month (or less than 1 month if you join for just 2 or 3 weeks) is 480 GB pounds, 2 months is 640 GB pounds, and every extra month costs 165 GB Pounds.

All meals and accommodation while at your homestay are covered by your host school. The above cost covers:
  • Teaching volunteers in ThailandAdministration 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 if needed
  • Info about where we recommend staying 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
  • Food and accommodation while at your homestay
  • Access to our staff by phone and email
  • Access to the 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 visa (if required), your own transport to your homestay from Bangkok 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 ThailandWhile working as an English teaching volunteer in Thailand, a main feature of the programme is the local homestays. You will live with a Thai host family in the community where your school is based. Indeed, one reason this programme has been so successful is because Thai people take such good care of their guests and volunteers are warmly welcomed into the community by their family, teachers & the students they are helping.

Teaching volunteers eating traditional Thai foodThough you will typically be teaching very poor students in the more remote provinces of Thailand, the homestays are quite extensive (see a typical homestay house to the left) to ensure our volunteers feel comfortable during their stay. You will stay in a Western style house, with a proper bed, bathroom (often with Western toilet), and three fine Thai meals a day provided by your school and host family (see to the right). Most of the homestays are in small towns in rural areas. You will have access to wi-fi, email, a telephone, and shops. Our host families are typically middle to upper-class Thais with the means to support a foreign guest, who welcome foreign volunteers to stay with them to help their community and develop the English level of local students. School students are generally farmers’ children who may see English as a way to gain entrance to a college or improve job prospects in the future.

Volunteer Requirements

Temple in Nan, ThailandYou 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
- Flexible and willing to adapt to another culture

Teaching English as a foreign language in rural Thailand does not require any special training. You need to look good, dress well (having a smart appearance is very important in traditional areas of Thailand), smile, be relaxed, make jokes, and willing to 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.

A teaching volunteer with their students in the classroom

Travel in Thailand

Volunteers should arrange to fly into Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. We will meet you in Bangkok for your first orientation, giving you some instructions and some information on the programme before you travel to your school the day after the meeting. Once you arrive at your homestay, you will be met at the bus station/airport, where you will have a Thai coordinator to be your liaison whilst you volunteer at the school.

Thailand Visas

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

Background & Interactive Map

Below is a video showcasing a typical day in the life of a teaching volunteer in Thailand:

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


About the Isaan region

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

Teaching volunteer in ThailandKat Allcock from the UK describes her time volunteering in Summer 2016:

This was honestly such an amazing, rewarding, challenging experience, and I’m truly glad I had this opportunity. By staying with one of the teachers from the school where I was volunteering I feel like I’ve gained an authentic experience of Thai culture and life, something which I’d have found quite difficult had I been staying by myself, or just with other volunteers, as I know some organisations do. Eating with my Thai family every day was great, as Thai food is absolutely delicious (as long as they didn’t give me anything with chilli in, which was actually quite difficult!) I really miss all the different Thai fruits now that I’m home – I think pink dragonfruit was definitely my favourite! The family made me feel incredibly welcome and took care of me, despite some of them speaking very little English.

As for the teaching, all the staff at Prang Ku School were incredibly welcoming and helpful, as were all the pupils. In my first couple of weeks, I usually had a Thai teacher with me in the classroom, but after that I was by myself with a class of 40 pupils. Although this was daunting to begin with, I feel like I adjusted quite quickly, and didn’t find it as nerve-wracking as I thought I might.

Teaching volunteering in ThailandI was expected to plan and carry out the lessons by myself, usually just armed with a white board pen and an English-Thai dictionary in case I got stuck! For the most part, as long as I wrote down everything that I was saying, the pupils seemed to get the gist of what I was trying to teach them, and as I went along I learnt a few more Thai words which helped me get across the main points of my lessons. Although I did sometimes find it quite challenging to control a class, especially if I couldn’t explain something simply enough for them to understand in English, I never felt as if I was floundering or failing as I knew that I could always ask another teacher for help if necessary, and I just learnt to think on my toes if anything wasn’t quite going to plan!

Visiting a temple in Prang KuAlthough it is still a very conservative country, and you are expected to dress smartly when teaching, in your free time you don’t have to be quite as conservative, with the local Thai people wearing shorts when relaxing at home and going to the market. Also, the facilities in my host house were of a ‘Western’ standard, with Wi-Fi, a ‘Western toilet’, normal beds and air conditioning, and this seemed to be the norm for those in the centre of Prang Ku.

Thank you so much for allowing me to fulfil a lifelong dream of teaching abroad, I can honestly say that I don’t regret a second of it, and I will remember the entire experience, and the friends that I made there, for the rest of my life.

Pamela from the UK describes her time volunteering in Mae Sot:

I had a wonderful adventure and the send-off I had from the school at the end was almost overwhelming; they were so pleased to have someone come to their school, work with them, be with them.

I would most certainly recommend the experience, I did things and saw things that I could never have done as a tourist (being blessed by a Burmese Buddhist monk; taking part in the school’s procession to the local temple to present gifts for Asanha Bucha; getting the whole school to take part in ‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands’).  But it is not something to be done lightly; you need to be prepared to be foolish, be outside your comfort zone, be lonely even.  But, in exchange, you get a genuine insight into the Thai way of life, warts and all.

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.
Kop 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.


A teaching volunteer stands with Thai students in traditional costume

Volunteer Julie Eaglen describes her time with the programme

"...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 the Project

School children in ThailandIf 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 your application payment of £180. In addition, we require you to email us a recent photo to show to your host family (aaron@workingabroad.com). If for some reason we are unable to offer you a place, your application payment 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, Thai customs and more.


Apply Now

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