6 Countries for Volunteer English Teaching

Whether it’s with a Korean academy or the Spanish government, finding teaching jobs abroad is a relatively easy way to work overseas. While these one-year jobs are common, some people find that volunteer teaching offers more flexibility, or a way to become more directly involved with the local community.

Volunteer teaching programs can run for as little as four months, to up to a year. Some even provide a monthly stipend and housing with local family, which can turn out to be a deep cultural immersion experience- especially if you’re placed in a rural area.

Here are six programs looking for volunteers year-round:


There’s a lot going on between its arid desert in the north and towering glaciers hundreds of miles below the equator. The  English Open Doors program places volunteers throughout the country, as they live with host families and assist local teachers in public schools.

Sponsored by Chilean Ministry of Education and United Nations Development Program, the program aims to make English language learning easily available to all Chileans- especially in rural communities. While prior experience living abroad or teaching is preferred, anyone who is a native English speaker with a university degree can apply. January is the earliest start date, with four, eight, six and eleven-month programs contracts from there.

The Republic of Georgia

After decades of Soviet rule, this Eastern European nation is rebuilding its society- starting with education. To jumpstart the process, the government hopes to recruit 1,000 native speakers each year to teach English in its public school through the Teach and Learn with Georgia program. With benefits like roundtrip airfare and a monthly stipend, the project attracts people interested in volunteering and becoming involved in the local community- without fees.

Volunteers live with host families, often in very rural areas, where electricity and running water can sometimes be unreliable. As in any developing country, be prepared to be flexible and adapt- inside and outside of the classroom.

Save for bouts of fighting with neighboring Russia in 2008, the country is politically stable, and overall a safe place for foreigners.


Although it’s probably not on your bucket list of places to live, English teachers are in high demand. After two decades of civil war and a long-awaited peace agreement, the country split peacefully in July, and the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, was born.

Despite the turmoil, the UK-based charity, The Sudan Volunteer Program, (SVP), has been sending undergraduates and graduates to the region for over ten years. Volunteers are placed throughout universities and public schools to teach basic English to youth and adults. The program’s mission is to help the local Sudanese community practice English conversation skills with native speakers.

Volunteers don’t need any prior teaching experience in order to apply, and receive a small, monthly stipend.

However, the US department of State warns its citizens against traveling to Sudan, since many regions are still hotbeds of violence.

Costa Rica

If you want to teach in Costa Rica and support eco-tourism, check out English Volunteers for Change (EVOLC), which promotes English-language learning in the country’s tourism sector.

Since its creation in 2009, this government-sponsored program now features six different teaching placements. For six months or one year, volunteers can teach workers within the tourism sector, or work with children in public elementary schools. English fluency is required for all programs, and some require a TEFL/TESOL certificate, as well.

Five of the six programs have fees, which cover housing, meals, and in-country orientation.

EVOLC is a good option for those looking for a structured program that places a strong emphasis on the cultural immersion experience. Teaching days run from Monday through Thursday, meaning volunteers have a three-day weekend to explore Costa Rica’s stunning rainforests and beaches.

Read these indie travel tips for San Jose, Costa Rica.


There are a lot of teaching jobs in Thailand, but the community-based Burma Volunteer Program places special emphasis on human rights. Since 2001, BVP has placed hundreds of volunteers throughout Thailand to train and assist with Burmese students and organizations.

Burma is one of South East Asia’s poorest countries. The international community has frequently raised concerns over human rights violations and the treatment of women during the country’s decades of military rule.

Volunteers stay in Thailand for a minimum of three months, working with various political, youth, ethnic, or women’s groups. The goal is to strengthen Burma’s development by providing the civil society organizations with English training workshops and lessons. There is no program fee, and housing and meals are provided for volunteers.

South Korea

South Korea tops the charts as the teach abroad hotspot, luring foreigners with high salaries and added perks like free airfare and housing. Even if you’re already teaching in Korea, you can still get involved with one of these organizations.

ATEK, The Association for Teachers of English in Korea, is an-all volunteer organization dedicated to strengthening ties among Korea’s English teachers. The organization also offers its members (and non-members) chances to share English skills with the local community. Recent projects include teaching English in women’s shelters in Busan and volunteering at a youth center in Daegu.

Helping Others Prosper Through English (HOPE) is another organization that serves families who can’t afford private English lessons from Korea’s competitive, private schools. Formed by several teachers in 2008, this grassroots organization wants to close the country’s access to education gap. HOPE offers free lessons to children in over its 20 language centers around Seoul and Gyunki. Most classes are on weeknights and weekends.

Photos by: cesargp, henribergius, folkehjelp, maveric2003, jackol, Ugg Boy Ugg Girl

Filed under: 170, ESL, Volunteering