If you really want to get to know a place, volunteering to teach there gives you a great cultural understanding. You’ll get to know the people, live and eat with the locals and feel like part of the community.
Below are five countries that are crying out for volunteer teachers – the perfect opportunity to help others, travel cheaply, and gain a greater understanding of new cultures.
Volunteer organisations like Projects Abroad UK offer projects on which volunteers can teach English abroad without requiring previous experience or qualifications. Programmes can last from as little as one month to much longer stays.
Peru is, rightly, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Latin America. With highlights including Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru’s potential for economic prosperity through tourism is doing much to improve its high unemployment and poverty levels.
A solid grasp of English is, in many ways, central to this. Unfortunately, advances in language teaching can take some time to filter down to villages away from the urban centres. Teaching English as a volunteer in the Sacred Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu will help readdress this, placing you right at the heart of the communities that live in the foothills of sites that others just pass through.
Working in Maasai schools in Tanzania will place you at the centre of local culture and close to the wildlife reserves. Speaking good English is the key to getting a good job in business or in the tourist industry, although Swahili remains the language for Tanzanian culture. Despite the official bilingual policy, levels of spoken English vary widely and volunteer English teachers can make a big impact in helping to improve the standards.
Nepal is one of the least-developed countries in the world, with chronic unemployment and many living below the poverty line. The country offers tourists great trekking and adventure sports, creating jobs for locals who speak English.
You can give something back to Nepal by volunteering to teach English. In return you’ll learn to appreciate the Nepalese culture in a much deeper way than the average visitor.
With a fascinating mix of indigenous peoples and stunning coastlines, Mexico is a rewarding Central American country to visit. Volunteer teaching in Mexico is an ideal way to learn about, and explore, Mexico and its people. Through daily conversations with young Mexicans you’ll get to really understand their lives and aspirations.
Most visitors to Fiji never get beyond the white sands and crystal clear waters, let alone make it into the rugged interior where cascading waterfalls and extinct volcanoes await those in the know. You can explore Fiji deeper still by learning about Fijian culture and the diverse make up of its charming people from indigenous Fijians, Indo-Fijians, people from neighboring islands and the descendants of Chinese traders and European explorers.
Taking part in volunteer projects to teach English abroad will help you get to know places and people really well and give you plenty of opportunities to just chill in a hammock when the work is done.