Travel to Teach is a non-profit organization that connects volunteers with different grass-roots projects in various locations in South East Asia and Central America. I am currently interning here is a Head Office Intern and my role involves handling our social media and digital marketing platforms, planning and organizing itineraries for volunteer groups, budgeting and general support in anything admin-related. What I love is that I also get to help our volunteers in their projects which means I get to teach, construct and participate in other volunteer projects.
How did you get involved in the volunteer industry?
This has been a recent change for me. I was working at a corporate job in New York for the past two years, but needed a change and wanted to travel. I left 6 months ago and started backpacking around the world by myself. I loved the travel, I loved experiencing other cultures but ultimately wanted to do more than just the beaten tourist track. Interning at Travel-to-Teach has been the perfect way for me to learn about Thai culture and life, while at the same time, making a more meaningful impact. It's also definitely made me realize that the volunteer industry is an avenue I can see myself working in long-term.
What makes Travel To Teach unique?
I really like that our head office is based in Thailand. Many volunteer organizations have head offices in Europe or the US which makes day to day interaction with management difficult. Having our office in Chiang Mai not only ensures that our overhead costs (and hence prices) are low, but also helps the volunteers connect with the interns and staff. Support is always available and you really feel like you're part of a big family :)
In your experience, what characteristics make a good international volunteer?
First and foremost, you have to appreciate and be curious about different cultures and ways of life. You have to be open to new experiences and respect the customs and lifestyles of the countries you volunteer in. Good international volunteers are social, friendly and outgoing. They are motivated because they want to make an impact, they want to do more than the average traveler.
What does the future hold for Travel To Teach?
We are looking to expand our reach and open more programs in other locations. Our existing programs are strong and I think we are now at a point where we have the funds to branch out further.