TravelBud

Program Reviews

Default avatar
Shael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Travelbud has honestly been the best company to come overseas with. They have been so supportive and helpful. always checking in and emailing me to see if I need anything. Just such a great company to go through. They help me through the paperwork process so amazingly! They’re just so great! Just enjoyed the agency they placed me with and everything. They are great. They have a great media presence and care about their teachers. We’re like a big family! The people are so friendly and kind and just want to help

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just decided to love it and love it! Be happy and Vietnam will treat you well!
Default avatar
David
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I know the program costs a lot of money. But consider it an investment. Not only do you get a TESOL qualification taught in person (better than an online TEFL) which you can use anywhere, but you will also grow as a person. The teaching work in Vietnam is very rewarding, with 80 hours a week teaching paying over £1000 a month (after tax). It's incredibly easy to save, and still live in great accommodation. I've met many amazing people and picked up a second language and several hobbies thanks to all my free time. I feel 10x more confident in myself, and I love living in Vietnam. The people are so friendly, especially if you learn a little Vietnamese.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take this opportunity to grow. Use your newfound free time to develop some hobbies you really enjoy, while working a job you will love.
Default avatar
Anthony
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I found the program to be very beneficial. Originally I was going to do everything myself, but decided to go through the program to have extra support and guidance. I found that it was a very worthy investment, as the support team was well-organized and helpful in getting me acclimated and prepared for my experience.

The support with logistics, paperwork, bank accounts etc. is facilitated and also the cultural orientation was valuable. Meeting so many other people was a great way to start my time abroad, as I made friends and developed a network from the start.

While there is room for improvement, I found overall the experience to be smooth and helpful. My teaching placement worked out for me and I am happy where I was placed. It was a pretty seamless process and I have been enjoying and learning much in my time here.

Originally I wanted to be in a bigger city with a lot of ex-pats, but my placement turned out to be in a small area. I decided to just trust in the process and it turned out that I had a great experience. I still made friends and had a life-changing experience. I think that you might grow and learn more being outside your comfort zone.

If you're new to teaching abroad and you want a strong support network to help with all the logistics and also as a way to meet others, I think this program is a strong option.

What would you improve about this program?
I would allow a bit more down time during the 1 week cultural orientation (for those doing placement only, not TESOL course). I found the days were packed with classes and activities and there wasn't much time for me to run errands or simply get a little rest. Otherwise, I thought it was very well organized.
Default avatar
Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I would highly recommend Travelbud to anyone wanting to teach abroad. I have been teaching in the United States the past 4+ years and I decided to teach abroad to learn more about how I could support my students who are English Language Learners (ELL) or learning English as a Second Language (ESL). I have very little experience working outside the US so I was looking for an agency that could support me throughout the whole process. I reached out to Travelbud in January of 2019 and for the next year they worked closely with me to make sure I was supported every step of the way. From understanding the Thailand school year to TESOL questions to all of my Visa questions and the long process of getting my teaching degree notarized, authenticated, and legalized, Travelbud was with me every step of the way. Travelbud also helped me connect with an in-country program that allowed me to get my TESOL degree before actually teaching in a school. Every question I had throughout my year of preparing to go abroad was answered quickly and accurately. It felt like I had a friend holding my hand throughout the process and I LOVED that.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Travelbud helped me feel at peace with all of my worries by answering all of my questions without judgement each step of the way. If you have any questions—even if you’re afraid it’s a stupid question—just ask! Mine ranged from Visa questions to how many pieces of luggage was too much for 3 months abroad. Travelbud was always beyond helpful!
Sara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

TravelBud has been extremely supportive since the very start. I originally wanted to come to Thailand at the end of March (in a few weeks), but I changed my mind last minute a few months ago and wanted to come in December instead. TravelBud was super quick to getting me all the information I needed to be in Thailand faster than originally planned. TravelBud has constantly reached out to me to make sure I have all the help I need.

Being in Thailand for 2.5 months now has already been life changing. The TESOL course brought me some amazing friends who I still speak to every day. Going to my placement school was really scary because it was entering this unfamiliar territory to do a job I had never done before. I didn’t think culture shock would get me, but it definitely did! It was something I was quickly able to overcome with constant support and the community I was quickly able to build in my new city. I can’t express enough how special this program is and how everyone should really have an experience like this!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
When I got off the bus in my placement school city. I don’t usually get stressed about something until it’s actually happening. I got off the bus and realized this was really happening and I was suddenly horrified. This feeling goes away quickly as Thailand is the most welcoming country I’ve ever been to and the people instantly make you feel at home.
Default avatar
Aubrey
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Every single moment since I have arrived in Vietnam has felt like a vivid story in my head. Not only are we just learning in the classroom- we are learning every time we step outside. Whether it’s reading signs , asking questions to local people in Vietnamese or looking in doorways as you pass down side streets... there is truly never a dull moment. Travel Bud had me feeling so well prepared for this trip. The comfort they provided me set the tone for a welcoming , warm journey into Vietnam. I have felt extremely looked after and the way that the staff (especially Saskia) responded to every question I asked no matter how big or small was both genuine and helpful.

What would you improve about this program?
Personally I think TravelBud was everything I could have asked for. I think the handoff to their in-country partner could be a bit smoother. I found a few times that they started providing me with differing info than I had been told initially by Travel Bud
Default avatar
Sherry
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Bait and Switch. Not worth the value. This program did not provide the services listed on the website. Travelbud did not provide 24/7 support after I arrived in Panama and did not request feedback after I completed the program. The TeachPTY host changed the agenda each week employing others to teach during the time I was supposed to be teaching English to the students.

My attempts to provide feedback to Teach PTY and Travelbud have been ignored.

Why should someone pay to "volunteer" while others make a profit?

What would you improve about this program?
Don't charge so much money to volunteer, honor what was promised to the volunteers. Be honest and upfront if the agenda changes, so the volunteer has plenty of time to adjust or change plans. Be respectful, listen to both sides without judgement and offer refunds of the contract was breached (as it was in my circumstances)
Response from TravelBud

Hi Sherry,

Thank you for your feedback. As mentioned over email, we are very sad to hear that you felt your experience on our Panama program did not live up to your expectations and are sorry that you did not accept our offer to speak over the phone and hear your feedback.

As you know, TravelBud offered this program through our in-country volunteer partner in Panama, Teach PTY, where TravelBud provides the majority of the pre-arrival support and Teach PTY provides all the in-country services which includes things like airport pickup, accommodation, volunteer activities, meals, and 24/7 in-country support.

Saskia provided you with full pre-arrival support assisting you with guides on what to pack, what flights and insurance to purchase, visa guidance, and answering all your questions before arriving in Panama. She also checked in with you regularly throughout your time on the program.

After investigating your feedback thoroughly we have found that in addition to TravelBud providing extensive pre-arrival support, Teach PTY went over and above to make your experience as pleasant as possible and provided all the services listed on our website.

When it comes to volunteering abroad, it's important to be adaptable to changes in plans and schedules which sometimes takes place to accommodate the needs of the community one is working with. We are sorry that the change in schedule which took place had a negative impact on your experience but hope you can understand the needs of the community need to be prioritised when it comes to volunteering abroad.

We hope that over time you will be able to look back on this experience with a change of heart. Volunteering abroad is no walk in the park but it provides a great opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone, travel to and explore a new country, help local communities in need, and gain a new perspective.

We wish you all the best for your future endeavours, Sherry.

The TravelBud Team

Default avatar
Jared
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

TravelBud have been an excellent resource, and the experience as a whole has been wonderful so far. I had never left the US before signing up to come teach and it's been great. Vietnam as a whole has been amazing, and the kids I am teaching are fantastic. The companies who guided me through this process have really been exemplary in their ability to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible.

The food here is unbelievable. So delicious, and so affordable. Don't be afraid of street food, it's so good. You quickly get a favorite vendor for most anything you can eat.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Read everything and ask questions. The process can be a bit overwhelming, so it is easy to lose a detail or two and misunderstand a component of the program or requirements. TravelBud are great at guiding you through everything, so don't be afraid to ask. Also, once you start teaching, inevitably you will get sick. So hand sanitizer, plenty of Vitamin C, etc should be in your tool kit going into a placement.
Heather
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

I believe travelbud is a good organization if you choose the program that fits you. Most of the programs are geared toward first time teachers and may not be exactly what you expect. You will need to ask a lot of questions to get confirmation on basic logistics. If you have traveled before it is likely you will be able to find something that fits you by simply searching online for jobs within the country. There are hundreds of jobs available with legitimate schools. The coursework for TESOL is very broad and minimal and does not really prepare you to teach English specific to where you are going. I would suggest you take full advantage of every time you have to travel and do it on your own, not with the organization. It is much more authentic and certainly more cost-effective

What would you improve about this program?
The support through email from Travelbud it was good, however once you are excepted into the teaching program and handed off to the teaching program, the help and resources you receive minimal
Response from TravelBud

Hi Heather,

Thank you so much for your review and for raising your concerns. We are sorry to hear that you do not feel our program was the right fit for you. Our program encompasses a lot more than only finding you a teaching job at a reputable school and includes an in-depth (one week) Thai culture and language orientation, a rigorous in-class TESOL certification course, tailored specifically to Thailand, and which includes two full days of teaching at a local Thai school under the observation of your instructor. Our in-country placement team also work with each participant to find them a placement within our trusted school network, and while we cannot guarantee that all preferences can be met, they work tirelessly to find each participant a placement which is as closely aligned with their placement preferences (in terms of the area they want to be placed in, the age of the students they want to teach, the salary they’re hoping to receive, etc.), and finally our in-country team provide 24/7 support throughout one’s teaching placement to ensure our teachers are fully supported throughout - be it guidance and advice on any questions they have or assistance with any bigger challenges or issues they might face while living and working abroad in Thailand as an English teacher. We also offer teaching placements, which include cultural orientations and 24/7 support, in the other countries we offer Paid Teaching programs in to all our teachers once they’ve successfully completed their contract at the school we’ve placed them at - which is completely free of charge.

Our program is certainly suited to first-time teachers and recent graduates but also to anyone who is looking to receive all of the above, rather than just a job placement at a school which has not gone through our rigorous vetting process. Finding a job placement on your own can come with challenges, as (sadly) not every school employer lives up to their contractual obligations and it can be especially challenging when this happens when you are in a foreign country with no support network. We therefore vet all the schools we work with thoroughly and have very strong relationships with the schools within our trusted network, and are on hand 24/7 to support all our teachers should any issues arise with their employers.

In terms of the minimal support and resources you have mentioned, both our pre-departure and in-country support team have gone above and beyond to working to support you, and we are sorry to hear that you feel it does not live up to your expectations. We will continue to work hard to support you and we hope you can have the positive experience which so many of our alumni have shared in having with us.

Teaching abroad is an amazing experience but it does require you to embrace every adventure and challenge with an open mind and step out of your comfort zone. Everything runs at a different pace and in a completely different way to what you might be used to back home, but this is part of the wonderful journey. We hope that while you may feel that this program isn’t right for you now, that you will be able to embrace all the ups and downs and hurdles along the way as they allow you to gain a new perspective, step out of your comfort zone, and ultimately grow as a person.

All the best,

Stu, Co-founder and CEO

Default avatar
Joni
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I'm not gonna lie, I didn't know much about Myanmar. But what an adventure I was in for. I have only chipped away at the tip of the iceburg and this new year will see me travelling further north to see more of this beautiful country.

The Tefl Course was so much fun ( a lot of work though! But manageable.) I was placed at NELC HO teaching young adults and learning teachers here in Yangon. One week into my Job NELCXplore (The Guys who will train you.) wanted to hire me here also to teach adults and children, so I'm split between the two which i thoroughly enjoy.

Throughout the whole experience travelbud were by my side, Saskia and Lydia were my pillars . Alot of contact to the build up to leaving your home country and then just checking in every now and again to see how we are getting along. The ground team here are amazing and really help you adjust to Myanmar life.

I am only 3 months into my 13 months here, and I am so excited to what the future will bring. ✌🏼

Oh... And the visa runs! Means you get to see other part of Asia too!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The Shwegadon Pagoda is just breath taking! And definitle you have to go to Bagan!