WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in Thailand - (past program)

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from WorldTeach.

Video and Photos

About

WorldTeach’s Thailand program was established in 2008. WorldTeach partners with the Ministry of Education of Nakhon Phanom to provide elementary and high school students with access to native-speaking English teachers in the Nakhon Phanom province, one of the poorest areas of the country. The majority of volunteers teach at schools in rural areas, although there are some placements available in Nakhon Phanom city. WorldTeach provides a valuable service to help underprivileged rural and city schools reach a higher standard of English education, thereby enhancing students’ abilities to compete with those in more advantaged areas for work and a better future.

With our year-long program, you can also become TEFL certified to earn credibility and give you an edge in the ESL teaching job market. While certification usually costs about $1,899, with WorldTeach you can become certified for only $350 while also gaining priceless in-country teaching experience.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

90%
based on 10 reviews
  • Benefits 8.3
  • Support 7.1
  • Fun 8
  • Facilities 9.1
  • Safety 8.7
  • Instruction 7
  • Support 7.7
  • Value 9
  • Difficulty 6.7
  • Job Assistance 3.3
Showing 1 - 10 of 10
Default avatar
Erin
8/10

There are some places that never fully leave you. Thailand is one of them

Living and teaching in Thailand was the most challenging and rewarding year of my life. The Issan region of Thailand is stunning and provides volunteers with an authentic experience of Thai culture that is untouched by tourism and Western influences. The Thai community is extremely caring and welcoming and love to include foreigners in various activities and events. There is a 6 week summer vacation which gives volunteers the opportunity to travel to other countries around South East Asia if they so desire. The Thai markets are remarkable. The meat and produce (although there are few green vegetables) are extremely fresh and inexpensive. The WT group of volunteers is quite small which is good because it allows everyone the chance to get to know one another and become a sort of family where everyone can rely on each other for support and guidance.

How can this program be improved?
It would be helpful if teachers were trained in how to design their own curriculum. Every school is different- some assigned their teachers circulum however some did not. I taught at a school that gave me absolutely no direction and being someone who had never taught before, my teaching could have benefited a lot with a little more direction.

Volunteers should only be placed in schools where there aren’t many other foreign teachers. I taught at a school with about 10 other foreign teachers and so the Thai teachers weren’t as engaged with us as I had hoped. When there are only two foreign teachers or so at one school, the Thai community is more willing to “take you under their wing” and they make it their job to help immerse you in the culture. When there are a lot of foreign teachers there are simply too many people for them to take care of and you lose out on forming strong bonds with the Thai community.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Nancy
8/10

Great experiences in Thailand

WorldTeach in Thailand was a great stepping stone to learn the ropes of teaching overseas. Training was only 3 weeks so if you want to learn the language you'll need private lessons when you get to your site. You're very independent once out in the field. You get out of it what you put into it. I enjoyed weekend trips around Thailand. One of my favorite trips was to Ko Samui where I stayed on the beach. I also loved the street vendor food. I liked the freedom to design my curriculum.

How can this program be improved?
More language training
Response from WorldTeach

Hello Nancy,

Thank you very much for leaving this review! It's wonderful to hear that you had a great experience. We appreciate your feedback about language instruction as well.

Thanks again Nancy!

Best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend
Maya
10/10

A life-changing experience

I liked it so much I found a job in Bangkok so I could stay an extra year. Our field support person Nicole was super helpful and I met some of my best friends (other teachers) in the first two weeks of the program, during our intensive teacher training and Thai immersion. I was in a tiny town called Ayutthaya after that and am still in touch with some of my students.

It was all the adventure I was craving and more. If you’re considering this program, do it. It was well organized and I know I made a positive impact by going.

I would do another Worldteach program in a heartbeat.

Response from WorldTeach

Hello Maya,

Thank you very much for leaving this review, and it is wonderful to hear you're still in touch with your community. We'd love to have you on another program! :-)

Best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Dana
10/10

Thailand teaching review

My experience serving with World Teach in Thailand was life changing and deeply satisfying. I returned to the states and resumed teaching at a college level, forever impacted by the people, environment and life perspectives I encountered in Thailand. I think it was Marcel Proust who wrote...The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new places but in having new eyes (something like that!). The World Teach program provided full volunteer orientation prior to being placed at my Thailand location, maintained regular contact throughout the time, quickly assisted with problems that emerged. I think World Teach is a good size program (not too large) that allows them to be responsive to volunteer needs. I am not going to suggest every day was easy, as there were days I was tired and unsure of myself, along with the exciting days of discovery, but I cannot say enough about the overall experience. Also, the Thailand location was perfect for staying on after and traveling to numerous locations in Southeast Asia.

How can this program be improved?
For me, learning the language was extremely difficult (and I never really got the hang of it, though did well enough to be able to travel in-country). Most students I interacted with wanted to speak English in order to practice. I would suggest continued improvement in the host-country language tutoring volunteers go through.
Response from WorldTeach

Thank you for taking the time to leave this important review.

During the initial orientation upon arrival, volunteers receive local language training: language classes are held each day for about 1-2 hours, which totals around 20 hours of language immersion. However, the focus of orientation is on teacher training (including 40-50 hours of TEFL training, and 15 hours of teaching practicum), and not the local language. After orientation ends, the volunteer must continue dedicating him/herself to language immersion, and it is often times very easy to find language exchange partners who will teach you their language in exchange for English language tutoring. The goal is to always be speaking English with students, but there are plenty of opportunities for language immersion outside of the classroom in the larger community.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Rita
9/10

Thailand

I had an amazing experience. 2 years later I still keep in touch with my Thai family and friends. They are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I hit a few bumps in the road with my placement but the in country support was amazing. My students were amazing and when I call "home" my family rounds up the village and has them come talk to me on Skype.

How can this program be improved?
The communication with the home office. They were great support before leaving but once in country it was a little unorganized. But the support from my field director was above and beyond making up for it.
Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this important review. Once in-country, the Field Director is your main point of contact. The US office is here for additional support, but you are correct that the best communication will come through the Field Director, since that person is in the same region as you and is completely informed on all happenings in-country. The US office is responsible for all pre-departure logistics, and then the Field Director takes over once the volunteer is in-country.
Thank you for bringing this important matter to attention.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Carl
10/10

Thailand 1995 My thoughts

Of all the volunteers who went to Thailand through world teach in 1995, I remained the longest at three years and six months to be exact. In my first year I was a world teach volunteer and then the remaining two and a half years I was well connected with friends both Thai and foreign that helped me to continue this wonderful experience on my own without a safety net.
I can't really say that I relied on world teach for much. I ventured outside the net so to speak of other volunteers and made some close friends that were much like family to me in the time I was in Thailand. My experience overall was very positive and I grew emotionally and spiritually from my time there. There were times when I got lonely and home sick but I always had love and support from someone I met while living in Thailand.
The work experience was a little more complicated the first year in Bangkok. The English dept head used the teacher exchange through world teach as sort of her adoption agency so to speak. (lot of laughs) The dept head was very controlling and expected the volunteers to conform in a professional manner to her needs. First year personal experience was great. Work was challenging do to controlling dept head.
My second year was in Chiang Rai and my work and social experience in terms of connecting with a community were the strongest here. I also made new friends who were teachers from Thailand, China and my home country the US. I had the opportunity to live in an agrarian community and felt very much apart of the school and work environment. Felt very much apart of the work environment and have great memories here both work and personally.

Third year I had some personal complications with my father getting sick back in the states that I believe greatly impacted my experience in this my final work year in Thailand. School I was at was run by a bunch of controlling little Thai ladies who ran the place like a bunch of nuns. Environment was difficult at times do to their subtle controlling nature or passive aggressive that demanded conforming beyond normal expectations in my opinion. Again, this was in Bangkok.
Overall my personal experience was fantastic as was every year in Thailand. Had the chance to make new friends, lovers, stayed at the homes of locals as their guests. Treated very well and lots and lots of good memories Great overall experience. Thoughts to return and live abroad again linger to this day in my mind. Living abroad is in my blood. : )

How can this program be improved?
I think the biggest thing to help improve world teach that was not provided was how to deal with re-verse culture shock. The introduction package going to Thailand was fantastic and thorough but I never dreamed or imagined the eventual return home as being such an emotionally taxing experience but it was. I realize each person will experience and react differently to different things so perhaps there is no way to measure an approach to the subject but I do think it should be addressed.
Response from WorldTeach

Thank you for addressing this important topic, because WorldTeach agrees that reverse culture shock is a very common and serious part of the entire experience abroad, and therefore this process is and will constantly be improved upon.

Reverse Culture Shock is one segment of the many emotional curves that this experience can create. For that reason, it is addressed at Orientation, and more significantly at End-of-Service. Conversations are held regarding coping mechanisms, expectations (and the danger of those expectations), the definition of home, and how it has since changed upon completion of the year abroad. Upon arrival home, volunteers become part of the WorldTeach alumni group, which offers job searching support, and an empathetic community, though ideally this community would exist in person-to-person events and communications and not just online. We try to create online forums for volunteers to stay connected to each other, to the organization, and news from their country programs. Additionally, a WorldTeach alumni who is a certified Life & Career Coach, offers her services free of charge to fellow alumni.

WorldTeach agrees that this transition home is often more challenging than the initial move abroad, and therefore volunteers must recognize that time and patience are needed during this time of readjustment.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Robin
9/10

I taught at a Teachers College from 1993 to 1995

I taught in an earlier program at a Teachers College in the NE and had an amazing experience. WT had very experienced in-country coordinators who were really helpful. Being out of Bangkok was a blessing.

I went to Vietnam for WT to do a test teaching assignment for one month. The organization wasn't as thorough and since I came with a tourist visa, the government there would not let me teach - but I had a great time anyway.

How can this program be improved?
The language training was not very robust because the focus was on teacher training. It was only for 3 weeks, so they had to prioritize.
Response from WorldTeach

Thank you Robin for taking the time to leave this review. It is great to see how WorldTeach has evolved over the years.

It is accurate to say that the orientation focus is on teacher training, including 40-50 hours of TEFL training, and 15 hours of teaching practicum. Language classes are held each day for about 1-2 hours, which totals around 20 hours of language immersion.

Your experience in Vietnam is unfortunate and unacceptable, even for a test assignment. Work permits and visas are secured by WorldTeach for our volunteers. Each country's procedures and time frames are different, however never prevent a volunteer from teaching.

Thank you Robin for your review!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Noam
9/10

Teaching in Isan Province

Despite the poor support from WorldTeach, the opportunity to volunteer in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, was fantastic. Spending a year working with and immersed in a fascinating country was invaluable. Thai culture is unique, the kids are wonderful, the food is amazing. I highly recommend this if you are considering teaching abroad.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
J
7/10

The Draw of Isan

This program is located in Isan, the northwest area of Thailand. That turned out to be a wonderful part of Thailand, as its culture is still very much intact and not so much changed by Western influences as is the more southerly regions such as Bangkok. The culture is very welcoming, and as such, we were received and treated very well the entire time. To be invited to various local events and to be included in activities was the norm by our Thai hosts. The food is generally outstanding and always freshly prepared and there's always plenty of it as well. (Cheese and chocolate, however, are relatively rare.)

Many, but not all, volunteers are housed on campus alongside Thai teachers. That often means cold-water bucket showers and basic facilities but you end up living just as some of your fellow Thai teachers are. At my school (in a small village), the teaching aids were basic but sufficient; no overhead projectors, for example, but copiers/printers and alike were available. Internet access was sometimes problematic, which could be frustrating at times because I used it extensively to find materials to augment my lessons.

In my opinion, the WorldTeach home office had some serious problems with organization and communication and this weighed on my overall experience. On the other hand, they managed to find excellent staff to take on the in-country field director position.

For me, the bottom line is that the beauty and wonder of the culture outweighed the problems I experienced with the program itself. I heartily recommend experiencing the Isan culture; it was an amazing experience for me.

Response from WorldTeach

Great to see that you had a positive experience in the classroom and that you took advantage of the opportunity for cultural immersion. Invitations to local events, fresh and delicious food, and authentic living conditions sound like memorable experiences (and make for good stories!).

In regards to the organization and communication from the home office, please reach out to us at [email protected] with more details. WorldTeach is committed to excellent volunteer support so your feedback is essential to improving our processes.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
ZachG
10/10

Authentic Thai living

Living in Nakhon Phanom was a true experience of what life in Thailand is like for Thai people who have not been exposed to the globalizing trends of western business and tourists. It takes a lot of adjustment to be able to cope with living in a very rural area, from getting used to the different kinds of food and climate, to adapting oneself to the specific ways that people are expected to interact with each other. The people, though, are welcoming and overwhelmingly friendly and make living in Nakhon Phanom a wonderful experience. You will get to teach some loving students, maybe learn about Thai rural traditions and culture, see and maybe participate in rice farming, go on trips to neighboring cities and celebrate holidays with the locals. The summer break is a great chance to travel the country and see how the Thai people live in different areas. All in all, one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Yes, I recommend

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About WorldTeach

WorldTeach was founded in 1986 by a group of Harvard students who were motivated by the desire to promote local education initiatives in places where teachers and resources were lacking. Today, we continue to provide opportunities for individuals to...