Teach English in Cambodia for 12 weeks

Video and Photos

Lunch during orientation trip to rural development project
A day trip to Kirirom national park organises by CWF
On the way to rural project
Volunteer English Teachers in Cambodia
Volunteer English Teachers in Cambodia

About

Make your next Summer Holiday useful through Volunteering!

Conversations With Foreigners is seeking volunteer teachers to teach Khmer students English at our language center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Profits from student fees help provide a sustainable source of core funding for the development projects of our partner NGO's.

CWF’s unique in-house curriculum draws on the student’s desire to share their traditions and uphold their cultural identity. Content reflects the realities of Cambodia and incorporates many aspects of its life. This is effective in motivating students to practice their English and promotes a balanced cross-cultural dialogue with their teachers.

Join us and receive priceless gifts: thanks from a nation with a deep history, living in a different world, a sunny culture where you'll hardly catch a cold and environments worth quitting the urban western world.

Visit our website for more info.

Highlights
  • No fee
  • Complete program
  • Phnom Penh capital city
  • Help communities
  • A lot of fun

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

It generally is a mixed age group ranging from 19 even up to 70. The majority are in their 20's and 30's. Age is irrelevant. Generally the younger ones live in the volunteer house whilst the over 30's to 60's live independently in their own apartments. Everyone seems to get on. We are all young at heart.

Reviews

9.46 Rating
based on 26 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9
  • Benefits 9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 7
  • Facilities 8
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 8 of 26
Default avatar
Michael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Experience

The learning opportunities and experience I had at Conversation with Foreigners (CWF) was invaluable in improving my English Language Teaching skills even though I had about 23 years experience of teaching. The experience allowed me to see many young and older students improve their English speaking, reading and writing skills. The Business group I dealt with from a local Cambodian Bank was very rewarding, working students who already spoke good English it was an opportunity to take it to the next level using Business English words and grammar and work with students who appreciated the chance to learn and improve their use of English for us in daily business transactions. Out of this whole volunteer experience I learn't a lot more about Cambodian (Khmer) Culture and made many new friends.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe the ability or access to Powerpoint equipment and the ability to use YouTube in the lesson times. Maybe the use of a Smart board which could accommodate the use of these new technologies. But otherwise it was a great program and learning opportunity for both the Teacher to experience a different teaching experience - especially as I had 23 years teaching prior to this. Also for the learners, to gain knowledge about new countries and places of where the Teacher(s) came from.
Default avatar
Angus
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A totally amazing experience!

I volunteered as an English teacher at the school between August and October 2019, and I’ve just completed the term. It’s been truly amazing. I was brand new to teaching, so after being accepted by the school, I began to get nervous about the prospect of doing something I had no previous experience of. The school prepared me very well with a brilliant induction programme about how to teach, and importantly how to make it engaging and fun for the students. I received so much valuable advice for which I’m eternally grateful. I was assigned three conversation classes of different levels. Teaching here has been a very enriching and rewarding experience ... in terms of spending time at the school with the students who are so keen to learn and are a joy to be with. The management and staff are all very friendly and helpful and I’ve had a lot of laughs with them along the way. I thoroughly recommend trying a term of teaching here. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’m staying on for another term. Maybe I’ll see you!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
To not get nervous at the start because there’s no need. The school prepares you so well ... so the nerves disappear!
Default avatar
SHASHANK
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing and life-changing experience

I volunteered with Conversations With Foreigners (CWF) in May 2019. I decided to join CWF because I saw it as a great opportunity for me to improve my teaching skills and gain teaching experience. I was a newly qualified teacher when I joined CWF and it was my first ever in-class teaching experience. I am proud to say that CWF went beyond meeting my expectations. I not only improved my teaching skills and gained teaching experience, but saw myself growing and evolving as a teacher and a person as well. Today I am a confident teacher with so many teaching techniques and ready-to-use classroom activities in my pocket, which I learnt during the professional development workshops given at the beginning of the program.
First of all, unlike other volunteer organizations, CWF is a very legit social enterprise, which runs a school having all facilities for volunteer teachers as well as for students. This means that you won’t be teaching a group of underprivileged children in a village, but students in a well-maintained school who pay their fee (which is very affordable). Also, 60% of their profit goes to fund their social projects in the provinces of Cambodia.
The staff of CWF really surprised me. The staff was very supportive, friendly and helpful. They were always ready to help us at any time of the day with a smile on their face. Right from the pickup at the airport till the end of the program they made me feel so welcomed and made sure that my stay there was comfortable. I was truly humbled.
I got training during the first week of the program and it proved to be so helpful that I still use what I learnt during the training, in my classroom at my present job.
Last but not the least, the students were very motivated and highly enthusiastic to learn. Also, I was humbled by the respect that they gave me.
It was truly a life-changing experience for me where I learnt, grew, evolved as a person and a teacher. Doesn’t matter whether you are a teacher by profession or not. If you are not, you will be by the end of the program. CWF has so much to offer to you, irrespective of what field you belong to. I would recommend anyone and everyone to join the program. It will be a life-time experience for you. Cambodia will give you memories to cherish for life and the Khmer people will win your heart away with their smiles. Go for it…

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

Teach and learn

I joined this programme to improve my teaching skills and gain confidence in the classroom. I more than achieved both these goals thanks to CWF. The in house training and support staff are amazing. I’ve made friends for life with some of the staff and also some of the students. The teachers were a mix of ages, nationalities, and abilities. We all had something different to give and we all learnt from and about each other. The social scene is fantastic and there is a lot to see and do in Phnom Penn and the surrounding areas. The program offers many cultural visits and you also get to see some of the work that is done with the monies raised. The support you receive is second to none both on and off the school premises. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at CWF and would recommend it to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned professional or a beginner there is something for everyone. Go for it, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

What would you improve about this program?
The only gripe I heard in the whole time I was there is that they could do withA/C in the teachers house.
Default avatar
John
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A transformative experience

My volunteer experience at Conversations with Foreigners (CWF) began in March 2017. I taught at the Toul Tom Poung site until the end of May, then again from September to November of that year at their new school in the Toul Kork district. This led to a part time job at an entirely different school in Phnom Penh where I have been teaching until now.

I’d visited Cambodia as a tourist in 2015. Prior to my visit, all I knew about it was what I had read in the papers and in a travel guide.

When I found out about a volunteer teaching opportunity at CWF in late 2016, I wanted to make sure it’s a legitimate school. There were stories about questionable organizations in Cambodia and I certainly didn’t want to waste my time by jumping into something I didn’t know much about. I contacted the school and I asked if it was all right for me to come and visit. I didn’t want phone or skype interviews – I wanted to personally look into it. So, I flew to Phnom Penh from San Francisco, California. The Education Services Manager graciously took the time to explain the program to me and gave me a tour of the school building. Feeling well-assured that this school fit my criteria as a good place to volunteer, I signed on.

Here are some thoughts I would like to share:

• CWF is a legitimate ‘social enterprise’ school. Part of the students’ tuition is donated to socially responsible causes in other provinces to help marginalized communities (e.g., water purification program, free schooling for children from impoverished families, support for environmental causes, etc.).
• CWF staff, from the director to the guards, are friendly, helpful, and great to work with.
• CWF has a volunteer house which is walking distance to the school. There is a reasonable fee for staying at this house which includes three meals a day, 5 days a week, and internet service. CWF can also loan you a bicycle to use for the duration of your volunteer time. The Volunteer Services Coordinator is available to provide support to the teachers (one of the nicest people you can ever meet).
• The school has school supplies and teaching resources and materials available.
• Prior to teaching, all volunteers receive a one-week orientation and training. Ongoing training is also offered throughout the term.
• Prospective students are tested and assigned to classes according to their level. A class may be composed of high school students and professionals, and everyone in between.
• Saving the best for last, the students are eager, enthusiastic, and inspiring. They make me want to wake up in the morning and go to school. They motivate me to do my best, and to be as good a teacher as I can be.

This is my experience, one that has extended from CWF to my current school, but “experience” can vary and can depend on the volunteer’s purpose for coming to Cambodia. My take and my suggestion? Search yourself and find out what may motivate you to teach as a volunteer at CWF. What can you offer and what’s in it for you? Do you have the resilience to adapt to a culture that may have dissimilarities to yours?

When you find the right reasons, it can truly be a transformative experience, as it has been for me. CWF has a special place in my heart.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Traffic. I have traveled all over the world, and the traffic here is insane!
Default avatar
Ann
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Program, People and Country

My husband and I volunteered starting in Feb of 2018. The staff were wonderful and we felt completely supported from our first day to the last. We chose to live in the volunteer house and enjoyed the experience of being part of a ‘family’ of volunteers - eating together, discussing school, doing lesson plans, traveling, etc. Our cadre of volunteers included people from many different countries with varied backgrounds and ages which always made for interesting discussions, dinners out and travel. The workshops presented by the energetic, enthusiastic, knowledgeable education director gave us helpful instruction about teaching English to the Khmer people, as well as necessary cultural information. The students at the school were extremely receptive, friendly and appreciative. We enjoyed the ‘field trips’ where the school took us out to nearby rural areas so that we could see some of the projects that benefited from the CWF program. Cambodia is a fascinating country, growing out of a troubled past with gentle friendly people and much to see. The breaks from school gave us great opportunities to visit other parts of the country. Phnom Penh is a big, developing city with a bit of everything and anything, we particularly enjoyed the many local cafes, along with a good yoga studio and of course local shopping.

Be prepared to work hard - lesson planning and teaching are a full time job. Nothing too extreme but don’t expect working only a couple hours a day. My greatest challenge was the intense heat, we were there during the hot season and with no air conditioning in the volunteer house it was very hot.

Overall it was a wonderful experience!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have a positive outlook and embrace all parts of the experience!
Default avatar
Pippa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A brilliant programme for both students and volunteer teachers

If you're not a teacher already, you will be by the end of the semester. If you are a teacher already, you will be an even better one by the end of the semester. The teaching programme is sufficiently challenging to make every day interesting and, in my experience, you will get as much out of it as you put into it. The students, ranging in age from about 14-70 (excluding the dedicated young children's classes) are an absolute delight to teach - receptive, eager, respectful, funny, friendly and touchingly appreciative. They really do understand the value of learning from native English speakers. The workshops in the early weeks run by the Education Manager are excellent preparation and give you all the tools you need to deliver the lessons - which are very flexible and based on encouraging conversation - and there is on-going support throughout the semester if needed.
Outside of teaching, the volunteer house is excellent if you're on a budget, enjoy having food prepared for you and don't mind doing without the frills. Alternatively, VIC do a great job of finding you a private apartment within easy walking distance of school.
Phnom Penh is a crazy, vibrant, colourful, exciting city which is developing at a rapid pace, with great bars and restaurants, shops, galleries and entertainment while maintaining its culture through its fascinating markets, festivals, temples and traditional arts.
There are enough days off and holidays to explore much further afield - Siem Reap, Kampot, Battambang and even a few days in Vietnam.
I can honestly say I enjoyed every day of my time with VIC, whether teaching, spending time with the truly lovely local people, exploring the city and beyond or just spending an afternoon at the swimming pool around the corner from the school. Take courage and go - you won't regret it!

Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

You'll be surprised at the end result!!

I love CWF and all that they stand for. They have been a huge support system for me in Cambodia, even after finishing my volunteer stint with them nearly 2 years ago. I consider them like family!

I had never taught English before so I was incredibly nervous about getting into the classroom. But, we got incredible training and by the time I got into the classroom, everything felt natural. The school provides curriculum and support for the teachers which I'm very grateful for.

I lived in the volunteer house. The cook, Mony, makes delicious food. I lived in there alone, so all food was to my taste! The house is big and spacious with lots of utilities available for the staff.

Phnom Penh is a very unique place. I hated it at first, but it very quickly grew on me. I think if I didn't have the support from CWF, my perception of Cambodia may be different!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
DO IT!

Don't be afraid to come alone and to try something new. Phnom Penh is a very social place and there is always something to do here.

You'll be supported with the teaching aspect and it is likely that after you've gotten some experience in the classroom with CWF, you'll be able to find another job!

Use the weekends and public holidays for travel! Cambodia is so beautiful and there is so much to explore. Don't be afraid to try something new!

You'll be surprised at the people you meet. Still today, 2 years later - there are 5 of us in Cambodia and many more always visiting!

pic below is of some of our gang!