Teach English in Cambodia for 12 weeks

Video and Photos

A day trip to Kirirom national park organises by CWF
On the way to rural project
Lunch during orientation trip to rural development project
CWF Students come from all walks of life
CWF Students come from all walks of life

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

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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

94%
based on 25 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9
  • Benefits 9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 7
  • Facilities 8
  • Safety 9
Showing 16 - 25 of 25
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Tanmay
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life on Penh's Hill

As I walked alone on the Monivong Boulevard, I felt the cool evening air on my face and I could sense that the night was coming to life. I was walking towards a friend, who was about to take me for a traditional Khmer barbecue. We strolled for a while along the busy road and finally reached a cozy place where we were welcomed and seated by the courteous staff. The food that we enjoyed in the next hour was probably one of the best I had ever had. After a delicious and filling dinner we decided to leave for a costume party at a friend's place. Since I had never met anyone in the party before I was a bit nervous, but it soon turned into excitement thanks to the cordial host and the awesome people in elaborate costumes. After spending a considerable amount of time at the party I decided to leave before midnight since I had morning classes the next day. My friend offered me her motorbike so that I could avoid the late night tuk-tuk and save some money. It was when I was riding the motor on the empty streets of Phnom Penh when I witnessed the majestic full moon shining in front of me. The cool night breeze, the motor ride and the full moon made me realize the beauty of this place. I was happy on Penh's Hill.

Default avatar
Heidi
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Khmer Challenge

Living in Cambodia is a unique experience in itself. It is a blend of old and new, underdevelopment with progress, and the not so nice with the incredibly beautiful. The people are warm and welcoming. The travel to outside locations is affordable and a must so that visitors can experience the other more traditional aspects of the country besides the busy city lifestyle.

The river dolphin tour was one such side trip that is unforgettable. Boating down the peaceful river under the shining sun, while searching the rippling water surface for the massive shadows of these majestic creatures was an adventure not to be missed.

Siem Reap is another venture to be experienced. The various sites of temple ruins show the remnants of ancient civilizations, some of which have been invaded over the centuries by the unfolding beauty of nature.

What would you improve about this program?
Classes taught could be scheduled closer together so there is less traveling back and forth to the school. Food could be provided on weekends to lower expenses for volunteers.
Default avatar
Benjamin
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Recommended!

- The staff were pretty amazing and provided a lot of support - Mad props to these guys! The education services manager ran optional teaching workshops for the teachers every week or so which were pretty awesome.

- The students were pretty cool as well. CWF itself charges students which I think makes a heck of a difference in commitment levels and the motivation of your students.

- The staff accommodation is pretty bad. I would really not recommend staying there. If you wish to live independently the CWF staff will help you find a flat for the duration which is a way, way better option (one I really wish I'd taken!).

From what I gleaned from ex CWF volunteers I met (the expat community is really, *really* small in Phnom Penh) that had moved into paid teaching positions in Cambodia, CWF itself is a far better run than most of the language schools about.

Terrific experience overall and highly recommended if you're wanting to check out Cambodia or looking for some TEFL experience! :)

Response from Volunteer In Cambodia (VIC)

Hi Ben! Hope everything is going well in China!

Thanks for the great review and feedback. Regarding accommodation, the house is designed to be as affordable as possible, so many 'creature comforts' like Air Conditioning are not provided.

That said it is secure, clean, and reasonably comfortable (as far as shared rooms can be!), with meals provided. It is by far the most affordable and easiest option; however for those who prefer the comfort and privacy of their own apartment, we are more than happy to assist in finding suitable accommodation!

Thanks again Ben, all the best!

Default avatar
Frank
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Khmer New Year

We were fortunate to be in Cambodia for Khmer New Year. The wonderful, mostly Khmer, staff at CWF included the volunteers in their traditional Khmer New Year celebrations. It was a fantastic occasion. We were surprised and encouraged by the similarity of so many of the Khmer traditional games with games we played as young children in Australia.

Also, I could not complete this survey without commenting on the Khmer people. In our experience, they are exceedingly friendly, welcoming and generous people. It is impossible not to feel happy and positive in their company. We made many great friends.

And finally the students. Essentially because they have chosen to attend CWF, and paid money to attend, they are highly motivated and extremely well behaved. Teaching them was both a pleasure and very rewarding.

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

Great experience!

I volunteered with CWF in 2012 and it has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

The staff throughout the program are incredibly dedicated to the mission of the school and are always there to talk with you or help you out, and, unless you opt for the accommodation/food package, participating is completely free (however I definitely recommend going with the package if you're up for the socialising!)

The school itself offers you enough support both in regards to your volunteer teaching and immersion into the culture, offering both teaching workshops with a detailed curriculum as well as language classes and activities/excursions with the group.

The location is also great - you're a quick walk away from the school itself as well as only being a short tuktuk/motodop ride everything else. Cambodia has enough public holidays that you are also able to travel within the country.

The fact that CWF has a continuous cycle of volunteers also rids the school of a "voluntourism" vibe as there are no large gaps between the volunteer groups. Each 3 month volunteer program is an individual semester for the students so that the change of teacher in a new semester is not destructive to the learning.

All in all I would 100% recommend the program - it's so rewarding and with only ~5 contact hours every week day it also gives you enough time to enjoy the city the way you want to.

What would you improve about this program?
I personally saw no issues with the program when I was there.
Default avatar
Juliane
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I couldn't have come to a better place for my first teaching experience! :)

I applied to teach at CWF on a whim and without any teaching experience. 3 months later, I'm thinking of making teaching my career! I had the time of my life in Phnom Penh and the credit for that goes mostly to CWF and their support!

First of all, I felt very well taken care of for most of my time there. From the moment we arrived, there was always support. All our questions were answered by our wonderful and caring in-country support lady Soriya (who seems to know everything). We got optional free Khmer lessons and a very useful orientation about life in Cambodia. During our orientation period, we had the opportunity to visit one of the projects that are supported by CRDT, the organisation the school donates its profits to.

I lived in the volunteer house and we had everything we needed. Any problems could be addressed and were taken care of.

Since many of us hadn't taught before, we were nervous about it, wanting to do our best for the students. There was no need to worry, either:
we received some training in the beginning and then ongoing support throughout our semester. Any questions we had would be answered right away and David, the Education Services Manager was always happy to help us out with ideas (and he has tons of them) or share his vast teaching knowledge.
I was also impressed by our coursebooks. Many ESL coursebooks focus on American or British culture, which can be confusing and irrelevant to Asian students. Therefore, our school designed its own books with content relevant to life in Cambodia. I taught English and in turn learned a lot about Cambodian culture.

The school also organised outings to local sites and made everyone feel like part of the family from day one. I felt very welcome and have been told that I can come back any time, to visit or use the resources.

All in all, I'm grateful and happy that I could teach at CWF for these 3 months and already miss my students greatly. Cambodian students are a pleasure to teach, since they are very eager to learn, very respectful and friendly. I would do it all again and my come back for another semester in the future! :)

Default avatar
Sara
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Learners' motivation is energizing

Every day, around 1000 learners, all ages and from all walks of life, experience the opportunity to take a class with English speakers without having to pay an exorbitant tuition fee. They open the School's front door quietly, cross the reception area respectfully and walk to their respective classrooms cheerfully, and willing to learn. The staff not only reciprocates the deference, care and attention, but also instills them in us -- the volunteer teaching staff.
Efforts are made to provide variety in teaching experience (different levels and modules), leisure experience (excursions and longer trips) and cultural experience (language and cooking classes).
In a fast changing developing country, difficulties are expected but there is nothing that advance psychological preparation and open attitude cannot overcome.

What would you improve about this program?
Offer more classes in English-for-Special-Purposes
Default avatar
Hollie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

You will love every moment :)

Loved my experience with CWF. We were all so well looked after by the staff who all have such a beautiful passion for what they do, they are so supportive and are literally there 24/7 and will do anything they can to help you. The programme is so well organised and the trips are fantastic. With the teaching there's a clear and easy structure to follow with the workbooks your students get and yet there is complete freedom on what you choose to do in your lessons. This was my first time teaching, and I'm so glad I chose to do it with CWF, I would recomend them to anybody beginner and experienced alike and I would do it all again in a heart beat! Teaching itself is so much fun as it's conversational English which means you really get to know your students and you feel like your make a difference to them. Our accommodation is literally a 5 minute walk away or a 2 minute bike ride, and it's in a really convenient past of the city with everything you need withing walking distance.
Phnom Pehn is a great city to live...warning: you will fall in love with it as soon as you step off the aeroplane! There is something for everyone weather its bars and night life, malls, rustic markets, wats or something more peaceful. Nothing is too far away. I think everyone should come here at least once in their life, everyone you speak to has either come here and ended up staying or have come back to work. The people are so friendly and you feel safe even thoigh it's a city and its easy enough to get out of the city too for day trips and short holidays.

Default avatar
Michael
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Experience!!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with CWF. The school teaches conversational English in a semi-formal setting. I think that this creates a great contrast to the rigid formality of the English taught in school.
The students are all very eager to learn, and you come away with the sense that you've genuinely made a difference. You have the freedom to teach whatever topics is your students are most interested in, but there is also the choice to follow a comprehensive textbook. Most volunteers use a mixture.
The staff are all very friendly and ready to help with any issues that might arise. The entire course is well structured with a comprehensive induction week including a trip to rural Cambodia.
All in all, a fantastic volunteer placement, I can't recommend it enough.

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

Volunteering done right!

Volunteering at CWF is one of the best things I have ever done, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The administration of the programme is exceptional, the level of support and genuine care of the staff is fantastic. Living with fellow volunteers just a stones throw from the school in a vibrant and exciting part of town was an experience that is hard to accurately describe in words.

My time at CWF was culturally richer than anything I could have imagined. The teaching was highly challenging, but the support in place at CWF made meeting those challenges achievable and very rewarding.

The CWF programme is a perfect example of how a volunteer experience can really work. Its incredibly rewarding to volunteers, and of significant benefit to those they help.

This was something I will never forget.

What would you improve about this program?
The staff strive to make everything as easy as possible, but like anywhere, sometimes little things are lost in translation! These small misunderstandings just make the experience all the more genuine and bring out the cultural quirks!

Location

Location:
Phnom Penh
Currency:
Cambodian Riel
Weather:
Jan-Mar
95 F / 72 F
Apr-Jun
95 F / 77 F
Jul-Sep
91 F / 75 F
Oct-Dec
88 F / 72 F
Airports:
Phnom Penh International Airport
( PNH )

Cambodia in general is considered an untouched gem for travel. Even though Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia, it is still a bit rough around the edges but has the infrastructure to sustain more travel. While traveling here, make sure to venture outside of the monuments that document the cities troubled past and take in the vibrant and friendly nature.

Interviews

Alumni Interviews

Staff Interviews

About Volunteer In Cambodia (VIC)

Driving development by language learning. Volunteer in Cambodia! We provide affordable, high quality volunteer opportunities to teach English at our language center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Conversations With Foreigners. CWF provides affordable...