Travel Teacher: Volunteer Teaching | Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Video and Photos

beach
beach
Me, Jon and Shaquille
Me, Jon and Shaquille
My hospitality group presenting me a sarong as a gift.
My hospitality group presenting me a sarong as a gift.
Crystal clear blue lagoons
Crystal clear blue lagoons
Araura College Travel Teacher Selfie
Araura College Travel Teacher Selfie
Volunteer in The Cook Islands
Volunteer in The Cook Islands

About

Volunteering abroad will change your life. It gives you the opportunity to learn new skills, immerse yourself in unfamiliar cultures and develop as a person. On top of this, it is a fantastic way to travel and see the world, experiencing countries in a way that is impossible on the heavier trodden tourist trail, all whilst giving something back to local communities.

During the service portion of your programme, volunteers will get the opportunity to teach children fundamental academic and life skills, making a heart connection with the needs of others. Half of your day will be spent in school whilst the remainder will be spent exploring with your fellow group members and our expert team. We pack a huge amount into our expeditions to make sure you get the absolute most from your experience.

This programme is open to anyone who is passionate about education, travel and helping global communities.

Highlights
  • Join a group of like-minded travellers
  • Discover life on a remote island
  • Island hopping
  • Snorkelling
  • Whale Watching

Impact

As a volunteer you will play a vital role in the success and long-term sustainability of our projects in The Cook Islands. You will provide support to teachers in delivering fundamental academic and life skills lessons to students in a local school whilst contributing to valuable community development projects. Your role as a volunteer will include teaching, working as a classroom aid, supervising children’s activities (academic, sports, arts, crafts) and assisting with homework. All participants will receive the necessary training, resources and support.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 10 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 10 of 10
Default avatar
Jacques
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Aitutaki

From the first day the atmosphere was amazing, the people, the community and also the feeling of just being on such as beautiful island. The school was amazing and the students were so welcoming and excited, even over little things we take for granted which was heart warming to see. This experience has made me feel so much more confident whilst working with people out of my comfort zone both professionally and socially. The different trips were also amazing not only could we develop ourselves in the school but also learn the culture as well as the natural beauty that this island has to offer. It was a very social trip which is something I really thoroughly enjoy especially meeting people from all around the world

Would 100% do this again and would recommend

What would you improve about this program?
Cost effective and having transport so not stuck in the one village for a week
Default avatar
John
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One unforgettable jouney!

The whole experience in the Cook Islands created more memories and friendships that I could've ever imagined. Throughout the programme, we were given the opportunities to explore the Island. We went to two islands that were breath-taking, offering us a unique opportunity that not many people have. Honestly, the most awe-inspiring part of the journey would have to be the school. Volunteering alongside teachers that were passionate about teaching the next generation was incredible; more so was the fact that I got given the chance to teach. It is inconceivable to put into words just how good the programme was.

I think what I would say to prospective travellers is to go for it. Take the opportunity with both hands and experience a whole new world. Along the way you will meet people that will become friends you never knew you needed. Take every moment in, reflect, be objective and move forward with an open mind.

What would you improve about this program?
It seems that due to unforseen circumstances, transportation was an issue for the group. This was unfortunate for us guys. Maybe next year, of which I think you are already in the process of, is to have a permanant vehicle in the Cook Islands. Other than that, well done on organising the perfect experience.
Default avatar
Alice
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

1 Month to Change My World

I arrived in Aitutaki hoping to make an impact in the school ... what I didn’t expect was just how much this experience would change my life.
I’ve never been one to get up in front of a crowd and I was nervous about working in the school. It took me a couple of days to get the swing of things, but I got there and now I’ve realised that I want to peruse teaching.
I’ll never forget lying under the stars with some of the group, all of whom quickly became my favourite people. I always expected I’d meet interesting people; I didn’t realise we’d go from strangers, to friends, to family.
My advice to anyone considering Travel Teacher ... firstly, take water shoes (trust me, you’ll need them - stonefish) and secondly, jump in and give it a go. Things will be tough (believe me when I say that you’ll quickly get used to the cold showers), sometimes things might not go the way you expected and you will be given chances to jump headfirst out your comfort zone; but you won’t regret it and you may just find what direction you need to go in.

What would you improve about this program?
Although I understand the difficulty of acquiring a minibus; it would be more convenient if Travel Teacher had its own transportation.
A Solent University graduate passionate about traveling and submerging into diverse cultures
Vasil
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Aitutaki Experience

It is hard to describe the multifaceted experience that Travel Teacher has provided me with, it definitely exceeded my expectations. I would recommend it to all of my friends who seek to submerge into another culture and different kind of experience than casual holiday making. Credit to Matt Ray for the perfect expedition planning which was smooth but busy, interesting and very exciting! Looking forward to the next expedition with Travel Teacher where I can make another positive impact surrounded by new lovely people who you are living with and becoming your family there!

What would you improve about this program?
I quite enjoyed the whole management of the program. However, adding more activities and/or destinations to the program will be beneficial I guess.
Andy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cook Islands Review - Andy Tye

Incredible program where continuous support was provided from the outset and throughout. An amazing set of experiences were set by the company during the expedition as well. To complement this, a there were a variety, some of which were physically active and some allowed for full immursment in the local culture.

Alongside the expedition, the teaching award provided another aspect which made the teaching worthwhile.

What would you improve about this program?
N/A
Default avatar
Joe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Simply unforgettable!

I think it speaks volumes that someone such as myself, who traditionally never takes photos of anything, ever, and who tends to run away at the sight of a camera lens ended up taking around 250 photos and 30 videos of my experience in Aitutaki, even selfies!, Which just goes to show the beauty of this paradise island. Everywhere you pointed your camera was a stunning photo opportunity just waiting to be taken. There is no where quite like it and I cannot believe that it has been almost 2 months since coming back to England already! I still think about the experience and miss it.

There was so much more the experience than just the beauty of the location though, throughout my 2 weeks in Aitutaki, not only was I able to challenging myself through immersing myself into a completely different culture, I embraced it, trying things I never thought I would've done in my 'bubble' back home in England. This ranged from local delicacies to entertainment and I can honestly say that it is a unique and deeply satisfying feeling to come out of your comfort zone and to experience this beautiful part of the world for what it is - paradise!

As beautiful as the island was, as amazing, unique and unforgettable as the experiences were, for me, what stood out the most was just how kind the local Maori people were. They made me and the rest of the Travel Teacher team feel like A-list celebrities ever since we arrived on their island and I, for one, felt home immediately despite being about as far away from home as was possible to be.

Of course, we were not just there on holiday, we embarked on this journey with Travel Teacher to make a difference to the lives of the Maori people whilst working at Araura College - the only secondary school on the whole island, which should come as little surprise when the population of Aitutaki is only around 2000. I was able to form a plethora of excellent relationships with both staff and students alike during my time at Araura college. I quickly came to realise that when the time came to say goodbye, that it was going to be an emotional day. Despite this awareness, nothing can quite prepare you for when that time does inevitably come. Hundreds of children and all of the staff gathered to welcome us to their school and hundreds gathered to say goodbye. Many gave hugs, many gave gifts, many even gave us presentations as to how our time at their school has impacted them on a personal level. This, coupled with the affirmation from the teachers, was a truly humbling feeling to have had such an impact on so many lives throughout my time on the island. I can honestly say that it went both ways as well.

As an aspiring PE teacher with plenty of experience in the field, for me personally, it is a special feeling when you impart some of your knowledge and skills and wisdom onto a child in a manner which benefits them through interpersonal development. Throughout my experience with Travel Teacher, I found that this epistemological belief that I had previously held was amplified tenfold. The whole package was a unique and unforgettable one and I would absolutely recommend Travel Teacher to anyone with a passion for education and/or travelling. You will be embarking on a journey you will never forget!

What would you improve about this program?
More accurate description of prices and a more realistic expectation of how much money to bring.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Josh
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Aitutaki

Words can not describe this thrilling and life changing experience.
I began the journey knowing a few faces from university and several I didn't know, however by the end of the experience we had all became life long friends. The exbiditions we embarked on were fantastic and allowed us to view scenery the majority of us have never encountered before. We also all managed to try something new which made to experience more personal and rememberable. The people and especially the children at the school made us feel so welcome, that you never wanted to leave. It was an eye opening experience which allowed everyone to see how people less fortunate than us live, and to participate in their beautiful culture. Furthermore Matt Ray allowed us to have the freedom to discover an make our own experience what we wanted. Travel teacher is really making a difference and I would recommend this experience to anyone.

Dan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Aitutaki - Travel Teacher

Where to start... From the moment I touched down in Aitutaki Airport, to the moment I left, I felt like the luckiest person in the world. I love teaching, and being able to do something you love in a country you have never been to before and then fall in love with is just amazing!

This was such a unique experience as there is nothing like this at the moment in our industry and Matt Ray has such amazing connections which makes the whole journey a lot better. Being able to teach a group of children in a completely different culture to us here in the UK gave me such an insight into a different school curriculum and how countries with little financial or material support can bring out the best in children.

I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who enjoys travelling and or teaching or who is just looking to build their confidence away from home and jump out of their comfort zone!

An amazing journey, with some unforgettable experiences. The school was so welcoming and giving to us all, and I know I was able to give something back! The people on this island are the kindest, most thoughtful people I have ever met and I can't wait to come back and see them all again!

The best thing about this whole trip though was the location. Stunning views, beautiful crystal clear lagoons with some unbelievable beaches! Hopefully I will become an ambassador for Travel Teacher in the further and help others experience what I have these last 2 weeks!

What would you improve about this program?
Longer programmes, staying in different countries for longer to further impact the children.
Default avatar
Aaron
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Aitutaki

This trip has been one I will never forget!
There has been so much positivity to take away from Aitutaki starting with the people! Teaching the children has been amazing! They are always excited to see you and embrace everything that you are trying to teach them!
Away from the school, no matter where you go, you are treated like a celebrity because everyone on the island is so thankful for everything you are doing to help the children, and as you learn when you come here, everyone knows each other and news travels fast!
When it comes to the activities that are included in your trip, it's hard to believe water can be so clear and so blue! The snorkelling has been a real highlight, as well as exploring some of the surrounding islands like 'One Foot Island'. In the evening, it's always great to take in a cultural show, especially because some of the dancers are some of the students you are teaching and the teachers you are helping. But the one thing I will take away from this trip the most, like I said at the beginning, is just how happy the people always are, even though in quite a lot of cases they live very basic lives. It's makes you feel more appreciative of everything we have available to us back in the UK. I very much plan on coming back to the Cook Islands again! And I already cannot wait for that day when I do come back out here!

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

Travel Teacher

This is a life-changing experience that leaves you craving more. After my experience with Travel Teacher in the Cook Islands, I not only had the absolute privilege of teaching a number of kids that were eager and excited to learn and hear what I had to say, but I also was able to learn a lot more about myself and what I want to achieve in the coming years. The bright smiles running up to me each school day as we arrived is an image that I will never forget.

Outside of the classroom, Travel Teacher takes you to some of the most beautiful and sought after locations in the world. The ocean was beautiful, the people the friendliest I've ever known, and the food was fresh and gorgeous.

There is some of your traditional travel elements here of course, but what sets Travel Teacher aside from the rest is their culture. If you want a life changing experience that will push you out of your comfort zone, take you to places you have only dreamed of, and give you life long memories with new friends you'll never forget, then Travel Teacher is for you.