Help Children in Crete, Greece Learn English

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About

Join Global Volunteers for one to two weeks and teach English in Crete, the captivating Greek island. Volunteers in Greece have the chance to help hopeful young students succeed in the professional world with English language skills.

You are needed to help children work on improving their pronunciation and usage of English throughout the year. Volunteer teachers, who are aided by pre-existing classroom materials and curriculum, don’t need any previous teaching experience, only general knowledge of syntax, diction, and idioms. Volunteer activities include informal language training, field trips, scavenger hunts, games, and more. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the coast on the island of Crete as a volunteer with Global Volunteers!

Highlights
  • Complete immersion in Greek culture.
  • Work with Greeks to support children who need it most.
  • All logistics (except for international airfare) arranged by our staff, so you can focus on volunteering.
  • Global Volunteers' policy: safety trumps everything. Volunteers are well taken care of by their Team Leader while on a service program.
  • Discover the fascinating culture of Greece.

Impact

Now, as Greece is recovering from a crippling economic recession, elementary and secondary school teachers yearn to teach their students the language of commerce, technology, and opportunity. Helping them advance their skills in conversational English now is one of the ways you can invest in the future leaders of Crete. Specifically, you’re needed to:
• Introduce new teaching concepts to make learning English FUN.
• Engage students in skits, music, and lively small-group discussions.
• Design your own classes with Global Volunteers’ Teaching Conversational English Guide
Malevizi County provides summer school (June – August) activities for children ages six through sixteen, including sports, arts and crafts, and theater. Volunteers are in charge of these classes and activities. From September to May, volunteers have the opportunity to help out in the late afternoon or early evening in conversational English classes at three local schools. The students at these three schools are aged seven through eighteen and the older children are at the level of taking the highest English diploma exam. Here volunteers can aide teachers in class to give students the extra practice they often need to successfully pass their exams.

Questions & Answers

Hi, Varsha. Yes, non-native English speakers can definitely apply. Our service programs are conducted in English and so volunteers must be fluent, but native fluency is not required. We have had many non-native English speakers report a wonderful experience in service!

Hi Michelle: The earlier the register, the better. Our volunteer teams can fill up quickly depending on what season you're thinking about serving. June is a perfect month to apply, because we have an unbeatable opportunity to save right now. As a first-time volunteer, you qualify for a $500 discount on any international service program! $1,000 per couple! It's simple - register in June for any...

Hi Myriam, Volunteers stay at a secure, beach-side hotel in Greece. It features private bathrooms with hot water, twin beds, in-room safes and telephones, and very friendly staff. Most rooms offer wireless internet, balconies and beautiful views of the swimming pool. Accommodations are included in the service program contribution. You can view pictures of the hotel on our Greece page:

Hi Melissa! Yes, Australians volunteer with us. If you would like, we can put you in touch with others who have served through Global Volunteers from Australia.

Reviews

9.65 Rating
based on 23 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 23
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Mary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A fantastic volunteer experience

I have traveled three times with the organization Global Volunteers and have never been disappointed. I took the Greece trip with my 16 year old daughter. My husband is of Greek heritage and I wanted her to have a taste of her roots. The family who runs the hotel where our group was housed was incredibly hospitable and would go out of their way for the volunteers. Greek hospitality is among the warmest anywhere. My daughter has Celiac disease and must follow a gluten free diet. Every day, there was gluten free food prepared for her in a special container so that there was no contamination. And the food was delicious!

Our work was teaching English at a community day camp for kids. My daughter and I chose the 11 year old group and after a couple of rough days of figuring out how to manage a group that we didn’t know well, we had an amazing time with those kids. It was hard to say goodbye at the end of our two weeks. We still laugh at all of the antics in class.

The group leader Sam was so helpful and we really felt like we could ask her about anything. In the evenings, she joined us for dinner at the hotel and sometimes I would sit with the owner of the hotel and his family, just listening and trying to learn some Greek. In the evenings, for those that are a bit younger, there’s a lively town within a 5 minute walk from the hotel with lots of restaurants and shops. The beach is also only a 5 minute walk.

My daughter cried when our volunteer time had come to an end. We had made a real connection with our students and with the Cretans. I plan to return to this program. Don’t hesitate and go; you won’t regret it for a second!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I think I would have been a bit more relaxed about how much teaching I could accomplish. I’m a foreign language teacher and I approached the volunteer work in the same way I would approach a class at home.
Default avatar
Jessica and Allen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Make a Difference in Sunny, Friendly Crete!!!

Incredibly family friendly project, atmosphere and staff. Participate in improving the economic future of children in Crete. Family owned hotel lodging is close to project, beaches, shopping, night life.

Crete has everything you could ever want in a project location. The weather is incredible, the people friendly, and the food fantastic. Your daily English camp sessions with Global Volunteers will be providing for the futures of your students - many of whom will need English to secure employment in the island's tourism industry.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Rent a car and travel the island after your project!
Default avatar
Allegra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Not Your Ordinary Travel Adventure

I participated in the Crete Program for two weeks in May 2019, with only a couple of really hot days, and a couple of times, a few minutes of surprise rain. The weather was pretty wonderful overall. I went by myself and was 71 at the time, semi-retired. In 2020 my service weeks got cancelled. I hope to go back in 2021, God Willing. Other volunteers come back again and again to Crete.

This was my second time working with Global Volunteers. The first time I decided to try them out in the US and worked a week, while a Pow Wow Celebration was going on, on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. I loved GV, the staff, the whole experience. So I ventured further in 2019 and went to Crete.

Before you go, much of the information (in the form of a general Handbook and Teaching Guide) provided by GV is geared toward their English Language Summer School which they organize. There, I expect you do more teaching of classes. When the kids (who are great, by the way) are in their regular school as they are in May, you are working with professional teachers in private Language Schools in the area. I think there were about 5 of them that the volunteers worked in, in pairs. Sooo, since the kids are attending regular schools during most of the day (and although I believe they also get English language instruction in them), mainly you are working in an after school program. Our hours would vary, but generally for the school I was in we went from 4:00 pm to about 9:00 pm at the latest, often getting home earlier. (Our school was close, so we walked there and then Sam [(Samantha) our great team leader] arranged to have a taxi pick us up and take us back to the hotel. Other volunteers had to go farther so they were given bus tickets, often there and back.)

You are pretty limited in terms of what you are doing. We were native English speakers who practiced conversing with the students. We did practice oral exam tests with them and talked to them generally. Everyone is thrilled to be talking to a native speaker which was weird because I did not feel we were doing much. If you go, I recommend you bring pictures of where you are from, because you will be talking about your home and family. The more pictures the better. The kids are always interested and like seeing them. I am from San Francisco, so I bought postcards of some of our major sites (wish I had brought more from California generally). Also, when I was looking up my city, I remembered that two of our past mayors were Greek-American. The kids also wanted to know if California was like Greece, so the more information you can provide that relates to them and their lives, the better.

We learned a lot from them too and asked them why they wanted to learn English. Mainly they responded that they wanted to get into the University in Greece (which is free to them, by the way). To do that, they had to be proficient in English. Also, they needed English to get a good job there. I think Greece's major industry has got to be tourism, so they told us that even if they wanted to be a doctor or a pilot etc, they needed to know English for the tourists. Also, they want to travel or go to school abroad. The owner of the school I taught in was a real anglophile, so most wanted to go to England. Also the school used English words, instead of American. You know, lift/elevator, flat/apartment etc. One student, however, had travelled to New York (everyone knows New York City) and wanted to go to New York University. I wish I had known this beforehand, since I have a graduate degree from that school. I would have gotten a sweatshirt or something for her (although we are not supposed to give anyone gifts). I also bought a kids' atlas of the US and gave it to the school. We used it in the classes. I recommend that anyone signing up for this program do the same or at least a map, so you can show them where you are from. The other volunteer I worked with was from New Jersey. We go from class to class; the kids are at different levels in their English language skills, so there are different types of practice tests we go over.

Really what we were doing did not feel like a job. And, most importantly, I felt accepted and appreciated in the community. No problems there. That was a great part of the experience. Not your ordinary travel adventure. The schools, teachers and kids, were thrilled to talk to native speakers and practice their language skills. It really gave most of them more confidence. The people appreciate what we are doing, working with their kids, and spending our money. Making a better place for them. I just loved them all.

And, we had most of the day free to go see the rest of the island. One volunteer went to visit Santorini. (Weekends are free.) Sam will point you in the right direction so you can make arrangements to go sightseeing. Lots to see in Crete. We also just hung out and sunbathed. Looked over the teaching guide, but really it was just talking to the students. The boys like video games, soccer, basketball (I was surprised about this, but there are some Steph Curry fans on Crete), etc. Maybe next time, I should bring some mementos from the Golden State Warriors for the school. The girls were more serious and some took traditional Greek dancing. Their general interests were less well defined, mainly focussed on school, career and their families. The ages of the kids were about 11 to 16. Some of them could speak English quite well. Not knowing Greek was an advantage. The kids knew it would do no good to try to talk to us in any language other than English. It made them try harder.

We never had any problem getting around Crete. The location of the hotel is in a tourist area. I suppose if you were out in the more rural areas, language might be a problem. English never was a problem where we were, except among the older residents. Sam treated us to dinner and lunch a few times and it was great food. We also organized our own excursion one day to see a local olive oil producer, go to a winery and learn about Cretan grapes and wine and have lunch in a great restaurant outside the city area. The wine is pretty good and we drank a lot of it well into the night.

The routine day is a morning meeting after breakfast and an evening meeting after work. Each person is assigned a day in which they have to write a journal entry and come up with some inspiring quote. It is read the next day at the morning meeting. (This is universal at GV sites; we had to do it in Montana.) One of the volunteers acts as secretary and puts the entries and quotes together so at the end everyone has a record of our days on Crete. These exercises made you paid attention.

What I enjoyed the most: the location, the ease of getting around (good transportation system), the community and kids, Sam (she is English, a former dancer, and just an all around great human being), the other volunteers (very interesting and diverse group), Heaven (a local cafe/restaurant we would go to; going to Heaven is a treat), not necessarily in that order. You are really a part of the community and a lot of people know Global Volunteers. You will be admired.

Everything is pretty inexpensive. We were off-season, so you felt catered to. Greece's economic situation is still dire. I did my part in bolstering the economy. By the end of the two-weeks, the tourist season was just beginning.

I think everyone who had not been there before was surprised at the hotel. I think it is probably a two star hotel. Lovely family who runs it, but the older owners did not know much English. A younger family member (Sophie, as I remember) was around most of the time and was fluent. Having Sam around is also a great help. She makes things go smoothly. The plumbing, as in most of Greece, cannot take toilet paper, so you dispose of it in the trash instead of flushing it.

I roomed with another volunteer, but some of them paid extra for a single room. My roommate was surprised there was no hair dryer. Ha, Ha! It is pretty bare bones, but clean and pleasant enough. There were some mosquitos, but no odd insects. A lot of stray cats and dogs around the area, however.

The food is generally good, home-made. I am a vegetarian, so I was accommodated but missed out on some pretty tasty looking dishes. The yogurt, as you can imagine, was great, but I suspect it is because they have never heard of non-fat anything. Also no de-caf coffee, thus the trip to Heaven. Gosh, I had to settle for Nescafe's de-caf coffee frappes which turned out being delicious. Needless to say, I gained a little weight.

I would highly recommend this travel and service experience! It will change your life!

What would you improve about this program?
Really, nothing to improve. It gets you out of your comfort zone and gives you the tremendous experience of being part of another community and people. I highly recommend it to anyone.
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Sophia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with Global Volunteers in Crete

I have attended this program twice and was booked to go this year, but at this time that may not happen.
On both occasions I had a wonderful and fulfilling experience. The program is excellent and very well organized by Samantha Pinakoulaki the Group Leader.
I enjoyed meeting the students and families. Also the other volunteers were so interesting and from all over the US.
Also it such a was a pleasure to be serving on the beautiful island of Crete. I would highly recommend this program to anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
I thought it was excellent. I don’t have any real feedback. The program would be difficult if you have a severe physical disability as you are walking to school and working with young students.
Default avatar
Robin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cret, Greece

This was an amazing experience and a trip to always treasure. From the time we landed our program host met us and went to extraordinary measures to make sure we were fully cared for the whole time. From beginning to end, it was so rewarding, exciting and just plain fun. The children were eager to learn and very receptive to us. The country, the food, the people were absolutely incredible. We felt safe at all times and welcomed on this beautiful island. I cant say enough about what a magical place Crete is and a big part of that is how we were treated. Would highly recommend to anyone considering. I am very disappointed that our trip had to be cancelled in May due to the pandemic.

What would you improve about this program?
Am anxiously awaiting ability to also volunteer at an orphanage. Would also like to see opportunities to work with the elderly
Default avatar
Isobelle
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Contributing to a brighter future

At 24, I took a year off work to go explore the world. I backpacked around Europe for 4 months and volunteering in Greece was by far the highlight of my trip. It was a meaningful experience to teach students with eager, bright minds. The Greek Crisis spurred the volunteers to work together to reach team goals in order to contribute to a bright future for these kids and their families. As volunteers, we were lucky to be given a window into authentic Greek culture with welcoming locals, delicious food and soaking in their sunny daily life surrounded by family.

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

Many ways to help in Greece....................comments from our host community

I returned from my second Global Volunteers stint in Crete about a week ago. My program was in Gazi, Crete working with Morfosi English school from 5p-9p every evening. It was fun, rewarding and a great cultural experience for me. Wondering if it's possible to have impact on student from a short term volunteer project as this is I emailed the teacher, Matina Papoutsidakis when I returned and asked her thoughts. Her response:

"Hi Lynn, We have had volunteers from Globlal Volunteers coming to our school for a few years now. The students are excited every time as they enjoy the opportunity to hear native speakers. For most of the students it is the first time they got to speak and spend quality time with foreigners.
They get to look through "a window" and find out about places far from their own towns. They get to see that there is a whole world beyond Crete. The teams give them a chance to broaden their horizons - it's truly a special experience for them".
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My time in Crete was appreciated and very satisfying....I'm heading back next year. I particularly enjoy the location, the people, the food
and welcoming hospitality that is shown to volunteers.

What would you improve about this program?
When I tell others about this program the only issue that continues to
challenge their commitment is the price. The location and options
for free time are amazing.
Default avatar
Mary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic experience!

I loved teaching in Crete! The students are enthusiastic (and very cute little kids) and their families are so grateful. The country is absolutely beautiful and you have plenty of time to see the sites. The family run hotel we stayed at was welcoming and the homemade food was delicious every day. I enjoyed this volunteer trip so much I went back again the next summer to do it again.