GVI: Volunteer in Laos

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About

You can make a difference and volunteer with GVI in Laos! From teaching novice Buddhist Monks to working with underprivileged children, you can make a difference and learn about a fascinating new culture. Those who volunteer in Laos with GVI are treated to spectacular landscapes, delicate temples and the opportunity to experience a fascinating culture. Join us in Laos, one of the most traditional countries in Southeast Asia!

Top Volunteer Projects in Laos:

  • Volunteer with Buddhist Novice Monks in Laos: As a volunteer with GVI, you'll be teaching English to Buddhist monks at Wat Siphoutthabat School in Luang Prabang. Your contribution towards our project will help the community to alleviate poverty through better education and better job opportunities.
  • Women's Empowerment Project in Laos: Travel to Luang Prabang, the stunning ancient city in Laos, and contribute to sustainable women’s empowerment initiatives in the local community. You can get involved with health and life skills, English lessons, and help play a significant role in improving the lives of local disadvantaged females.
  • Childcare Expedition in South Asia: Discover Asia when you travel to Nepal, India and Laos on a world wind volunteer experience! Contribute to valuable childcare initiatives and help provide much needed educational and early development support to the underprivileged children of these regions.
  • Volunteer with Children in Laos: Laos offers one of the richest cultures in Asia and is the ideal setting for volunteers to spend their days working with local children and assisting Lao English teachers at schools and at language centers.
  • Teaching Internship in Laos: Gain practical teaching experience and boost your career while helping local teachers with their English and managing volunteer projects, making a real contribution to the community.
  • Teach English to Monks in Laos and Volunteer with Elephants in Thailand: Travel to two stunning Asian countries and help enhance the education of Buddhist Novice Monks and help reintegrate elephants into their natural habitat from lives in tourist camps.

Questions & Answers

Definitely enough time to get a feeling for the country and to give back. First time, I went for 3 weeks and then returned for 6 weeks the next year.

Reviews

86%
based on 13 reviews
  • Impact 8.3
  • Support 8.7
  • Fun 7.7
  • Value 8.7
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
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Sophie
10/10

Phenomenal Experience with GVI Laos

I spent a short three weeks volunteering in Luang Prabang, Laos with GVI where I taught English to novice monks and local school children. The accommodations were simple but great, the food was excellent, the work and the students made it all so deeply rewarding. I was especially grateful for the incredible team of volunteers and staff who were so supportive and fun and made the whole experience such a positive one. Getting to know the community in Luang Prabang and connect with students in an authentic and meaningful way made this a profound experience for me. I always felt safe, stimulated, and motivated. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Yes, I recommend
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Yvonne
1/10

Unethical pricing

I returned home a couple of weeks ago from volunteering with GVI. I found out within a few days of me starting that they charge different amounts depending on where you live. For example I live in the USA and they charged me about $700/$800 more than somebody living in the UK. I confronted GVI with this unethical way of doing business during my exit interview and have had two more conversations about this appalling way of doing business upon my return. They are so concerned about the culture and habits in the countries they have their volunteer opportunities and educate and stress with the volunteers how important it is that we do not offend anybody because GVI wants to uphold their name to high standards. But than they turn around and treat their volunteers in a disrespectful way by charging them different prices for the same thing depending on where you live. Shame on you GVI....Your volunteers are the backbone of keeping your business going. If you do not treat them right than it is just a matter of time your business will fail. A very unacceptable way of doing business.

How can this program be improved?
Pricing should be the same no matter where you live
Response from Global Vision International (GVI)

Hi Yvonne,

We're really sorry to hear that you weren't fully satisfied with your GVI experience.

Unfortunately, the cost of marketing and recruitment is radically different in different markets. Currently, it costs us three to four times the amount to recruit participants via advertising from within the US as it does in the UK. This is something however that we are always looking to refine and improve upon.

I'm glad that you have already been in communication with our Alumni and Field teams. If you have any further questions, please do contact us at [email protected], as we're very happy to discuss this more with you at any point.

Best

The GVI Team

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

Amazing experience

I'm glad I had the chance to discover Laos with GVI ! it's totally different than travelling on your own. It's nice to stay in a place and start to live a bit like the local people. It's another way to travel and I think everyone should try this at least once in their life.
It was such a great experience. I met so many people that i won't forget, I bounded new friendships with the volunteers and I still keep in touch with them.
I'm also happy to have meet the Novices and Monks that taught me so much about their cultures. I had another vision of life when I came home.
I decided to go back this year and I hope it will be as great as the first time I went there !

Yes, I recommend
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Mhairi
10/10

Luang Prabang 2017

I couldn't recommend volunteering in Luang Prabang, Laos more! Luang Prabang itself is such a magical and enchanting place and the people are so friendly and interesting that it makes volunteering even more special. Getting to know the local people, who have such a different way of life to my own, was fascinating and made the trip even more special.
If you'd told me I would be doing a women's empowerment project in Laos last year I would have said you were mad but with the training and support given it makes stepping into the classroom with confidence easy and fun! At first it may seem a little daunting but the first few hectic days are worth it for the fun and rewarding classes you get after the initial training days.
I found the accommodation and staff lovely and had much nicer accommodation and better support than I imagined would be provided. The food was great, lots of variety and some amazing restaurants around if you need something different.
During the Womens Empowerment project I was introduced to Days for Girls and taught menstrual health workshops to local girls and found this the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I'm already planning a future project doing something similar but I wouldn't hesitate in returning to Luang Prabang to do the same project again!
I feel doing the project has opened so many doors for me. I have volunteer projects upcoming in 2018, am raising money to go to Nepal, and have been offered some volunteer work with a local Trust near my home after the founder heard me speak about my time in Laos at a Rotary Club meeting. Thank you GVI for the experience! Can't imagine ordinary backpacking without any volunteering now!

How can this program be improved?
I would say some more support to pairs of volunteers who have less experience (and perhaps less experience in the teaching field) and being flexible with volunteers who wish to try different things.
Yes, I recommend
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Fanny
10/10

An amazing experience

I spent 7 weeks teaching english to Novices and Monks in Laos. They are kind and they want so bad to learn new things. We always enjoy the class all together. The staff are professional and organized but also really nice and fun. Luang Prabang is a city like no other. There is temple on every corner and smiley people on the street. It's a unique experience and it changes your life!
I really recommend it!

Yes, I recommend
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sophie
10/10

CONSTRUCTIVE 2 MONTHS SPENT IN BEAUTIFUL LUANG PRABANG

It comes a time in life when you want something different. Not better, not more, but different!
And that's exactly what I found in Luang Prabang by joining GVI and teaching English to novices and monks for 2 months. I could have never expected such a fulfilling experience. I gave all that I could, they took what I had to give and they were not only happy, they really made progress – what an incredible satisfaction! The project in Luang Prabang is varied and extremely interesting. The support of the staff from day 1 allows you to do things you didn’t expect or think you could. And actually, now that I’ve lived this volunteering experience, and not only have taught English but have also learned so much from such a humble and culturally fascinating population, I wonder how visiting a new country as a tourist will feel like from now on!
Thanks to this project (1/150 GVI has to offer worldwide), I found out that you are able to spend precious time with the locals, discovering the city and its outskirts on weekends, whilst making a positive impact on the lives of wonderful people – A special thanks to all the amazing people I was lucky to meet and “rub elbows with” !!!

How can this program be improved?
I wouldn't change anything
Yes, I recommend
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Sarah
9/10

Volunteering with novices

Through this program I was lucky enough to teach at a temple in Luang probang and teach the youngest novices in the temple. The youngest in the class was 8 years old. This was such an amazing and humbling experience and I learnt so much about myself and my life of these kids who were less than half my age. It was an irreplaceable experience and one that I will be forever greatful for

How can this program be improved?
The cost is a little bit high, considering you only get a small good allowance for the week. Compared to traveling normally through this country, I think the cost was pretty high.
Yes, I recommend
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Katelyn
10/10

My volunteering experience

I visited Luang Prabang for about 3 months in 2014/15. My experience volunteering was amazing and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see such a different culture, meet so many new and wonderful people and teach students who really need and want the education this program offers.

Being in the classroom was so enjoyable. The students had a genuine desire to learn as well as an incredible gratitude towards their teachers. I was teaching between 3 and 5 hours a day (Monday to Friday) with a variety of Lao students, village children and Novice Monks of varying ages and abilities. I was also planning for lessons each day, often with a teaching partner and a staff member if assistance was needed. The resources available, while less than what is expected of a classroom at home, were adequate for creating engaging and informative lessons. The staff were incredibly supportive in all aspects of my trip, ensuring I was comfortable both in the classroom and the program.

The social experience of the program was amazing and I met so many volunteers from a variety of places and cultures. The Lao culture was also incredibly interesting. It was very humbling learning about Lao culture from my students and experiencing Lao customs in a way no tourist ever would. For example, being invited to watch hundreds of Novices chant at a meditation retreat or attending a traditional Buddhist Baci ceremony was something no tourist would get the privilege of experiencing . The city of Luang Prabang was beautiful in itself with so many things to do and see. It was the program as a whole, however, that provided me with such an amazing memory which is why I am considering volunteering on this program again.

Yes, I recommend
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Lucy
9/10

Overseas Family

I spent 4 months in Luang Prabang with the GVI staff and volunteers and it was an amazing experience. I met so many wonderful people all involved and doing interesting things with their lives, getting to know them was such a pleasure. I am also still in touch with my fellow volunteers and even had the good fortune of visiting a few on later travels.
The GVI staff are always trying to help their volunteers and were such a fantastic support net and resource for the time I was there.
I spent about 4 hours a day in an actual class teaching and an hour or so lesson planning. I got to experience working in teams and partnerships which made lesson planning easier and quicker but also added a lot of quality to the lesson that one mind, by itself, might lack.
One of my favorite memories was on my birthday when my adult class, whom I had been with for my whole time in Luang Prabang, bought in a cake and a small gift and surprised me at the end of class - it was just an unimaginably touching gesture. The Lao people are so lovely and it was a pleasure to teach them (and celebrate Lao New Year with!).
I also got to teach Novices of Theravada Buddhism which immersed me in the very core of Lao culture, and that deep connection to the community and culture is something tourists and travelling alone couldn't give to you.
Luang Prabang as a city has my highest commendation as a travelling destination, especially as a volunteer, because you can immerse yourself in the culture, or go for a trekking or kayaking adventure, or anytime you feel home sick go indulge on their tourist strip catering for westerners. As an Australian the Asian flora and fauna is so unlike what i'm used to and so their was a constant feeling of awe and surreal-ness about the beautiful foreign surroundings.
I would highly recommend going to Luang Prabang to volunteer with GVI, hopeful I can come back and commend you for your choice.

Yes, I recommend
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Liv
9/10

Amazing experience!!

I had an absolutely wonderful experience in Laos.
I taught 3 novice classes a day and a class at Xayadeth college with mixed students. I loved all of my classes, and they were very different, so I got challenged in different ways.

The staff was always very friendly and helpful - from help to lesson planning to medical advice when you get sick.

The program is very social, and there are volunteers from all over the world in different age groups. I think, it was really nice with the differences because people accepted each other.

The accommodation is fine. Nothing too luxurious but it works and it's a nice place. You can always upgrade if you want a nicer room.

It is an expensive program, but I do not regret spending the money at all. The students are so eager to learn and genuine kind people, so you can only be happy every single day. I was crying when I was leaving after 6 weeks, and I hope I can come back one day :)

Yes, I recommend
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Machiko
10/10

Teaching volunteer in Luang Prabang, Laos - Great students!

(Teaching)
I was a little worried whether I could teach English because I did not have any experience before. However, GVI gave volunteers thorough trainings on how to conduct a class and this training helped me a lot. We were given a demo class in Laos language which made us aware what it would be like to learn a new language. It was a great demo and fun!!

(Students)
I had two classes, Novices class and Laos children class aged 9 to 16.
They are eager to learn anything from the volunteers.

(Volunteers)
There were young and middle aged volunteers when I was there.
We got along very well. During the weekdays, we plan and prepare for our classes and for weekends, we had free time. Some of us took Laos cooking class which was awesome, sat on elephants,cruised along Mekong River, etc.

(GVI Staff)
They were always efficient, happy and helpful. The seem to solve problems very quickly.

(What I think now)
When I applied for this programme, I thought it was expensive. But now, I don't think so. I would not have seen Laos, the Novices and the people
the way I did had I gone there just as a tourist. I pay for the experience and my money is wisely spent for the benefits of the students.

I learnt to be flexible when it comes to living in a different culture.
I also learnt to respect their culture and now I miss my students, the Laos people I met and the GVI staff and volunteers so much. I wish each one of them a good and happy life.

How can this program be improved?
I cannot think of one now.
Yes, I recommend
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Reinhold
4/10

Teaching experience at Lao private schools

I was teaching at 2 private Lao schools at Luang Prabang with Global Vision International (GVI). Teaching itself and the students and fellow voluntters were a lot of fun - oncel you accept local conditions: you work for free while the students have to pay substantially and you don't understand where all the money goes to. And at one school students essentially paid for getting their diploma - not for learning the language - since they received the diploma no matter what their final exam revealed. Which of course did not enhance their motivation to learn - only half the class usually turned up.
Also, you pay to GVI about twice the amount that you would pay, if you went there on your own and in return and as appreciation for your work as a volunteer they give you a 'food allowance' which is definitely below the subsistence level.
Luang Prabang and surroundings is beautiful and I had a great time.

No, I don't recommend
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rooddo
10/10

Teaching English in Laos- Life Changing!!!!

Program provides a variety of teaching experiences from teaching first time English learners to students that are proficient in the language. You can get a taste of teaching all kinds of learners. Schools vary from very well equipped to very primitive. The students are enthusiastic and ready to learn. The price is quite reasonable, you stay in comfortable guest houses in your own room with a bathroom and hot water. You are given a weekly stipend for meals which is quite generous.

Yes, I recommend

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About Global Vision International (GVI)

GVI is an award-winning organisation that tackles critical local and global issues by operating education and training programs on sustainable development projects around the world.

Formed in 1997, we have been operating our award-winning...