GVI: Volunteer Teaching Programs

Video and Photos


Collaborate with GVI staff, partners, and participants from around the world in volunteer teaching in Asia, Africa, Australasia, or Latin America. You will have the opportunity to become a qualified TEFL teacher, while gaining first-hand experience in lesson planning, classroom management, and facilitation.

Support education initiatives in English language and literacy, sports education, public health workshops, and gender disparities within a community. All projects have short, mid, and long-term objectives that are measured against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and GVI has a Child and Vulnerable Adult Policy in place for ethical best practices.

In your free time, explore the merging Mekong and Nam Khan rivers in Luang Prabang, experience a peaceful boat ride along the canals and lakes in Kerala, trek along Himalayan trails in Pokhara, or traverse Incan ruins in Cusco with other like-minded international participants.

  • Volunteer ethically to support the 17 UN SDGs.
  • Hike to Everest base camp in Nepal, visit Machu Picchu in Peru, and connect with Buddhist novice monks in Laos.
  • Expand your knowledge through experiential education by improving your teaching, leadership, and facilitation skills.
  • Contribute towards women’s empowerment workshops, sports education, English language classes, and health education efforts with GVI staff, partners, and community members.
  • Make lifelong friendships with participants from other parts of the world, and become a global citizen.

GVI global programs are open!

We're thrilled to announce that nine of our global locations are now open, including Greece, Thailand, Nepal, Seychelles, South Africa, Costa Rica and Mexico. We're also taking bookings for our Thailand, Chiang Mai, Lao and Peru locations for 2021. Stay tuned for more locations coming your way soon, including a new location addition in the Canary Islands.

Questions & Answers

Hi Emmanuella, Yes, anyone can participate in a GVI program. You will however, need to complete any visa requirements necessary for your chosen program location. GVI also has child protection policies in place to ensure ethical best practices are upheld that require all participants and staff complete a DBS check, Police Clearance, or National Background Check where necessary. However, as GVI...

Hi Heather. Yes, certified teachers are more than welcome to join us! Please do get in touch with us via the contact details on the site - our recruitment team can talk you through all the details. The GVI Team

Hi Amna, Yes, we have programs for individuals aged between 15 & 17. You can see them all here: https://www.gviusa.com/volunteering-for-teens/ Best The GVI Team

Hi Alessandra, Yes, you are correct. The program fees do not include flights. Do get in touch with us if we can answer any questions or discuss our programs in more detail.


10 Rating
based on 7 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 10
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.9
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


My time in Laos with GVI was an unforgettable experience that I will forever cherish. From arriving until the day I departed the base team in Laos were extremely helpful and supported through any problems I had. I felt super nervous in the first week because I had never really been abroad, nor any teaching experience, however after a couple of days it becomes second nature to you with guidance from the base team but also from my fellow volunteers. This experience opened by eyes to the world, working in a developing community and living in a completely different way of life (culturally especially), changes your perspective on so many things when you return home. The children appreciated education and they would even come into the school on their vacations because they are so eager to learn!!
I made friends for life in Laos and I am still in contact with today many of the people I met on this program. I recommend this to everyone, especially if you're having a gap year or want to travel in your break whilst participating in a valuable project! I will be graduating this July and plan on travelling the America's where I will be stopping off in Costa Rica for my second GVI experience.

What was your funniest moment?
When my friend and I went to Bangkok for a weekend, a praying mantas fell on my head on the plane and usually I would have totally freaked out and been hysterical. However, after living around all these animals for 6 weeks I just laughed and thought what is happening.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best month of my life!

I volunteered with Buddhist novice monks in Laos this january and february, and it has been the best experience of my life. I have always wanted to do volunteer work and when I found this program with GVI I knew I had found the right one.
Before coming I worried a lot about my capacity to teach english and lead a classroom, those worries however quickly went away because we were all given a mentor with each of our classes and in the first week given classes on how to teach by the staff. My experience with the staff was nothing but positive, they will help you with any problems or questions you may have.
I taught a class of novice monks and a beginner class, and never ever in my life have I met so many smiling and sweet children, so eager to learn. It was amazing.
While you’re in Laos you will be living with all the other volunteers, so making friends is no problem at all. I still talk to the friends I made and we have plans of meeting again sometime in the future.
Your free time after classes and the weekends are great ways to get to know Luang Prabang and the surrounding villages better. Here are just a few of the things I and other volunteers did with our free time: riverboat cruise on the Mekong, visiting Mong and Kamui villages in the mountains, feeding and with elephants, temple-running and experiencing the town of Luang Prabang.
I highly recommend volunteering with GVI and this program.

What was your funniest moment?
Going on a trip with Mandalao (an organization that rescues elephants that are being ridden on or treated poorly) a Saturday morning to feed and walk with elephants
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Trip of a lifetime!

The GVI under 18s volunteer trip to Luang Praband Laos was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. As a part of the trip, cultural immersion was a big focus, aside from doing some touristy things like Kuang Si waterfall, we also got to learn and involve ourselves in authentic Lao culture. We were fascinated to learn about Buddhism and walk through all the temples as well as ask any questions we had to novice monks. We got to experience the lives of many Lao people when we camped overnight at a rice farm, partaking in the process of growing rice, right from ploughing with the buffalo to cooking rice noodles we experienced the whole process. Another highlight was the cooking class we attended in which we learnt some amazing Lao dishes and got all the recipes to take home. Working with the children teaching English was so inspiring as we met the most motivated and driven people who were aspiring for a better future by learning English. We had to plan workshops for each of the days we were teaching which taught us all some valuable life skills, including that things don't always go to plan.
Finally, the other volunteers were amazing and I found some likeminded people I am so glad to call my friends, despite coming from all over the world we all had similar ideas of what we wanted to get out of the program and we bonded immediately. The group leaders were incredible and sparked a lot of great and thought-provoking conversation, as well as just really fun to hang out with. And if that isn't enough of a reason for you to book a trip, the landscape is breathtaking!
Whilst we were away for two weeks we were kept so busy with different activities we had no time to miss home. I would strongly recommend this trip and GVI as a whole, I can't wait for my next trip!

What was your funniest moment?
we had left food outside our tents when camping on the rice farm. when we woke up the next morning everything was swarming with ants. It was not funny at the time but we can look back on it and laugh.. well some of us can, some are still traumatised
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Seize the opportunity! Teaching in Laos

In early 2019 I decided to leave my job in the banking industry in London and take a short career break before searching for another role. I was looking for a way to give back to the community as well as exploring a new part of the world and experiencing a different culture. I came across GVI online and it immediately struck me as a very professional organisation with clear goals and well-structured programmes. GVI was also one of the few organisations to offer short-term programmes of only 2 weeks which was perfect for my itinerary. After being persuaded by the testimonials online and the lovely local office team, I signed up to the Buddhist Novice Monks programme (only 1 month before the start date!) and set off on my travels. I was apprehensive about how much of a difference I could really make in 2 weeks but I was totally blown away by how much I got out of the programme. Within 3 days of arriving in Laos I had received sufficient TEFL training to plan and deliver lessons to my students. I taught 3 classes a day of an hour each – 10 year old buddhist novice monks in the temple classrooms, 20 year old boys following a text book curriculum and 18 year old girls who I taught English with a theme of women’s empowerment. Each class took about 45 minutes to prepare – particularly thinking up interactive exercises and games to keep the lessons interesting. All of the students were so receptive to new volunteers – intrigued to hear about where we came from and our lives back home. In turn it was an amazing insight into life in Laos and their own culture. The students were determined to learn English to achieve a better life for them and their families and it made it a total pleasure to teach them. They also gave me kind thank you notes at the end of the two weeks saying how much they had appreciated my teaching. The programme reminded me of all the things I take for granted back at home, not least access to a good education and equality between men and women. I was so inspired by the students that I left with a promise to sponsor a couple of them through university. The GVI staff in Laos could not have been more supportive and encouraging throughout the process and I had a great time with the other volunteers exploring Laos on weekends – the Kuang Si waterfalls, Pak Ou caves and of course the infamous night market. I felt moved to become an Alumni Ambassador and promote GVI to others – for anyone considering the opportunity please seize it, I can guarantee it will be two (or more) of the most fulfilling weeks of your life.

What was your funniest moment?
Every day the Buddhist Novice Monks would make us laugh. When you start the lesson they would shout at us in unison "Good morning teachers, how are you teachers" and they loved playing the fool. That said they were very respectful. We couldn't take our eyes off them in their standout orange robes!
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

One of a kind

I have spent half of my year volunteering abroad and working with GVI in Laos for one month was hands down my favourite experience and is certainly one of a kind. Situated in Laung Prabang, a serene city renowned for its preservation of culture, you are able to truly see the impact you have on the community. Teaching English to Novice Monks is a very unique experience one that only exemplifies the cultural exchange that you can't get from anywhere else. You are very much in control in what you want to do but always have the full support from the GVI staff at all times. It is an experience that I will never forget and highly recommend it to everyone.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience in Mexico

I volunteered with GVI Mexico back in 2005. I went as a volunteer, put my dive and biology skills to amazing use, dived incredible reefs, and didn't leave for another 3 years! I stayed on to work as a staff member. I loved working in and with the community, teaching English, diving everyday, witnessing the reef health change over the years, and teach other volunteers about the reef. I met so many incredible people throughout the years, most of whom I am still in touch with. The experience also inspired me to pursue an MSc in Marine and Coastal Management. I can't say enough about the great experience I had. Health and Safety policies will keep you safe and the experience is great for first time travellers as you'll be in a group, but also for experienced travellers looking for a unique experience and every type of person in between from gap years to career breaks to retirees looking to do something new.

What would you improve about this program?
I had a fabulous experience but went with a very open mind and was up for anything. Perhaps a variety of detailed information in various forms (blogs, etc.) about the living conditions and what to expect so that everyone is clear on what to expect. I do know that this already exists but everyone has different expectations based on their life experiences so it is not always easy to make everyone happy with the expectations of the project.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Life Changing Experience

I was incredibly fortunate to be a participant on the first ever Community and Culture Expedition that GVI ran in Tulum, Mexico. Our aim was to teach English to members of the local community as it was an area that was growing exponentially in tourism (Ten years later Tulum is now the "Go To" vacation spot). I received excellent training for my Teaching English as a Second Language certification, had the opportunity to teach both adult classes in the local community center as well as after-school English classes to high school students, received both Spanish and Mayan lessons, and truly felt welcomed by the entire city of Tulum. GVI organised an incredibly supportive leadership team that included two teacher trainers, a cultural adviser who was from the area, and also provided a scholarship for a local participant. We were all welcomed into the homes of our students, learned about the local cuisine, anthropological and geographical history, and formed life-long friendships with both the other participants and locals. As we were part of the first ever expedition, we had the unique opportunity of developing the future of the program. We were able to assist in the set up of future program initiatives such as English lessons for the local Taxi drivers that would enhance their employ-ability with the influx of tourism. My expedition was unfortunately during Hurricane Emily, but the local hurricane policies combined with GVI's policies kept us and expedition members from near-by programs very safe, and we were able to assist in hurricane clean-up afterwards. I have nothing but the fondest memories of my experience with GVI and would (and do) HIGHLY recommend their programs to anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
At the time, the need for this program was evident in the entire city of Tulum. Currently, most who live in Tulum speak English as their third language - largely because of GVI and other English teaching programs. I do not know of any improvements I would have made to the program except to enhance the reach to communities outside of Tulum so that they might enhance their employ-ability as well.