Volunteer Assignments in Thailand and Southeast Asia

Video and Photos

About

Be the change. Be a real volunteer in a real and affordable grass roots project, offering relevant and qualifed support to overseas volunteers.
Get the opportunity to work with the local people, to experience their country, village, culture and nature through their eyes.

Depending on your skills you can:

* Teach English
* Computer skills
* Design websites, create databases or other qualified IT work
* Create information material in English
* Conduct tour guide training at national parks
* Conduct hospitality training for home stay families in villages.
* Make forest or marine wildlife surveys
* Child care
* Health care

Join the best 3 day Volunteer Training in SE Asia, intense learning by doing language, culture and teach training, lots of practical tasks, before you start.

The Training is open to other travelers too, who do not have the time to volunteer.

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Reviews

89%
based on 17 reviews
  • Impact 8.2
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 8.2
  • Safety 8.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 17
Francis
10/10

1 month in NongKhai

To be able to work alongside local staff and trainees from Laos and Myanmar was also a very joyful experience as well as a two-way exchange of experience.

The 3 days training was fun as well as a very efficient way to get into the team very quickly.
Everybody was very welcoming and nice, and all in all it was a very rewarding experience.

I miss everybody, and look forward to do it again soon

Keep up the fantastic job

Francis Ponce

How can this program be improved?
This program is a very small organisation, which plans to develop further its concept of camps, going to the schools when school kids cannot move to the training center.

They therefore need resources and support, and I definitely plan to be part of these camps in teh future.
Yes, I recommend
Shona
10/10

6-Month Volunteer Internship Program

Excellent program and believe me, i'm not sugar coating it.

At first, Openmind Projects took me by surprise - the size of the training centre / facilities / living conditions / way of life but with every new place, environment and culture, it has its own challenges and i knew i had to learn how to adapt.

Adapting was easy for me because of the extremely helpful and genuinely nice local staffs and trainees. It didn't take long for me to feel at home.

One of my bestest experiences were the learning camps in October. They were out of the norm with engaging and exciting programs like debates and v-logs. It pushed me out of my comfort zone to patiently interact and converse with locals who speak minimal english. Despite the language barrier, it was so much fun making videos, preparing for debates, cheering them on and the best part, was to see the change in them overtime. It was very, very rewarding!

Indeed, my highlight of 2016 (:

How can this program be improved?
Frankly, Openmind's vision to foster learning through IT is relevant, effective and it is an excellent way of utilizing IT to motivate youths to become life long learners, instil confidence to speak up in English and it gives them hope to dream big despite the current circumstances they are in.

If you come in with an OPENMIND not expecting much, you will have a great time with the locals and people you meet along the way.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Irene
8/10

All in all it was fun!

I volunteered with Open Mind projects for about 4 months and I had sooo much fun! I taught English in the volunteer center in Nong Khai for a month and in a village in Phuket for the rest of my stay. In Nong Khai i received a 3-day intensive cultural and language training which really helped in the communication with the locals and the students as well as behaving respectfully towards the locals, so if you are thinking about volunteering for this organisation, I absolutely recommend it. It a bit tiring, because for 3 days you learn so many things, but it is also very helpful. The accommodation in the training center is not great, but it is comfortable, even though it can get a bit warm at times, despite the fans. Also, the stuff of the organisation are very friendly and helpful.

While I was staying in Phuket I lived with a host family. At first I was feeling a bit nervous about doing that, as it was my fist time volunteering abroad etc. but they people from open minds talked me into it and i never regretted it.The family was very welcoming and polite and I had my own room with 2 fans! The assisted me in every way possible and they were just amazing :D In Phuket I taught in a school and helped in the promotion of the local activities for tourism purposes.

Teaching at schools was a wonderful experience and the children give you so much love and most of them are really interested to learn. Yet, it is school so there are always troubles with some. Also, Open Mind projects encourages the "learning by doing" teaching method which I found very beneficial for the students, as it helped them memorize things better! So, you have to be creative and come up with games to teach them things, which can mean as much fun for you as for them.

Also, Thailand is so very cheap! Both Nong khai and mai-khao, the village i stayed at in phuket, were very cheap. You can have an hour for massage for less than 10 euros! An extra bonus to the very low fees of the open mind projects, which are very reasonable.

How can this program be improved?
1)It would be nice to pair volunteers when they go to secluded places, like villages, as it can get a bit lonely.

2) They should be clear on the visa matter, as i had a 3 month visa and i had to go out off the country to get another 30 day visa which i wouldn't have to do had they done the proper paperwork...so going out and back in was troublesome and expensive..So if you go for more than 3 months, insist that they be clear about whether they will do the paperwork cause they tend to be a bit misleading concerning that matter...
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Malin
10/10

It's simple - do it!

I'm now back at Openmind projects for the second time this year. I was here for a month in march/april and I loved it so much I came back again in june for another two months.

I've done/still doing teaching English at the centre in Nong Khai, teaching English at a village school in Cambodia and also took part in two holiday camps in april.

Everything has been so much fun, an experience i'd never want to be without. At the centre you all live together and it didn't take long til I felt like a part of the Openmind family. I really enjoyed staying with a local family in Cambodia too, Hak and his family are absolutly lovely and it is such a great way to experience a new culture.

Thank you my openmind family for everything! x

Malin

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Henrika
9/10

Health care internship

We had a new experience in Ubon Ratchathani and Samrong Hospital as nurse students. We were the first ones who did it was amazing. Our hostfamily was great! They took very good care of us, learned us thai language and important things about the rules and culture things.

Hospital staff was great! They loved us because they do not see much white colored people, so we were also the first western people for some of the thai people! They learned us about the thai style of nursing but at the same time they learned things from us as well.

Great experience overall and Openmin staff took good care of us from first beginning and all the way to the end.

This will not be my last time cooperating with openmind! I will be back helping them soon as possible :)

How can this program be improved?
We did 4 week nursing in Krabi healthcare center and that program was not good enough for a nurse students who don't have a right to vaccinate, who don't know enough of the children care and mothernity. So we recommend the program for nurses or nurse students who have all this basics learned.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Daniel
10/10

Part of the family

I spent a total of 2.5 months at Openmind projects barred at the head office in Nong Khai helping with various projects including development of staff members and trainees at the centre. I also took part in the two October camps and did some teaching in a local school.

From day one I was given a fantastic amount of support and made to feel like part of the Openmind family.

This is something I'd really recommend to anyone looking to get up closer and personal with a culture that is very different from that of what we consider a western culture. You learn a whole lot more about life here in southeast Asia than simply just traveling and you get to make a difference to so many people lives here that really need it.

The main thing I'd recommend to anyone looking to come volunteer at a place like this is not to have too many set expectations and to never assume that everything runs to a strict plan all of the time. Take each day as it comes and learn to enjoy it even if it's not what you had originally planned. It all works out in the end!!

Come for the experience, come for the enjoyment, come to help in every way that you can. You'll be making a difference even when you thing that your not.

Thank you to everyone that made my time in Nong Khai so special!

Daniel

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
bela
10/10

2-wk experience teaching English and IT

I volunteered to teach with Openmind Projects for 2 weeks in July 2012 and had a fabulous time there.
Before I started to teach, I attended the 3-day Volunteer and Cross-Cultural Training at Nong Khai. I am so glad that I did because I was better prepared as a volunteer. By the end of 3 days, we were able to introduce ourselves and carry out a very simple conversation in Thai. Getting to know the Openmind Projects' primary approach to teaching, 'Learning by Doing', was also crucial to making my volunteer stint an effective one.
I taught English at the Tessaban 3 Primary and Secondary School in the mornings. The English teacher who coordinated my schedule there, Tassanee, was very helpful and friendly.
I was very glad that I could also teach some C# programming to a few of the trainees under Openmind Projects, together with a small group of students from Nong Khai Technical College.
I am very impressed with the staff and trainees at Openmind Projects. Each of them was committed to their work and handled their responsibilities professionally. Outside of work, the staff took care of us splendidly!

How can this program be improved?
There was a day when we were teaching conversational English, and we were teaching students how to order food at a fast-food outlet.

On one hand, I understand the need for practical knowledge, but I regret it if the locals feel it is 'cool' for them to eat junk food!

Knowing conversational English is important in helping them operate in the real world in this day and age but I hope it does not come at the expense of disregarding their local foods, knowledge and culture.

Learning about sustainability now - how we can help strengthen local economies, support livelihoods and promote indigenious foods, I have come up with this focus that I hope can add value to your program.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
jane
8/10

"senior" volunteer

I went at the age of 60 and found the experience not nearly as daunting as I had expected, volunteers are generally either fit retired people or students. all there because they want to be there. We all got on very well together.
The staff are very supportive, doing their best to fit the volunteer with the project. However it's also up to the volunteer to be tolerant, adaptable, energetic, positive.
The time in Thailand (a month in Nong Khai) was comfortable and interesting, but the two weeks in the Lao jungle village were challenging, right away from my European life style, a memory for life.
Parenthesis: A little added advantage: while I was there I ate very healthily, (delicious and abundant food) lost two kilos and continued the same diet when I got home. Now down to my ideal weight!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sam
10/10

Best decision you'll make

I went when I was 19 and spent 3 months at the OpenMinds training centre in Nongkhai and 2 weeks in a remote Laos village.

The time at the training centre was amazing and the people are so friendly and nice. You meet other people volunteering and the town is beautiful and a much better Thai experience than just going to the party islands. The staff also know some incredible places to visit nearby as well.

The village in Laos was probably the most challenging but most rewarding thing I have ever done.

100% recommend and the prices are so much better than most volunteer places where it costs a fortune to help out just because of admin fees.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Brian
10/10

Amazing experience!!

Fünf Tage Nong Kai mit eine ganze Menge an kulturelle und sprachliche Information...mit Mikrowelle und Kaffee in englischer Umgebung waren einfach im Vergleich zu dem was kommen würde.

Eine Handvoll Menschen die, wie ich auf der suche nach Veränderung. ..einem tieferen Sinn im leben. .den Wunsch, sich im Dunkeln unserer westlichen Kultur und Stress...das Streben nach Erfolg...finanzieller Sicherheit und Status, für eine kurze (oder längere) Zeit, gleichzeitig ein Licht der Hoffnung fur andere zu sein...sie zu motivieren..sie und sich tiefer wahrzunehmen. Eine echte "win-win" situation zu erfahren.

Wir alle sind dann in den verschiedensten Ecken Asiens verreist. ..gewinnen jeden tag an Dankbarkeit für das was man hat. ..wägen was wichtig und unwichtig ist im leben ab.

An dem, meinem eigenen Projekt angekommen. ..müde vom Fliegen....Angst vor dem was und wer mir bevorstehen würde. ..wurde mir mit der zeit so einiges klarer.
Der Umgang mit anderen fängt glaube ich damit an, wie man mit sich selbst ungeht. Eine Sprache nicht sprechen zu können. .ein Außenseiter zu sein..zu fühlen wie man "studiert" wird machte mich unsicher. Jedoch. ..nach einer Zeit sind durch zusammarbeit. .Geduld. ..mit etwas Humor echte Freundschaften fürs Leben entstanden. Das zweite solar Projekt. .mit langen tagen..Stechmücken das es knallt...mit einfachstem Werkzeug, etwas gemeinsam zu schaffen daß den Menschen hier Vorteile bringt, und einem das Gefühl gibt, etwas für künftige Generationen zu hinterlassen...eine Art "zeitzeuge" zu sein... das macht das alles wett.

An Orte zu sein die so wunderschön sind, daß nur der Anblick einem den Atem raubt. Das rauschen des Meeres...schlafen auf einem Boot unter freiem Himmel. ..exotische Tiere, Insekten, Essen und Lebensansicht...unserer welt..Mutter Erde auch von ihrer rauen Seite erleben zu dürfen.

Nach drei Wochen hier weiß ich...ganz tief in mir, dass das Leben einmalig ist..wir müssen es genießen...auch die unangenehmen Dingen. Den die zeit, in der ich diese Zeilen schreibe..bereits Vergangenheit ist...nie mehr zurück zu bringen. Sich mit dingen wie Erfolg oder Status sind wirklich nicht wichtig... Familie. ..Freunde. .das Lachen und gemeinsam gutes Essen genießen...sich die zeit zu nehmen, einfach im Leben anzuhalten und bewusst das, und vor allem wem wir in unserem Leben haben zu schätzen...einfach lächeln weil man dafür dankbar ist.

Live your life...love your life. ..jeden Tag aufs neue. Sei froh am leben zu sein...teil dein Leben und sei teil des Lebens anderer. Mit Respekt...Hoffnung...Geduld und Nächstenliebe...mit so einem Projekt!

Sie werden es nicht bereuen!!!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Gustav
9/10

English teacher in Laos

I had a great time at OpenMind Projects. Assigned to a small village in Laos, I had the privilege to take on a lot of responsibility from day one. I was able to form my own classes with the students and always felt that I had great support from the OMP staff.

Everything with travelling, accommodation, expenses and security went fine, despite the fact that this village was one of the newest projects. The professionalism at OMP was the supporting reason for this.

I would not hesitate to recommend OMP to anyone, regardless of age.

How can this program be improved?
I would have wished to do this together with someone. Although, this is more up to me than the organization.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Anna
9/10

Join the team!

I spent about 6 months working in the Openmind Projects Office in Nong Khai.

I found the staff here were very friendly welcoming, and I soon felt at home and able to contribute to the development of the organisation. Working alongside local staff and trainees was a great way to experience the very different culture of Thailand, and learning to adapt to a new and strange workplace was also valuable.

As a small organisation, you truly feel that you are joining the team - whatever type of program you are on. You can see for yourself how highly valued your contributions are. OMP's local expertise and grassroots set up means that you know that volunteers are being sent to projects where they are needed and can help.

I highly recommend the Volunteer & Cross Cultural Training. I learnt a lot through it, and have seen many volunteers come and go who found it equally beneficial. OMP continues to provide a high level of support to volunteers beyond the training, too.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
laura
10/10

great!

An amazing experience! I can’t believe how much I learnt within one month volunteering with the Marine Conservation program in Phuket. I would ride a bike from my house located in a small village amongst the forest and by the Andaman Sea to the office. Every day brought upon a new adventure! One day I assisted the Marine National Park with collecting seaweed for experiments, the next few days I was on a seven hour car and boat ride to the island Koh Thalu to help conduct reef and fish checks, and the next day I was in the office helping make a presentation document for the ‘Strengthening Andaman Marine Projected Areas Network Program’ team. It really was so diverse and fun. Overall, this experience was life changing. Living amongst the Thai community away from the tourist region just helped me learn so much more about the culture and got me out of my comfort zone. I left Thailand feeling I had made a positive contribution to the preservation of Marine life in the Andaman Sea.

I would definitely recommend the Thai Culture course in Nong Khai. The team there really prepared and helped me understand Thai living, working, food and social cultural differences. And they were always only an email or call away when I had any enquiry whilst volunteering. Thanks Openmind Project team for this rewarding experience!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jeremy
8/10

A Very Worthwhile Experience

I volunteered with Openmind Projects for four months in 2013. I lived in Nong Khai and taught english to trainees at the volunteer organisation, novice monks and school students. I also helped with making videos and presentations.

I found the experience immensely worthwhile. Openmind Projects provided a great base for my time in Thailand. I made lots of new friends through my involvement with the organisation and got to experience Thai culture and cuisine.

Openminds is an organisation helping a lot of younger people become educated in english language and computer skills. I learnt a great deal about working with people from different backgrounds and would highly recommend the experience to anyone wanting to contribute to a worthwhile cause whilst experiencing a new culture.

How can this program be improved?
The organisation is comprised of people from various cultural backgrounds. This can lead to some misunderstandings and potential frustration. I would recommend volunteers to be prepared to to be tolerant and relaxed and to smile and just go with it :)
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Helen
1/10

Poor administration, poor communication, more expensive than others

I have done a number of volunteer placements on a number of subjects and each have run smoothly and worked as advertised. Until now.
I enrolled in two projects, both with months of notice and planned a three month holiday around the dates of the projects. For both quite a bit of travel off my beaten path was involved.

For the first "teaching" project I was advised three days before the start of the project that I was unable to go to the school and teach as the school had something else on. I did get my fees refunded. But by the time I was advised I had already spent money especially to get to the area where the teaching was happening so then had to return to where I came from.

The second placement was in another country from where I was in Asia and I travelled there and went to the school, only to find that they didn't know I was coming and had some obligations that meant that I could not teach there either.

Right from when I registered for the first project the communication was terrible with me having to send two or three emails before I got a response. Then to be told three days before the start of one project that it was not going to happen is really poor.

Open Mind advertise as a low cost Voluntourism option. In comparison to other projects I have done, they are not. Most projects are all inclusive costs, where the two I enrolled in did not include anything other than the administration of the project. By the time I added in my accommodation, meals, travel to the school etc it was no longer a low cost option and actually cost more than many others. and in my case they didn't happen either.

If I add in the lost airfares and accommodation deposits that I paid for projects that didn't happen then this project was very expensive.

No, I don't recommend

Interviews

About Open Mind Projects

We offer amazing and challenging opportunities for overseas volunteers to contribute in a meaningful way to a better future for local underprivileged people and for threatened nature and animal species. We arrange for committed volunteers to work in...