• Thailand
    • Chiang Mai

Program Details

Host Family Hostel
Jul 17, 2018
Aug 22, 2014
1 traveler is looking at this program

About Program

If you have ever considered volunteering abroad, Thailand is a wonderful country to volunteer in. The hospitality of the Thai people and the beauty of the landscape makes Thailand an ideal destination for volunteers.

Travel to Teach offers affordable volunteer programs in various locations in northern Thailand. Whether you want to teach English to children at a primary school or to monks at a Buddhist temple, whether you want to experience life in a hill tribe village or help out at a refugee orphanage, Travel to Teach has a suitable program for you!

By basing our headquarters in Thailand, we strive to keep our costs low. Our fees include a welcome kit, 2-day orientation, accommodation, Thai language and cooking lessons, transportation between projects, 24 hour support, follow-up meetings and more. Visit our website for additional discounts and promotions!

Program Reviews

3.83 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 5 rating 66.67%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 16.67%
  • 1 rating 16.67%
  • Impact 3.85
  • Support 3.85
  • Fun 3.7
  • Value 3.85
  • Safety 4.5
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Needs to be shut down

I volunteered in Luang Prabang as an english teacher however there were so many problems as a result from the laziness of the organisers that I cannot recommend anyone do this.

To start with, the administrative body had not contacted the coordinator of Luang Prabang to inform them I would be comming and it was only due to a friend being there that they were made aware of my presence.

Prior to arriving I was giving the wrong information of where to stay and ended up at the old guesthouse were room charges were overly priced at 10euro a night which was a waste of program fees.

Briefing from the coordinator was minimal and consisted only of the handing over of an information pack which did not include things like the english abilities of the students, what had been done previously with the students, or where they were up to. There was limited instruction as to how to teach a class or prepare lesson plans and no offer to spectate the coordinator teaching a class to pick up tips. In fact while I was there, the coordinator spent all his time studying for his own exams and never sat in on a class or offered much support. There were never any checks to see what I was teaching or how.

I was not given the option of where or when or who I would like to teach, only given 2 classes a day (3 hours total) with the same class. The class had an age range from 12 to 17 varying levels of english including one with a learning disability. There was no opportunity to teach classes with monks or work in the library, and there was no opportunity to receive Laos lessons.

None of the money I paid for the program was used for the children. No new materials were bought with it, the children didn't all have the same text book and photocopies were not made available.

There was only 1 other volunteer with this organisation but no inter-organisational efforts were made for volunteers to socialise.

All in all, I was very disappointed with the program failing to deliver things it had promised or to live up to my expectations. It might be the cheapest option to volunteer in Luang Prabang but it is not at all worth it. You would be better to arrive and just ask to assist the monks or at the library without going through the organisation.

If you want to assist people learning english, this program doesn't have a system in place that will allow for that to be done and you will not receive any appreciation for it. You will also not get the opportunity to learn about the culture much through interacting with the locals. With no one really looking after the program I would suggest (which I have done to the organisation) that it needs to be shut down

28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Two NY Teachers...

Before I chose to volunteer with Travel to Teach during my time in Thailand, I researched many other volunteer opportunities. And, although I was skeptical of the program, we still went through with my choice, mostly because monetarily, they couldn’t be beat. There were plenty of other organizations that had far more reviews and that were accredited. Well, now I know why.
We, two teachers from the US, originally signed on for a two week volunteer opportunity with Travel to Teach, but conflicting plans only allowed for us to stay for one week. Just like they say on their website, one week is not nearly enough time to get the full volunteer experience with the students that you make connections with, but it was surely enough time for us to figure out that Travel to Teach has A LOT more work to do before they can be considered a volunteer organization we would ever recommend.
Travel to Teach put us in contact with two wonderful places to volunteer, in Mae Hong Son, but they offered little to no support or resources throughout the process. Had we not been experienced teachers or advocated for ourselves, it would have been a counter-productive experience for the students and intimidating for us.
Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, we were met at the airport by the head of media, Laura, who greeted us with a smile on her face. She had left her plans to pick us up at the airport because her boss called regarding a “conflicting meeting” 30 minutes before our arrival at 8:30 that evening. It should have been the first warning sign of what was to come. Jim, Laura’s boss, and the contact person for the volunteers in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son was spread completely thin and had a lot of brushing up to do in regards to her training. She travelled to Mae Hong Son on an earlier bus, met us at the station and only stayed for a day and a half. She changed her prolonged stay because “she was needed in Chiang Mai” – a 6 hour bus ride away. During her time with us, she hastily made arrangements for us to teach 4 days a week at a temple in the town and at a Kayan village that was a 30-minute drive away. She went over Thai customs, which was the most help she provided during her time and introduced us to Jess, a novice English speaker and kind man who drove us back and forth from the Kayan village. We were left in a guesthouse bare of resources (pens, paper, etc), with the exception of a desk in the corner of the living room stacked with books. Like I said, we were on our own from the start.
On our first day of teaching at the temple, that we had one hour to prepare and eat lunch before, the four of us (there were two other volunteers that would be staying for a prolonged period of time) broke up into smaller groups during the first hour and co-taught during the last two, since we only had 3 students. Alex, the English teacher at the temple, was exactly what we needed! He sat in on all of our lessons, was interactive and co-taught whenever he could. He is the reason the program works and thrives at the temple. Jim, on the other hand, was less than helpful, offering suggestions that were not needed and interrupting lessons that were otherwise working. She seemed to have little experience teaching and interacting with students, making them feel uncomfortable when opening up dictionaries or referencing their notes, something any teacher knows is okay during beginner lessons. Although it would have been nice to have Jim there to assist us as a translator and support, considering her debut, we were better off alone.
We would arrive at the Kayan village the next day, without Jim – who suddenly had to leave for Chiang Mai that morning. The four of us spent the entire day there – 9am to 3pm – with 50 children ranging from ages 4-18. Although we had the opportunity to visit the day prior (30 minutes), we were unaware of how the students would be broken up, who would be assisting us or how advanced their English was. Within 10 minutes we found out. There would be no assistance from the principal or teachers and we had no interpreter. This was nothing like the temple experience and we were left to structure our day. So, we broke up the students on our own and went along with the lessons we planned, attempting to differentiate instruction in accordance to their levels. The day ended with us feeling defeated, but happy with our attempts, considering the lack of support. We quickly realized that the only way this opportunity would thrive was if we became our own advocates, which is exactly what we did. We no longer relied on Travel to Teach for any feedback and solely communicated and planned with each other.
Although my review is quite candid, my goal is not to deter people from volunteering with Travel to Teach. I merely want all volunteers to know what they are signing up for. I do believe that there is a desire to help, but, before that can come to fruition, I also believe that more time and resources need to be spent on structure. The staff needs to be appropriately trained (or retrained) and there needs to be a point of contact for the hosts and volunteers. Once unqualified person cannot coordinate volunteer efforts for locations that are 6 hours apart.
Simply put, there is no structure and guidance in this program. If you are looking to make an impact and provide your services to those in need, you will have that opportunity, but be prepared to be on your own.

25 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Travel To Teach Thailand

I had an amazing time volunteering through travel to teach in Thailand. Our days began with us teaching children from the ages of 5 -18 english using games, songs and arts & crafts projects. We enjoyed delicious Thai lunches prepared by the Travel to Teach staff, with snacks between meals. In the afternoons we worked on renovating the orphanage. On our days off we enjoyed sight seeing and excursions, everything from Tiger Kingdom, the floating market, to a blessing by the Monks. I honestly had an amazing time solely because of Travel to Teach.
We experience things I think we would not have experience outside of this program. I am someone who TRULY believes in public service and this organization met and lived up to my expectations. I would certainly do it again and for a longer time. Thanks for an amazing experience.

What would you improve about this program?
This program excelled in every way possible. Communication was rough, but it wasn't the fault of Travel to Teach, mainly the USC coordination.
30 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Travel to Teach Review from a Student

The Travel to Teach Counselors did a great job hosting me and my group of volunteers. I came to Thailand with a group of 20 students from my university and we taught English and renovated an orphanage through out our 2 week stay. The counselors went out of their way to make our experience enjoyable by taking us to the many tourist attractions in Chiang Mai and even traveled with us to Bangkok. The counselors worked very well with the students during English camp which made everyone more energized and happy to work the the kids. Overall I had a great experience and would definitely come back!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked to have more games and information to teach the kids. At times I felt like they were not learning from me because we didn't have enough to teach them although they learned a lot from just being around us.
27 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Learning Experience

During the Fall Semester of 2012, I decided to sign up for a volunteer program at my school called Alternative Winter Break (AWB), which among many locations included Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Thailand AWB volunteer program has been one of the most amazing experience of my life. I had the opportunity to work with orphan kids to teach them English as well as build bathrooms and showers for them with the help of my colleagues and the local people running the orphanage.
People in Chiang Mai are very hospitable and friendly and Chiang Mai city is a very beautiful and serene place. My 2 weeks stay there was one of the memorable moments in my life. I went there to teach but I ended up learning so much about my self, Thai culture, and from working with others. I will never forget those amazing children at the orphanage and those kind and selfless individuals who work at the orphanage. Special thanks to the coordinators and personnel at Travel To Teach for guiding us through our journey. Thank you Thailand and Travel To Teach, I look forward to come back soon

30 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I'll always remember my students

There was so much to do in Chiang Mai that I don't even know where to start. The food is affordable, plentiful, and unlikely to be found outside of Thailand. The area is incredibly safe; our group often walked back to our guesthouse at night with no worries. The night markets are always so lively, with plenty of street food and souvenirs to satisfy your spending itches. We also went to several temples, speaking to Buddhist monks for more of an intrinsic reward. What more can I say but playing with tiger cubs at Tiger Kingdom, riding on top of elephants, filling up the night sky with floating lanterns for Thai festivals, ziplining through Thailand's forests, relaxing through Thai massages, rafting down white water rapids, watching a ladyboy show, and taking an authentic Thai cooking class?

Make no mistake about it; all these experiences are now my cherished memories. But the main reason I would encourage my friends to volunteer in Thailand is simple: the people. First off, all the Chiang Mai residents I bumped into were extremely kind and courteous. They love tourists and you should see them beam up when they hear you sheepishly struggle to offer a Thai greeting. Secondly, I made some incredible friends with the other volunteers. I met fellow volunteers from the States, Australia, the UK, Holland, Belgium, and Sweden. And honestly, all my memories from Chiang Mai (rafting, temple hopping, and night market shopping) became such strong memories not because of the location, but because of the people I was with.

Finally, some of the most fantastic people I met on the trip were without a doubt my students. Our volunteer group taught English at Buak Pao School and at a local orphanage, as well as constructing a bathroom and dorm for the latter. The kids I met made me fall in love with Chiang Mai. No matter how exhausted we were, whenever we traveled to Buak Pao School, we couldn't help but smile along with the children. Whether the program for the day involved fun spelling contests, lessons about bordering ASEAN countries, or simply chaotic playtime during recess, I loved every second I spent with my students. I may not have spent much time in Thailand, but I am proud to know that I made a difference (both an educational difference in my students and a tangible difference in the bathroom I built for the kids at the orphanage) during my two weeks in Chiang Mai. I loved those kids so much that our final goodbyes at both the school and orphanage were two of the saddest moments of the trip.

What would you improve about this program?
I believe more time with the kids, along with a more detailed lesson plan, would help multiply the students' knowledge of the English language.
28 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers