Volunteer and Teach English in South East Asia

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About

Looking for a great opportunity to develop your C.V whilst having the experience of a lifetime? Why not volunteer overseas! We are looking for volunteers for between 4 weeks and 12 months to go to Northern Thailand, Sri Lanka or Southern India.

Volunteers can work as language assistants supporting local teachers or teach English to whole classes. Our aim to improve confidence levels among English learners and make English lessons fun and engaging. Volunteers run activities & games focusing on spoken English, helping to improve confidence levels and make learning English fun. Volunteers are also able to run after-school games, sports, music & art clubs.

Where do I stay?
Volunteers live within the local community with a family in a homestay placement. This is a unique opportunity to experience a culture first-hand whilst helping to make a real difference.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

99%
based on 11 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
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Stephany
10/10

Life Changing Experience

Even though I didn't know thai I was really good at communicating with my family and learning body language. However the only time language was a barrier was during Sports Day. On Sports Day the highschool goes all out with a parade and competitions. My class was in the Akani team, which means orange. I was part of the parade and all glamed up after the parade I was told to run in the final Super hero run, which wasn't suppose to be competitive at all. However I saw everyone else competeing in the other races. So i ended up turning the fun group run into a competition with myself. Other students from their respective teams were running and skipping together bringing the event to an end. Everyone except me. I was running my heart out wearing a cape and underwear thinking I was making my team proud. Everyone was laughing and telling me to stop running so fast but I didn't understand and finished my run so quickly and awkwardly. It was an embarrassing but hilarious day.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly have nothing to complain about. I wish it was longer. I had a great experience. And loved every second about it
Yes, I recommend
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Katie
10/10

Thailand 2012

I went to Thailand with VESL in 2012 and I had an amazing time.
As I was living with a host family, this really gave me the chance to engage within all aspects of the culture and life over in Thailand.
The children were a very well behaved and mannered, an absolute delight to teach.
VESL gave me a lot of support and helped both here in England and when overseas. With basic training before I went and then support when in the school in Thailand.
I would Highly recommend VESL to my friends and family if they are looking for a voluntary opportunity overseas.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change anything it would be that I should have participated within a longer project as I did not want to come home after 6 weeks of teaching.
Yes, I recommend
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Pippa
10/10

Teaching in Thailand and Travels

The six week program that I did with VESL was one of the best experiences of my life. I met some great people and made some amazing friends, Thai and English. The support throughout the program was excellent, their was 24 hour help just on the other end of the phone and my student leader would be with me in an instant if there was any problems.

The host family that I was placed with were brilliant, they were understanding that I was from a different culture and offered me Western foods and tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible. Obviously it has its difficulties, such as no running shower, the toilet situation and mosquitos, but you excpect and anticipate these sorts of things before you come out.
My day to day was filled with leaving my host family in the morning and cycling to school, where I would do 2-3 hours of English lessons, from Kindergarten up to grade 6, so from 3-14. I would teach on my own in a class of around 20, or team teach the larger classes with my project partner.

How can this program be improved?
There is not one thing that I would change- except the weather!
Yes, I recommend
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James
10/10

My experience with VESL

I've been fortunate enough to volunteer with VESL for the past two years as a student coordinator, based in Thailand for a large part of both Summers. I've worked with other charities before but none so far have compared to VESL.

It's run by a team of extremely dedicated past volunteers and what I think is so great about this charity is that you really don't need any experience. I've seen people go with no teaching experience at all but they had the right attitude and had the time of their lives. The programmes benefit both the pupils in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand but also the volunteers.

I think if I had to choose one highlight it would be the day that myself and my team taught a group of secondary school teachers. They were so kind and fun and willing to learn, we spent hours singing songs and having fun - then after that they took us all out for lunch and taught us some thai. Another highlight would be just how great the kids are. So disciplined and so eager, it was brilliant to leave them knowing that they had significantly better English skills than before our arrival - and that hopefully they would be inspired to continue on this path of learning.

I would reccomend VESL to absolutely any one, as long as you like meeting new people, aren't afraid of a bit of hard work and as long as you're ready for a life changing experience :)

How can this program be improved?
If I could change one thing, I would have made sure I spoke more Thai before I went, but I will be doing that this year!
Yes, I recommend
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amy
9/10

Great Experience

Great experience, host family warm and welcoming, real Indian experience through living with a family. Happy to cater to your needs, everyone very protective of you. Only issue I encountered was in school, with headteacher wanting to spend 'wild fund' money on pointless things, also didn't receive much support from teachers in the school.
In country support was great, visited many places and met many people through the in country support.

How can this program be improved?
Having more in country support (supervisors) would be good as 1 between 3 volunteers wasn't ideal
Yes, I recommend
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lucy
10/10

volunteer and teaching english in south east Asia

My past experience with VESL was amazing, I felt like I had all the support that was needed and I was made to feel safe in every situation, the project I was given was wonderful and the host family were amazing. I had the best time and I feel that would never have happened without the support of VESL staff. The highlights of the trip was definitely the teaching, the children were a delight to teach and taught me a lot about myself and my teaching abilities. One difficulty of the trip was definitely the language barrier, however after getting used to the people I was working with communication became a whole lot easier. Overall I had a wonderful experience with VESL and I can't wait to work with them on other projects in the future.

How can this program be improved?
One thing I would change about my experience would be the amount of volunteers, I feel that projects would probably benefit from more volunteers however I understand the limitations of this.
Yes, I recommend
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OliviaTeaches
10/10

A Meaningful Experience

I have volunteered twice with VESL. Once on a 6 week placement to Northern Thailand, and am currently in the midst of a 3 month placement in Southern India.

For my second placement, I considered volunteering with a number of charities, but for several reasons - in the end I had to choose VESL.

The amazing support and help you get from the staff, both in country and in the UK.
Fantastic value for money, and a transparency of where the funds were gong which made me feel really comfortable.
The understanding of the local culture which is unique to living with local families. VESL handpick the families, to make sure they are the best possible fit.
The knowledge that all VESL volunteer placements are meaningful and sustainable; that I would really be doing something to help - not hinder - the local community.

I'm already looking forward to planning my next volunteering experience with VESL.

How can this program be improved?
It would have been nice to have another volunteer in country, for additional support but this wasn't possible in my case. The support from the in-country co-ordinator however, has been excellent.
Yes, I recommend
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Kath
10/10

I just keep going back!

I went to Sri Lanka for three months (then stayed for a year). I've been back to Sri Lanka several times since and have also volunteered in India and Thailand.

VESL's projects are ones that make a real difference to the communities. Living with a host family gives you an insight into the culture that you would struggle to get anywhere else.

The variety of the role means that volunteers are continually challenged. I am still surprised by some of the things I've done! :)

The VESL support staff were wonderful. It is an organisation with a great, friendly atmosphere. I've made several wonderful friends through VESL and I just keep going back to Asia. :)

How can this program be improved?
Sometimes communication doesn't flow as smoothly as we are used to in the west. But even though it can be annoying, it is part of the challenge and part of the fun. :)
Yes, I recommend
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Emma
10/10

Teacher workshops

I was part of the teacher workshop team in Sri Lanka in 2006. We had a fantastic time, not only seeing a large part of the country, but having the opportunity to work with Sri Lankan teachers and share our knowledge.

We developed a number of workshops which were a lot of fun. We were able to learn about how the education system worked in Sri Lanka and were told that our workshop programme was both informative and thoroughly enjoyable! If you are a teacher looking for something interesting, fun and really rewarding, then I would highly recommend taking part in this programme over your summer holidays.

How can this program be improved?
To spend more time there
Yes, I recommend
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Sredgewell
10/10

Experience of a lifetime

I was one of the first VESL volunteers in India and truly had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. VESL really made me feel like a member of their team and not just another volunteer and got to know me personally. I taught English to children aged 4-16 for 12 weeks and lived on the orphanage site. I felt totally absorbed into the local way of life and saw India in a way no tourist or traveller could.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lpluss
10/10

Best three months...

I volunteered in India for three months last September and had an amazing time. I taught English in a primary school to Standard 7 students (aged between 10 and 13), I went to school for 9 o'clock each morning, lessons started at 9.30. I had four lessons each day. In the afternoon after school, I ran an English Club for my students and helped another volunteer run an English Club for her students at the same school. We also helped out at the local NGO and ran lessons for undergraduate students, which was a great way to meet people in the local community and made a change from singing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes! I had made some great friends through those classes.

I lived with a host family whilst in India, which was the most amazing experience, they were so welcoming and looked after me unbelievably well - a lot of food was involved!! They took myself and the other two volunteers away for a weekend to the tip of India, which was great and they took us to places we would never have seen otherwise and it was great to spend some time with the children in the family!

At the weekends we visited different places nearby, including Munnar, Varkala and the backwaters.

How can this program be improved?
Getting used to the chaotic lifestyle was difficult, we often would be preparing lessons for school and then find out late at night that school was cancelled the next day due to a strike or holiday - it happened quite frequently but there is nothing you can do about it!
Yes, I recommend

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About VESL

VESL is a charity (no. 1117908) and not-for-profit organisation. VESL is run by a dedicated team with extensive overseas experience, all of whom have been past volunteers and have a passionate commitment to run educational projects that are not only...