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Promote Literacy Abroad: Volunteer Teaching Opportunities Overseas

Nick Callos
Written By
By Nick Callos
Edited By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer

Education is the foundation for one’s future. It’s key to achieving one’s dreams and living happily and securely.

Yet access to education remains a problem. According to UNESCO’s 2017—18 Global Education Monitoring Report, 264 million children aren’t attending school. Moreover, a lack of resources and staffing shortages mean hundreds of millions of other students face obstacles to success. What this equates to is that lots of people aren’t provided the proper opportunity to learn crucial skills, such as reading, critical thinking, and communication.


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) were established in 2015, aiming to tackle challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and more. The process of creating the SDGs involved a wide range of stakeholders and the general public, ensuring that the goals reflected actionable priorities for a sustainable future.

One of these SDGs is #4 Quality Education – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Education is a fundamental human right and a key driver of sustainable development. By providing quality education, we can reduce inequalities, break the cycle of poverty, and empower people with the skills they need for personal and professional growth.

Volunteering to teach abroad directly supports SDG#4 by addressing educational disparities in underserved communities. Volunteers can bring new teaching methods, share valuable knowledge, and provide resources that local schools might lack. This not only enhances the educational experience for students but also helps build the capacity of local teachers and institutions. Additionally, volunteers often bring a global perspective, fostering cross-cultural understanding and preparing students to participate in an increasingly interconnected world. Through such efforts, volunteers contribute to creating a more educated, informed, and equitable global society.

a classroom with a teacher and two students working on colorful educational activities

The good news is that all kinds of work is being done to ensure people gain access to better education. One way you can help is by promoting literacy abroad through education initiatives. From teaching English in Costa Rica to offering after-school support in Romania, there are plenty of volunteer teaching opportunities abroad.

Let this article serve as your guide for finding high-quality volunteer teaching programs abroad. Read on to learn more!

Ways You Can Promote Literacy Abroad

English teaching programs are the most popular ways to teach abroad. This is because knowledge of the English language can open up doors for individuals. After all, as the world’s lingua franca, English literacy presents economic opportunity for people.

teach English abroad with Fronteering

When you teach English abroad, not only can you help local students improve their English skills, but you can also earn your TEFL certification or similar certification like TESOL or CELTA.

Moreover, there are literally thousands of English teaching programs across the world, from Peru to Kenya to Cape Verde. So, you can really choose a program based on your budget and location preferences.

Beyond teaching English, there are other ways you can promote literacy. Remember literacy, traditionally speaking, is defined as the ability to read, write, speak, and listen. Many education experts have now expanded the definition to encompass having adequate skills to meet the demands of modern life.


That means you could teach the following:

  • Music Literacy: The ability to read and write musical notations and/or play an instrument has been shown to benefit language and math learning. If you know music well, volunteer to teach music abroad. International Volunteer HQ for example has many good music education projects, such as their initiative in Amman, Jordan. 
  • Digital Literacy: Also called information literacy or computer literacy, digital literacy is absolutely a necessary skill to have in the 21st century. Unfortunately, a digital divide exists, and it’s preventing too many disadvantaged people from being able to break the cycle of poverty. You can bridge that gap by helping with volunteer IT teaching projects like these with Projects Abroad. 
  • Environmental Literacy: Environmental issues, such as pollution and resource depletion, could greatly impact our ability to build a sustainable future. You can promote environmental literacy through conservation initiatives that raise public awareness about local issues. By doing so, you can empower people with the skills and motivation to make responsible decisions about their environment. There are lots of great programs, like this one in Bali. 
  • Math literacy: Along with language literacy, numerical literacy is essential. When you volunteer to teach math abroad, you’ll help provide students with a foundation for using math to solve problems, not just in the classroom but in real life. For instance, you could teach math in Nepal through VolSol — and play a role in improving the quality of math education there.

Additionally, other ways you can promote literacy abroad include through childcare volunteering, special needs volunteering, and community development volunteering. For such programs, you’ll teach reading and writing, in addition to other subjects and skills.

So, are you ready to travel? Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top organizations for teach abroad programs. Take a look and see what captures your attention!

Maximo Nivel

Since 2003, Maximo Nivel has offered volunteer and teach abroad programs in Latin America. The organization has done lots of good work in promoting literacy in the region, notably in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Their programs are internationally accredited, which means you could get academic credit for teaching abroad through Maximo Nivel (check with your school).

Best Teach Abroad and TEFL Programs - Maximo Nivel

With a commitment to quality, transparency, and affordability (see fees here), Maximo Nivel has become one of the most respected names in volunteering. Here’s what one past volunteer had to say about the experience:

“I just returned from a six-week teaching internship at Maximo Nivel in San Jose, Costa Rica. I learned more life and teaching than will fit in this paragraph. I’ve created lifelong friends through this program at Maximo Nivel; they treat you like a member of their family.”


Consider these volunteer teaching opportunities offered by Maximo Nivel:

  1. Teaching English in San Jose, Costa Rica: As a top tourist destination, knowledge of English opens up many economic doors for Costa Ricans. Teach children in underprivileged schools and adults in disadvantaged communities, and give them a language skill that can benefit them for a lifetime. During free time, enjoy the sites around San Jose and journey out into the rainforests. Interested? Learn more about the program here!
  2. Working with Kids in Antigua, Guatemala: For children from families facing severe economic difficulties, a lack of proper resources and support means their education, emotional and physical well-being, and ultimately their futures are put at risk. Help address the issues facing such children by giving them attention and care, and teaching them basic skills such as reading and communication. It will go a long way in empowering them to a brighter tomorrow. Sound like the right program for you? Register here!
  3. Get TEFL Certified with Maximo Nivel: Get trained to teach English with this comprehensive TEFL Certification Program, essential for aspiring ESL teachers. Options include a 4-week onsite, hybrid, and fully online program, with job placement assistance.

International TEFL Academy

Founded in 2010, the International TEFL Academy (ITA) is renowned for offering globally recognized TEFL certification courses in over 20 locations around the world. Renowned for its Level 5 Ofqual accreditation from TQUK, ITA has established a vast network of partner schools throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America. ITA certifies about 6,000 individuals annually, with alumni teaching in over 80 countries.

Earn your TEFL certificate and teach English abroad with ITA

The academy provides a range of courses that meet international standards and include practical teaching experiences. Another notable offer is their guaranteed job placement program in Asia, where participants are matched to positions in approved schools that best meet their preferences with top salaries. ITA’s globally recognized certification, bolstered by lifetime job placement support, extensive cultural training, and access to a supportive Alumni Network, equips you for successful international careers. Here are a selection of their stellar programs for those wishing to teach abroad:

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

Established in 2007, International Volunteer HQ has sent nearly 100,000 volunteers abroad in their first 12+ years. A trusted volunteer organization, IVHQ has been featured in publications like National Geographic and The New York Times. If you’re looking to promote literacy abroad, few organizations offer the variety of high-quality teaching projects that IVHQ does. They’re quite affordable, too. Whether you want to teach English in Vietnam or teach kindergarteners reading skills in Bali, IVHQ has the program for you.


One great volunteer teaching opportunity through IVHQ is the teaching and school support project in Jamaica. Provide extra support and attention to children as they learn reading, math, and other academic subjects. You’ll serve as a key partner to the local teacher and even get to arrange lessons and non-academic activities. The volunteer program takes place in Saint Mary, a parish in the northeast of Jamaica that’s known for its tranquil beaches and lush forests. Want to learn more? Click here!

Another great IVHQ program for promoting literacy abroad is the Slum Teaching Volunteer Program in Delhi, India. As a volunteer, you’ll provide education to vulnerable children who usually work on the streets. You’ll lead classes of around 30 students aged 5 to 11, teaching English and other subjects, facilitating games, and planning lessons. This role requires flexibility due to fluctuating student numbers. Volunteers gain teaching experience, improve communication skills, and immerse themselves in Indian culture while making a significant impact on the children’s lives.

TEFL HQ provides an exclusive 100-hour online TEFL course at a reduced price through International Volunteer HQ.  As a leader in TEFL training, TEFL HQ has developed this course with the expertise of seasoned specialists in second language acquisition, ensuring a high-quality learning experience. The certification is internationally recognized by TEFL placement agencies.


Established in 2006, GoEco has more than 150 initiatives in areas like Wildlife and Animal conservation, community development, and education. For volunteer teaching opportunities abroad, GoEco offers lots to choose from, from empowering women in Nepal to supporting childcare in Ghana.

teach English abroad with GoEco

Other recommended teaching programs through GoEco include:

  1. Livingstone Community Teaching in Zambia: Contribute to rural primary schools near Victoria Falls, providing vital classroom support. Assist local teachers, offer individual attention to students, and engage in various community projects. Join international volunteers, fostering global connections. Enhance your teaching skills and make a real difference. Register now! 
  2. Kindergarten Volunteer Program in Fiji: Stay in the tropical town of Sigatoka, where you’ll teach kindergartens basic English reading and speaking skills. Your help will benefit the students greatly, as the school suffers from staff shortages. What’s awesome about this program is that you can chill on the beaches or trek in the jungle during your free time. Ready to head to Fiji? Sign up here first!

Projects Abroad

Around since 1992, Projects Abroad has been one of the largest volunteer abroad organizations in the world. Known for their exceptional safety and support, diverse array of programs, and dedication to the communities they serve, it’s easy to see why Projects Abroad places more than 10,000 volunteers in projects each year.

Volunteer for refugees with Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad offers diverse teaching opportunities around the world, particularly in countries with limited resources. Volunteer teaching roles with Projects Abroad involve working with children and young adults in schools, assisting local teachers, contributing to lessons, and gaining firsthand classroom experience. They have programs in locations like the following:

  1. Ecuador: Live and teach in the Galapagos. Help disadvantaged children improve their English, which could benefit their future careers. Journey around the majestic Galapagos Islands during free time. Get more details here!
  2. Sri Lanka: Volunteer to teach English, numeracy, music, IT, and more in Sri Lankan schools or temples. Gain practical experience and learn about traditional culture while helping local communities. Find out more here!

If you want to focus on computer literacy, know Projects Abroad also offers the chance to teach IT classes. For example, you could teach computer skills in South Africa. Bridge the digital divide for children and adults from low-income neighborhoods, and empower them to use technology to uplift themselves. And, during free time, experience bustling Cape Town. Intrigued? Discover more here!

African Impact

African Impact’s Online TEFL Course and In-Person Teaching Internship is a unique TEFL Teaching Internship by African Impact that combines online coursework with a hands-on practicum in Zanzibar or Zambia. Tailored for those enrolled in African Impact’s TEFL course, this program requires a minimum of 28 hours of practical teaching over two weeks, which is a requirement for participants to graduate with their TEFL Certification. Interns teach in nursery schools and at an Education Centre, engaging with children, adults, and women’s groups. This experience not only involves lesson planning and classroom support but also immerses participants in local culture. The program promises a comprehensive, fulfilling experience with accommodation, meals, and support, empowering local communities through education and providing interns with diverse teaching skills as they complete their TEFL Certification.


African Impact also offers volunteer teaching programs in Africa, designed for individuals passionate about education, regardless of their teaching experience or degrees. These programs, available in locations around the African continent, focus on enhancing education in under-resourced communities. Volunteers have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including pre-schools, primary schools, and adult literacy classes.

Country highlights include:

Volunteers receive comprehensive training and orientation, preparing them for impactful roles in childcare and teaching. By participating in these programs, volunteers contribute to sustainable education initiatives that uplift communities across Africa.

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)

IVI offers a diverse range of teaching abroad programs in multiple countries, catering to volunteers of all backgrounds, regardless of their teaching experience. IVI is known for making a real impact in communities through focused projects in education, healthcare, childcare, and construction. They offer affordable placements and a wide range of project options in over 20 countries, with flexible start dates. As a non-profit organization, IVI emphasizes significant and lasting impacts in communities, making their programs an excellent choice for volunteers seeking meaningful experiences abroad.


Key Features of IVI’s Teaching Abroad Programs:

  • Open to anyone with a good standard of spoken English, with no previous teaching experience required.
  • Focus on English conversation and language teaching, with opportunities to teach other subjects like science, math, and sports.
  • Various teaching settings, including government primary schools, community teaching, after-school clubs, and special needs teaching.

Some of the destinations where IVI offers teaching programs include tranquil Bali, vibrant Costa Rica, and picturesque Fiji just to name a few. The Pacific beauty of Samoa, the safari spirit of Tanzania, and Vietnam‘s dynamic history all make for unique and enriching English teaching settings with IVI, turning each location into an adventure of cultural exploration and impactful teaching.

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)

The Online TEFL Course by Volunteering Solutions, in collaboration with TEFL UK, offers a flexible and comprehensive program for those eager to teach English globally. Catering to a wide audience, including high school graduates, gap year travelers, and experienced educators, this 120-hour course is ideal for developing essential teaching skills. It opens doors to international teaching opportunities, allowing you to learn at your own pace and even from home.


Volunteering Solutions also offers a diverse range of volunteer teaching programs ideal for those looking to contribute to children’s education without needing formal teaching qualifications. These programs are designed for volunteers of all backgrounds, with a good command of written and conversational English being the primary requirement.

Key Opportunities with Volunteering Solutions:

These programs, available throughout the year with flexible start dates, typically involve improving students’ vocabulary and spoken English skills. Creativity and improvisation are often key, as teaching conditions can vary, with some classes being held in open-air environments. These programs offer more than just teaching experience; they are an opportunity to engage with local communities, understand different cultures, and make a lasting impact on the educational development of children in various parts of the world.

Global Vision International (GVI)

An award-winning service organization, Global Vision International tackles key local and global issues through initiatives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. GVI has partnered with acclaimed organizations like Save the Children, Panthera, and Building Bridges Coalition.


GVI was founded in 1998 and offers many excellent volunteer teaching opportunities abroad. For instance, you could teach math, English, and health in Pokhara, Nepal, or join a Women’s Economic Empowerment Program in Cambodia.

If you want to address climate change and promote environmental education, consider GVI’s Climate and Environmental Education program in Ghana. Support local communities in Kokrobite near Accra, by supporting educative initiatives on climate issues, pollution, sustainability, and behavioral change. Participate in activities like litter collections, beach cleanups, and tree planting. Enjoy weekends exploring local beaches, cultural landmarks, and the vibrant arts scene. This program empowers communities through comprehensive environmental education and promotes sustainable living. If you’re interested in making a positive impact while experiencing West African culture, read more and apply here.

Ready To Volunteer Abroad And Improve Educational Outcomes?

Hopefully, our list of featured organizations and projects will streamline the search process for you. Consider your passion, skills, destination preferences, and budget, and apply early. This way, you’ll get into a program that suits you wonderfully. And you’ll have a life-changing, fun experience.


For even more ideas and project recommendations for promoting literacy abroad, check out some of our other articles and resources:

10 Best Places to Teach English Abroad

Best Volunteer Abroad Organizations and Projects

Volunteer to Teach and Build Schools around the World

So, why wait any longer? Your volunteer teaching adventure can start now!