There are few places on Earth that attract as many travelers to its secrets as Asia – a favorite destination for those who want to visit beautiful and sacred temples, explore lush forests and mountainsides, and bathe in iridescent waterfalls.
But Asia is more than an amazing continent with 4 billion people: it’s a challenge for the English speaker. There are more than 2,000 languages spoken throughout Asia, with Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Malay, and Vietnamese being the five most common – and English is quickly becoming a valuable language to know for tourism and international business.
In fact, with the export-driven “Tiger Cub Economy” of Southeast Asia driving a high rate of economic growth, knowing how to speak English is more important than ever.
If you want to combine travel with teaching, consider a volunteer placement in Asia. Combine a TEFL course with your trip and you’ll be equipped with the skills needed to confidently and effectively lead a classroom. TEFL, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language, allows you to sharpen your teaching ability so that your students can truly benefit from your time there.
If you’re interested in teaching abroad and finding a TEFL course that can help you prepare for a successful teaching placement, keep reading to learn more about volunteer travel organizations that deliver high-quality programs and experiences while maintaining safety and affordability.
Featured TEFL and English Teaching Volunteer Programs in Asia
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)
There is a reason that IVHQ is an industry leader in programming for those who wish to teach English in Asia: deep experience and attention to detail. Feedback from IVHQ program participants consistently indicates that adventures are well-planned, responsible, and safe. IVHQ now offers English teaching placements in 40 countries, including Cambodia, China, and Laos.
Many aspiring teachers appreciate the knowledge and skills provided through Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification. In an effort to make it faster and easier to earn this credential, IVHQ has created an online course specifically tailored to the needs of students planning to teach English through a volunteer program. The course is affordably priced and self-paced, so you can complete the necessary 100 hours at your convenience.
Cambodia English Teaching
Volunteers interested in spending time teaching English in Cambodia can directly impact their students’ ability to move out of poverty. In Cambodia, most jobs require some English fluency, but very few families can afford this type of education for their children. As a result, poverty and unemployment are widespread. Individuals who choose this program participate in lesson planning, in addition to working directly with students.
China English Teaching
Traveling to China is an extraordinary experience, and few have the opportunity to immerse themselves in its ancient culture. As an IVHQ English teacher, you will step outside of your comfort zone to share your language skills with pre-school and elementary school children who are excited to learn. These programs are located in and around the city of Xi’an.
Laos English Teaching
English fluency can transform a Laotian child’s employability later in life, so volunteers teaching English in Laos have a direct influence on their students’ futures. If you would like to work with students between the ages of 6 and 12, and you are fascinated by the prospect of contributing your skills to a small village school or an education program sponsored by a monastery, the IVHQ Laos Teaching English program could be a perfect fit.
Plan My Gap Year
When it comes to flexibility, Plan My Gap Year is an excellent choice, offering affordable programs that range between one week to 36 weeks. This organization specializes in volunteer placements throughout Asia, South America, and Africa, spanning 17 total countries. Plan My Gap Year was founded by volunteers, and all programs are designed to put safety first, in addition to delivering a positive impact to local communities. Each year, more than 4,000 volunteers choose Plan My Gap Year for their partner in international service.
Online TEFL Course
Whether you are an experienced teacher or you are brand new to the classroom, teaching English as a Foreign Language to international students can be a daunting prospect. Fortunately, Plan My Gap Year offers an affordable, convenient online TEFL course to help you grow your skills – and your confidence. You have up to 75 days to complete the 60-hour program, and you will earn an internationally-recognized TEFL certification.
Bali English Teaching
Life moves a little more slowly in Bali, where the beaches are pristine, and the jungles are full of spectacular flora and fauna. Teaching English in Bali feels more like a vacation than a work assignment. The Plan My Gap Year English teacher program in Bali is designed to further English fluency, which is critical for future employment. As this country’s tourism industry grows, a large percentage of jobs require the ability to speak English.
India English Teaching
India is a country of contrasts. While the country’s economy is expanding rapidly, nearly a third of residents live below the poverty line. You can make a difference when you teach English in India, as many of the nation’s jobs require English fluency.
Nepal English Teaching to Monks
In Nepal, many boys devote at least a portion of their childhood training in a Buddhist monastery. This is their best opportunity to get formal education that is so critical to future employment. When you choose Plan My Gap Year’s English Teaching in Nepal program, you will live and work inside a Buddhist monastery, helping the next generation prepare for long-term success.
Global Vision International (GVI)
With more than 20 years of experience, this family-operated organization has perfected its skills when it comes to matching volunteers with their ideal adventures. GVI places more than 2,000 volunteers abroad every year, and alumni feedback shows that these trips are unforgettable life-changing events. If you are interested in teaching English in Asia, check out these popular GVI programs:
Teaching English & TEFL Internship in Thailand
The lovely beaches and lush jungles of Thailand are well-known vacation spots, but most travelers don’t have an opportunity to live in this paradise long-term. As a GVI volunteer, you can take on a 24-week English teaching internship that will give you an opportunity to earn your TEFL certification and apply your new skills in the classroom.
Teaching English to Cambodian Buddhist Monks
The opportunity to live and work with Buddhist monks in the Cambodian community of Kampong Cham is rare, but you can have this amazing adventure through GVI. In the Cambodian English teaching program, you will spend your time working one-on-one with the monks to improve English fluency. In turn, your students will pass this knowledge on to their students, which ensures your efforts have a long-term impact.
Teaching Can Be a Challenge
Teaching English as a foreign language can be a challenge, even for aspiring teachers. If you’re planning to travel to Asia for a teaching placement, take time to prepare. Choose the right program and do your homework.
Better yet, make your trip successful and memorable by becoming a confident, trained instructor with a TEFL course. Your TEFL training and teaching experience overseas can lead to a professional career, so consider the time and energy as an investment in yourself, and in your students.
Rachel Roderick · Guest Writer
Based in Rhode Island, Rachel researches and writes about volunteer, intern, and teach abroad programs worldwide. She has traveled to some of the world's most exciting destinations - including Iceland and South Africa - and in her spare time loves skydiving, rock climbing, and canoeing.