Volunteer Abroad to Teach Children: English, Sports Coaching & More
One of the very best ways that you can build a better future for children worldwide is by educating them. Education is one of the most important solutions to poverty reduction locally and internationally, providing the next generation with the skills to tackle economic, political, social, and other issues impacting their communities over the long-term.
It’s no wonder then, that teaching children is one of the most popular volunteer and intern abroad opportunities available right now. While teaching English is the most common option, there are so many other subjects and skills you can teach as well - and even better, most volunteer teaching programs will train you before you travel abroad or once you arrive onsite, meaning you often don’t need teaching experience to sign up. From hard skills like math and English, to softer ones such as communication and teamwork, there are plenty of ways to make a difference to young people in need around the world. In fact, sports coaching is one volunteer opportunity in particular that’s growing in popularity and that allows you to teach children teamwork and much more in a supportive, fun environment.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the many opportunities for you to teach children abroad!
International Volunteer HQ has a great number of opportunities for you to educate children worldwide - literally - with teaching programs available in North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific. And IVHQ is one of the most affordable volunteer organizations in the world, with placements starting from only $180 for your first week abroad.
One opportunity to check out is in Zambia, where you’ll teach in a community school set up to provide education at a reduced fee for children who are orphaned or whose families can’t afford to send them to other schools. Because of the country’s rapidly growing population and shortage of available teachers, community schools are greatly supported by volunteers from overseas. As a volunteer, you’ll work alongside a trained teacher to help with English, math, science, and extracurricular activities such as sports, music, dance, art, gardening, and nutrition. You’ll help with lessons, exam administration, report writing, and more, and will work full days throughout your stay in Zambia. And while you don’t need a background in teaching to apply, IVHQ encourages you to take their online TEFL course to prepare for your trip overseas.
If you want to visit an island destination, Fiji may have the perfect opportunity for you: IVHQ’s teaching program in Fiji invites you to work alongside teachers in rural public schools to lead kindergarten, computer classes, or sports. If you’re a kindergarten volunteer, you’ll teach basic English skills and help plan creative playtime activities for your classroom. If you’re working with older students, your projects will vary depending on how much teaching experience you have - from supporting full-time teachers with their work to planning lessons on your own. As with IVHQ’s Zambia volunteer program, you’re invited to take their online TEFL course to get more comfortable with your project before you head abroad.
To learn more about teaching children through IVHQ’s volunteer placements, visit www.volunteerhq.org.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM BIANCA
Working in Ecuador over these past 6 weeks with this program has been an experience that I will never forget. Being immersed into a new and interesting culture while being able to give back to the communities that you are a part of creates such an amazing sensation. You are there with a purpose and the people realize that. Having a supportive and easy to communicate with staff helps make the experience that much more awesome. If you want to feel accomplished and experience the world in a whole new way, sign up for a trip!
Based in Latin America, Maximo Nivel’s volunteer programs that support children help those who have been left homeless and without families or a formal education. Volunteers are able to provide basic care and education to children that may have been abandoned, abused, or whose families cannot care for them. As a volunteer, you’ll work alongside local staff to provide individual attention to children, ensuring they can grow up to be happy, healthy adults. Maximo Nivel’s volunteer programs start from $595 for your first week abroad, and you’re encouraged to stay for a month or longer to get the greatest impact from your experience.
In Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru, you can work for a week or longer in an orphanage, daycare program, community center, or school to organize games and sports, educate kids about basic hygiene, help with homework, and assist staff with day-to-day activities. The exact types of work you’ll take on will depend on the program needs and your background, so this opportunity is perfect for open-minded, flexible, and creative volunteers. While you don’t need Spanish language background to sign up, Maximo Nivel does encourage volunteers that have some experience in childcare to apply.
If you want to pursue a career in special education, Maximo Nivel has an internship opportunity right now to provide special education support in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru. For four weeks or longer, you’ll work in a private school as a teacher’s aide for students who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, or developmentally disabled. During this program, you’ll work one-on-one with students, conduct lessons, learn about the education system in Latin America, and gain direct experience supporting special needs students in developing communities. To apply, you must be 19 or older, have intermediate Spanish language ability (you can take online courses through Maximo Nivel before signing up), and currently enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s program in special education, education, speech pathology, occupational therapy, or a related field.
Maximo Nivel also offers an education internship, where you can work in an English-speaking classroom at a private school for four weeks or longer. As an intern, you can choose from placements in early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school classrooms, and the types of work you’ll take on - working alongside a local teacher - will help you build your teaching skills, leadership abilities, and so much more. Each day, you’ll help plan and teach lessons, get to know your school’s curricula and standards, learn how to measure your students’ needs and development, and more. While you don’t need Spanish language ability to apply, you must be enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s program in education, secondary education, or a related field when you sign up for this internship.
If you want to teach English abroad, Maximo Nivel offers placements in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru, where you’ll work with students who want to learn English, but who do not have the means to pay for a higher-level education within their community. For one week or longer, you’ll work in a public school, community center, after-school program, orphanage, or a shelter for street children to teach English lessons, create lesson plans, and much more to help your students develop vital skills that will help them break the cycle of poverty and build a better future for themselves. In addition, you’ll help with other activities such as cleaning and fixing up teaching areas, fundraising and collecting donations, and much more. You’re encouraged to stay at least two weeks or longer to make the greatest impact through your placement, and when you sign up, you’ll take part in Maximo Nivel’s ESL crash course to get you accustomed to working in your classroom and confronting challenges your students may face.
To learn more about teaching children in Latin America, visit http://maximonivel.com.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM CARMEN
My time at Maximo Nivel was a wonderful experience. They have a wonderful staff that is always cheerful and eager to help. Their facilities are always clean, well lit, and well stocked. Maximo also offers a variety of fun activities for volunteers, such as salsa lessons on Saturday.
The TEFL/TESOL course was great. The instructor was very effective and funny. I definitely learned a lot and feel very well prepared to go teach English.
GVI is another excellent organization that provides impactful, adventurous volunteer abroad and intern abroad opportunities worldwide. And they have dozens of teaching projects you can choose from in Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, and Africa. GVI’s teaching programs start from $1,700 for your first two weeks abroad, depending on the location and type of project.
In Costa Rica, you can teach English, art, music, physical education, remedial courses, and support extracurricular activities to children in the coastal town of Quepos. Learning English is extremely important within this community, which thrives on tourism - and as Quepos’ children grow up and enter the workforce, they’ll be better equipped to communicate with English-speaking travelers from the US and Europe. The bulk of your program will focus on teaching conversational English to schoolchildren, and you’ll work alongside teachers to plan lessons and workshops, and guiding children through their studies each day. In addition to teaching, you also can help out with gardening and other small projects around the community.
GVI’s South Africa teaching program could be the perfect fit for you if you’re more interested in a one-on-one teaching experience rather than leading a classroom. Through this project, you’ll travel to Cape Town to provide individual support to students who may have fallen behind their peers in literacy, math, and English. Each day, you’ll work one-on-one with primary school children in 30-minute morning sessions, then with small groups for workshops in the afternoon. Your help as a volunteer makes a great impact: many schools in the area you’ll travel to are overcrowded and understaffed (sometimes 50 students to one teacher), so you’ll support students whose teachers may not be able to give them the individual attention they need. As a bonus, GVI is offering optional side trips for volunteers to Robben Island, Table Mountain, and Cape Point, plus a wildlife safari and more, all of which you can arrange once you’re in Cape Town.
To learn more about teaching children overseas with GVI, visit www.gviusa.com.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM FIJI-LISA
The two months I spent on the Education Project in Fiji in 2011 were undoubtedly the best time of my life!! I feel like not only was I able to make an everlasting, positive change in the lives of many deserving children and families, but got to do so in one of the most beautiful places in the world with some of the most amazing people in the world. I helped to establish the first kindergarten at Ratu Meli Memorial School, and was able to use all of my teaching experience in doing so.
To see it continuing to grow and develop today is absolutely amazing! The other volunteers I met are still my friends to this day, and are actually my forever Fiji family. This experience is NOT a vacation however--it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and yes there is definitely a lot of fun that goes on as well, but it’s not just a kick-back holiday. The only word that comes even close to describing my experience is incredible, and that still is lightyears away from doing it justice. It made me grow as a professional and a person, and I would definitely recommend it!!!
Love Volunteers also has a great number of impactful programs worldwide where you can teach children valuable skills such as English, computer skills, and even basic life skills for those in severely impoverished communities. And Love Volunteers is one of the most affordable volunteer abroad organizations you can join, with some children’s teaching programs starting from only $200 for your first two weeks onsite.
One opportunity you may be very interested in is Love Volunteers’ Cameroon teaching project, which invites you to volunteer in one of two community schools on the country’s western coast. As a volunteer, you’ll teach English, sports, computer skills, and life skills either in a nursery school or in a primary school, with students whose families are in severe poverty and may not be able to provide the support these children need from day to day. As an additional benefit, the local teachers will be able to hone their English speaking skills by working with you, furthering their prospects for the longer term and helping them provide better English education to their students. While you don’t need formal education background or TEFL certification to sign up for this volunteer opportunity, some background experience can help you adjust to your placement more easily.
To learn more about the many children’s teaching opportunities available to you through Love Volunteers, visit www.lovevolunteers.org.
Based in Africa, Agape Volunteers offers volunteer and adventure programs in South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, and Maasai-land, with lots of opportunity to teach children in sports, music, and formal studies such as English, computer literacy, math, and more. And no matter what volunteer opportunity you sign up for, travel insurance is included in your program fee with Agape Volunteers.
In Ghana, there are several different ways to support students both inside and outside of the classroom. One volunteer opportunity you may be interested in is Agape Volunteers’ Ghana teaching program, where you’ll work alongside a local schoolteacher to provide English, math, and computer education - and as you get more comfortable with the program, you’ll be able to lead your own classroom.
If you’re more musically inclined, Agape Volunteers also has a great opportunity for you to teach music in the western region of Ghana, in a volunteer-run school. While you don’t necessarily need teaching experience to sign up for this program, you should have a good understanding of music theory and be competent in your instrument. And if you’re more interested in sports coaching, check out this program in Kenya, where you’ll work with a local football club and children’s groups, plus take on some classroom teaching during the day. Through programs like music and sports, you can help your students build confidence, learn new skills, and learn to work together as a team - all great ways to build stronger communities.
To learn more about teaching children in Africa, visit www.agape-volunteers.com.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM MAIREAD
I had an amazing time thanks to the people I met there - Eunice and her family did a wonderful job of looking after me and the other volunteers - I cannot praise them highly enough!
I worked at a safe house while I was there and have made plans to keep in touch with them, which have already begun.
Thank you to Agape for setting up my voluntary process - It was an unforgettable experience but far too short so I will be back in the future.
If you want to get paid to teach abroad, i-to-i should definitely be on your radar. For more than 20 years, i-to-i has trained and placed more than 155,000 teachers abroad on internships, adventure trips, and more. And for those travelers who complete i-to-i’s TEFL training, the organization offers a job board with opportunities to live and work abroad teaching English to students of all backgrounds and skill levels.
If you have the time to really immerse yourself in a new culture and the desire to teach English to students in an urban environment, i-to-i’s paid Vietnam TEFL internship may be the perfect program for you. For four-and-a-half months, you’ll travel in Vietnam and teach English to students aged 4 to 18, all while receiving a $700 monthly living allowance plus a $700 end-of-contract bonus. You’ll also accrue 140 hours of online and classroom TEFL training, which not only will help you better prepare for your teaching experience in Vietnam, but that will open you up to tons of other paid teaching opportunities worldwide later.
To learn more about teaching English overseas, check out http://www.i-to-i.com.
Volunteering Solutions invites you to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and beyond to teach subjects such as English, math, geography, and computer skills to students in primary and secondary school. Outside of the classroom, you can help with extracurricular activities like sports and games - and depending on your placement, you can volunteer abroad for one week all the way to six months.
One of Volunteering Solutions’ many teaching programs in Latin America takes you to Peru, where you’ll volunteer as a teacher’s assistant for a rural kindergarten class. Through this program, you’ll help teachers meet their goals for children’s cognitive, motor, affective, and social skills - and there’s a great need for volunteers to help out, with an average of 42 students to one teacher. You’ll help with a number of tasks, including checking homework and tests, distributing meals, planning and organizing activities, and cleaning and decorating the classroom. Volunteering Solutions’ Peru placements start from just $375 for one week, and you’re welcome to stay eight weeks or longer.
To learn more about volunteering to teach children worldwide, visit www.volunteeringsolutions.com.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM MARIANA
I totally enjoyed my placement. The In country coordinator and support staff were Great! Always helping and gave us every time a lot of support.
Getting to bond with kids is an amazing experience, to get to spend some time with babies, play with them, take care of them, learning some Swahili, getting deep into Kenya with people, doing, using transport, eating and living like locals is the highlight of my trip.
If Africa is on your must-visit list, Naturally Africa Volunteers not only provides you with the chance to explore this beautiful continent, but also to do some great work while you’re traveling. As a volunteer, you’ll be matched with a program that can use your skill set to make a difference to a community in need.
With Naturally Africa Volunteers’ Lake Malawi Teaching Volunteer Project, you’ll assist teachers in a local school that’s short on staff and funds, but that has a lot of children to support. In fact, classrooms in rural areas close to Lake Malawi may have more than 100 students per teacher - meaning there’s an urgent need for volunteers of all backgrounds to provide basic support to instructors who may not be able to provide the individual attention many students may require. Not only will you help teachers with their day-to-day work, but you’ll also help teach English (and if you’re a native speaker, your help is even more valuable as students will be able to learn conversational English from you directly), math, science, and much more. And you can be sure you’re making a difference: Naturally Africa Volunteers notes that classes benefiting from the assistance of volunteers like you see higher exam scores year after year. To apply, you must be able to volunteer for at least four weeks (starting price is about $1,200), and you’re encouraged to take TEFL courses or have a teaching background when you sign up, in order to gain the most from your experience and to make the greatest impact in your classroom.
If you’re more athletically inclined, Naturally Africa Volunteers offers sports volunteering projects both in Lake Malawi and in Tanzania. In Lake Malawi, you’ll assist teachers in a local school during the day with English, IT, and other lessons, and in the afternoons, you’ll teach volleyball, football, netball, and more to help build children’s confidence, social skills, and athletic ability. In Tanzania, you’ll coach football to street children and other vulnerable children from schools in the area where you’ll be staying, in addition to leading workshops, helping with homework, and much more at a local Street Children’s Center. During your free time in either project, you’re encouraged to relax, explore the area, or even take weekend excursions with fellow volunteers.
To learn more about teaching children in Africa, visit www.volunteerafrica.com.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM LESLEY
A great experience. Easy to organise, value for money, basic but good accommodation and food, and the most fabulous support at ground level. Nothing was too much trouble for them in order for the volunteers to feel comfortable and at home.
It was well structured and supported throughout, with enjoyable and worthwhile projects. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to make a difference whilst also enjoying themselves. Ideal for students taking a gap year, or for a summer holiday project, but also fine for the olde volunteer such as myself!
If you’re looking for a wider variety of volunteer programs where you can teach children overseas, check out Projects Abroad. Each year, Projects Abroad sends more than 10,000 volunteers to communities in need worldwide to help with programs ranging from teaching, to archaeology, to environmental conservation and beyond. Teaching placements through Projects Abroad start from two weeks at $1,915 depending on the location and type of program.
If you’re advanced or fluent in French language, check out Projects Abroad Jamaica, where you can teach French to students for three weeks or longer in Mandeville. During this program, you’ll stay with a host family and have time available to explore Montego Bay, Kingston, and other cities while helping boost your students’ confidence and improve their future job prospects. And if you’d still like to teach in Jamaica but don’t have a background in French, Projects Abroad has several other teaching programs as well: you can teach English, physical education, or IT - and depending on the program, you don’t need any background experience to get started.
To learn more about teaching students overseas, check out www.projects-abroad.org.
Another excellent organization you should check out if you want to teach children overseas is A Broader View. Since 2007, A Broader View has dedicated more than 1.5 million volunteer hours and raised $2.5 million in donations for their program partners worldwide. Right now, this nonprofit is offering dozens of teaching opportunities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and depending on where you go, your volunteer placement starts from $820 for your first week overseas.
In Moshi, Tanzania, A Broader View invites you to teach preschool and kindergarten classes to children aged 3 to 7. Through this program, you’ll work six days each week alongside local teachers in a new classroom that hosts children from the local community and from an onsite orphanage. You should be able to stay 2 to 8 weeks on this project to gain the most from your experience, and you’re encouraged to learn some basic Swahili before traveling to Tanzania. If you’d like to volunteer in Arusha, A Broader View also has a teaching opportunity where you’ll assist with early childhood education in English, math, music, and arts, plus games and extracurriculars after school.
To learn more about volunteering worldwide to teach children with A Broader View, please visit www.abroaderview.org.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM JENNIFER
This was the best experience of my life. The ABV team was really helpful both in the USA and in-country. I was very prepared for the trip. It was really easy to get settled and used to the new surroundings. There was never a time that I felt uncomfortable or unclear on travel instructions or anything. Definitely going to go back some day!
If Asia is calling to you, IDEX may be the perfect fit. All of IDEX’s volunteer programs are concentrated in Asia, with placements available in India, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. One volunteer opportunity you may wish to sign up for is sports coaching for children and teens in some of the poorest areas of the countries IDEX serves. Volunteers like you can provide training in individual sports, and help young athletes develop their talents while learning teamwork, communication, and other skills.
If you’d rather work in a more formal setting, IDEX also invites you to volunteer in a classroom along with trained, local teachers. As a volunteer, you’ll teach English, math, arts and crafts, social skills, and more - and IDEX provides detailed workbooks and guides for teaching, so you’ll have a structured environment to work from. And as with most volunteer abroad teaching programs, you’re also encouraged to support your students outside of class through games, sports, and other activities.
To learn more about teaching children in Asia, visit www.idexvolunteer.com.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM ELISABETH
I spent almost four weeks at the Idex camp in Palampur and it was the best experience I have ever had. All the staff were amazing, in particular Sapna who always wanted to help. The drivers were so nice and the chef too, she made fantastic food. The nature around is also beautiful!
I worked at a school for children with special needs and it was a great time. I got to know India in a different way, and it felt so good to see the kids develop. We also had a lot of fun and went on trips in the weekends. All the people I met were amazing and I promise that you get friends for life. I recommend everyone to go there, you will not regret!
If you’re interested in using a volunteer or intern abroad experience to help build your career, Global Nomadic may be the perfect opportunity. With a variety of degree- and job-related volunteer placements and internships worldwide, Global Nomadic is dedicated to providing an impactful experience abroad for its travelers. And with teaching programs available in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, you’re sure to embark on a meaningful adventure.
If you have at least three weeks available to travel, check out Global Nomadic’s Youth Sports Program in Brazil, where you’ll volunteer with a local NGO that promotes cross-cultural exchange between international volunteers and the Rio de Janeiro community through sports (especially football) and youth development. As a volunteer, you’ll work with an in-country coordinator to coach local kids’ sports teams and encourage teamwork and friendly competition in a safe environment. This volunteer opportunity is perfect for students studying sports education or community development, or if you’re interested in sports as a means for social development and empowerment.
To learn more about the many teaching opportunities Global Nomadic offers worldwide, visit https://globalnomadic.com.
Inspired to travel? Click here to get started with your search for the best volunteer abroad program for you - or click here to find an internship overseas, and check out this page to learn more about teaching abroad!
Want to know more about teaching abroad and volunteering with children overseas? Check out these articles: