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Volunteering in Asia forum

Looking for Volunteering- Travel To Teach?

Posted by lola899 on 7/9/2010 at 21:57

Looking to volunteer in SEA in february, so far I have found a program called Travel To Teach, is anyone familiar with it or has done it??

#1 lola899 has been a member since 7/9/2010. Posts: 36

Posted by mattocmd on 7/9/2010 at 22:35

Hello Lola,

There has been a lot of activity on this website over the years in regards to volunteering/paying to volunteer, etc.

With "Travel to Teach" you pay $615 to volunteer in Thailand for 2 weeks. I'll assume that weekends are off so that makes it $61.50 to volunteer per day in Thailand. Compare that figure to the average daily salary in Thailand and I just can't figure out why they charge that much.

Others certainly make good points about there being a need for funding to cover administration fees, etc. but I still argue that $61.50 per day is just too high.. (also, that price doesn't cover your flights)...You end up paying an arm and a leg and all you wan't to do is help someone out.

Did you know that you can find schools who want native speakers to teach English who don't require fees? Search this website and I'll bet you'll find some. With a little travelfish research, a question or two on these boards, and a little extra time, you can find school that'll be happy to have you (and won't ask for a dime - only your time).

#2 mattocmd has been a member since 13/6/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 365
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Posted by idreamofdurian on 9/9/2010 at 00:23 TF writer

I've heard good things about VolunThai which arranges homestays and teaching positions in rural areas. Their fee is a much more reasonable $325 per month then only $150 per month if you want to stay...

#3 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by yogakhaolak on 9/9/2010 at 10:26

This organization in Khao Lak is reputable I know many who have volunteered with them. And there is no fee other than your own personal living expenses.
Also try Grassroots They work with the Burmese community.

#4 yogakhaolak has been a member since 1/4/2010. Posts: 45

Posted by travel2teach on 13/6/2011 at 09:48

Some comments on Travel to Teach and the economy of volunteering:

The arguments that ends with 60 $ is rather ridiculous. Firstly you need to spread the cost over
the 14days involved secondly you’d need to look at least on an average volunteer stay. For a volunteer who stays 6 months on our program the per day cost is -7 Euro/day which makes it rather more worthwhile. Our service extends to 7 days per week and our participants stays averagearound 2 months.

For a person who stays 2 months the cost per day is 500 Thai Bath. This is around what you would have to pay for a decent guesthouse in Thailand and then you would only get a room. No special events of any kind and none of the social life among volunteers nor any of the
contacts to the local community, that is such an important part of how our volunteers describe their experience.

The fee consists of two parts, the application fee which is always 250
Euro and the other part which is supposed to cover the costs in the country.

The application fee covers all overhead costs: Keeping the website,
answering mail, all taxes, fees, transfer costs, maintaining the
website and database and keeping it up to date and not least, making
it show on search engines which includes keeping certain paid listings
and other promotional activities. Our Head Office salaries average half of what the person would earn as teachers here.

Our in-country costs are maintaining houses that can host 10-12
volunteers at all time throughout the year whether we have 1 or 22 volunteers in them.
The same thing goes for the In country staff; in Thailand we have two
full time and one part time coordinator working whether we have
volunteers or not.

There are organizations that work in a different way. Volunthai is one
of them. They only receive the volunteers and sends them
out to village home stays in Isan. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, on the contrary.
For volunteers who what that kind of experience this organization
absolutely to be recommended. If you are an experienced traveler, you
can actually just go on your own out to any school in any village in
Isan and they will host you and let you teach English (if you can make them understand that this is what you want)

The only thing to consider is that unless you use some organization
you will not make a difference at all. I don’t know much about
Volunthai so I cannot judge if they have enough volunteers to keep a
constant presence where they work, but I believe that is the absolute necessity for making a difference.

To illustrate what I mean look at the video

where the background is explained. After this, since our dorm was
right next to it, we taught at this school with a constant presence.
When we had done so for 2 years, this small, under privileged school
won the contest for English speaking for the whole province of
Nongkhai. This could only have been achieved by our constant presence
and that requires an organization to arrange and that takes some

Anyone who want to discuss this further I would certainly welcome.

#5 travel2teach has been a member since 13/6/2011. Posts: 2

Posted by christay2009 on 13/6/2011 at 19:10

When you compare T2T with other companies out there, other pay for volunteering companies, they do stand out as being very competitively priced. True, it is not free/low cost, and there are a variety of less expensive options, but you would have to look at the whole package and weigh up what was right for you.

One thing that makes me wary of T2T is the length of the orientation/induction. If, as per your site, you accept volunteers with no experience/qualifications in teaching, would a 2 day orientation (which is not just about teaching) enable a volunteer to make a 'worthwhile contribution'? Would they know what they were doing or how to do it? Do your staff offer on-going support on the teaching side?

If you compare T2T to, say, GVI (in particular, teaching in Laos) I believe they provide a full week of orientation which includes teaching and an introduction to the location. One of their Thailand options also involves the volunteer being an 'assistant' rather than the teacher which might help with the issue above. However, GVI programs also seems considerably more expensive.

Thanks for posting, although, I think this will be of limited help to the OP as their message was months ago! :) Look forward to reading more on this issue/post anyway.

#6 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414
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Posted by travel2teach on 17/6/2011 at 13:07

I think your question is valid. However, we know that we can not make teachers of people in one, two, three days or even a week.

So we have a different definiton of the roles of the volunteers. The teacher should stay in the classroom and run the class in usual manner. The volunteeers role is to provide spoken English and conversation.

Our coordinators goes along every day to help out with translations and dicipline. They can not be in all classrooms all the time but they help out as much as possible.

We are also working to develop an online material that we can send volunteers and that will prepare them for the situations they will encounter.

#7 travel2teach has been a member since 13/6/2011. Posts: 2

Posted by christay2009 on 17/6/2011 at 17:21

That makes sense. It is interesting though, as I have not really been given the impression that this is how it works when looking on your website (and others). Maybe that is just me. Overall, I think this would make me more likely to apply for a program rather than less.

I completed an online TEFL (inc. weekend course) and found that it has been helpful in that it provides a fairly good overview of some of the challenges you might face. The assessed parts (by a tutor) also get you really thinking about teaching (e.g. lesson planning). Sending volunteers online material beforehand sounds like a great idea, especially if there is some kind of feedback also.

Do your new volunteers teach in pairs initially? I believe someone mentioned that on your volunteer stories section. You mentioned that T2T includes weekends, is there option teaching at this time or excursions etc?

#8 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414
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Posted by khtlc on 23/8/2011 at 12:54

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#9 khtlc has been a member since 23/8/2011. Posts: 1

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