Text page

Volunteering in Asia

Volunteering in Asia forum

Volunteer in an English language school in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Posted by vietnamobsessed on 19/1/2010 at 19:42

Hi, when I was in Siem Reap I met a really lovely group of Cambodian teachers who are trying to run an English language school whilst holding down other jobs. We did an evening teaching (that was all we had time for) and had a real laugh. The teachers are all under 25 and would appreciate help from tourists passing through the area, even if it is only one evening, so I said I would spread the word. The school is called Norwest School and its easily reached by tuk tuk from the main hostel area in Siem Reap. One of the teachers is also a guide, and can be contacted through his website http://vuthyguide.com/

I really would recommend it. The school has a lovely atmosphere and I think they are in the process of expanding to younger and younger children. We even got a traditional Khmer dance lesson after class was over!

#1 vietnamobsessed has been a member since 19/1/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by KazAussie on 20/1/2010 at 14:30

Another really unique experience is teaching english in a small village outside Battambang. The school is a ngo run by Sun Saveth. We had a fantastic time there for three days over Christmas 2009.

We stayed in the homestay nearby ($7) and opted for the very expensive (:-)) meals option $3 per day. At the homestay you have your own room in quite a large house. No air-con, but the fans do the trick. Only cold water for showers but again, the weather was pretty warm even in December so this didn't worry us too much.

The food was great... in the morning Saveth took us to the markets for breakfast... yummy rice pancakes were my favourite. Lunch and dinner is cooked by Saveth's wife and eaten with the family and any other volunteers that are there. Fantastic being part of their household.

Of course it was the children at the school that stole our hearts. Eager to learn, cheerful and inquisitive. You teach for about two hours per day, but if you are up for it there is also a reading group where you listen to the kids reading from English language books for a couple of hours a day.

I had no previous teaching experience so the first day was a bit daunting but you soon learn to go with the flow and invent games and other teaching tools.

They are valiently trying to get a bit more structure around the curriculum with the help of a couple of volunteers who also happened to be there when we were... Kat and Trevor are both from Brissie, Kat is an Early Childhood teacher and Trevor is doing a lot of work on the business side of things.

So if you want a really unique Cambodian experience check our kngo-home.org.

The three days we spent there were really a highlight on our month long trip in Vietnam and Cambodia.

#2 KazAussie has been a member since 18/7/2009. Posts: 221

Posted by JessandScott on 21/1/2010 at 11:47

Thanks guys, my husb and I are planning on going back to Siem Reap and want to volunteer but so far had only found places that required a longer commitment (which we don't have time for, unfortunately). I have my TESOL cert and would love to finally use it!

I'd hope that both places ask volunteers to bring working with kids clearances from their own country?

#3 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34

Posted by KazAussie on 21/1/2010 at 13:18

In the case of KNGO they didn't ask for the working with kids clearances, in fact I am not sure if Saveth had heard of it. That said the kids are quite safe as the volunteers are not left alone with them. There is a Khmer teacher in the room and Saveth and his wife are at the reading club.

I will send him a link to this thread and suggest he check it out.



#4 KazAussie has been a member since 18/7/2009. Posts: 221

Posted by JessandScott on 21/1/2010 at 13:51

Hi Kaz

That's good news (that the teacher is always with the volunteers) and sorry if I sounded sanctimonious... I just worry that these communities and projects are vulnerable to predators, etc. I know a couple of other charities/organisations/ projects do use the working with kids check... but even they are only helpful to a point! And I realise that resources are often limited...

I checked out the website and it definitely looks like a worthwhile project!

#5 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34

Posted by JessandScott on 21/1/2010 at 13:52

As in, charities in Cambodia and Thailand.

#6 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34

Posted by vietnamobsessed on 21/1/2010 at 21:08

Hey, Norwest school in Siem Reap didn't ask for clearance either, but same as above there was always a teacher in the lesson with us.

#7 vietnamobsessed has been a member since 19/1/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by DuncanStuart on 9/2/2010 at 06:47

Jessand Scott - there are many volunteer teaching opportunities to check out. Norwest sounds like a goodie. I work with Savong School (www.savong.com) and can recommend that, but so too have heard many, many good things about these three also:
• SOCPLSDO (terribly long acronym, but good school) quite near Savong’s. http://www.cambodianorphanage.org.uk/about_SOCPLSDO.htm
• SHCC which is in a rural district also near Siem Reap. http://www.shcccambodia.org/
• Ponheary Ly Foundation. http://theplf.org/index.php They have terrific strategies to overcome local barriers to schooling.

In terms of child safety, Savong is these days asking for a copy of your passport, and volunteers are accompanied by local teachers.

#8 DuncanStuart has been a member since 22/9/2009. Posts: 32

Please login to add your reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a post to the forum. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.