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Gap Year Teaching Abroad Volunteer Projects

Is this the right type of Gap year program for me?

If you are a creative and proactive individual who enjoys working with children, then a teaching project is definitely an option for you!

It is likely you will be teaching large classes of primary or secondary school pupils, sometimes with just a piece of chalk, a blackboard and yourself as your only resources.

Most programmes don’t require you to have any formal teaching qualifications such as TEFL and TESOL, or even knowledge of the local language of where you are going (though it probably helps!).

All that is required is a good standard of spoken and written English, determination and a positive attitude.

However, if you’re interested in gaining a qualification at the same time, some agencies offer TEFL courses with a guaranteed placement abroad following completion.

This is a great option if you wish to travel, experience a new culture and get some teaching experience under your belt. It will also look good on your CV to employers if you are considering going into teaching as a career.

What will I do during my Gap year Teaching program?

This depends to a certain extent on exactly which teaching project you choose to volunteer for and where it is. However, most projects will require you to aid with several or more of the following:

  • Teaching core subjects, i.e. English and Maths
  • Teaching other academic subjects, e.g. Biology, Geography
  • Helping with extra-curricular activities such as additional academic lessons, sex education, conservation clubs and sports sessions
  • Planning lessons and marking pupils' work

There are likely to be other duties involved that vary between different projects, so check the details on each individual project webpage or contact the Gap year company for more specific details of what you’ll be up to.

How long can I volunteer for?

For most projects, you can volunteer for as little as 2 weeks, or up to 12 weeks. Some projects will allow you to teach for longer than 12 weeks at extra expense.

The length of time you spend volunteering may be determined by your budget, or if you have other Gap year plans you wish to fit around it, such as retaking A levels or travelling.

Either way, it’s entirely your decision.

How much does it cost?

This depends on how long you wish to volunteer for, where you go and which Gap year agency you choose your project with.

You can expect to pay anything between £500 and £1000 for a 2 week period and up to £2,400 for a 12 week stay.

Some teaching projects require that you stay for a minimum of 4 weeks, so check the agency price lists carefully.

Some projects allow you stay longer than 12 weeks if you wish, on an additional cost-per-week basis (usually £150 to £300).

It’s a good idea to look at different companies that offer the same or similar project you would like to do, and compare prices in case one happens to fall within your budget.

However, whichever one you decide on, it is important to check what the cost includes.

Beware that fees for most projects will not include flights, visas, travel insurance, food and any extra activities or excursions during the program.

So work out how much more money this will be on top of the project fee before booking a placement, because if it turns out to be more than you’ve budgeted, then you could lose your deposit if you have to pull out.

Check out our Gap Year Guide for more help on deciding which Gap year agency to use.

Where can I volunteer to do Teaching?

Due to the large number of Gap year companies now in operation, there are opportunities for taking part in teaching projects all over the world.

Although most are run in developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America where they will be more beneficial to the local people, there are still volunteer placements to be found in Europe and North America.