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Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer Abroad as a Teacher

With the new academic year starting next week, Projects Abroad shares the most important motivations to volunteer as a teacher in the developing world

A Projects Abroad volunteer teacher leads an English class at a school in Senegal

A Projects Abroad volunteer teacher leads an English class at a school in Senegal

NEW YORK – August 31, 2016 – Next week, hundreds of thousands of North American students and teachers are returning to school for the new academic year. For international volunteer organization Projects Abroad, staff and volunteers are also gearing up for the start of school in underdeveloped areas around the world. Teaching Projects are vital for development and uplifting communities, and volunteers are needed urgently to fill the gaps and raise literacy levels.

Here are the top five reasons to get involved at a Teaching Project in a developing country:

Make a tangible difference in underprivileged schools
Many of the schools that Projects Abroad is partnered with are located in severely disadvantaged areas. These schools lack resources and the majority of students have never had the chance to interact with a native English speaker. There are endless ways that volunteers can have a significant impact, from giving individual attention to students that are being left behind in overcrowded classes, to introducing educational games and creating engaging materials that make learning more fun. Some volunteers also go the extra mile and run afterschool programs such as English clubs to give children a safe space to learn and have fun in the afternoons.

Your impact will continue after you have left
One of the most important aspects of the Teaching Project is the help given to local teachers. Volunteers spend a lot of time at their projects helping their colleagues improve their English fluency and introducing new ideas and techniques for English education into the classroom. By helping local teachers, volunteers are indirectly influencing the futures of thousands of children – as well as contributing to sustainable development! Projects Abroad has had excellent results with these types of programs, especially at the Teaching Project in Peru, where the organization runs a specialized training program for Peruvian teachers from January to March each year.

Gain practical experience in the classroom
At each project, volunteers spend several hours in the classroom each day, assisting with or leading English classes, as well as teaching other subjects like music, art, or drama if they are up to the challenge. The experience of being in an actual classroom setting and working alongside qualified teachers is an invaluable one, especially for volunteers interested in pursuing careers in teaching or ESL. For university students, an international volunteer program can also potentially be used for academic credit. A previous Projects Abroad volunteer even used her experience at the Teaching Project in Costa Rica to contribute to research for her graduate study project!

Get support in the classroom when you need it
For Projects Abroad, giving volunteer teachers the support they need is a vital part of the program. Each volunteer has access to a database of lesson plans and classroom management techniques and experienced Projects Abroad staff are always on hand to give advice when needed. In addition, the organization holds regular workshops specifically for Teaching Projects where volunteers can ask questions and discuss what they can do to improve themselves as teachers. This is extremely helpful for teachers of all levels and volunteers find it especially useful to talk to each other about their classes and exchange ideas.

Build on the work of other volunteers, lay the foundation for the future
At a Teaching Project, volunteers join throughout the year and commit for however long they can. Even if you are only able to spare a short period of time, you can be confident that you are continuing the work of previous volunteers or laying the foundations for the volunteers that come after you. If you choose to volunteer at a time when the school is on a break, Projects Abroad organizes vacation classes and camps that you can teach.

Projects Abroad offers Teaching Projects in more than 30 countries across the developing world in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific. Volunteers can choose from various types of programs aside from teaching English, such as teaching French, IT, or Physical Education. For more information on how to get involved with international teaching programs, please visit

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 30 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at

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