English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher

founded in 2004
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Coordinator | Volunteer Coordinator
Coordinator | Volunteer Coordinator
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Teach your own classes! The Education Programme has classes from kindergarten age up to adults so you will experience a range of teaching styles whilst learning to develop and adapt your own.
Experience a new culture! Whilst volunteering on the Education Programme you will live in rural Sumatra and experience the diverse cultures and traditions native to Bukit Lawang!
Work with a truly international team! The team here at Bukit Lawang come from all around the world so you will meet a whole range exciting, passionate and driven educators from across the globe!
Explore the Sumatran Jungle! Included in your placement is a 2 day expedition into the Tropical Rainforest, white water tubing and a whole range of cultural workshops!
Make and Impact! Every volunteer that joins our programmes leaves behind a lasting and sustainable legacy with both the trust and the community whilst also joining our dedicated alumni team!
Support the facilitation and delivery of free Kindergarten classes and English language classes to local students in rural communities across North Sumatra. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

The Bukit Lawang Trust is a Non Government Organisation based in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra. The trust building is a community centre which provides free education to people of all ages from both the local community and farther afield in Sumatra. Through the Education Programme we deliver English Language education to students between the ages of 4 and adult.

The programme aims to enhance the English education in the local community to help them to engage in further education, travel more easily and to develop their tourism businesses by being able to interact with people from around the world. 

 - Kindergarten Classes: Part of the education programme is the facilitation and delivery of two Kindergarten classes.  These classes are delivered in keeping with the national curriculum of Indonesia and run by four permanent staff teachers here at the school. For two days a week volunteers on the Education Programme will teach these classes. 

 - Other English Classes: Our staff and volunteers deliver English language tuition to over 300 students from 10 different local communities. These classes are planned and delivered by volunteers on the Education Programme under the supervision of the Programme Manager for Education.

Volunteers will work with local teachers, staff, and volunteers on different programs. You will be provided with everything you need to plan, develop and facilitate your classes to the best of your ability, however if you want to bring your own teaching aids this is always welcome! 

As a volunteer on the Education programme you can expect to live in an incredibly beautiful area, right on the edge of the Leuser ecosystem and in the heart of a dynamic and fun filled community centre in Bukit Lawang! Outside of the classroom there are action days and events to plan and organise as well as graduation ceremonies for students! When you are not working, the village of Bukit Lawang has an excellent night life and there are many guest houses and jungle trek providers in the local area for those weekend get aways!

Typical day

A typical day starts at 07:00 with breakfast. On Mondays we have a Hub meeting where all of the staff and volunteers come together to plan the week ahead. Following this, you will begin your sessions. The Youth Ranger Programme and ESL Programme have one or more lessons each day although some days teaching is only in the afternoons. When you are not planning or teaching classes you can join the free fitness sessions here at the Trust or take on your own projects doing renovations or other community work here at The Hub. We also send out volunteers to help out at the local Trashbank, turning plastic into new products and supporting the efforts of rubbish processing and collection.   Weekends are your own, however occasionally, for example on events such as volunteer induction, phase review and volunteer debrief, you may also find that the Trust has arranged some incredible activities for you. On weekends when you are not trekking in the jungle or rafting down rivers you will have a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Sumatran culture and cuisine, with a range of guest houses, restaurants and even one bar Bukit Lawang has plenty to offer! 

Free-time activities

You can go trekking from Bukit Lawang to Gunung Leuser National Park and see the famous Sumatran Orangutan. Most volunteers do a two day one night trek and usually are fortunate enough to see Orangutans.

In Bukit Lawang there is a river which runs through the village that people often go swimming in or relax and have a coffee or beer on the river.

There are multiple bars and guest houses with extremely friendly locals and live music on most nights.

Our volunteers often read, and relax on the hammock, go for walks, visit newly made friends in town, blog, study Indonesian, rent a bike and go for a ride in the countryside!  Other places that may be of interest are below:

At the weekend there are innumerable places located nearby that are a must see!

 Batu Katak - A quiet place on the river and near waterfalls. 

 Batu Rongring - Beautiful for trekking.

 Berestagi - For long weekends or traveling before or after volunteers can visit this lovely town in the mountains and go trekking. It is a bit colder here and that makes it a popular place among locals and tourists!

 Lake Toba - A beautiful island (Samosir) in the middle of the lake is home to waterfalls, hot springs, beaches, and more.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Criminal Background Check
Education Requirements
English, Art, Conservation at High School level
Required Documents
CV and Letter of Interest
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Experience working with children, Some experience of teaching or instructing, TEFL and CELTA are preferable however we do value experience highly here at the trust!

Some experience living abroad is ideal however not necessary, willing to work alone and able to keep busy on own initiative.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 18:00

What's Included

Services by Bukit Lawang Trust

We ask all of our volunteers to fundraise before coming out to Sumatra a minimum of £1000 GBP for the 8 weeks. Alternatively, some people choose to just pay this fee if they have no time to fundraise beforehand. We ask for a non-refundable deposit of £150 on booking your place in order to reserve your space and to cover registration costs.    In addition to this, you will need to pay for the cost of your volunteer visa, which is £280 and lasts 60 days.  


This fee covers:

·   Accommodation - shared dorm room

·   Lunchtime meals cooked by our hub chef Mon-Fri

·   Transport to and from Medan airport to the Trust.

·   Free Jungle FIIT exercise classes three times per week at the Trust Hub.

·   Our staff will provide all of the training you need to teach our programs, and support you throughout your volunteering journey. 

·   An overnight, 2 day jungle trekking experience with experienced local guides

·   Orientation challenges

·   A workshop with a local business- e.g basket weaving, carving, fabric printing, soap making, cookery

·   A phase review team building weekend

·   Indonesian language lessons by our Indonesian Programme Coordinators

Airport Pickup at Kuala Namu International Airport

The Trust provides transport from the airport to the trust and return transport at the end of the cycle. However if volunteers choose to continue travelling on after the cycle has finished return transport is not included. We are located around four hours from the nearest international airport (Kuala Namu International Airport) In Medan. 

Our volunteers on the Education Programme stay in one of our four dorm rooms within the Trust however there are hammocks on the roof and many volunteers enjoy their weekends in one of the outstanding guesthouses here in Bukit Lawang. The rooms are three beds to a room, spacious with WIFI and lockable doors. Each volunteer is given a key to their dorm, and the front door to the Trust. 
Food & Beverages

Lunch is included in your volunteer fees, and in the evenings we either eat out or we hold cooking nights at the Trust. At the weekends, most volunteers prefer to eat in the village or along the river at one of the guesthouses for dinner.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Kuala Namu International Airport (KNO) in Kuala Namu. We assist you to find cheap flights to Indonesia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Indonesia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Indonesia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonesia.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

In 2023 we have 5 volunteer intakes during the year as follows:


Orangutan Cycle: Friday 6th January - Sunday 5th of March 

Tiger Cycle: Friday 5th of May - Sunday 2nd July 

Elephant Cycle: Friday 7th July - Sunday 3rd September

Leopard Cycle: Friday 8th September - Sunday 5th of November

Rhino Cycle: Friday 10th November - Sunday 17th December


The dates for 2024 are likely to be as follows but may change slightly depending on public holidays and events:

Orangutan Cycle: Friday 12th January - Sunday 10th of March 

Tiger Cycle: Friday 19th of April - Sunday 16th June 

Elephant Cycle: Friday 28th June - Sunday 25th August

Leopard Cycle: Friday 30th August - Sunday 27th October 

Rhino Cycle: Friday 1st November - Sunday 15th December (6 weeks only)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
8 - 8 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
8 weeks (min. stay)
8 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$163 /week

The organization charges its fees in GBP. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Bukit Lawang Trust will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Bukit Lawang Trust during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Flex Option
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Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Bukit Lawang Trust cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Bukit Lawang Trust.

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English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher

Support the facilitation and delivery of free Kindergarten classes and English language classes to local students in rural communities across North Sumatra.


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