Teaching English to Thai buddhist monks

Non-profit
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founded in 3
Sergio
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Coordinator | Sergio
Coordinator | Sergio
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Help young buddhist monks learn valuable life skills by teaching them English
Get a unique perspective of Thai culture by experiencing directly the life at monasteries
Connect more with your spiritual side by participating in buddhist practices in the monasteries
Discover and put into practice a passion for education
Visit and get to know Thailand's rich cultural heritage and beautiful landscapes
Get to know Buddhist monasteries first hand by helping monastery schools in teaching English. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups

As a volunteer, you'll gain access to the completely different world that are schools or universities in Thai temples. In these educational institutions, day starts very early: students arrive at around 7:30 to school, where they receive some morning announcements and proceed to meditate until 8:30 when classes start. Students also pray and meditate at lunchtime. Being able to participate in these practices, reciting mantras with students, celebrating festivals, and getting to know traditions as a guest of the monastic community will surely prove to be a uniquely enriching experience. 

Volunteers' experiences will vary depending on whether they collaborate at a school or a university:

Firstly, at schools, volunteers shall be assigned their tasks depending on their abilities. If the volunteer feels capable enough and has the required confidence to teach and manage a class, they could directly teach it themselves; otherwise, the volunteer shall be assigned a Thai teacher, who the volunteer shall support through daily classes and tasks. 

Being able to speak English in Thailand is a very sought-after and important skill that can really change the lives of the students that are able to learn it. Through your help, you will help your students build strong connections in their lives. 

At most of these schools, every single student and faculty member is a Buddhist monk. Students are between 12 and 15 years old, and usually have had little to none interaction with foreigners. Volunteers are very welcome to join students and faculty during lunch so that they can get acquainted better.

We ask volunteers to prepare and plan every lesson before giving them. When planning, we suggest volunteers to try cover the four main skills in English (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) within one hour period of a class.

At the university, the environment is quite different: there are usually around two hundred students; most students are aged between 18 and 22; students are not exclusively Thai, but also from many other nationalities like Laos, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and India (it's an international institution focused on higher education for Buddhist monks). 

The university our volunteers collaborate with is located at one of Chiang Mai's most historic and well-known temples. Every volunteer will be supervised by highly qualified and bilingual staff members working at the university's English department. 

Volunteers may expect to assist English teachers with scheduled lessons, and also support students outside the classroom informally to practise topics like pronunciation, writing, grammar, conversation, and other tasks or studies. Sometimes, Thai teachers will also ask volunteers for support in the preparation and qualification of their class. These responsibilities will be assigned based on the relationship the volunteer and the teacher may have. 

Some religious considerations to keep in mind:

Firstly, remember that things or people that follow religious rules cannot sing, dance, play active sports or games, or clap. Buddhist monk students may play simple games, as long as these are not too physically active. Additionally, Buddhist monks may act; art programs are usually very popular among students at these education centers, as students really like using art as a means of expression. We encourage our volunteers to bring artistic projects or ideas to class, as long as these are withing Buddhist regulation.

Secondly, volunteers must wear adequate clothing. This means that volunteers must not wear clothes that are too tight or too bare. Also, volunteers will be required to wear long skirts for the projects at the university (volunteers may wear non-fitted pants for the projects at  schools), wear shirts that cover their shoulders and breasts, and to remove/cover piercings and tattoos.

Thirdly, smoking and drinking is prohibited both in educational centers and accommodation.

Lastly, be aware that not all monks can touch or be touched by a woman. Furthermore, women may not directly deliver something to a Buddhist monk; they must first place the object on a secondary object like a chair or a table (never the floor).

Every week a Buddhist day is selected, in which the university will be closed. When this day is a weekday, volunteers may make up for that day on that week's Saturday. The university is closed on Sundays, Thai holidays, and Buddhist holidays.

Typical day

Classes at the Buddhist temples follow these schedules:

At schools:

8:00 Morning announcements, assembly, and prayers

8:30 School day starts, first class of the day begins

11.10 Lunch time 

12:10 Assembly and prayers

12:40 Continue with classes
16:20 End of schoolday

At the university:
 Volunteers will support in temple schools for beginners in the mornings, because volunteers at the university have a rather light schedule. At the morning, university students remain in Buddhist temples to practise rituals, prayers, and meditation. After lunch, volunteers will join the university and collaborate until 16:30 when classes end. 


Volunteers are encouraged to join students, teachers, and staff in prayer and meditation. If volunteers don't want to participate, we only as for them to be respectful of these religious activities.

Free-time activities

You will be volunteering in the beautiful, northern Thai city of Chiang Mai. A complete contrast to Thailand's capital Bangkok, Chiang Mai is a smaller city with a huge connection to the environment, as it provides direct access to the nearby beautiful forest mountains that are a hotspot for adventurers and lovers of nature alike. In addition to that, Chiang Mai also has very intriguing traditionally Thai sites such as its well-known open air markets, its historic center filled with centuries old temples, or the Buddhist temples near the city. 

Furthermore, Chiang Mai could offer you excursions and trekking on mountains and rice fields, beautiful handicrafts at its markets, night safaris, a bustling nightlife you can enjoy with other volunteers at the Zoe Yellow area, among other things.

During your stay, you could also visit some of the other beautiful places in Thailand, such as its beaches or historical sites like Ayutthaya.

Swimming
Sightseeing
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Climbing
Safari/
Zoo
Hiking
Yoga/
Meditation

Require­ments

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
required
Education Requirements
at High school level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
We expect volunteers to have a desire to teach, and to be respectful of local customs and beliefs.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Adventure Volunteer

Your payment covers:

+Airport pickup and transfer to the volunteer’s home
+Accommodation during your volunteering
+Breakfast every day during your volunteering period
+24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
+Monitoring and evaluation of the programme
+Orientation and induction to the program
+Certificate of hours done in your volunteering
+Accident insurance during your volunteering
+Civil liability for your activity
+Receipt from NGO about your program fee
+Guidance, advice and management in the choice of programme
+Volunteer T-Shirt

Airport Pickup at Chiang Mai International Airport
Volunteers will be picked up at the airport at between 8:30 and 20:00. If the volunteer arrives outside of these hours, they will have to be picked up on the next day.
Accommodation

Volunteers shall be staying at guesthouses with other volunteers, where they'll have access to common areas such as a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom they'll share with other volunteers. 

Guesthouse
Food & Beverages

Only breakfast is included in your paid fees. It will be provided to you every day.

Internet Access
Sorry, no 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 Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) in Chiang Mai. We assist you to find cheap flights to Thailand.
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 Thailand provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Thailand you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Thailand.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

The project is open all year long as per the Thai school period. It may be closed during holidays. Volunteers are encouraged to arrive on a Friday as this allows them to be more easily integrated into the project. 
Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
4 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
$1,344
5 weeks
$1,536
6 weeks
$1,728
7 weeks
$1,920
12 weeks (max. stay)
$2,880
Average fees
$288 /week

The organization charges its fees in EUR. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Adventure Volunteer 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 Adventure Volunteer 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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Teaching English to Thai buddhist monks

Get to know Buddhist monasteries first hand by helping monastery schools in teaching English.

$240/week

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