Being a Volunteer Teacher Abroad: What You Need to Consider First


The world always needs kind and dedicated people. And thankfully, there are many of them – a lot have been building charities and nonprofits while others are dedicating their time to meaningful causes and activities. Their devotion to efforts that can change the world is truly inspiring that you yourself have been moved to the same.

You can help make the world in your own little ways. And one of them is being a volunteer teacher. You may choose to become a volunteer in your local daycare center, but if you want to help more underprivileged children, taking part in global efforts may be a great option. After all, other parts of the world have no good access to quality education.

It would be best if you remembered, though, that being a volunteer teacher abroad can be full of challenges. You will find yourself adjusting to many things, especially that country’s culture. Nevertheless, there are some ways to get around these things. Below are some of the pointers you may want to keep in mind:

Study the culture

Before you fly to the country where you will be volunteering, it would be wise to study their culture first. Read up on their traditions and nuances; there should be no excuse, as the Internet has a lot of materials, such as articles and videos, that will explain the customs of the country you will be visiting. This is an integral part of your volunteering effort, as it will help you avoid certain actions, things, and thoughts that may offend the students, the parents, and the locals in general.

Extend your patience

It is a wrong move to assume that things will easily flow from the start. So expect that things may get challenging and frustrating at times. For example, the students’ accent may make it hard for you to understand what they are saying. You will need to prepare for the fact that lessons may take longer than the usual. And because you are likely to teach kids, understand that a lot of them can be rowdy and loud. It would be best if you dealt with all these gracefully, and you can do so by being extra patient. Do not lose your temper, as it will give you a bad rap, especially that you are a foreigner.

Be aware of word usage

teacher writing on a blackboard

Words take on different meanings in different countries. What you may deem normal may actually sound absurd to the students and locals in your destination. As such, you need to be extra careful with how you use your words. You can consult online references, such as dictionaries, to know how words in the country you’re assigned are used. This is also important in countries that use a lot of honorifics, such as South Korea. More than that, you need to learn the value of using neutral language. While you are at it, it’s best if you avoid sensitive and divisive topics when tackling lessons. These include religion and politics.

Always use visual aids

If you are teaching in a country where English is difficult for many students, you may want to turn to other techniques or methods. Someone may find it hard to understand when you talk about a “house” or a “dog.” To overcome such obstacles, you may use visual aids. They can be flashcards or images that you can show via presentation slides.

Teach well!

Being a volunteer teacher may be challenging, but it can also be fulfilling, especially if you put your heart to it. If you want to be a better volunteer teacher, you need to always take into account the needs of your students. That way, you will find it much easier to relate to them.

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