Volunteer in Thailand
Frequently Asked Questions
Book your placement with £145. Then £195 once only contribution plus £13.50pw for midweek hotel accommodation. Weekends on pay-as-you-go basis to enable greater flexibility when exploring.
Thailand Specific Questions
Do I need experience?
Not at all. For 9 in 10 volunteers this will be their first time teaching, a full orientation and training is provided on arrival to all volunteers before heading off to your school. In addition all volunteers are provided with complete lesson packs with flashcards you'll use and full easy to use instructions. Example of instruction: "hold this up in front of the class", it's that easy!
Where will I be staying in Thailand?
The volunteer programme's headquarters are in Khao Lak. This is where the senior coordinator and his team's office is and where you will first arrive. After the weekend orientation, volunteers move off to their hotel near their school. Volunteers are placed in pairs The programme focuses on 5 schools in the region within a 40 mile radius of Khao Lak, although extra schools are used in the peak summer periods. At the weekends, all volunteers return together to Khao Lak to meet up, prepare lessons for the week ahead and head to the beaches together around the Phuket area.
Do I need a visa for Thailand?
For stays of up to 30 days no visa is required. Simply enter as a tourist. For longer stays, unfortunately the schools are unable to provide letters of introduction as the school placements cannot be known in advance. The local coordinating team are well known and respected by the local authorities since they started the school volunteer programme following the Tsunami in 2004, so you will not encounter any problems volunteering at the schools on a tourist visa.
Do I have to arrive on a particular date?
The preferred day to arrive is a Friday, preferably during the day, to be rested and ready for the orientation on Saturday. Some volunteers arrive on Thursday to get over their flight and have a day to relax. It is possible to arrive earlier in the week and a transfer from Phuket airport to the hostel in Khao Lak will be organised day of the week.
Will I be placed with my friend/travel Buddy?
Everyone arriving with a friend are met together and placed together in the same accommodation, no one is split up! Because schools generally only take up to 5 volunteers at any one time, large groups of more than 6 volunteers may be divided between two schools but you will still be able to meet up at the weekends.
I am worried about travelling on my own - can I buddy up with someone?
We can help you find someone to travel together - use our Buddy List or pop us a message on the main Facebook Group and we'll add you to our weekly round up of travel buddies.
Will I need any jabs?
Unlike Africa, fewer jabs are needed for a trip to Thailand which is great news! The boosters which are usually advised are Hep A and Tetanus. Malaria tablets are not generally recommended for the area you will be teaching in, although if you are travelling to the border regions or neighbouring countries after volunteering, malaria tablets are essential. For further advice visit your doctor or travel health nurse. (Taken from the nhs website fitfortravel 21/08/13).
Do I need to bring anything for the children?
All lesson materials are provided so there is no need to bring anything extra for your volunteering, although a Thai phrase book may come in handy when chatting in the teachers room with the teachers who do not teach English. Some volunteers have recommended taking a few postcards from home to pass around new friends as an icebreaker.
What clothes do I need for teaching?
Clothes are very important in Thailand, not so much for the visiting backpacker and tourist but when living and working with Thais. It is worth spending a little extra time before travel to make sure you have the right clothes to make your stay more comfortable and not feel the odd one out! You will need outfits for 4 different environments:
(i) Teaching : Smart casual clothes. Best way to get this right is think what a teacher in your country would wear in the summer, so no shorts and flip flops. Get this wrong and the school might not let you in the classroom next week! Thai culture is quite tight on this area like the British will grumble quietly when someone jumps a queue, Thais will avoid face to face conflict with guests. Instead they will call your coordinator who will have to pass the uncomfortable news on to you that you need to move school. On a couple of occasions schools have stopped the English programme completely! So best to over dress at the start to avoid any misunderstandings! If you are staying for a long time you may want to ask if the the school can provide a uniform for you. Thai school teachers usually wear usually a short sleeved polo-shirt with the name of the school embroidered on paired with a skirt or trousers. We recommend two short sleeved blouses, polo shirts and two longer skirts/chinos with sandals ideal. That way you can wash one and wear the other. In the heat clothes will dry quickly overnight. Try to avoid shorts even if they are longer, better to wear clean tidy jeans and a suitable top than have bare legs in the classroom.
(ii) Casual holiday clothes for relaxing at the hotel / in your free time : Take all the usual shorts, strappy vests for your free time.
(iii) Beachwear: If you staying awhile it is recommended to bring more than one set of beachwear as the sun is strong and colours fade and fabric weakens if you spend all your free time at the beaches! You may also want to bring an underwater camera to get some cool shots in the clear water.
(iv) Formal outfit: This is very important. If you are not taking the smartest of outfits for teaching then do pack one smarter outfit for special events at the school. Awards presentations are common and Thais like to dress up formally. They may also like to introduce their volunteer teachers to visiting parents and local dignitaries. It can be embarressing to be in shorts and flip flops in front of a famous (in Thailand anyway) government minister wearing a suit! A summerweight jacket or cardigan which can be thrown over your normal teaching clothes might be enough, anything which makes it look like you have made a bit of an effort for the occasion. Female volunteers might simply use a longer length sun dress they also use at the weekend. For male volunteers a plain clean shirt, chinos and shoes should suffice.
How can I keep in touch with home?
The weekend hostel in Khao Lak has the full range of services for volunteers. Where internet access not available at your school hotel, most schools offer volunteers an hour or so to use the net each day.
Contact us for specific questions