The beautiful ancient city of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated in
northern central Laos. Teach English in this idyllic setting, at the meeting of the Nam Khan
and Mekong rivers, famous for its Buddhist temples and monasteries.
In addition to spiritual and traditional beliefs, many males from rural villages commonly travel to cities such as Luang Prabang to seek out food, shelter, education and employment
opportunities by joining the temples and becoming Novice Monks. This program seeks to increase students’ access to education which in turn can positively impact their future employment opportunities, socio-economic status and quality of life.
Having the rare opportunity to work closely with Novice Monks and local lay students, both children and young adults, at various educational institutions in Luang Prabang; learning about Lao culture, history, food, religion and language; visiting local sights or being able to enjoy a weekend break on the banks of the Mekong River.
You will work with a wide variety of students, both Novice Monk and Lay students of varying ages, teaching both practical and conversational English across different levels.
You will work on the project Monday to Friday, planning and delivering English lessons. Weekends are yours to explore the surrounding area or simply relax at base with your fellow volunteers. This challenging but rewarding role will provide volunteers with a unique insight into Buddhism and Lao culture, while giving them a chance to make a tangible difference to the lives of their students and the local community.
Accommodation is in a centrally located guesthouse with electricity and shared rooms and bathrooms. You will enjoy daily communal meals with your fellow volunteers.
As Laos’s tourism industry has begun to expand and diversify, the demand and need for English education is rapidly increasing. Working directly with the community, you will plan lessons and teach English in a variety of settings with a teaching partner and assist local teachers with their English lessons; fostering an exchange in teaching methods and techniques. Our Program partner in Laos collaborates with 2 temple schools to provide English programs for Novice Monks. In addition, we also provide several English classes for Novice Monks at a local English Centre. Volunteers will teach Novice Monks at at least one of these locations, while also contributing to the broader project, teaching local lay students, both children and young adults.
How this Project Makes a Difference
The main focus in Laos is education as a tool for individual and community development. Educational opportunities and socio-economic status are closely related in Laos. Economic disadvantage and deep-rooted cultural values restrict access to education. This is only magnified for those living in rural areas; for Laos, this equates to three quarters of the population. Our three programs target disadvantaged social groups: children and young adults, Novice Monks and girls and women. We aim to help to increase these students’ access to education. By doing so, our program partner in Laos works to empower our students to increase their future employment opportunities, positively impact their socio-economic status and improve the quality of life of themselves, their families and communities while meaningfully contributing to the development of Laos as a whole.
*During traditional festivals and holiday periods volunteers will have the opportunity to join in community celebrations and cultural activities.
Laos short, mid, and long-term objectives
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Laos:
1. To develop relationships with educational institutions and temples with the aim of increasing their ability to provide educational opportunities
2. To improve quality of education in Laos for students taught by our program partner.
3.To provide educational opportunities to all students in the local community, regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity and gender
4. Improving the health and wellbeing of the Lao community
5. Improving employment opportunities and socioeconomic status of community members.
6. Reduce Carbon Footprint
Our partner program in Laos collaborates with temple schools to provide English programs for Novice Monks (these do not run all year round. They are like any other school that has holidays and breaks).
In addition, we also provide several English classes for Novice Monks at other local partner institutions. Volunteers will teach Novice Monks at at least one of these locations, while also contributing to the broader project, teaching local lay students, both children and young adults at English centres in Luang Prabang.
Volunteering with JCR not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with our program partner. Our Luang Prabang field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Laos!
Optional Side Trips
On your weekends or while off project, the following short trips are popular with our volunteers and should definitely be checked out! Swim in the crystal clear water of the Kuang Si waterfall, enjoy the cascades and walk to the top of the falls to enjoy the beautiful view of the course of the water below. There is also a protected bear camp at the falls that is well worth a visit; take a ride on the Mekong River to visit the historical Pak Ou Caves that hold thousands of Buddha images. Visit the “Jar Maker” and weaving villages on your way back to watch the weavers at work; a short ride out of town, you can kayak on the Nam Khan River, discovering village life, beautiful countryside and lush green mountains along the way; visiting the Royal Palace Museum and the beautiful temples of Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Mai; discover the Tad Sae waterfall, a multi-level limestone formation that creates numerous cascading pools; cycle through the Luang Prabang valley and experience the daily life of the local people, passing temple ruins and handicraft villages.
Further Travelling Opportunities
If you have the time and budget, there are a number of opportunities for exploring Laos further. These could include visiting the World Heritage-listed ancient temple of Wat Phu Champasak, the nature reserve of Nam Ha Npa, the dramatic Mekong River, the travellers’ adventure hotspot of Vang Vieng, and many more. Even further afield, the likes of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all border Laos and are a travellers dream with an endless list of possibilities and activities. You’ll be left wondering why you didn’t stay for longer!
You will be based a short walk from the centre of Luang Prabang and working at the temple or other learning facilities located in town. Travelling around the local area is easy and is best done by foot or bike. Bicycles are available locally for rent or sale but are up to you to arrange.
In your down time you will be free to travel in the local area and can expect weekends off. In this time you could visit nearby caves, local handicraft villages, waterfalls, or go for boat rides on the Mekong River. Tour companies are plentiful in Luang Prabang and weekend trips are easy to arrange in country. Program staff can point you towards reliable companies.
Before and after your program you could explore Laos culture and countryside. Visit the modern day capital of Vientiane, or go tubing and trekking in Vang Vieng. The possibilities are endless!
2 – 12 weeks
LALP0120P Laos Teach English
2 WEEKS $1,895
3 WEEKS $2,155
4 WEEKS $2,415
6 WEEKS $2,935
At JCR we have successfully been organising and sending young Australians on overseas placements for over 15 years. We think JCR has some great programs and we sincerely believe that cultural travel is a wonderful experience, an amazing learning curve and can help to positively prepare you for life’s rewards and challenges.
JCR have one goal and that is to make your volunteer experience the most amazing it can be. We work together to ensure that you are matched with the right program, we discuss your options and answer any questions you may have.
It is the reason JCR Volunteer overseas was created: to create lasting memories from amazing cultural exchanges.
Learn more about this volunteer program