At ABOUTAsia Schools we believe in responsible volunteering. We know that to volunteer in a place like Siem Reap is an amazing chance for committed individuals
to really make a difference and have the experience of a lifetime. We also recognise our responsibility to ensure a quality service for the schools and children we support.
The aim of our programme is not simply to replace local teachers with "free", untrained volunteers who know nothing of the Cambodian culture or how to be effective in the classroom here.
We feel strongly that, in order for their efforts to be justified, volunteers mustseek to provide the highest calibre of educational opportunities and need to be trained accordingly.
Through proper training, not only will the children make real and lasting progress, but volunteers will be able to feel part of something that is genuinely advancing educational opportunities
and outcomes here in Cambodia.
To this end, from May 2013, ABOUTAsia Schools is excited to announce that all volunteers will be enrolled on a 4-day initial training, orientation and activity
course prior to starting their projects. This professionally developed course will be specific to teaching in a limited resource environment, and, crucially, will be specific to the Cambodian context.
A brief outline of sessions to be covered can be found below:
- Cultural introduction: Understanding Cambodia, its people, and the education system
- Introduction to teaching English as a foreign language: task setting, giving clear instructions etc.
- Classroom management: behaviour and effective use of learning space
- Promoting engagement and interactive learning: activity design, useful tips and resources
- Measuring progress: Effective assessment, monitoring and feedback (AFL)
- Micro teaching: chance to practice delivery and share ideas/ resources with fellow volunteers
In addition to this, we will offer volunteers the chance to experience some of the awe-inspiring sights of the Angkor Kingdom with an excursion package provided through our sponsor ABOUTAsia Travel.
For more information about the placements we have on offer and their start dates, please check our available opportunities page before applying.
Details of accommodation and transport costs are set out in our accommodation pages, and in more detail in our volunteer handbook (large file!).
Benefits and Costs
ABOUTAsia doesn't believe that people sharing their time and experience should be charged any sort of "admin fee" from organisations for their volunteering. For the past 6 years we have kept our volunteering programme 100% free.
Our Commitment to You:
With the introduction of the 4-day training package, we have reached the conclusion that it would be almost neglectful of us not to ask volunteers for a very small fee of $200 in return for the professional training opportunity they will be gaining. This is still such a comparatively small amount when you consider other volunteering organisations (most of whom provide little or no training) and is guaranteed to go 100% to financing the development of our English Teaching Programme, training and employing local Cambodian teachers to run free English classes in rural Primary Schools.
This way, not only will your volunteering make a short term difference to the lives of the students you meet, but will also help provide jobs for local teachers and make a sustainable impact on the access to quality teaching for children here for years to come.
When you volunteer through ABOUTAsia Schools, we will ensure the following:
We will meet you from the airport on arrival and provide free transport to your accommodation.
You will attend a 4-day training, orientation and activity course to help you get to know the town and other volunteers and fully equip you for the demands of your placement (This will include some fantastic excursions courtesy of ABOUTAsia Travel).
Qualified Teachers and experienced Educational Consultants within the team are here to offer you advice or coaching, as needed, in relation to any aspect of your teaching with which you would like support throughout your placement.
On your first day we will arrange transport to your placement, introduce you to the school's teachers, staff and outgoing volunteers, and ensure you are fully equipped to start your teaching.
We will provide a certificate of attendance for your 4-days training detailing the topics covered and comprehensive nature of the course.
On completion of your volunteering we will provide a letter of recommendation giving details of the commitment and service you have given to Cambodian schools and youth.
We do not provide medical assistance or cover. However, we are contactable 24 hours in the case of emergencies, and will of course provide assistance and advice with regard to illness, doctors and medical facilities, emergency transport, or any other related issues, and assist in any way we can. As stated in our terms and conditions, we are not liable for any health issues on the part of the volunteer, and any emergency medical costs must be covered by the volunteer.
At some, rural placements we provide accommodation and basic facilities for volunteers - see our accommodation page for more information.
We run social gatherings, to get volunteers together and ensure they are able to make the most of all the wonderful attractions Siem Reap has to offer on a weekly basis.
Volunteers are strongly urged to obtain HEALTH INSURANCE and LIABILITY INSURANCE to cover their intended stay with ABOUTAsia Schools. You must have read and signed the ABOUTAsia Schools liability waiver before you can volunteer with us.
All flights, transport and Visas (can be easily obtained on arrival) must be organized by the volunteer.
The volunteer is responsible for the cost of their own food, accommodation and transport to and from the project whilst volunteering with us.
If staying in the rural villages, you must provide a photocopy of your passport and Visa (as proof of right to entry, and also to cover any emergencies).
We ask that volunteers maintain regular contact via email or phone prior to their arrival and make us aware of any changes to plans, especially cancellations, as soon as they are known.
The $200 training programme fee is to be paid in advance as means of a deposit to secure your place on the programme. We are sorry if this causes any inconvenience, but we have found a deposit scheme to be vital to be certain that volunteers are serious about their commitment and to ensure that no schools are let down.
We are absolutely certain that volunteering in Cambodia will be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences you will have. However, you must be aware that Cambodia is a developing country, and so procedures, etiquette, culture, customs, ideas and teaching methods might sometimes seem strange or unusual, even frustrating, compared to what you are accustomed to. Once here, we simply ask that volunteers maintain cultural sensitivity, patience and open mindedness with regard to these or any other issues (for more advice on Safety Information see this page), and there should be no problems.
Above all we ask that volunteers enjoy themselves, work hard, and reap the rewards that will be gained from having given a great deal of help to the children of Cambodia. And for this, we couldn't be more appreciative.