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Teaching Volunteer Program in India - Kerala

Teaching Volunteer Program in India - Kerala

Ready to be a volunteer Teacher in India - Kerala? International Volunteer HQ’s Teaching project enables volunteers to step into the classroom and gain teaching experience in Kochi. Kerala has a shortage of teachers and local staff have such heavy workloads that students are often left to their own devices while teachers rotate to other classes. Volunteers can teach valuable lessons and help eager students learn English - a skill which can give them far greater prospects later in life.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from AU$698 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Fill gaps left by a shortage of teachers and help students learn English

  • Experience the incredible diversity of India

  • Stay with other volunteers in picturesque Fort Kochi, Kerala

'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

Key information

Improve access to quality education
Based in schools in Kochi
Volunteer house accommodation
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Fully hosted experience from AU$698 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 8 weeks
Tour the beautiful beaches and bazaars of Goa
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who can speak fluent English and have a passion for education. You will be supported by local teachers and project coordinators so no qualifications or experience are required, but relevant training or a TEFL certificate is recommended.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Low teacher numbers in Kerala mean many classes have free periods during the day, as there is no-one else to take lessons. Students are enthusiastic and eager to learn, but are left to entertain themselves as teachers rotate to other classrooms.

As a Teaching volunteer, you can not only make this beneficial class time, but you can add your skills as a fluent English speaker to really enhance their lessons. Volunteers on this project will work in elementary schools teaching students between the ages of 6 and 12 years old - a lot of the teaching will be done independently; however, the local staff will be in and out of the classroom to help.

Teaching duties can vary but often include:

  • Assisting with math and science lessons
  • Teaching small classes of up to 10 students
  • Building the English language ability of children
  • Lesson planning

There is a significant amount of preparation expected from volunteers to plan for their lessons. The local team will help you with lesson planning, suggest topics for the lessons and provide ideas for creative ways to teach; however, lesson planning and teaching are ultimately the responsibility of the volunteers. As such, it is highly recommended that volunteers come with ideas of teaching and activities they may like to incorporate into their lessons.

During school holidays volunteers are placed in holiday projects where they are given more freedom to plan more creative lessons.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

More than half of all children and teens do not meet minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Quality education provides an opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment and is key to preventing poverty, securing long-term employment and improving quality of life.

Why do Teaching volunteering in Kerala with IVHQ?

As a volunteer teacher in Kerala you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving educational outcomes for students
  • Teaching English to children
  • Helping students develop life skills in a safe place
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining teaching experience
  • Immersing yourself in Indian culture
  • Exploring the charms of Fort Kochi

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program.
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply For Free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

SW
Susan Woolley
08 May 2024

Immersing yourself in the community and lifestyle really does enable you to gain greater insight into the trials of everyday life for people. In this way you have the time to tailor your ideas to the situation at hand. Go with little expectation and you will be much more open to the realities of your volunteer situation. Stay as long as you can, the longer you are there the more you will find your groove. Even with only a short stay, your impact is noted.

...
CS
Chayadevi Srinivasan
17 Apr 2024

All the guidance received was excellent. I came out of my comfort zone. I volunteered and felt a great sense of joy, fulfillment.

...
AL
Anna Lewin
14 Feb 2024

Advice: Be brave. Jump in. This will be nothing like anything you have done before. You will learn more about yourself whilst having an impact on those way less fortunate than you. Just do it.

...
NL
Nicholas Lewin
09 Feb 2024

I have always wanted to do something like this and it was a real life experience. It was so far out of my normal comfort zone and I wanted to prove to myself that that would not be a problem. I would say go for it but throw yourself into it.

...
JB
Joshua Bennett
06 Dec 2023

The local team was amazing, above and beyond in setting up tours, and outings. The teacher program lead was very knowledgeable and helpful with curriculum and class management techniques.

...
NM
Nikhil Mistry
28 Mar 2023

It was a great house which was in a good location, safe and the staff were extremely helpful. The rooms were clean and spacious. The food was prepared by the fantastic cooks who were really nice and always made high quality, nutritious meals.

If someone was still hesitant about volunteering abroad, I would recommend trying it at least once and make sure it is with a reputable company like IVHQ who ensures a safe experience with great staff.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

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Volunteer Abroad in India, Kerala with IVHQ

Location

The city of Kochi (or Cochin) on the south-west coast of India in the state of Kerala is home to IVHQ’s India - Kerala program.

Volunteers live and work in the Fort Kochi area, a popular tourist spot that is famous for small boutiques, colonial buildings, excellent regional cuisine and its unique Chinese fishing nets. Kochi is a safe and welcoming city and volunteers can enjoy an abundance of activities in the surrounding areas, including visiting the hillside tea region of Munnar, cruising the backwaters, or staying in surf and yoga retreats on the coast.

This program is perfect for volunteers who want to experience the rich culture of India, but at a slower pace than you would expect in the capital city of Delhi.

Arrival and orientation

The program begins every Monday and the program orientation begins on the Sunday prior to each start date. Volunteers need to arrive in Kochi on the Saturday prior to their start date.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Cochin International Airport (COK) in Kochi. Your airport pick-up on the Saturday is included in your Program Fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Fort Kochi, where the program is located. If you are arriving in the day time, a staff member will be there to greet you at your accommodation. Your accommodation is covered in your program fee and includes the Saturday night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in India prior to your volunteer program, you will need to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation where you will be greeted by our local team.

Orientation in Kerala starts on the Sunday prior to your selected start date. Orientation will cover everything you need to know for your volunteer program including an Introduction to India and Indian customs, local language training, rules and expectations, safety and risk management, travel opportunities in India and a detailed introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and explore the beautiful local area.

Volunteer schedule example

First day

On your first day of volunteering, you’ll be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you’ll be working with.

Weekdays

Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that you are volunteering at, but a fairly typical volunteer day would be as follows:

8:30 - 9:30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer house.
9:45 - 12:00 PM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements.
12:30 - 2:00 PM Lunch break either at the placement or volunteer house. Volunteers can also take this time to lesson plan their sessions for the following day.
2:00 - 5:30 PM Work at the placement. Afterwards, volunteers are free to travel back to the volunteer house, go sightseeing or relax in one of the artsy cafes in town once their project is over.
6:00 - 7:30 PM Dinner at the volunteer house.

Weekends

Kerala is a gorgeous part of India and your weekends are free for you to explore the incredible beaches, stunning backwaters, serene tea plantations and amazing culture.

Some of the absolute must-dos are the backwaters of Alleppey, where you can stay for a night on a houseboat and meander through the waterways surrounded by coconut trees. The Munnar Tea Plantations are simply breathtaking in terms of views and often compared to the Scottish Highlands. If you are wanting some beach time, head to Marari or Varkala in the South of Kerala. It’s easiest to take a train which is also an experience in itself. There are also great surf spots near Varkala.

If you wish to stay in Fort Kochi during your weekends, then there is plenty to experience. Within walking distance of the volunteer house, you may like to take part in the following: local sightseeing, rent a bicycle, go for a swim in a swimming pool, join yoga classes, walk along the beach, see a local Kathakali show, participate in a local tea experience, check out Jewtown, take pictures with the Chinese Fishing Nets, get some henna, look at the museums, eat at the local cafes, join a local cooking class, visit the many markets, go souvenir shopping, and much more.

If you need more suggestions on how to get around or to book anything, you can always talk to the local team.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers in Kerala are accommodated in a volunteer house run by local coordinators, and the rooms are shared with bunk beds. All bedding is provided and you can expect to be sharing a room with up to 3 other volunteers of the same gender.

Living is basic, but comfortable, and you will have access to electricity, WiFi and western style toilets. Your showers are cold but being a warm climate almost all year, it has never a problem. There are ceiling fans in each room; however, it is important to be aware that there is no air-conditioning at the volunteer accommodation.

Typically mattresses in Asia are a lot firmer than what you may be used to, so please be prepared for that and if you feel that you need more comfort, then you can choose to bring a mattress topper with you (or buy one in-country). Although the majority of the windows are fitted with insect screens (to stop insects), if you also wish to use a mosquito net, you will need to bring a pop up net with you that fits in a bunk bed. You will be required to bring your own toiletries and towels.

Private room upgrades, as well as private air-conditioned upgrades, may be available (subject to availability and at an additional cost) and you can add these to your file once you have registered onto the program.

Meals

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided at the volunteer accommodation each day, excluding dinner on Sunday evening. Please note that only breakfast and dinner are available to volunteers on the Medical and Physical Therapy projects and lunch needs to be purchased at the hospital or clinic you are placed at, for a very affordable price.

Breakfast is different each day and can include:

  • Idli and chutney - a savoury steamed rice cake served with coconut sambal or chutney
  • Kerala pancakes - thin pancakes filled with jaggery, coconut or bananas
  • Idyappam and curry - string hoppers (rice noodles) served with a chickpea curry
  • Puttu and curry - steamed rice flour with coconut served with a potato curry
  • Eggs, bread, fruit, tea and coffee.

Lunch and dinner feature local curry dishes made with a base of coconut, rice, roti or chapati. Meals are typically vegetarian and include potatoes, okra, brinjal, gourd, carrots, beetroot and various pulses and lentils.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know well in advance of your program so our local team can make arrangements for you. We will do our best to see that your dietary requirements are catered for, but please keep in mind that as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible and you should not expect to eat the same food as you do at home. If you want western style meals you can easily get these at the local cafes and restaurants in the area.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $445 Equivalent to $64/day
2 weeks $590 Equivalent to $42/day
3 weeks $735 Equivalent to $35/day
4 weeks $880 Equivalent to $31/day
5 weeks $1,025 Equivalent to $29/day
6 weeks $1,170 Equivalent to $28/day
8 weeks $1,460 Equivalent to $26/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$516) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Kerala generally find US$100 - US$150 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Sunday dinners
  • Transport to and from your placement and accommodated each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Kerala

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Kerala! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Kerala program.

Backwaters Boat Trip (1 day)
Backwaters Boat Trip (1 day)

Ready for Deeper Exploration of Fort Kochi and Kerala? Consider This Day Trip.

AU$120
Goa Tour (4 days, 3 nights)
Goa Tour (4 days, 3 nights)

Once your volunteer duration has completed, you can visit Goa - a much loved, picturesque destination located on the banks of the Arabian Sea.

AU$1280
Munnar Tea Plantation Visit (overnight tour)
Munnar Tea Plantation Visit (overnight tour)

Unearth the scenic treasures and rich culture of Kerala with this unforgettable Munnar Tea Plantation Expedition.

AU$329

Check what's required to visit India

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital New Delhi
Population 1.366 billion
Languages Hindi, English, Malayalam
Currency Indian Rupee (INR)
Time zone UTC+05:30

Weather and climate:

Kochi has a tropical climate with an average temperature of 86°F (30°C) throughout the year. There is a rainy season from May through until September and the temperatures typically drop a little at this time, however you can still expect it to be humid. The hot and dry season is from November until May, with April and May being the hottest months with 90% humidity.

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How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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