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Teaching English Volunteer Program in Honkau - Laos

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is Oct 4, 2021

Monasteries are common places for children in Laos to receive their education, and volunteers are a valuable source of English-speaking expertise in these lessons. The same can be said of local schools, where fluent English speakers are not commonly available to help teach schoolchildren.

Teaching volunteer in Laos with IVHQ

As a volunteer English teacher, you’ll help students, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, in either monasteries or primary schools around Honkau village. Students range in age from 6-12 years old, and your lessons will be guided by the school curriculum, which the local staff can help you with. As well as your time in the classroom, it’s expected you’ll spend time preparing your lessons each day.

The Teaching English project is ideal for volunteers who work well independently, enjoy a challenge and are eager to overcome cross-cultural teaching barriers. To see students learning and enjoying themselves is an incredibly rewarding experience.

As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, you don’t need to be a qualified teacher. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.

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Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $260 for 1 week
  • Help to teach English to local students

  • Volunteer in monasteries or local primary schools

  • Assist a local teacher or lead the classroom yourself

  • Suited to volunteers interested in education and teaching English

  • Volunteer for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Laos at a glance
  • Based on the outskirts of Laos’ capital city, Vientiane

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a dormitory-style volunteer house

  • Between 5 and 10 volunteers start in Laos each month

Fill out the quick form below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Laos, based on your country of residence.

The IVHQ Laos Program is based in Honkau Village just outside of the capital city, Vientiane. Volunteer placements are located in and around Honkau Village and the wider Vientiane region. The Laos volunteer program begins every Monday. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Wattay International Airport (VTE) in Vientiane. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.

Volunteers need to arrive in Vientiane on the Sunday before orientation. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Honkau Village. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Laos prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Vientiane on the day before your program orientation.

There are two options for orientation in Laos. The first option is a one-day orientation that starts on your selected start date, which all volunteers will attend. This runs for a full day and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Laos, including an introduction to the IVHQ Laos program, the local team, general rules and a class on the local culture and language. In the afternoon, you’ll learn about the local projects, go on a walking tour of the local area, arrange your sim card, and finish the day planting vegetables like a local! The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

The second option is an Introduction Week, hosted by our Laos team in Vientiane. This option is very popular among IVHQ volunteers and we recommend everyone take advantage of Introduction Week, as you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the culture of Laos, a true appreciation of local life and extra time to bond with your fellow volunteers. Plus, it’s a great way to help settle the culture shock you can face when arriving in Laos.

The Introduction Week begins on your selected start date and your volunteer program will commence the following week. Introduction Week in Laos does incur an additional US$20 surcharge to cover the additional costs.

Here’s what you can expect on an Introduction Week:

Monday: Start off with an introduction to the Laos program, the local team, general rules and a class on the local culture and language. In the afternoon, learn about the local projects, go on a walking tour of the local area, arrange your sim card, and finish the day planting vegetables like a local!
Tuesday: Visit the local village in the morning to familiarize yourself with the nearby amenities and surroundings. You will then prepare a flower offering for a local temple, take part in a Laotian cooking class and enjoy a barbecue dinner at the volunteer accommodation.
Wednesday: Spend the day sightseeing in Vientiane, including a visit to the COPE Center to learn about the history of cluster bombs in Laos, and a visit to the morning market and local mall. Your afternoon consists of visits to the Victory Monument, Golden Pagoda, and Wat Si Saket. This is followed by a dinner on the riverside in Vientiane, along with a visit to the night market before heading back to the accommodation.
Thursday: After breakfast, volunteers meet to discuss their upcoming volunteer placements and receive the placement-specific orientation. In the afternoon, you will begin working at your placement.
Friday: Continue volunteering at your placement.

Please note, this schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on the needs of the project, local and weather conditions, and unforeseen circumstances. If you wish to participate in the Introduction Week, you can indicate this on your application form when you apply for the program or you can let your Program Manager know once you have been accepted on the program.

Weekdays: After the initial orientation week, you will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day and a typical schedule is as follows:

8.00AM: Breakfast at the volunteer guesthouse.

9.00AM: Volunteers travel to their placements by bicycle, tuk-tuk or walking. Start time and daily workload depends on the project that the individual volunteer is participating on.

12.00PM: Volunteers break for lunch and travel back to the volunteer guesthouse. In some cases volunteers eat lunch at their placement. After lunch, volunteers continue with their volunteer work (where applicable).

3.00PM - 4.00PM: Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to return to the volunteer guesthouse, plan for the following day’s activities or use their free time as they wish.

6.00PM: Dinner at the volunteer guesthouse. After dinner volunteers will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as they wish.

Please note, this schedule can vary depending on the project that the volunteer is participating in.

Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style volunteer house in Honkau Village, approximately 60 minutes outside of central Vientiane. The volunteer house can accommodate up to 30 volunteers and you should expect to share a room with up to 4 other volunteers of the same gender. All rooms are equipped with a fan and have a shared bathroom equipped with western style toilet and shower. Bedding is provided and volunteers will need to bring their own towels. There are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy.

The accommodation is equipped with WiFi which volunteers are able to use during set hours of the day. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone to access the internet.

Laotian food is very tasty and during your time in Laos, you will be sure to receive some delicious treats. Volunteers are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Breakfast is self-serve at the accommodation and generally includes tea, coffee, eggs, bread and fruit. Lunch and dinner are prepared in the guesthouse restaurant and will often include fresh vegetables, fish or meat, cooked with fresh herbs and spices, and served with plenty of sticky rice! Noodles are common at mealtimes too, as are local soups. Fresh tropical fruit is plentiful at roadside stalls and there are many street food vendors around Vientiane offering local treats. Bottled water is readily available in Laos and volunteers should budget approximately $10 per week for this (2 liters per day).

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.
1 week $260 Equivalent to $38/day
2 weeks $425 Equivalent to $31/day
3 weeks $590 Equivalent to $29/day
4 weeks $750 Equivalent to $27/day
5 weeks $910 Equivalent to $26/day
6 weeks $1,070 Equivalent to $26/day
8 weeks $1,290 Equivalent to $24/day
10 weeks $1,510 Equivalent to $22/day
12 weeks $1,730 Equivalent to $21/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteering

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

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of $299 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Laos generally find US$50-75 per week to be sufficient for expenses.

Volunteers have the weekends free and there is no shortage of things to do in Vientiane or further afield in Laos. Volunteers can fill their free time with local markets, adventure activities or simply exploring parts of Vientiane. Laos is a popular tourist destination, offering beautiful nature and scenery, with great biking, kayaking, climbing, caving, trekking and rafting. Volunteers who wish to take a long weekend to travel can enjoy the beautiful limestone mountains and waterfalls in Vang Vieng, visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang or even take a two-day cruise on the mighty Mekong River. Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Laos and neighboring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam. Volunteers can make travel arrangements once in Vientiane, with the advice and guidance of our local staff.

See our Laos Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Laos.

Capital Vientiane
Population 6.5 Million
Languages Lao
Currency Lao or Laotian Kip (LAK)
Time zone UTC+07:00

Weather and climate: The climate in Laos is considered tropical monsoonal, days are typically warm and sunny all year around, with an average temperature of 29°C (84°F). The rainy season runs from May to October, and this is when humidity and temperatures can peak at 40°C (100°F). The dry season runs from November to May, and this is when the temperature is typically cooler and can get to a low of 15°C (58°F)

Volunteers who are under 18 years old will be required to provide IVHQ with parental consent and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Laos.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

How to get started

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Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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