Volunteer English teaching at a learning centre for young adult refugee students north of Mae Sot, Thailand



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 Min stay requested: 1 month or more

  • Description


    This Learning Centre is a post-ten migrant school in Thailand on the border of Burma/Myanmar, established in 2005. Students and teachers are from the Karen ethnic group and come from villages in Karen State in eastern Burma. Students range in age from 17-25, and come here for a two-year program after having completed high school (Grade 10) in one of the refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. The school is popular because of its community health training program - many students go on to become nurses or medics - and for Thai, computer skills training, and English. Classes and extra school activities often focus on leadership development, human rights awareness, and traditional Karen cultural activities. The school is run by full-time Karen teachers who live on site. Volunteer teachers are also essential for English and exposure to other valuable subjects. It’s a busy place full of energy, sound, sunshine, and eager learners!

    The centre is supported largely by a small Canadian charitable organization.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Language practice
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    It’s a really unique experience to live at the school full-time with all the students and other teachers - a chance to spend time outside of the classroom cooking and eating, playing volleyball or badminton, learning music, sharing books. The young people who are attracted to come to this learning centre are ambitious, curious, committed to their education, and passionate about contributing to a better future for their people. That means they’re eager to share their own stories and to teach visitors about the history, politics, and challenges faced by ethnic minorities in Burma. For visitors from other parts of the world, the personal stories you’ll hear from students will likely be a striking learning experience. You’ll learn a lot about Karen culture in classes, through school outings to special events, ‘visiting’ in the village, traditional dance practice, agriculture, and most of all chatting with a group of students as the sun sets over the Dawna mountains.

  • Help


    We need volunteers available for three months to teach English, with support from full-time teachers to guide you through curriculum options and lesson planning. The students range from relatively beginner English to intermediate, and are split into different groups for English classes. You’ll focus on active speaking and listening activities, along with writing assignments and reading exercises. The English classes often draw from various social science topics for content and discussion - students are interested in all kinds of things like world leaders, geography, research skills, economics, environment, law, political structures. Each volunteer brings a different set of skills and interests, and it’s great for volunteers to teach topics they care about personally, combined with English language learning.

    We prefer a commitment of three months so that volunteers have time to get to know the students and immerse themselves in school life. All visitors who’ve spent time here wish they had planned to stay longer!

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Karen, and Burmese

  • Accommodation


    Volunteers and some of the full-time teachers live in the Big House on one side of campus. The house is solid wood. There's a big kitchen, three tile bathrooms, and five bedrooms. You’ll have your own bedroom with a simple wood bed, blankets and mosquito net. Water is piped into the kitchen and bathrooms and from there you’ll use buckets for showers and to flush the Western toilets. All meals are provided - a healthy diet of rice and a variety of vegetable or fish or meat dishes. The students live in dormitories - two for girls and two for boys. The two big classrooms have open bamboo walls and the computer room is in a sheltered concrete building. There’s also an office for teachers to work in. You’ll have access to relatively good wifi, and phone signals are generally good on campus. Past the dormitories and classrooms are rice paddies, with forest beyond.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    This is in a small Thai-Karen village with a few shops up the road and a bigger Thai town of Mae Tan about ten minutes away by car. The larger border town of Mae Sot is about two hours south by linebus/songtao. You can go to Mae Sot on weekends and find lots to see and do there. If you stay at school on the weekends you can visit the caves nearby in Mae-u-Su, help with gardening and farming, play movies on the projector for extra English practice, walk to the Moei River that forms the border between Thailand and Burma, learn how to play caneball, or go to the village monastery for festivals.

    Please get in touch to talk with us more about volunteering!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 617221289128