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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
The experience that a teacher can gain from volunteering is invaluable. The experience may include immersion into other cultures, learning a new language, giving life skills to a community, travelling and ultimately gaining teaching experience. For teachers looking to explore new cultures immersing themselves into a foreign country is a perfect fit. Many volunteer organizations will house the teachers in the community with local families. This arrangement gives volunteers a chance to participate in the day to day life of the community. Volunteers open to this experience will have a chance to spend time with locals, learn to cook local dishes and witness firsthand the traditions of the people. Both volunteers and the host will gain a better understanding of each other and their cultures. The opportunity to live in locals homes gives the unique ability to learn and practice a foreign language. Whether a teacher has previously studied a second language or they are arriving in a country with no previous knowledge they will leave with at
minimum basic words and sentences of the community they have lived in. Simple tasks like grocery shopping, making laundry arrangements or learning traditional games with the host family are all good opportunities to use the native language. As a person from a developed country it is difficult to truly imagine the challenges of others in less privileged countries. We take the right to learn to read and gain an education for granted. The skill of reading and speaking english opens job opportunities and a chance at a higher education or trade training for students. As a volunteer teacher one can provide a life skill for students that they may not otherwise get due to impoverishment and lack of resources. For people that love to travel and experience the culture of a country off the beaten tourist track volunteering to teach english is an ideal fit. The opportunity to access communities i most tourists have never heard of is a rare opportunity. The cost of travel can be significantly less due to
organizational sponsors, host families and staying in less tourist areas. On off days teachers can take trips to explore other areas. The cost of local flights is often cheap and accessible. Incorporating volunteering into a trip to South East Asia would be a cost effective way to have some time as a volunteer and some time to tour surrounding countries before or after volunteer placement. The most tangible gain from volunteer teaching is resume building. For a teacher with little to no experience this is one way to gain valuable experience. To volunteer teach in several less sought after locations could assist a teacher in getting a higher paid more comfortable position in a country of their choice sooner. Volunteer teaching for short term placements is a way to have the teaching abroad experience without committing to a long term contract. teachers that have not spent any time in developing or more remote countries may
find this a culture shock and be relieved that they may return home after a short commitment. Other teachers may get a taste of this life style and never return home. Regardless of the reason volunteer teaching is an experience builder. If a teacher enters into volunteering with an open mind and willingness to help they will have the experience of a life time. www.infonepal.org used as a reference.
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