• Teaching
  • Volunteer with Children

Seven frequently asked questions about teaching internships abroad

Article by Lindsey Chynoweth

Lindsey Chynoweth

Posted: November 22, 2018

Interested in making a positive impact by teaching English abroad? If you would like the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture, gain practical classroom experience and improve your employability, a teaching internship could be right for you.

If you are considering teaching abroad and developing your personal and professional skills, read our frequently asked questions to help you decide whether you should participate in a GVI teaching internship.

1) How long is a GVI teaching internship?

The duration of GVI internships ranges from six to 24 weeks, so are suitable for career breakers, gap year students or those seeking to gain new hard and soft skills for future employment.

We are committed to achieving long-term education goals that align with the curriculum of the local schools, while maintaining consistency for our learners. For this reason, interns who are involved in shorter programs will assist an existing teacher or permanent staff member.

We value all participants, whether they can spare a summer or six months. Read more about short-term volunteering to find out how all volunteers teaching abroad contribute to the sustainability of our existing programs.


Participants in Phang Nga, Thailand work to add educational capacity at local schools.

2) Where can I teach?

As a GVI intern, there are many locations you can teach in. You could teach novice monks in Laos, help provide access to education for children in India, or work with disadvantaged children in South Africa, Fiji, Costa Rica or Thailand.

Outside of the classroom, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, try the delicacies of that region and even learn the language. In Costa Rica, Spanish lessons are available with native speakers to encourage language immersion and increase your skill set.


GVI interns work to provide additional English-teaching capacity at local temple schools in Laung Prabang, Laos.

3) Do I need any prior teaching experience?

Participants do not need previous teaching experience to join a GVI teaching abroad program, but should be proficient in English in order to teach.

Interns should be willing to get involved in all aspects of the program, from lesson planning, classroom management, learning best teaching practices and understanding the role of sustainable development in education.

At first, a teaching role may seem daunting, but you will be fully trained, supported and supervised by experienced staff on site throughout the duration of your teaching program. You will observe a teacher before you gain practical experience in teaching.

In addition to this, GVI interns have access to a mentor once a week for one-on-one guidance and extra support.


A GVI participant teaches a student in Kerala, India.

4) Will I make a difference as a teaching abroad intern?

Yes! GVI relies on volunteers and interns to sustain its projects around the world to make a difference.

By giving time to work with GVI and its partner organizations, participants help to provide a safe learning environment for disadvantaged children or vulnerable adults.

Due to our commitment to long-term sustainable development, we are transitioning away from working in orphanages or residential care institutions to safeguard the wellbeing of the children.


A GVI participant assists with English lessons in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

5) How will I know I have made a positive impact?

GVI is committed to measuring its impact for every project, based on short-, mid- and long-term goals. Every project is structured to advance the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (UN SDGs).

Moreover, as an intern, you will complete a self-directed project that will be evaluated at the end of your time working with GVI.  This means that you will be able to identify your direct impact within the project.


Scholars in Phang Nga, Thailand learn about shapes with a GVI participant.

6) What will I gain from a GVI teaching internship?

As a GVI teaching intern you will receive:

  • an exclusive GVI Leadership training course, accredited through the Institute of Leadership & Management
  • a unique opportunity to improve employability for the future
  • practical, hands-on experience teaching in a classroom
  • cultural immersion and language skills (learn Spanish in Costa Rica)
  • experience working in sustainable community development
  • academic credit if you are studying
  • health and safety training
  • transferable skills for any career – leadership, interpersonal and problem solving
  • a certificate of completion detailing your performance on your individual project
  • a personal reference by your mentor
  • potential paid employment with GVI or a partner organization following a successful internship

You can even work toward an internationally recognized teaching qualification by working to obtain your TEFL certificate in Thailand or Costa Rica.


Children in Mexico learn about diverse marine ecosystems.

7) Is teaching English the only option?

GVI has a range of internships focused on business, community development, women’s empowerment, and construction.

Even in a teaching role, interns will be expected to support local partners to teach a full curriculum of subjects including art, math and sport. Roles are varied and dependant on the needs of the local schools or partner organizations that we work with.

If you’re ready to take the next step, why not read some of the reviews from past interns or get in touch with a member of staff for more information.

what’s up next?
Why is gender equality important for development?

Discover the importance of gender equality in development. Learn how to support women's empowerment through volunteering with GVI. Read more now.

You might also like these articles

Volunteering with Children: Personal and Professional Impact
Read the article
Volunteer with Children
Gap year pros and cons
Read the article
Women's Empowerment
What You Should Know About Responsible Volunteer Work with Children
Read the article
Volunteer with Children
How to volunteer abroad with children responsibly
Read the article
Volunteer with Children
The Power of Play: Communication Games for Kids
Read the article
Volunteer with Children
Four places where you can volunteer with children
Read the article
Volunteer with Children
Discover Different Types of Volunteering
Read the article
Women's Empowerment
GVI’s Guide to Ghana’s Capital Accra
Read the article
How to Prepare for Your First Volunteer Experience: A Guide for First-Time Volunteers
Read the article
Women's Empowerment