Why teaching internships have a big impact
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today” – Malcom X.
Education can be used to make an impact, and a powerful one at that. It’s a key tool used by communities and sustainable development organisations all around the world to increase employment and lay the foundations for global human empowerment.
International teaching internships provide practical classroom experience to further your career goals. They also give you the chance to assist others in creating a brighter future for themselves.
GVI’s teaching interns add to the access that international communities have to quality education. We work to make an impact in locations where schools can become overcrowded and teaching staff is sometimes limited. By signing up to volunteer on a teaching internship, you can work in collaboration with local teachers, and build on the one-on-one support that students receive. GVI offers teaching internships of various durations, and some of our longer programs include a work placement at a local school. There’s also the opportunity to get involved in after-school conversational English classes for students of all ages.
With GVI you’ll have the opportunity to customise your internship based on what you’re hoping to get out of the experience and our support staff can talk you through each of the options available to you to find your perfect match. Our teaching internships are available as one of the following internship types:
Completing a GVI teaching internship abroad means you’ll benefit from:
- pre-program training including an expectation group call, our GVI around the world presentation, and GVI Online leadership and specialisation courses endorsed by the University of Richmond
- comprehensive feedback and reference from your remote internship supervisor
- hands-on field experience in the educational sector
- being trained on sustainable development
- learning and practising teaching methods, lesson planning and classroom management
- gaining experience working with local communities
- being trained in health and safety or first aid
- potential teaching placements and preferential access to GVI employment opportunities.
How do I choose a teaching internship abroad provider?
Before you start your teaching internship abroad, it’s important to research the organisation you’re planning to intern with. You’ll want to be sure that the educational work that they’re doing is both ethical and sustainable. To ensure sustainable teaching, classes need to be run in collaboration with permanent staff members to ensure that learning is not disrupted.
At GVI you can be sure that you’re working with an organisation that’s committed to upholding ethical best practices on all of our teaching internships, volunteer programs and volunteer activities. This is evident by our badge of ethics.
And, when it comes to childhood education and volunteering, it’s important to note that GVI does not support orphanage volunteering in any of our program locations. For more information see our stance on orphanage volunteering and our regularly reviewed Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy.
All staff and participants are required to complete a police background check before arrival on their chosen program, and on-site child protection training is provided once they arrive to volunteer. We also protect children from cyber and real-world threats by ensuring that our marketing material follows child protection best practices.
Types of teaching internships
You can choose to focus on teaching programs as a career, research or core intern.
You might work with a local teacher to identify a lesson topic, then conduct research into the topic and create a lesson plan. Or, you may find yourself working together with a local organisation to develop funding proposals to ensure a school can afford the equipment they need to succeed.
But, if you’re after an advanced experience in field research, or are in the process of completing a thesis or research paper for your university, then a research internship might be the best choice for you.
You might choose to investigate the effects that a good quality, safe learning environment has on the academic performance of local school children. Or maybe you’ll choose to write a research paper on the benefits of healthy eating and how putting together a vegetable patch can help a community to empower themselves to have a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.
Core interns will have additional responsibilities in lieu of virtual work or an in-person partner project. These additional responsibilities include:
- leading surveys, program activities or workshops
- helping with fundraisers and GVI Charitable Programs activities
- creating content for social media and blogs
- organising testimonial content from GVI alumni.
Students will also be able to choose their program duration, with options of between 4 and 24 weeks, and start dates occurring every 2 weeks.
Regardless of your future career goals, our teaching internships abroad offer you the chance to make an impact while you gain real-world experience that contributes to your professional development and enhances your future employability in any field.
Where can I go on my teaching internship with GVI?
GVI runs sustainable development programs and internships in 13 countries across these four continents:
Picture this. Instead of students bringing you a shiny red apple to say thank you, they bring in papayas from a local stall in Laos, a bright mango from their village in India, or juicy granadillas from the tropical trees in Costa Rica. Teaching internships abroad have never sounded so tasty.
As a GVI intern, you can choose from these locations and more when deciding on a teaching internship abroad. You could teach English to novice Buddhist monks in Laos, or add to the access that children in India have to educational and sporting opportunities. You could also build on women’s professional skills in Nepal, or even obtain a TEFL qualification in tropical Thailand.
On some of our longer teaching internships, like the teaching and TEFL internship in Luang Prabang, volunteers will have the opportunity to move on to a work placement after three months, giving them more responsibility and practical teaching experience.
Whichever location you choose, you can stay true to yourself and the teaching environment that you’re passionate about. This way you’ll be motivated to play a significant role in making a positive impact in the education of others.
What should I know about teaching internships with GVI?
Five questions to ask before you start your teaching internship abroad
Before deciding to go on a teaching internship with GVI, you’ll probably have some questions you want answered. Here are some of the most important international teaching internship questions and answers.
Q: How do I know if the teaching internship I want to do is ethical?
A: GVI is committed to a high level of ethical practice in every area we cover. This is especially important when it comes to teaching children. We put the safety of the children on our programs first. This is why staff and participants are required to complete a police background check before arrival on their chosen program. On-site child protection training is also compulsory for every participant.
We also prioritise sustainability on our programs. For teaching programs, this means that learning should not be disrupted once volunteers have left. This is why we partner with and support local educators.
We’ve also developed ten ethical principles and five human empowerment principles that we are committed to. These core aspects of GVI programs mean that interns get involved in community-led work that speaks to the current needs of local people. Interns are also required to interact with local communities in a way that respects and builds on their ownership of sustainable development projects. Improvements to our policies are made alongside trained GVI ethics officers as well as outside experts.
Q: How long are the teaching internships at GVI?
A: Teaching internships can last anywhere from 4 to 24 weeks, depending on the amount of time you have to commit to the program. Our longer-term teaching internships include training on base as well as the option to take on a work placement.
Q: Will I get paid to teach?
A: No. GVI offers unpaid teaching internships. The program fees you pay will cover your accommodation, meals, training, equipment and in-country transport to and from projects. These fees also cover the coursework and practical training that will help you achieve qualifications like a Community Development certificate from the University of Richmond, and a TEFL qualification.
To find out more on this topic, check out the article: Why pay to volunteer abroad.
By contributing to a project as a paying teaching intern you’ll be adding to the economic development of communities abroad. This also ensures that programs are beneficial over the long term and not just while the volunteers are around. You’ll also be investing in your own training and development, which means you can continue making an impact in the world as a teacher long after you’ve finished your internship.
Q: Who will I be working with during my teaching internship abroad?
A: Volunteers, interns and GVI staff come from all around the world and, as a result, have different backgrounds and cultural beliefs. You’ll meet and work with like-minded people from GVI as well as from the local community. And, it’s likely that you’ll leave your internship with new life-long friends.
Q: What happens during school holidays when schools are closed?
A: Before you decide on your teaching internship, you’re advised to check with GVI’s support staff members about the availability of the program you’re interested in, and find out if there are any times that they don’t operate. For example if you’re completing your teaching internship at a school, then they might close over the school holidays. Some bases still run during these times. For example, in Cape Town, the team of interns and volunteers change over to a library program during school holidays.
GVI teaching internship programs
Teaching internships that provide a TEFL certification
Volunteering abroad as a teaching intern is the perfect opportunity for individuals who are passionate about making an impact in education, and want to develop in their professional life at the same time. You don’t need to be skilled or have previous experience in education to join these programs. We provide training on base and all participants are supervised by qualified GVI staff throughout their journey.
For the first three months of a GVI teaching internship, you’ll live and work with fellow interns at the GVI base. Here, you’ll complete a fully accredited TEFL course with additional training on how to teach phonics, plan lessons and manage classrooms. Classroom observation and practical classroom experience is also included and will further enhance your professional development and can be added to your CV.
Teaching experience opportunities are located in and around the GVI base and can be made up of any of the following activities:
- formal classes at local schools
- tutoring sessions with students that need extra support
- adult education classes
- after-school conversational English classes for students of all ages.
These varied teaching opportunities give you the chance to experience different teaching environments, and allow you to figure out which one you’d prefer for your future career.
Following the completion of your TEFL training and teaching experience, you’ll have the opportunity to teach more independently for another 3 months. But you’ll continue to receive ongoing support from our qualified field staff during your work placement.
Short-term teaching internships
Due to time constraints, our shorter duration teaching internships at GVI do not include the professional development component of earning your TEFL certification.
So why do we have them? Well, maybe you already have a TEFL certification and just need some practical hours. Or maybe you want to experience teaching firsthand before committing to a teaching degree at university.
Whatever your reason, these teaching internships will give you the opportunity to get involved in lesson planning and classroom management, and in some cases you’ll even run sports classes to further enhance learning.
Further reading: Five reasons why sport is important in early childhood development
You could also be involved in providing one-on-one educational classes to support school children’s learning, or to entrepreneurs who require assistance in learning the English language.