Volunteer in Bali, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam
Volunteer in: Thailand - Vietnam - Nepal - Bali

Low-Cost / Rural Schools – Volunteer Thailand

The day starts early in rural Thailand, with roosters announcing the procession of village monks on their early morning alms round. Storefronts rumble open and a wave of students in uniform strike out for school. Not only is this program a wonderful experience to immerse oneself in the beauty of the countryside of northern Thailand, it also boasts our lowest project fee of all of our programs. The project starts at a two week placement at $399 US Dollars, with additional weeks at $80/week.

Traditionally, there are three pillars of life in Thailand: the home, the temple and the school. These are most clearly expressed in rural Thailand, where traditional values prevail. With this in mind, volunteer English teachers in the Thai countryside contribute to one of most important pillars of Thai society.

The Friends for Asia rural schools project offers a candid view of daily life in Thailand. Ideal candidates will be keen on getting an inside perspective on a side of the kingdom that tourists and volunteers in bigger cities rarely encounter. Volunteers on this project are a world away from the expat hangouts, international restaurants and Internet cafés of downtown Chiang Mai. While this presents fantastic opportunities to hang out with locals, visit rural temple fairs and take part in cultural community events, it also requires flexibility, patience and a strong sense of independence.

Of course, you’ll be plugged into the Friends for Asia support network for the duration of your project. We’ll arrange accommodation for you near your project school and issue you a Thai mobile phone so that we can stay in touch with you, answer questions and help sort out any problems encountered along the way. During the weekend, you’re welcome to take advantage of our volunteer accommodation in central Chiang Mai for a dose of life in the city.

Low-Cost Teaching Volunteer Tasks


The volunteer’s classroom role varies from one school to the next, and there is plenty of flexibility when it comes to setting up a format that you and your students are comfortable with. Volunteers are paired with a Thai teacher from the school, either helping out with daily lessons or planning and leading their own, depending on the volunteer’s comfort level.

Schools in this project come in a range of sizes. Some of the schools in FFA’s network are extremely small, with as few as 70 students. Even the larger countryside schools are small by city standards, with student enrolment of around 1,500. Teachers can request to teach any grade level between kindergarten and grade 12. In most cases, there is no problem accommodating these preferences. Volunteer teachers spend roughly 15 to 20 hours per school week in class, and the format is similar to that of FFA’s standard English Education Project.

Making a difference by volunteering in Thailand

English teaching is an area of service in which international volunteers can make a particularly strong impact in Thailand. Even volunteer project sites that are not directly involved in education are often eager to work an element of English teaching into their volunteer job description.

From a volunteer English teacher’s perspective, the best way to ramp up the benefits of your service is to head for out-of-the-way places in Thailand. There is no shortage of native-speaking English teachers in Chiang Mai city proper. Many of them work for large private schools and learning centers, teaching students from relatively well-to-do families.

Teaching is an honorable profession regardless of the students’ social status. Even so, volunteers who want to go a step further and make more of a difference can do so by setting themselves up outside of the city limits. In the countryside surrounding Chiang Mai, government schools have little chance of attracting international teachers. And even those fortunate enough to make this connection rarely have the budget to pay them a salary. With this in mind, the Friends for Asia rural schools project provides volunteers with a unique opportunity to maximize the effect of their service.

Low-Cost / Rural Schools Volunteer Qualifications

Volunteer English teachers have to be at least 18 years old to be considered. It’s also important that they’re fluent in written and spoken English. While veteran teachers are enthusiastically welcomed, teaching credentials are not required to volunteer to teach English in Thailand.

Beyond this, Friends for Asia requires all volunteers who will be working directly with children to file a certified police background check before their start date.

Our Rural Schools Project is only available during the Thai school year, and is closed during the Thai summer from March to mid-May and during October (for the mid-school year break)

Volunteer Project Fees

Participation in the Rural Schools Volunteer Project starts at a minimum of two weeks at $399. Each additional week is $80.

Volunteer Project Fee Includes

  • Comprehensive Pre-Departure Information
  • Visa paperwork (for projects over 8 weeks)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport pick up
  • Accommodation during orientation and entire project time
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Lunch every work day
  • 2 day Orientation (including half day city tour, cultural dinner and show)
  • Onsite Coordinator
  • 24 hour emergency assistance
  • Written record of service completion (for volunteers that successfully complete their project).

Volunteer Fee Does Not Include

  • Travel to/from Home and Chiang Mai (airfare, train tickets, etc.)
  • Thailand visa costs (if applicable)
  • International Medical Insurance
  • Cost of criminal police background check (required for this project)
  • Cost of transportation to and from Project site and and accommodation (roughly $2 per day)
  • Lunches on weekends.
  • Dinner

View additional information about our Rural Schools Volunteer Project