Visit Siem Reap, a city in northern Cambodia, and teach English to Buddhist monks and children from the local community. Spend afternoons working with the local pagoda to improve the English of local Buddhist monks and the rest of the day at our other educational centres, teaching children basic English to improve their opportunity of higher education and skilled employment in later life. Whilst working with us, you will be contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal #4 – Quality Education.
Experience first hand Cambodia’s rich culture and famed temples and monuments, while assisting us in working towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Join us to teach English to Buddhist monks and various members of the Siem Reap community and gain valuable life skills and hands-on teaching experience to improve your employability while getting the opportunity to learn Khmer, the local language. Typically volunteers will have the opportunity to teach an hour-long class each afternoon to Buddhist monks, whilst the rest of your time will be spent teaching children from the local community and lesson preparations.
In the city of Siem Reap we have joined efforts with local partner organisations to assess the needs within the community before setting up any of our projects. As such the core of our programmes is aimed at sustainably enhancing the educational facilities and English literacy levels of the community. Through working with such a diverse range of students, participants will gain an insight into the education system in Cambodia, and GVI’s work to increase access to quality education.
This is a rare privilege to work closely with Buddhist monks, providing them with essential English literacy lessons. You might also work with children from local families.
Immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere, vibrant streets and historic sights of Cambodia’s cultural heart: Siem Reap, the gateway to the temple of Angkor Wat.
Don’t just travel like a tourist. Become part of the local community and culture to experience a unique way of living – authentically.
Support and empower ongoing community development projects on the ground that are led by inspiring local NGOs.
Partner with social impact projects that are owned and led by local organisations who guide initiatives according to community priorities.
Your unique expertise, skills and interests are matched to relevant community projects that address specific challenges.
Share meaningful experiences with like-minded, passionate changemakers from all over the globe.
With expert local staff, excellent reviews and 24/7 support at every step – you can relax and enjoy the experience stress-free.
Some of the example typical activities you could participate in on this program.
Receive comprehensive training from GVI’s expert staff on child protection best practices, health and safety protocols, the ethics and etiquette of working in a local context and the human empowerment principles that drive our work.
Teach conversational English to young Buddhist monks. You may also teach introductory English to children from local villages, young adults hoping to better their employment opportunities, or staff from local organisations looking to improve their English skills.
Get crucial career-building exposure working and communicating within a diverse team and specific local context.
Develop self-awareness, leadership, resilience and confidence, with support and advice from experienced GVI staff members.
Use your spare time during the week to self-reflect, raise awareness on community issues on social media, or fundraise for a local project.
In your free time, visit national parks and floating markets, hike to waterfalls, take part in cooking or pottery classes, and see what other adventures await in the bustling and beautiful streets of Siem Reap.
Some of the partners we work with on base.
|24-hour emergency desk|
|24-hour in-country support|
|Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)|
|All project equipment|
|Food (except on long-term internship placements|
|Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)|
|Group introductory call|
|Endorsed GVI Specialisation Course|
|Endorsed Leadership Course|
|Sustainable project work|
|Data collection and research|
|Real projects with partners|
|Weekly group check ins|
|Remote Academic Internship Supervisor|
|Remote Career Internship Supervisor|
|Preferential recruitment on GVI positions|
|Job portal access|
|Endorsed Careers Course|
|Career coaching sessions|
Certificates and achievements
|PDF reference - upon request|
|Linkedin reference and skills endorsement|
|Additional drinks and gratuities|
|Extra local excursions|
|International and domestic airport taxes|
|Medical and travel insurance|
|Personal items and toiletries|
|Police or background check|
Welcome to our GVI base in Siem Reap. You’ll stay at a guesthouse in the city centre, allowing you easy access to all that the city has to offer. Siem Reap is a popular destination for international visitors due to its exciting blend of old and new world experiences – from restaurants and shopping to vibrant markets, iconic temples, and ancient architecture. Siem Reap is filled with cultural wonders and is known as the gateway to Angkor Wat, which forms part of the Angkor Archaeological Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.
You will stay in shared rooms with shared bathroom facilities. There is running water for showers and flush toilet facilities are available. There is a laundry service at the gu...
GVI will provide you with an airport pick-up from Siem Reap International Airport (REP) on your program start date if you arrange this with our office in advance. Tuk tuks are t...
You will have access to long distance communications whilst on the program, but make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you. Participants will h...
Both western and Khmer food is available at local restaurants that are close to the guesthouse, which has a specific GVI menu. Vegetarians and most dietary requirements can also...
Siem Reap has a tropical climate with a dry and wet season. Siem Reap enjoys warm, balmy weather mostly year round, perfect for an evening stroll through the town, although the ...
Medical facilities are located close to the guesthouse where you will be staying and there are many pharmacies in Siem Reap, so over-the-counter medicine is also accessible, if ...
Whilst teaching, you will be required to wear conservative clothing. This is in respect for the local culture, where men and women should keep their shoulders and knees covered....
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
During your program, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a variety of the following adventure and wellness activities on a monthly basis, specially designed to further immerse you in the diversity and richness of the habitats and cultures around you.
Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.
Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.
A must-see show, performers use theatre, music, dance, and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories. The powerful performances usually have an important social mess...
Visit the local crafters who use sustainable locally-sourced natural resources that reflect Cambodia’s heritage to create products that delight the senses. You’ll be able to sam...
Explore the rich history and culture of Cambodia by visiting the sprawling Angkor Archaeological Park. It spans approximately 400 square kilometres, which includes myriad temple...
Angkor Silk Farm is just outside of Siem Reap and produces some of the best clothing, interior-design products, and accessories in the country. Free tours are available daily to...
Siem Reap is the perfect base from which to experience the wonders that Cambodia has to offer. You can choose to spend your weekends visiting national parks, the floating market...
About 5 hours away, in the capital city of Phnom Penh, you can explore the beautiful Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. You can also visit the bustling riverside promenade, home to...
Kampot is a city that you could visit if you plan to travel before or after your program as it’s situated about 8 hours away. It’s known for its colonial architecture, pepper pl...
Battambang is about 3 hours away. Take a cycle around the city centre and then along the last stretches of the bamboo railroad. Explore the hilltop temple complexes and the stun...
The rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins can be found in the Mekong River, just north of Kratie, which is about 6.5 away from Siem Reap. You can take a boat ride out to see if you...
Ho Chi Minh City at Vietnam’s border is a 12-hour bus ride or a short flight from Siem Reap. Here, you could delve into your travels of South-East Asia further and explore the m...
These islands boast some of Asia’s most spectacular beaches and yet are untouched by commercial tourism, providing you with pristine coastlines away from the busy sites of Angko...
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.
On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.
Khmer is the official language of Cambodia and is spoken by about 90% of the population. Sanskrit and Pali have significantly influenced the Khmer language. The regional dialect...
Cambodia has a thriving tourist souvenir industry that produces many locally handmade items such as a traditional scarf called a Krama, ceramic, lacquer, and wood carved crafts,...
The national dish of Cambodia is Amok, which is a combination of fresh river fish, coconut cream, ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass, steamed in banana leaves and served with a si...
The Angkor Festival which takes place in Siem Reap is one of Cambodia’s most popular annual events, often attended by the King of Cambodia himself. The festival draws perf...
The official religion of the Kingdom of Cambodia is Theravada Buddhism, which is practised by the majority of the population who visit monastery temples found throughout the cou...
If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.
We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.
Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.
‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.
We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.
Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’
Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:
Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.
When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.
As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
In Cambodia, we work in collaboration with our local partners on various community development and educational initiatives, where we aim to support their existing endeavours. Providing the community with English education enables students to access a broader range of employment opportunities. In Siem Reap, if you’re able to speak English, you have a much better chance of gaining employment in the tourism sector. Working in this sector usually means that community members have the opportunity to be promoted, earn a higher income, and improve their economic status, which is what many local residents aspire to do.
Our initiatives not only allow us to offer support to the community and our local partners, but also to address many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 3: Good Health & Well-being, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production, and Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals.
GVI Siem Reap long-term objectives:
1. To provide English education to the local community of Siem Reap, which will improve their employment and financial prospects.
2. To strengthen bonds with our current partners and develop new partnerships with local organisations in order to broaden our scope and the number of communities that we work within.
3. To empower local women and girls through education and training, and to raise awareness on gender equality in the local community.
4. To improve awareness around health and wellbeing, and provide basic tools and knowledge for maintaining hygiene and the prevention of NTD (neglected tropical diseases).
5. To improve awareness and understanding of important environmental issues, and increase community participation in efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste.
Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.
We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.
We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.
We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.
We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.
We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.
For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.
We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.
In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.
We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.
We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.
We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.
As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.
However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.
We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos
We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases
When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.
We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.
We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.
We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.
Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.
We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.
We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.
A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.
Learn about COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.
Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.
Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.
Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.
In this course, you’ll explore the most common pitfalls of community development initiatives so that you can avoid them. You’ll also learn how to carry out community development work effectively and ethically and how local context impacts program development. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.
This online course, valued at £295, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.
We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays ju...
As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the heal...
The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes ...
Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations a...
For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.
The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.