Interns will make a significant difference in the local community by teaching English
to children and young adults. In the process they will gain knowledge and practical
teaching and leadership experience, while becoming immersed in the rich culture in
English skills are vital for students in Laos in order to improve access to further
education and future employment opportunities. As an intern, you will become a
critical part of students’ development and play a role in helping them to improve
their futures. In addition, all internships are geared at developing your leadership
skills. Our leadership course will allow you to develop a variety of key soft and hard
skills. In addition, the corresponding assessment will give you the opportunity to put
these skills in to practice, while allowing you to become a role model to your
students, the community and the other volunteers and interns. GVI have been
running community development, education, and conservation projects since
1997 and our highly experienced field staff will help you gain and improve vital skill
sets to improve your future job prospects.
"The entire experience was amazingly rewarding. All the students I had the pleasure of interacting with were hardworking, dedicated and so appreciative of the work we were doing. Although I was only on the program for a month and had no previous teaching experience, I felt that I was able to play a real part in improving the life opportunities of the students I worked with. I would encourage anyone wanting to make a positive impact while travelling or wanting to experience a culture beyond the tourist experience to seriously consider a project with GVI. My only regret is that I did not stay longer."
These updates cover all programs in this location
Novice Sisamone has been studying English for almost three years and is mostly self-taught. He has recently joined our GVI classes, participating in the Intermediate Library class and the Extension class. This week I conducted an interview with him, all about life as a Novice, in order to practise his speaking skills, here is the full transcript and the video attached below.
Life on the Internship
Interns will teach English from Monday to Friday at various local educational
institutions in the ancient town of Luang Prabang. Student’s levels vary from
beginner to advanced and a variety of topics are taught including grammar,
conversational English and subject based English classes. During your internship, you
will be staying at centrally located guesthouse, sharing a room and bathroom with
other volunteers or interns. You will have daily communal meals with your fellow
What's Not Included
As Laos’s tourism industry has begun to expand and diversify, the demand and nee
for English education is rapidly increasing. Working directly with the community, you
will plan lessons and teach English in a variety of settings with a GVI teaching partner
and assist local teachers with their English lessons; fostering an exchange in teaching
methods and techniques. Once comfortable with your own abilities, you are
expected to lead the other volunteers, take classes and offer support during training
sessions. Interns will also complete the GVI Leadership course. This course is
comprised of various presentations relating to leadership skills and tasks and is
complemented by assignments for each topic, including a leadership day where
interns will put their knowledge in to practice.
How this program makes a difference
The main focus of GVI Laos is education as a tool for individual and community
development. Educational opportunities and socio-economic status are closely
related in Laos. Economic disadvantage and deep-rooted cultural values restrict
access to education. This is only magnified for those living in rural areas; for Laos,
this equates to three quarters of the population. Our three programs target
disadvantaged social groups: children and young adults, Novice Monks and girls and
women. We aim to help to increase students’ access to education and improve their
quality of life. By doing so, GVI Laos works to empower our students to increase their
future employment opportunities, positively impact their socio-economic status and
improve the quality of life of themselves, their families and communities while
meaningfully contributing to the development of Laos as a whole.
What's Not Included
Interning with GVI not only allows you to participate in programmes assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your downtime or further afield either before or after your programme. Many decide to travel in Laos, solidifying the lifetime friendships established during the programme.
Our long-term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Luang Prabang field team have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Laos!
Optional Side Trips
On your weekends or while off project, the following short trips are popular with our interns and should definitely be checked out! Swim in the crystal clear water of the Kuang Si waterfall, enjoy the cascades and walk to the top of the falls to enjoy the beautiful view of the course of the water below. There is also a protected bear camp at the falls that is well worth a visit; take a ride on the Mekong River to visit the historical Pak Ou Caves that hold thousands of Buddha images. Visit the “Jar Maker” and weaving villages on your way back to watch the weavers at work; a short ride out of town, you can kayak on the Nam Khan River, discovering village life, beautiful countryside and lush green mountains along the way; take a guided city tour through Luang Prabang with an experienced English speaking guide, visiting the Royal Palace Museum and the beautiful temples of Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Mai; discover the Tad Sae waterfall, a multi-level limestone formation that creates numerous cascading pools; cycle through the Luang Prabang valley and experience the daily life of the local people, passing temple ruins and handicraft villages.
Further Travelling Opportunities
If you have the time and budget, there are a number of opportunities for exploring Laos further. These could include visiting the World Heritage-listed ancient temple of Wat Phu Champasak, the nature reserve of Nam Ha Npa, the dramatic Mekong River, the travellers adventure hotspot of Vang Vieng and many more. Even further afield, the likes of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all border Laos and are a traveller’s dream with an endless list of possibilities and activities. You’ll be left wondering why you didn’t stay for longer!
Women's Empowerment Coordinator
Meet Tara, our energetic Women's Empowerment Coordinator in Luang Prabang. Tara has had the privilege of visiting around 38 countries and she loves new adventures. She has parasailed in Spain over the Mediterranean, while staying in New Zealand she skydived over Queenstown and bungy jumped off the Auckland Harbor Bridge.
Tara has received a few degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Great Falls in Great Falls, Montana; completed a Semester Abroad Certificate of Proficiency from Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand; and a Master of Arts in International Human Rights and Service with specialisation in Not-for-Profit Management from the University of the Rockies in Denver, Colorado. She was initially attracted to GVI as a volunteer teaching novice Buddhist monks. "I immediately saw the impact of the work I was doing and felt deeply moved by the beauty of Lao culture and Lao traditions. Becoming the Women’s Empowerment Project Coordinator back in Luang Prabang was the perfect opportunity for me to put my skills to use while making an impact."
Meet Leyla, our wonderful program manager in Luang Prabang. She completed a degree in International Relations, specialising in International Development from the Australian National University, she is TESOL certified, moderately fluent in French and is currently studying Lao. Leyla is a passionate person with diverse interests; she has been playing the piano since age 6, she loves running and doing yoga, she loves travelling and has set foot in many countries, sky dived in Austria, and cliff dived in Croatia.
She was first attracted to GVI as a volunteer in 2013. "Our work as a non-political, non-religious organisation that runs bottom up, inclusive projects was what I admired and wanted to get involved in. After volunteering in Kenya for 6 weeks in 2013, I went back to Australia to finish my degree. I knew that I wanted to put my volunteer experience and knowledge into practice in the field, and Laos has been the perfect place to do this!"
Meet Molly, our hard working country director for both Thailand and Laos. Over seeing operations in two countries is no easy task but Molly is more than capable.
She started volunteering and travelling at a young age, working in soup kitchens, with AmeriCorps, at animal shelters, as a Big Sister with Big Brother Big Sisters of America and as a Guardian ad Litem. She studied family development and psychology and loves to dance.
Her goal is to visit one country for every year she is alive. The most unusual place she has travelled to is Uzbekistan, on a trip beginning in Europe and ending in Southeast Asia. This is where she fell in love with Laos which began her journey with GVI. She started working for GVI back in 2012 and she is now based in Thailand. GVI has hubs all around the world and she has been lucky enough to visit the hubs in Nepal, Thailand, Laos and the office in South Africa.
Meet Sue, one of GVI’s Field Staff members in Luang Prabang. Sue is an ex-volunteer herself and completed two GVI internships, one in 2012 in Thailand and then another in Luang Prabang in 2015. This Sri-Lankan born TEFL qualified teacher is currently studying BA Humanities and is passionate about the Asian climate, food and culture. Sue is a wizard in lesson planning, teaching, organising, administration, and making sure all the volunteers are happy and safe, both at work and at play.
Meeting new people gives her a thrill and she absolutely loves getting the chance to work with new volunteers on a day-to-day basis. Teaching Novice monks and making a difference in their lives have been a highlight on her GVI journey and she has been intrigued by their sense of humour! “Giving alms to the monks early in the morning is the best way to start the day and going to listen to the novices chanting in the evening is the best way to end a hectic day.”
She thrives off the energy from enthusiastic and open-minded volunteers and being able to mentor them from nervousness to confidence. Her skills aren’t restricted to the classroom; she is also very entrepreneurial and adventurous. Sue had her own business for over fifteen years and celebrated becoming a grandmother in 2012 by going zip-lining in Chiang Mai, Thailand!
Assistant Director of Programs
Meet Jill, our Assistant Director of Programs and line manager for Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal, Australia and Kenya programs. ‘Manow’ (lime), as she’s locally known in Thailand where she's based, taught English, environmental education and art in the USA and Thailand before joining us to set up a TEFL and Community Development Expedition. “I haven’t looked back since!”
When Jill isn’t working, she likes reading or doing just about anything energetic. “I devour books, love cooking and enjoy finding some time to get some exercise – yoga, dancing and aerobics are some of my faves.”
What does Jill like most about her job? “It’s great to see volunteers rising above the cultural and language barriers between themselves and the communities. That, and every day is completely different, which is the way I like it- it keeps me from getting bored.” Being ‘allergic’ to being bored has led to Manow doing some pretty amazing things. “I once ended up spending a week living in a cave with some Buddhist monks while I helped them build a small adobe monk hut.”