The Chiang Mai Program
Programs based in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai have resumed effective May 2021. Quarantine requirements are in place (see the Additional info. section for details) so we'll work with you every step of the way!
This wonderful project was created with the goal of helping to improve the education of Thailand’s Buddhist monks. Love Volunteers works with a local organization that offers free programs involving teaching novice Buddhist monks English in temple schools. The volunteers’ role in the classroom depends on the school as well as their own comfort level. Volunteers will be paired with a Thai teacher and have the option of simply helping out with daily lessons, or if confident, can jump straight in and start taking their own lessons. Many of the monks volunteers teach would have lived relatively sheltered lives, having joined the monasteries at a very young age. This program teaches the monks more about other cultures and places, allowing for shared cross cultural teaching and understanding. The temple schools are also open to non-monastic students from poor backgrounds so volunteers may find themselves teaching children from an array of backgrounds.
Goals of this Project:
- Provide free lessons to Buddhist monks, helping them and children from impoverished families to improve their English language skills
- Expose non-English speakers to native English speakers in order to improve pronunciation and conversational skills
- Expose volunteers and Buddhist monks to different people and cultures
How You Can Help
This essential program teaches young novice monks something that will last them a lifetime. Volunteers impart skills in English and teach the novice monks more about the world outside, opening up a whole new world to those participating. In return, volunteers can learn about Buddhist philosophy, which is strictly followed by the monks in their daily lives and all about the culture of this wonderful country. Flexibility is the key for volunteers on this program, as there are a number of other things that volunteers can help with, including helping children with their homework, arranging games and activities, cleaning the classroom and assisting teachers with day to day administrative duties. The time volunteers will spend in class depends on the school’s needs as well as the time of year. Generally, volunteers will be in front of students anywhere from 10 to 20 hours per week. Volunteers with plenty of ambition can donate more time planning and possibly helping out with projects at school.
Temple schools are also open to families who cannot afford schooling and classes are often a mix of novice monks and children from poor backgrounds, giving volunteers the opportunity to interact with a diverse range of young Thai students.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Help teach English to novice monks
- Play games, and read to others in English
- Teach general knowledge and skills
- Assist the teacher with administrative duties and cleaning the classroom
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to help create a brighter future for children through the power of education. This project best suits those with experience and/or qualifications in the field of childhood development and education, though volunteers who simply wish to explore an interest in this field are also welcomed as there are many ways you can assist in the classroom. Whist not mandatory, completing a TEFL course prior to joining this project would prove to be highly beneficial. Ideally, volunteers on this project will have at least a basic knowledge of the local language in order to communicate effectively with staff and students, though this is not a pre-requisite. Importantly, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
Thailand's "Rose of the North" is a breath of fresh air compared to its Southern rival. Rich in cultural diversity and natural wonders, Chiang Mai maintains a relaxed and authentically Thai atmosphere. Whether strolling the back-streets of the old quarter, visiting a temple, nodding in passing to orange clad monks going about their day or tucking in to some delicious Thai fare, visitors are sure to delight in what this city has to offer. Not forgetting that nature is on the very doorstep and a short ride outside the city are ample rainforests, waterfalls, rivers, hot springs and tranquil villages. There really is something for everyone!
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start the 1st and 3rd week of every month with volunteers arriving on FRIDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
You will be met on arrival into Chiang Mai by our local representative and taken back to the Volunteer House to settle in, relax and meet with fellow volunteers and your hosts. The following day the Orientation Weekend begins, designed to give an insight into Thai culture, learn some basic Thai words and phrases, negotiate the public transport system, including getting to and from your project and basically set you up to get the very most out of your placement from day one. The two day orientation is a great chance to see a little of this fascinating city with the help of expert guides and in the company of other volunteers. It will also allow you to purchase a local SIM and data package should you wish, withdraw or exchange Thai Baht and ask any last minute questions.
- Arrival Day: FRIDAY 8AM - 8PM
- Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival Airport: Chiang Mai International Airport, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Code: CNX)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this program are accommodated in a volunteer house conveniently located within easy reach of the city. Rooms are dormitory style and split by gender with 2 – 4 volunteers sharing.
All rooms are air-conditioned for comfort and the house has all the amenities a volunteer requires including western-style bathrooms, hot running water, bed linen (volunteers should bring their own towels and toiletries), kitchen and laundry facilities and Wi-Fi available 24 hours a day. Easy!
Accommodation on this program includes daily breakfast at the volunteer house and lunch on weekdays at the program site (included in the program fee). Dinners are self-catered which provides an excellent opportunity to explore the city and dine at one of the numerous eateries offering Thai or international cuisine. Volunteers are also welcome to make use of the kitchen facilities at the volunteer house to prepare meals.
Thai dishes use an abundance of fresh ingredients, herbs and spices and are a taste sensation. Be sure to try the coconut based curries such as Kaeng Khiao Wan’ (Thai Green Curry) and fruit based salads such as pomelo and green mango. Delicious!
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
All arrivals into Thailand are required to quarantine for 15 days. Quarantine must be in an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility and is at the travellers own cost.
A negative RT-PCR COVID test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.
Insurance which covers COVID and provides coverage of no less than US100,000.
A valid visa. We will work with applicants to obtain a non-immigrant O visa which covers volunteering.