TEFL

Frontier

I'm so glad that I went away for my first volunteering trip with Frontier. The in country staff were encouraging and very helpful and easy to talk to so if there was a problem you knew you could talk to someone. The project was really well organised with structured days making it very easy to settle into the project and feel comfortable in Cambodia. Overall the experience was amazing and I had such a good time. I would recommend Frontier to other people. Even looking into maybe doing another project!

Program: TEFL
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Sep 3, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
6

Frontier

I've really loved my time here in madagascar. The teaching programme is extremely rewarding and well supported. It's great to feel like you are making a difference whilst also benefiting yourself by gaining excellent TEFL qualifications. Would love to teach in madagascar again in the future!

Program: TEFL
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Sep 1, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I went to Madagascar with frontier for four weeks of teaching - one of the most memorable four weeks of my life.
The best things about the trip were: the classes and the people I met out there.

It was the summer holidays for the Madagascan children, but luckily that still meant plenty of teaching! During the week, every morning we had a short sunny walk through Hell-Ville to the school. Here we would teach, mostly in pairs, girls and boys with ages from about 8 to 16. Often a little shy at first, they were always incredibly keen to learn and it was brilliant seeing them improve! (I only have basic GCSE french which I can hardly remember but I still managed - Marzia the teaching co-ordinator was always around to help translate and explain if ever we needed some). Then three afternoons a week we would also teach the adult class. These were very different as many of the adults were very capable in English conversation and writing, and incredibly enthusiastic to become even better!! As you will find the malagasy are incredibly friendly - once after class they took us to find the best street food in Hell-Ville. And most memorable was our final night teaching, where one student performed a rap he had written, another pair performed (a slightly out of tune) cover of 'call me maybe', ending with everyone to singing and dancing along.

The teaching house is basic, but as long as everyone made the effort to look after it was a great place to stay - in the centre of town with access to the roof with a beautiful view day and night, not far from the market, the schools or the local bar Nandipo's where we could get wifi and the occasional cheeky pizza! We enjoyed making use of the local food to cook all our meals. Spending all day everyday together and sharing such an experience, everyone in the teaching house becomes close very quickly .. a bit like a family! I miss everyone there and I wish I could do the whole experience all over again!!

Program: TEFL
Location: Africa
Posted: Aug 26, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Thanks for your review of the Madagascar Teaching project.

RCDP Nepal

RCDP has given me endless support during my stay in Nepal and made me feel very relaxed and welcome from the moment I arrived. I was always able to contact someone about my project and they were very accommodating! I stayed in a town called Kirtipur, just 5km outside of Kathmandu which was a great location. The teaching project in the local school was fantastic and I was met with great enthusiasm by the children and the teachers. My host family were also very friendly and I felt very relaxed and at home with them. My only regret is that I was not able to stay longer in Nepal as I feel there is a lot more I would like to do on my project, as well as seeing more of the country! I know for certain that I will return to Nepal and when I do my host family and school will be the first place I visit. The hostel in Kalanki where all the volunteers are dropped when they arrive/leave is a great place to meet like minded volunteers and it is like one big family! There is so much I will miss about Nepal and have had such a positive and exciting experience here. A special thanks to Hom as well for answering all my emails and questions before and during my stay in Nepal.

Program: TEFL
Location: Nepal
Posted: Aug 25, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

When I signed up for this project it was largely because I wanted to find out if teaching was for me. In addition it offered the me the opportunity to experience a different culture, and having done a similar type of project with another company before I liked the way they operated. Frontier was no different. The build up to my trip essentially required doing as little as possible as I was very busy with work. The online area that Frontier set up for prospective volunteers made sure that I knew what I needed to do when I had the time. It could have been improved by giving me some more information about the project however I have to conceed I didn't make any enquiries along this path.

Arriving in Cambodia was relatively straightforward. I had organised flights around my project as I was travelling afterwards. The Frontier staff in Cambodia are very welcoming as are the other volunteers. The accomodation is more than adequate although it does take a bit of time to get used to the heat. It was a large, clean house with basic cooking facilities and volunteers had the option to join in with prepared meals or cook themselves. It worked on a 6-bed single sex dorm Siem Reap is also a town which is large enough to accomodate almost any taste. There was a huge amount of cultural opportunities alongside the tourist hub that Pub St and around is. Getting around was easy, it's all releatively compact and through Frontier we'd arranged push bikes. The Cambodian people were also fantastic and really friendly, not once did I feel unsafe even in the chaotic traffic.

The school was a brilliant opportunity. I would reccomend it to anyone regardless of teaching experience as long as you have enough enthusiasm to work with the kids. There were four different classes which differntiated more on ability than age. The youngest kids however, were grouped in the office. There was then a significantly larger basic abililty class (learning words and phrases), a middle-ability class (phrases, grammar and expressing themselves) and a conversation class of older kids (detailed grammar and conversational English). I worked solely with the middle-ability set who were fantastic. I was impressed with their English but there were immediately things they needed help with which made planning lessons and teaching ideas a little easier. There are morning and afternoon classes and usually you'll do one or the other with the option to do full days. I did not do many of these however as they are extremely tiring. The kids also do performing arts, music and sport on Sundays which it's not compulsory to attend but which I would reccomend if you're interested in any of the above. Occasionally I was given some marking to do but often I could do this in the break between lessons, or if I had to, by the pool after school.

The Frontier staff were great. As they live in the same house they are almost another pair of volunteers and will join in in some activities. Every Thursday we all went to a pub quiz and on Sundays there was 6-a-side football at a nearby pitch with astroturf. They were also there if you had any questions or comments about the school or the project and would even put you in touch with people to help arrange your leisure time trips. Ultimately, I had all the support I needed for this trip as I think did everyone I was volunteering with.

On the whole it was a great experience and I would encourage anyone wanting to see Cambodia or to give teaching a go, to go on this project. Your time will fly by, as everyone stated when I was there, and after four weeks I wish I'd stayed for longer. I was more than happy with Frontier during this trip and recommend them.

Program: TEFL
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Aug 5, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9

Comments

Thanks for taking the time to write such an in-depth and interesting review.

Frontier

Prior to my departure, the Frontier staff I contacted were extremely helpful and easily contactable. I always received a response to emails and was able to speak to a member of the team if I contacted Frontier by phone. When I had some difficulties with making my payment online, the issue was quickly resolved and I was reassured that it would not be considered a ‘late payment’.

The project itself was challenging at times in a positive way, but also relatively flexible. Though teachers provided specific direction and topics to teach in some cases, there were instances where I was free to choose what subject and topic I taught. It was a great opportunity to develop my confidence in teaching. I was somewhat surprised also by how much I enjoyed working in Upper Primary and Junior High classes which I was initially quite nervous about. The students in these classes were polite and interested in finding out about England too.

The host family I stayed with in Ghana (Sam and Millie) did a fantastic job of making their volunteers (myself and two others) feel very welcome. It was a very comfortable environment to be in and this contributed massively to how much I enjoyed the project overall. Sam and Millie were interested in how our classes were going and what we were teaching. They do a fantastic job and are really lovely people.

On the weekends we travelled to the Volta Region and the Western and Central Region of Ghana. Whilst here, we swam under a beautiful waterfall, fed monkeys, completed a tree top canopy walk at Kakum National Park, visited Cape Coast Castle and an entire village built on stilts, in addition to markets, churches and numerous villages during the journeys.
I would definitely recommend this project – particularly for those who are travelling to Africa alone or for the first time.

I am looking forward to planning future travels!

Program: TEFL
Location: Ghana
Posted: Aug 2, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
7

Frontier

Where do I even start? I guess the beginning would be the most logical place... so after my first ever flight by myself (!) I arrived in Siem Reap airport and was greeted by Sakoun, who was one of the tuk tuk drivers we often used for day trips. On the short drive back to the house, Nick (our coordinator who was in Phnom Pen) took the time to call and check I'd arrived okay. On my way to the house I had no idea what to expect- I didn't know who was staying at the house, if anyone was at all, so that made me really nervous as I had no idea what to expect. However, I was greeted by a very lovely and smiley Jane and Ruth who were the team leaders for the trail group who were staying at the house- there were 18 of us in total, and we all seemed to get well. The trail group left on the Friday morning- it was really sad saying goodbye :( For the next week I was the only volunteer in the house, so I was volunteering full time at the school which was knackering, but also a good challenge. We had a holiday on the Tuesday, so I was able to go and see the sunset at Angkor Wat, which was absolutely breathtaking, although the crowds did ruin it a bit! I ended up just going deeper and deeper in to the temple where I eventually got lost..but found a nice quiet area to take some decent photos :)The third week was really good, as three more volunteers arrived on the Monday. After settling in, we had a few nights at the Market (oh..so that's where all my money went, then!) I had a very unhealthy obsession with the cambodian trousers... I have about 4 pairs. I did have more but I ripped them..and can't sew. Swiftly moving on, the weekend after the girls got here we hit up Pub Street and had a really good night out. Needless to say, the next day we just sat by the pool with several litres of water. We got some more company at the start of my fourth week, again letting him settle in before spending a few evenings walking around the town and showing off the lovely Siem Reap. We all went to the Angkor Wat temples again, but I only managed Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm (where part of Tomb Raider was filmed!) before I had to go back to the house- unfortunately I picked up a really nasty ear infection on the Thursday. After the weekend at the Temples I had to go to Hospital to get them to investigate. It didn't take long to sort, but was annoyed I hadn't sorted it sooner! I started feeling better pretty quickly, and that weekend we took the nightbus to Phnom Pen. We had a quick kip at our Guest House (called Tat’s- look it up if you’re there, good value for money!) Afterwards, we took a tuk tuk to the Killing Fields and the S-21 prison. It was a really emotional visit; the display of excavated bones, skulls and clothes really made you realize where you actually were, and really think about what you were being told. I’d recommend going there; it’s not a pleasant experience at all, BUT it’s sort of life-affirming and totally worth it. I think the hardest part was seeing all the photos of the prisoners in the S-21 prison, because some of the people were the same age as the kids I was teaching at the school. That did make me really emotional, seeing not even children but little babies subjected to the conditions of this prison, it really was very grim. I didn’t sleep well that night. We went to the Olympic Stadium which was good, watching Taekwondo and Judo classes- maybe we will see them in a few years?! After that, we went to grab some dinner and see the night market.
On the Sunday, we went to the Royal Palace. It was grand, to say the least, with loads of snap-happy opportunities- I’m still trying to upload loads of photos from the trip. It would be easier to do if I hadn’t left the camera lead in the house back in Siem Reap! We got back late Sunday night, after saying goodbye to the lovely Alex who went to continue her travels to Thailand. I must say I’m really not much of a city girl, and was happy to be back in the quieter Siem Reap province. However, Phnom Pen is definitely somewhere I would recommend, but it’s really only a long weekend deal - I can’t imagine staying there for more than 3 or 4 days.
Unfortunately, I got really unwell (again!) on the Monday night (the night after we got back from Phnom Pen). To begin with, I just thought it was a tummy bug that would go away. However, after a really bad night on the Tuesday night, I went to the International Hospital on the Wednesday evening to see what the problem was. Turned out I’d caught a really nasty parasite, and as I had become seriously dehydrated I had to stay in hospital for 2 nights on a drip and antibiotics to make sure I could make a speedy recovery. Naturally, as it was my last week, I was really, really upset that I had to waste my time in hospital. Moreover, it was Sophie’s last night on the Thursday and I was gutted I had to miss out on saying goodbye to her. I was discharged on the Friday, but still spent all day Friday and half of Saturday feeling really unwell. However, I did manage to make it for a pedicure with Hannah on the Saturday afternoon! (Future volunteers: It’s called Coolsense spa, $6 for a mani or a pedi and it’s opposite Canadia Bank next to Pub Street). I’d been desperate to do a horse trek since I started my trip, and on the Sunday, despite still being unwell, I forced myself to do one. I have to say, it was the most perfect end to my trip. It was everything Cambodia was about - we trekked passed small Buddhist shrines and through a load of paddy fields, with rivers running through them and children playing in the rivers while parents nursed their babies on the banks, and others labored in the fields harvesting the rice. I did it at sunset, so the view was stunning. As it is so flat, I could see for miles and miles. It was beautiful, and after such a crap week it did make me quite emotional to be able to see everything that Cambodia (to me, anyway) was about in a 2 hour trek. There was no one else in my group, so I could change the pace of the trek as I wished - my horse didn’t seem to like going over a certain speed though, when I tried to speed him up he tried to buck me off. I was surprised that I didn’t break a leg after all the luck I’d had with my health over the 6 weeks…. But it really was a great last day. So I came home (yes, I will call it home!) after a really great day, and me, Hannah, Rob, Adrian, Mike and Nick had a really chilled last night. It was such a nice ending to my trip, and I couldn’t get over how much it felt like we were sort of like a family - 4 weeks is a long time, but 6 weeks is even longer, and in that time you do get the stress from being around the same people all the time, sometimes you do argue and just want to walk out, but more often than not we just had a laugh together, and generally got on really well, because we’re in Cambodia and taking part in something incredible, and although we can do the same thing again, the experience will never be the same. It’s something you don’t realize until the last moment, and by that stage you feel like you’ve taken advantage of an amazing opportunity. Considering I’d been really unwell in my last week, this fact hit me like a ton of bricks.Me and Hannah were getting the same flight back to London, so on our way to the airport we stopped off at the school. I know you’re not supposed to have favourites…BUT IT’S HARD NOT TOO! It really, really sucked saying goodbye. I bonded so much with the kids and the teachers in my time there, and saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Khemara and Kanha - the two female teachers we mainly taught with - made us a goodbye poster and Kenha made us a personalized bracelet. My response to this was to just break down and cry as we were just leaving to go to the airport. I’m a very emotional person. It took me a good five minutes to calm down and say “Thank you”. Me and Hannah had gone shopping for school supplies the day before and had bought lots of stuff for the school- for example, exercise books to give out for free to the kids who can’t afford them, rubbers and sharpeners and pencils, skipping ropes and a big alphabet puzzle mat which they LOVED. I came to the school as a volunteer with a fluent understanding of the English language, to teach children without the financing or resources to go to a standard Cambodian school. However, as well as being a teacher I’ve also been taught. I’ve always been quite impatient, but having to teach English to children as young as 4 and trying to tackle the huge language barrier that separates us has taught me how to value the importance of being patient. Through this, I’ve learned the importance of not only respecting your elders, but also showing respect to these children. They’ll listen to you, and as a result they will be able to learn. All you have to do is give them your time, teach them individually as well as a group, and you’ll start to see the differences. These children are the future of Cambodia, and it’s only with the help of volunteers that they will be able to escape the realms of poverty they are in now. English is such a valuable language to them, and we can help them help themselves by opening a new door of opportunity. So, an overall summary of my experience? Incredible. Amazing. Indescribable. Actually close to tears right now because all I want to do is go back and carry on teaching. But alas, University beckons. I’m looking forward to starting a course in Broadcast Journalism in September, and after this amazing experience, I’m hoping I will be able to re-visit next summer and maybe even produce a short documentary when I am there to raise awareness on how important education is in South East Asia, especially for the school as it is a charity which, after working there, I am really keen to support. Things are definitely looking up in Cambodia, all it needs is that final push. Of course poverty occurs in every country, regardless of whether it’s a developing or fully developed country, but each individual volunteer can cause a massive difference to the lives of these children. Gap Years are such a common thing now, and a huge number of people choose to travel to South East Asia. If you’re planning on doing this, all I ask is that you consider spending a week or two volunteering as a teacher, or a medical worker. You will reap the benefits as will they, and it is an experience that you will never, ever forget.

Program: TEFL
Location: UK
Posted: Jul 11, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
7

Frontier

I have spent three weeks at the teaching project so far and it has flown by. The kids are all eager to learn, the local teachers are really accommodating and make you feel part of the team. The weather is hot and sometimes very humid but there is a pool nearby where we often go at the weekends to cool down. I haven't tried the stuffed frogs or fried crickets yet, but the local cuisine is tasty and so cheap. There is also western style food available if you do fancy some home comforts!

All the staff and volunteers live in the same place, in a house in between the school and Siem Reap town which is great as you can just ask the staff for advice. It is pretty laid back which is the Cambodian way. We get around on bicycles which means you get to venture further afield in your free time if you want to visit local villages, the temples, museums or markets. We also play football at the weekends and have been to a pub quiz (although we didn't do too well...)

My whole experience here has been great so far, and I'm looking forward to the rest of my time here!

Program: TEFL
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Jul 10, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

The journalism project is amazing! Your articles really do get published in the newspaper. The home stays are so great and really welcome you into their family. They are the best part of Fiji. Beware of the enormous cockroaches. They are huge. But besides the bugs, everything else is great. And the volunteer coordinator is extremely helpful. I would deff recommend Fiji to all!

Program: TEFL
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jul 10, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
6

Frontier

Bula.I’ve really fallen in love with Fiji. At first I was a bit shocked by the heat, but you soon learn to stick to the shade and keep cool. The kids I’ve been teaching are really friendly and I feel that the teaching I’ve done while I’ve been out here has really had a positive effect on them. Fiji is a unique place - there’s a mix of natural beauty and extreme poverty, but all the Fijians I’ve met have been genuinely friendly, helpful and welcoming. If I had any advice for someone thinking of coming to Fiji with Frontier, it would be to prepare for the heat (sun hat, sun block, money for cold drinks!) and to come with an open mind, but mainly – do it! It’s been an amazing and fulfilling experience.

Program: TEFL
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jul 6, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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