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Paid Teaching Vs Volunteering (Which One Is Right For You?)

Posted by Lindsay Hall on 4/24/18 9:49 AM


Trying to decide whether you should volunteer abroad for a semester (all around the world) or get paid to teach in Thailand or Taiwan can be tough. Obviously, one sounds better than the other in theory, but is it the best option for YOU? Let me break down each of them for you...

Deciding between the paid program and the volunteer program can be tricky, but deciding to serve abroad with ILP is not! I mean, you get an ILP group to travel with, ILP directors that keep you safe, trainings AND we take care of things that need to be set up (flights, visas, meals and living arrangements). 

Hey! Hey! You! You...Are you ready to be an ILP volunteer? Thought so. Send in an application now -- it's super easy!

Just make sure you know what program is best for you first! Grab a pen and a piece of paper and make a pro/con list with the info below:

What's the difference between the ILP volunteer program and the paid program?

  • Number of hours you teach/lesson plan
  • Experience/requirements 
  • How long you go
  • Days off/vacation days
  • Available countries
  • Can married couples/males go?

Number of hours you teach/lesson plan

Volunteer program: You will be teaching around 15-20 hours a week and lesson planning a few hours per week (lesson planning hours varies from person to person). You will essentially be working part time. Volunteer teachers always have Saturday and Sunday off. 

Paid program: You will teach 30 hours a week and lesson plan for 10 hours. Obviously, you'll be working full time with this program.  Taiwan teachers teach on Saturdays.



Volunteer program: Need to between 18-25 years old (exceptions are sometimes made for people over 25), native English speaker, USA/Canadian passport holder or green card holder and must abide by the ILP code of conduct

**You DO NOT need to know the language or have any teaching experience  for the volunteer program.

Paid program: The requirements differ for each country:

  • Taiwan: Must be at least 20 years old, native English speaker (or have a non-native accent), must have an AS or BA in any emphasis and must have a physical diploma from their university (you can apply before you getting this).
  • Thailand: Must be at least 20 years old, native English speaker (or have a non-native accent), must have a BA in any emphasis, must have a physical diploma from their university and have experience teaching with ILP (not required, but preferred). 

**You DO NOT need to know the language for the paid program.


How long you go

Volunteer program: You will go for one semester at a time. Here are the time frames -- NOTE: China and Russia are on a different schedule. Talk to your ILP representative for China/Russia's timeline!

  • Spring semester: Early to mid January - end of April/early May
  • Summer semester: End of April/early May - mid August 
  • Fall semester: Mid August to mid December

Paid program: Taiwan teachers go for six months and can extend up to one year. Thailand teachers go for one year.


Days off/vacations days

Volunteer program: You will have scheduled vacation days that the school gives you. If you are sick, you can ask your head teacher to fill in for you for a day.

You're only working part time, so you will have plenty of time to explore your city! Also, you always have your weekends opened for some weekend getaways

Paid Program: Days off vary between the two countries:

  • Taiwan: Allows one to two extra paid leaves each semester depending on what school you go to.
  • Thailand: Allows 15 extra paid leaves for the whole 1 year contract that include sick leaves. 

**Paid teachers also get some vacation days (like national holidays), but they vary between each semester. 


Available Countries

Volunteer program: There are two types of volunteer programs -- the exchange program and the humanitarian programs. Here's the difference between the two

  • Exchange Programs: China, Thailand, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland and Mexico.
  • Humanitarian Programs: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Romania. 

Paid Program: Taiwan and Thailand.

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Can married couples and males go?

Volunteer program: Yes! males can go to these countries and married couples can go to these

Paid program: Yes! Males are accepted in Taiwan and Thailand and both schools can accept one married couple per semester or year contract. They don't allow couples with kids because both you and your spouse will be teaching similar schedules and you live with other teachers. 


No matter which way you decide to go, you better get ready to have one of the most amazing, rewarding and unforgettable experiences of your life! 

Have more questions? Contact our professional program representative at taiwan@ilp.org or office@ilp.org for more info on our volunteer program (or just give the ILP office a call at 801-374-8854).

Whether you want to do the paid program or the volunteer program, you may run into some obstacles before you leave. Don't let them stop you from living your best life and volunteering abroad with ILP. Click that green button to get your free download on how to resolve all those pesky obstacles!

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