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What Do You Wear While Teaching With ILP?

Posted by Emily Henkel on 1/16/20 10:45 AM


Besides the construction paper and glue sticks in your suitcase, you should also be packing stuff to wear on vacations and in the classroom, right?

You’ve got warm winter boots if you are heading to Eastern Europe and our Thailand volunteers wouldn’t dream of forgetting sandals and swimming suits, right? But what about the clothes you wear for teaching English when living abroad? After all, that’s what you’ll be doing 3-4 hours a day. 

Love the idea of teaching but aren’t sure how to make that happen?
Get more info about teaching with ILP here

But don’t worry, the question about what you need to wear is pretty easy to answer: 

For All ILP Volunteers 

Basically, our rule is "business casual" for what to wear in the classroom — however, some schools have more of a dress code, keep reading for that. You don’t have to look like you are going to a professional business meeting or anything, but you should look nice (so no jeans with holes or sleeveless/cropped tee shirts).

Even though you're volunteering, everyone else (students, parents of students, other teachers at the school) sees you as the teacher and someone to look up to so keep that in mind. Shirts should have sleeves and skirts need to go to your knee. Wear pants without any holes and nice tee shirts (no logos or holes) are also fine. Guys, you can teach in shorts as long as they reach your knee. 

Another tip is make sure you feel comfortable to move around, because kids move around! If you are constantly needing to pull your shirt up or down or your jeans are too tight, trust me, that's one extra thing you don't want to be worrying about. 

Here are some of our favorite places to get comfy and modest clothes for teaching. 


A Note On Modesty 

While there is a set dress code for teaching, some countries also have dress code guidelines when volunteers are hanging out or exploring their city.  In a handful of locations, volunteers are asked to wear loose, flowy, and modest clothing when you’re out exploring and while you're teaching.
Being respectful of the culture is an enormous part of your ILP experience, and a huge part of that is dressing modestly. In many countries where ILP volunteers live, volunteers teach in the same community they live in ... that means you often see the kids you teach and their families outside of class. If you're running to the grocery store in short shorts and a tank top in a culture that really values modesty, you're going to stand out.
If you think dressing modestly at all times during your semester in certain countries will be an issue for you, please contact the ILP office. We take this seriously, and can work with you to assign you to a country that would be a better fit. 
ILP Adventure

Schools With More Exceptions 

Certain schools have different requirements that you’ll hear all about during ILP training for your country. Some schools don’t allow shoes without a back to them or any jeans at all. For example, in some countries, wearing strappy sandals and flip flops look just like the shoes you'd wear to shower in so it’s best not to teach in them. Stuff like that. But don’t worry! You can ask about the specifics at any point (with your ILP representative, once you come to training, or just by calling our office). 

Romania has the biggest exception. Anyone who have been thinking about volunteering in the Romanian orphanage will need to wear scrubs during their shifts at the orphanage and apartments. 

Schools With Dresses 

In some locations, the schools we are working with have requested that all female volunteers wear a skirt or dress while teaching. 

For our female volunteers in hot and humid locations (Africa, Caribbean, Central America, and the South Pacific) you've either been asked to only wear skirts or dresses, or volunteers just do that anyways because it's just so hot! Remember, dresses and skirts should reach your knee (at least ... best best is to have the fabric reach your knee even when you're sitting or sitting down). 

We also suggest wearing biker shorts or spanx underneath just in case a little kiddo gets a hold of your hemline. 

Volunteer in the Caribbean with ILP

Ready for your own semester? 

Come travel the world and make a difference with ILP! You'll be set up with a set of volunteers to live, travel, and teach with, plus some vacation time and every single weekend off (which means lots of time for exploring). We're here to help you every step of the way, starting which what country would be right for you! 

What Countries Can I Volunteer In?

Topics: Get Ready For Your ILP Trip, All About ILP + Volunteering, Teaching With ILP

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We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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