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TEFL and Teaching English Internship in Thailand

Become TEFL certified while completing this six month English teaching internship in Thailand.

Program Code: THAL0117N

Program Information

Earn your TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, certificate while completing three months of training with the GVI team in the province of Phang Nga and another three months on a work placement at another local educational institution in Thailand. In the evenings and on weekends, immerse yourself in Thai culture and explore the natural wonders of this uniquely beautiful region of the world.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Remote-Working Friendly
Reliable WIFI
Part-Time Options


Start your career teaching English abroad by earning your TEFL certification and completing this education internship in Thailand. Your first three months will be spent at the GVI base in Phang Nga, a region known for its breathtaking natural beauty and authentic Thai culture. Here GVI runs a range of sustainable development projects including those related to community development, like supporting English education in the community, and conservation initiatives. After earning your TEFL certificate, go on to work at an educational institution in Phang Nga or another province of Thailand.


  • Gain an internationally recognised TEFL certification.

  • Gain three months of in-field training with all age ranges and skill levels at multiple local schools.

  • Teach English at schools where there are few or no native speakers, supported by GVI staff.

  • Immerse yourself in the Thai culture, spending time learning the language, getting to know the local cuisine, and learning about Thai Buddhist practices.

  • Explore the local environment, snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, travel by small motorboat from one small tropical to the next, or simply relax on the beach.

  • Contribute to UN SDGs, #4, Quality Education, and UN SDG, #8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Program Details

Further Program Details

For the initial three months of this Thailand teaching internship, interns will live and work with other GVI interns at the GVI base in the small fishing village of Ban Nam Khem, in the Southern Thai province of Phang Nga.

During the first twelve weeks of this program, GVI interns will complete a 170-hour TEFL course. Additional instruction includes training on how to teach phonics, plan lessons, and managing classrooms. Classroom observation and practical classroom and teaching experience is also included.

Teaching experience opportunities in and around Ban Nam Khem villas include formal classes at local kindergartens and primary schools, tutoring sessions with students that require additional educational support, adult education classes,and after school conversational English classes for students of all ages. These varied teaching opportunities give interns the chance to experience a range of teaching environments, allowing them to learn which applies most to their sensibilities.

Upon completion of their TEFL course, interns will become Newly Qualified Teachers and will teach more independently for a term. They will still receive ongoing support from our qualified field staff. They also have the option to continue their Thai language education.

This program includes the ILM Endorsed Leadership program, designed to develop your leadership skills and put you a step above other candidates. This program will be completed during your first 12 weeks on the base with GVI staff and other participants. Each week you will learn about a specific concept related to leadership and teamwork and complete an assignment on the topic. You will be guided through the process by your assigned mentor on base. At the end of the course, successful candidates will receive a certificate and personal recommendation.

During school holidays, from mid-March to the end of May, and in October, teaching or child development volunteers and interns take part in alternate teaching activities. This might include teaching adults or running summer camps that might have an English language learning focus. They also have the option of contributing to other ongoing sustainable development projects like cleaning tanks at sea turtle conservation facilities, carrying out biological surveys of local islands, and conducting preventative healthcare workshops in the local community.  Thailand also has many national festivals, during which time government offices, banks, businesses, and therefore schools, are closed. One of these important festivals is Thai New Year which occurs around mid April. During this time, the GVI staff team will arrange for participants to experience the local festivities. Many people travel to Thailand to simply experience these festivities and this is an excellent opportunity for participants to fully immerse themselves in Thai culture.

During the evenings and weekends, interns have the option of exploring Phang Nga province on their own or with new friends made at the GVI base. The area is a tourist hotspot, known for its long stretches of sandy white beaches, turquoise waters hiding abundant marine life, including sea turtles and coral reefs, and unique coastal and island landscapes featuring waterfalls, mangrove forests, monkeys, tropical birds, and butterflies. Immerse yourself in the culture by taking a Thai cooking class or visiting local sacred Buddhist temple.

After the successful completion of the first 12 weeks of the internship, interns will earn a position either as an education project staff member at the GVI base or a spot at one of our education partner institutions in Thailand, including a local primary school or kindergarten. The specifics of your work placement are subject to the needs of our partners at the time of your internship. This is because, as a sustainable development organisation, we are committed to supporting the needs of our local partners, which change over time.

Your accommodation for the duration of work placement could be anything from a homestay with a Thai family or a more traditional guesthouse to your own dependent rooms. During Thai school holidays, occuring in March, April, and October, interns on the work placement portion of their program will stay at the GVI base in Ban Nam Khem village in Phang Nga.  

No matter where you are stationed during the work placement position of your teaching internship in Thailand, you will have the opportunity to explore this region more fully during your free time in the evening or on weekends.

After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work for GVI or selected partner organisations in Thailand, or in other countries around the world where GVI operate. Over 50% of GVI staff are recruited from our alumni database. Qualification for positions is at the sole discretion of Global Vision International.
Change your location and dates free of charge.
Payment Plans
Flexible payment plans available.
Cancellation Waiver
Cancel anytime and receive a full refund minus your deposit.

Select a Start Date

  • 2022
  • 2023

Select a Duration

Select a start date first.

Life On Base

Our GVI base is located in the heart of a small fishing village named Ban Nam Khem, which is about one and half hours from Phuket airport, and about half an hour from the popular resort town of Khao Lak. Situated within the Phang Nga province, this region was the worst affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. It’s estimated that almost half of Ban Nam Khem’s residents lost their lives in the tsunami, and today there is a famous memorial dedicated to them. Though steeped in tragedy, the people of the village refuse to be defined by their loss. The community has rebuilt itself and grown substantially since then.

Participating in this GVI program in Phang Nga offers you the chance to slow down and experience living and working in a traditional Thai community, tucked away from the usual busy tourist hotspots. The base is a short ten-minute walk from the beach and a fifteen-minute walk from the centre of the village – where you’ll find little markets, shops and street food vendors that are open daily. When you’re out and about, you’ll often be joined by Tiger, the friendly village dog who lives across the road. He loves to tag along on adventures and visit the base. You will share a house that includes communal spaces – here you can learn and relax with our GVI staff and other participants from all around the world. On the weekends, you can explore the numerous stunning beaches, islands, caves, and national forests that the Phang Nga region is renowned for.

Base Tour


24-hour in-country support
Education facilities
Meals while on project

Our house is situated within Ban Nam Khem village. There is a lovely coffee shop on one side and a beautiful jungle on the other. You will stay in mixed-gender, dorm-style accommodation with a maximum of six occupants per room. Each room has a bathroom with a cold water shower and a flushing toilet. There are communal spaces for training, project planning and socialising with your new friends. We also have a homemade ping-pong table, a small barbecue area, and deck chairs to relax in after a rewarding day of project work. The study area has a great variety of fiction and non-fiction books. Our resource room is filled with helpful research and training materials, as well as many interesting books on conservation.

If you prefer more privacy, or require a faster Wi-Fi connection for remote work, you can opt for an accommodation upgrade at an additional cost. There are two options between the base and the beach, which are about a five-minute walk away. The first option is wooden bungalows situated next to beautiful lily ponds, which offer great views to watch the sunset and spot birds and butterflies. The bungalows have a double bed and a private bathroom with a hot water shower, a flushing toilet and small kitchen area with a fridge. The second option is a newly built two-story hotel. The large tiled rooms have good air conditioning, a big bathroom, and a kettle in each room. You will still make use of all the facilities at the base and join the normal schedule of activities and meals that take place there.


On the morning of your program start date, a transfer will be provided from Phuket Airport Place to the GVI base. A five-minute walk from the airport exit, the Phuket Airport Place hotel is our recommended pre-program accommodation. They also offer a free airport pickup if you request it at the time of booking your room. The journey from Phuket airport to the GVI base takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. Some project sites are within walking distance of the base, and we provide transportation to the project locations that are further away, ensuring you arrive promptly to take part in your project work. You can easily get around the village on foot. Travelling further around the region in your free time is also quite easy to do with cheap and reliable buses between all major towns.


Wi-Fi is available at the base, but bear in mind it might not be as reliable as you might be used to back home. If you plan on working remotely while completing a program with us, we recommend opting for the accommodation upgrade, as the connection at the bungalows and hotel is a lot better. You can bring a network-unlocked mobile phone with you, or even purchase an affordable phone in Thailand. You can purchase an inexpensive local SIM card, making it easy to stay in touch when outside of the Wi-Fi range. You can buy top-up phone credit for reasonably priced calls, and phone shops are plentiful in the nearby tourist areas.


This program gives you the opportunity to experience authentic Southern Thai cuisine, while still having the chance to share some of your own favourite meals from back home. You’ll make your own breakfast from a choice of items which might include toast, cereal, oats, eggs, and a variety of tropical fruit commonly available in Thailand. From Sunday to Thursday, lunches and dinners are prepared by local cooks. These usually consist of Thai and Burmese cuisine. Thai food can be quite spicy, but our cooks adjust the spice level to suit you. On Friday and Saturday you can prepare your own meals from food provided on base – or choose to eat out (at your own expense).


Thailand has a famously tropical climate, the perfect weather in which to enjoy Thailand’s many beaches. The temperature ranges from 22°C – 34°C (72°F – 93°C) throughout the year. There are two main seasons – the dry and the wet season, although it is hot and humid on most days of the year. The dry season runs from November to April and the wet season from May to October.


When doing project work and spending time in the local town, you will be expected to wear modest clothing, and behave in ways that are in accordance with Thai customs. Loose-fitting clothing is the most acceptable. When in the community and on projects, your shoulders, chest and knees need to be covered. When away on weekends, you can wear bikinis and shorts. Thai people are friendly and welcoming, and respectful towards their elders and the royal family of Thailand.


COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place. Learn more.

Covid-19 Response

Health and Hygiene

For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.

The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Live Updates

Follow GVI Phang-Nga's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.


When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.

As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.


COVID-19 Safety

Please note that the above images were taken pre COVID-19. All airport pick-ups and program operations now run with enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place. Learn more.


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As GVI is providing this portal as a service we are not responsible for the accuracy of this site.

We are also not responsible for any loss, damage (including loss of profits or consequential damages), injury, illness, harm or death in relation to your flight and travel arrangements.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

Meet the team - Senior Field Management

Vanessa Rees

Program Manager

This is Vanessa. Vanessa is originally from the UK and joined GVI back in 2017, when she was completing an Education program in India. Since this volunteering expedition she has worked more closely with GVI and is now the Program Manager at our base in Phang Nga, Thailand.

Your Supervisor

We’re of the belief that internships are learning experiences and that a great supervisor is absolutely essential to the success of any internship program. Our supervisors will assist you in familiarising yourself with your environment and provide the guidance you need to meet your goals and solve problems. They’re remote, so that location and travel restrictions don’t affect us in choosing the supervisor that best suits your needs.

Research Supervisor


If you choose our research internship package, you’ll be assigned an research supervisor. Your research supervisor will provide guidance for you in achieving your data collection and analysis goals. They’ll also help you to navigate the complex challenges of collecting and analysing data within the context of international field research.


Internship Supervisor


When you choose our core internship package, you’ll be assigned an internship supervisor. They’ll help you to navigate day-to-day challenges involved in completing learning and tasks related to your internship program. They’ll provide guidance throughout your internship so that you can get your work done successfully and maximise the benefits of your experience.


Career Supervisor


If you choose our career internship package, you’ll be assigned a career supervisor. Your career supervisor will help you to navigate the professional relationship with the international organisation for which you’ll be completing a project. They’ll also help you to master skills necessary for successfully making the transition from full-time student to full-time employee.


Your Impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. Then, once on base you’ll learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Environmental education

Conservation starts with education. Throughout the year, we conduct environmental awareness workshops at local schools, hotels, tour and dive operations, and elsewhere in the local community when an opportunity presents itself. We run an after-hours conservation club at our partner schools. These workshops aim to educate students on the importance of protecting the mangroves, ocean and wildlife, as well as reducing plastic use and pollution of the environment.

Community work

Ban Nam Khem, meaning “Place of Salty Water”, became the epicentre of a tin mining boom in the 1950s. At its peak, the population grew from a few families to approximately 5,000 people. When all the tin was extracted from the surrounding mines, the mining bubble burst.  All that remains of the industry are lakes dotted around the village, marking where mines were dug and never filled. Today most people earn a living from fishing, but many seek alternative livelihoods in the nearby tourist hub of Khao Lak.

Thailand, like many countries in Southeast Asia, suffered greatly in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26th December 2004. Phang Nga, the province in which Ban Nam Khem is located, was one of the most severely affected in the country. Many villagers lost their homes, relatives, and friends. Although much progress has been made, there is still a  need for community redevelopment and regeneration.

The GVI Phang Nga base was established  in September 2012 with the aim of supporting the continued redevelopment of Ban Nam Khem and increasing access to employment opportunities through capacity-building initiatives. A large development planned for Khao Lak will make it an even more popular tourist destination in the years to come.  Three-, four- and five-star hotels are currently being developed, which will likely significantly impact the landscape of the surrounding communities in the future, including Ban Nam Khem.

The local community’s efforts to diversify employment markets remain central to its well-being. Ban Nam Khem is well positioned to take advantage of the tourism boom in this region, but the community members need a good level of conversational English to enable them access to the corresponding employment opportunities. English language skills can also assist community members in the Thai workplace and the international economy. 

Ban Nam Khem boasts its own primary school with an enrollment of around 250 children, and a Community Development Centre which offers free education during the day for around 150 children who live in the village. There are also free after-school classes that are available to everyone.

English education program

Throughout the year we work with a variety of local schools and age groups, from kindergarten to seniors. We assist local teachers with running classes to improve conversational and written English. This might include leading English classes, training local teachers, assisting with lesson development, and providing one-on-one tutoring sessions for learners requiring additional support. We also assist with conversational and professional English lessons for adult learners from the community in order to improve employability and job prospects. We offer both beginner and advanced level classes to adults. During the school holidays, we take part in other community activities and run summer camps – which allows children to continue learning, and provides a safe place for them to go while their parents are at work.

Construction projects

When they require our support, we assist educational and community centers around Ban Nam Khem and further afield with infrastructure development. We conduct basic maintenance and renovation work, like painting, maintaining fences, building school gardens, making desks, and improving the overall physical learning environment.

Public health project

Based on their needs, we run regular health workshops at local schools and in the community. These include workshops on dental hygiene, nutrition, general well-being, women’s and men’s health, and anti-smoking campaigns. We also conduct frequent health checks within the community and educate community members on health management. We provide free basic health education around obesity, which is an increasing problem in Thailand. In schools, we focus on hygiene by promoting hand-washing routines from an early age. We also conduct bi-monthly early childhood development testing focused largely on motor and sensory skills.

Our Partners In Phang Nga

Project Objectives


GVI Phang Nga Long-term Objectives:  

1. Provide equal, quality education to children from all backgrounds.

2. Promote good health and well-being of the local community members through education.

3. Improve the English skills of the local community, allowing them access to equal employment opportunities in the communities of Takuapa and Ban Nam Khem.

4. Increase awareness of environmental issues within the local community and facilitate change towards sustainability through education.


The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research. Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies. We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.


Our 10 Ethical Commitments


Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.

Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.

However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.

Program Ethics



We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.


Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.


We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.


We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.


A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.

For All GVI Participants

Orientation: Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing


Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically


Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals


Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact


For All Participants at Phang Nga

Community: Human Empowerment


Conservation: Survey Techniques and Logistics


Conservation: Biodiversity & Target Species Identification


Marine Conservation: Pollution and Plastics


Marine Conservation: Coral Reefs


Introduction to Thai Culture


Introduction to Thai Language


The Importance of Responsible Tourism in Thailand


Your Program Specific Training

TEFL Course


Jolly Phonics Training


Guide to Lesson Planning


Classroom Management Training


Class Observation



References and Recommendations

Career Services

After successfully completing your internship you’ll have a host of new skills, specialised knowledge and work experience. You’ll also have a professional reference and, possibly, new qualifications. Our post-program career services will help you leverage what you’ve gained throughout your internship to take the next step on your chosen career path.

Careers in Sustainability


Career paths in social and environmental impact are not as well-established as other fields. That’s why we provide all of our interns with a Careers in Sustainable Development course in partnership by the University of Richmond. In this course, you’ll learn about current and emerging opportunities in a range of sectors, allowing you to make the best decision about your future.

This online course is valued at £295 and is included in all internships.

Course details can be found here.

Career Coaching


When you’ve successfully completed your internship, you’ll have the opportunity to schedule two career coaching sessions with one of GVI’s career mentors.

Use these small group sessions to develop your career goals, personal branding and job-hunting strategies.

Preferential Recruitment


At the end of your internship you’ll be added to our list of potential candidates we’ll consider first for GVI vacancies around the world. Stay up-to-date on positions by checking our Careers Abroad jobs portal. Get in touch if you find that fits you perfectly.

Job Portal Access

Once signed up to a GVI Internship, you’ll receive access to our jobs portal listing thousands of vacancies in social and environmental impact roles around the world. Employers range from non-profits to purpose-driven businesses.


Job Guarantee


If you join a career and research internship program for the duration of 24 weeks or longer you’ll receive a money-back job guarantee. We promise that you’ll find a position in an impact-driven field within 18 months of successfully completing the program or you’ll receive 50% of your internship program fee back.

Terms and conditions apply.

Free time

Joining a program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer.

Long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.

Weekend Trips

Island Hopping

The Similan and Surin Island groups are both protected Marine National Parks. They are home to several world-renowned diving and snorkelling spots, but can only be visited between October and May, the Thai dry season. While you’re there, you might be lucky enough to spot manta rays, whale sharks, nurse sharks and blacktip reef sharks. Camp on Surin island to experience life within the nomadic Moken community, also known as Sea Gypsies. One of the few remaining hunter-gatherer populations in Southeast Asia, they live lightly, making minimal impact on the natural environment. If you are looking for an island that can be visited all year round, why not explore the Phi Phi islands? Located further afield, they’re famous for the Viking Cave, a dramatic limestone cliff formation featuring a rock painting of boats.

Khao Lak

This is a very popular tourist spot. It’s filled with seemingly endless beaches, so many dining options you will be spoilt for choice, and hundreds of spas offering massages and treatments at reasonable rates. With a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to hostels, Khao Lak offers you the chance to spoil yourself for a few days – whether you are on a budget or looking to splurge a little.

Khao Sok National Park

Said to be more diverse than the Amazon, this 740 square metre rainforest reserve is home to elephants, deer, monkeys, lizards, birds, and the Rafflesia, a giant flowering plant with the largest flowers in the world. In the middle of the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world (at least 160 million years old) lies Cheow Larn Lake. Here you can trek through the jungle, kayak through estuaries, mangroves and tidal lagoons, swim in waterfalls, and explore spectacular limestone caves. Plan a day trip or or book an overnight stay in one of the jungle tree houses or floating bungalows.

Further Travels


This province is a treasure trove for travellers. Enjoy the crystal-clear Emerald Pond, the epic 1,237-step climb to the Buddha statue, the stunning views at the Tiger Temple Cave and the enchanted scenery and pools of Than Bok Khorani National Park. Known for their dazzling marine life and terrestrial beauty, experience island life on one of the many Andaman islands in the region.


Phuket is a tourism hotspot – as popular for its spectacular beaches, diving, and surfing sites, as it is for its cafés, boutiques and hotels. You can also visit The Big Buddha, a massive white marble statue, nearly 50 metres tall, depicting the Buddha in a seated position. Trips of the surrounding islands, like Koh Yao Yai, are widely available from Phuket.


Thailand boasts some of the top beach destinations in the world, with Railay beach being one of the most popular. A peninsula on the Andaman coast, it consists of three separate beaches, only accessible by boat. Other well known beaches include Nai Harn Beach in Phuket, and Phra Nang Cave Beach in Krabi Province.

Phang Nga Bay

Explore the warm turquoise waters and limestone cliffs of Phang Nga by speedboat or sea kayak, stopping off at James Bond Island – made famous by the 1974 film The Man With the Golden Gun.

Mu Koh Chang National Park

This protected marine park covers a huge area, including over 50 islands. Visit the jungle island of Koh Chang, where you can snorkel or scuba-dive off the coast and experience the unique marine life.

Koh Tao Island

Also known as “‘Turtle Island”’ this is another excellent destination for snorkelling and scuba-diving, or simply relaxing on the beach. The visibility is fantastic and there is an abundance of marine life. The island is a very important breeding ground for hawksbill and green turtles. Working alongside other local partners, the Royal Thai Navy breeding program has successfully reintroduced hundreds of juvenile turtles into the ecosystem.

Khao Yai National Park

Explore the picturesque waterfalls of Khao Yai in central Thailand. Here you can spot unique Thai wildlife like gibbon monkeys.

Nan Province

Explore the many natural sites of Nan, bordering Laos – like Doi Phu Kha National Park and Si Nan National Park. It is the perfect area to experience the dense natural forests that Northern Thailand is known for.


Travel to the city complex ruins of Ayutthaya to learn more about Thailand’s heritage. This spectacular, but now abandoned city used to be the medieval capital of Siam.

Chiang Mai

Set in the verdant mountainsides of Northern Thailand, the golden city of Chiang Mai is a breathtaking sight to behold. Visit historic temples and hunt for treasures at local markets.


There is a reason why the capital of Thailand is one of the most visited sites in the country. Featuring gorgeous temples, the spectacular Grand Palace, and many excellent shopping opportunities (including the famous floating market), it’s a location you simply have to explore while on your trip to Thailand.

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.


February: Magha Puja is an important Buddhist holiday during which people make offerings at temples around the country.

April and May: Thailand’s New Year, also known as Songkran, is celebrated during April every year. It is a family-centred holiday, and many travel to their homes where they honour the older members of their extended families. They wash statues of Buddha, which represents good fortune and cleansing of the past before stepping into the new year. In May, Thai people celebrate Buddha’s birthday (also known as Visakha Puja). Community members gather at temples to give donations, listen to sermons, and chant prayers.

July to October: In July, many Buddhists celebrate Asalha Puja, which commemorates Buddha’s first sermon to his disciples. This starts the annual three-month retreat of the monks, known as Vassa. The retreat ends with a celebration called Wan Ok Phansa. This is marked in Northeast Thailand with illuminated boat processions filled with offerings and beautifully decorated with flowers, candles, and lamps.

September/ October: Also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, the Thai Vegetarian Festival takes place in the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, usually in September or October, and lasts for nine days. During this time members of the community abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol and telling lies, in order to purify the body and mind. In the days leading up to the festival, the island is decorated with yellow Chinese flags. Phuket prepares for the festival by deep cleaning their shrines, setting up stages, hanging elaborate Chinese-inspired decorations and parade accessories. Dozens of vegetarian food stalls are set up and line the streets of Phuket Town. The festival is popular in towns and districts across Thailand, including Takuapa, where we celebrate.

November: Loi Krathong, the festival of a thousand lights, is celebrated in November. People set thousands of lanterns out on rivers and lakes around the country to pay their respects to the goddess of water, Ganga. It is a spectacular site that draws many international visitors each year.

Spirituality and Religion

Most Thai people subscribe to Theravada Buddhism. There are many local Buddhist sites in the region of Phang Nga that you can visit to learn more about Buddhist customs. Travel to Wat Suwan Khuha to see the reclining Buddha or Wat Rat Uppatham to see a massive painted statue of Kuan Yin and Buddha rising out of the lush green countryside. In our local area you’ll find a mix of Thai, Chinese and Burmese Buddhism, which have their own temples and traditions. We are ideally located to experience all three.


The fluid movements and opulent gilded costumes of Thai traditional dancing are recognisable worldwide. Learn about the six types of Thai classical dance, watch a performance, or maybe even attend a class where you can learn some traditional movements.


Thai food is famous the world over and is known for its fragrant, spicy flavours. All participants receive cooking lessons from our local staff, so during your stay in Phang Nga you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to cook some authentic Southern Thai dishes. There will also be many opportunities to try different types of authentic Thai cuisine while out and about in your free time.

Phang Nga

Known for its amazing limestone rock formations, pristine beaches, and rich culture, Phang Nga is a pocket of paradise in Southern Thailand. Its beaches and islands offer many opportunities for spotting unique marine and terrestrial species. The community here is very traditional – making it possible to fully immerse yourself in traditional Thai culture.


There are about 71 languages in Thailand with five main families: Austronesian, Hmong-Mien, Thai, Mon-Khmer and Sino-Tibetan. Thai is the national language of Thailand which is spoken by approximately 80% of its population. The Thai language is incredibly complex. It is tonal and altogether there are five tones: mid, low, high, rising and falling. This means you can say the same word five different ways, and it will mean five different things! All participants receive Thai lessons and you can learn more about the language by mastering some basic conversational phrases with the local community members. Viewed as a gesture of respect, members of the community love it when visitors make the effort to speak Thai. The members of our community also speak Burmese.

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures are in place throughout each GVI program. Learn more.


Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Upon arrival at the airport, participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. The minimum staff to participant ratio on GVI’s programs is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov


It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.

1 Nov


As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.

6 Nov


The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.

5 Nov


Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.

What's Included


24-hour emergency desk

24-hour in-country support

Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)

All project equipment

Food (except on long-term internship placements

Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)

Pre-Program Training

Group introductory call

Welcome presentation

Endorsed GVI Specialisation Course

In partnership with the University of Richmond

Endorsed Leadership Course

In partnership with the University of Richmond
Project Work

Sustainable project work

Leadership responsibilities

Data collection and research

Real projects with partners

Remote Support

Program training

Tailored to your location and program focus

Remote Internship Supervisor

Remote Academic Internship Supervisor

Remote Career Internship Supervisor


Preferential recruitment on GVI positions

Job portal access

Endorsed Careers Course

In partnership with the University of Richmond

Career coaching sessions(x2)

Job guarantee (6 month minimum)

Certificates & Achievements

PDF reference - upon request

Linkedin reference and skills endorsement


Work Placements

Our career internship programs include the option of joining and completing a work placement of between 2 to 12 weeks with impact-focused organisations all over the world. These could be charities, businesses, governments, or GVI itself. Please note that placements come at an additional cost. Speak to us for details.