GVI: Volunteer in Laos

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You can make a difference and volunteer with GVI in Laos! From teaching novice Buddhist Monks to working with underprivileged children, you can make a difference and learn about a fascinating new culture. Those who volunteer in Laos with GVI are treated to spectacular landscapes, delicate temples and the opportunity to experience a fascinating culture. Join us in Laos, one of the most traditional countries in Southeast Asia!

Top Volunteer Projects in Laos:

  • As a volunteer with GVI, you'll be teaching English to Buddhist monks at Wat Siphoutthabat School in Luang Prabang. Your contribution towards our project will help the community to alleviate poverty through better education and better job opportunities.
  • Travel to Luang Prabang, the stunning ancient city in Laos, and contribute to sustainable women’s empowerment initiatives in the local community. You can get involved with health and life skills, English lessons, and help play a significant role in improving the lives of local disadvantaged females.
  • Discover Asia when you travel to Nepal, India and Laos on a world wind volunteer experience! Contribute to valuable childcare initiatives and help provide much needed educational and early development support to the underprivileged children of these regions.
  • Laos offers one of the richest cultures in Asia and is the ideal setting for volunteers to spend their days working with local children and assisting Lao English teachers at schools and at language centers.
  • Gain practical teaching experience and boost your career while helping local teachers with their English and managing volunteer projects, making a real contribution to the community.
  • Travel to two stunning Asian countries and help enhance the education of Buddhist Novice Monks and help reintegrate elephants into their natural habitat from lives in tourist camps.

Questions & Answers

Definitely enough time to get a feeling for the country and to give back. First time, I went for 3 weeks and then returned for 6 weeks the next year.


based on 18 reviews
  • Impact 8.7
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.3
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 8.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 18
Recess from teaching in the Mekong cafe
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Cultural Experience

I took retirement from my job as a nurse manager in the UK and needed a diversion to help me adjust to this life change. I searched the internet and was instantly attracted to the Womens Empowerment Programme run by Global Vision International (GVI) in the beautiful city of Luang Prabang, Laos.
GVI provided me with 10 hours of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and issued me with a certificate. This guidance, from GVI staff, gave me the necessary preparation for my teaching role. The instruction on lesson planning and using different teaching techniques and games were particularly useful. The GVI teaching staff provided mentorship, so I always felt supported.
My involvement with the Women's Empowerment Programme, where I was involved in teaching English and running careers workshops, was very rewarding. I had the opportunity to make a positive difference to these young women who have limited access to education and often limited life choices. GVI recognizes that teaching English improves employment opportunities for this group of young women. Also, the aim of the careers workshops is to help broaden their awareness of employment opportunities and choices. It was a pleasure to see their enjoyment when participating and they even chose to attend on a bank holiday!
Through volunteering with GVI I was also involved in the Days for Girls (DfG) menstrual health programme. This initiative provides health education and reusable menstrual hygiene products for women in rural communities. I taught a young Laos man about menstrual health which prepared him to be an ambassador for the DfG programme. It was a privilege to be part of a programme that is making a difference to the health, self esteem and daily living of these women.
Volunteering for GVI was an amazing cultural experience which I gained from immersing myself in the culture whilst working and living in Laos. For example, when teaching I had to dress appropriate to the Laos culture and wore a Sinh (Laos skirt) and collared shirt. This meant I was recognised and respected as a teacher by students and local people, hence I felt part of the community. I learnt about the local customs, language and Buddhism through cultural talks run by GVI which enabled me to behave in a culturally appropriate way. My learning about the Laos language helped me to consider the difficulties in learning English and to adapt my teaching accordingly. I could speak a few words in Laos and locals appreciated a friendly greeting 'Sabaidee' with 'nob' gesture. As volunteers we participated in chanting and meditating at temples and gave early morning alms to Buddhists. I felt fortunate to participate in these rituals as a volunteer who was contributing to the community rather than observing as a tourist. I even experienced tourists wanting to take my picture when wearing my Sinh!
Another positive part of my time as a volunteer was experiencing the beautiful UNESCO world heritage sights and local countryside. The highlights of my trip included visiting temples, the food market, waterfalls, and the Mekong river.
My immersion into the culture when living and working for GVI in Luang Prabang has helped me adjust from retirement and consider new opportunities for my future. Overall my experience of volunteering and the country of Laos has been amazing. Being part of projects that are sustainable and make a difference to communities has made my experience all the sweeter.

What would you improve about this program?
Improved IT resources and database of teaching aids
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Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching English in Luang Prabang Laos

I had a wonderful experience with GVI in Laos. I first went to Luang Prabang in 2012 as a tourist and I promised myself to go back one day. In 2017 when investigating where to teach in the world, Luang Prabang popped up on my screen, I was thrilled to go back. I had never taught English and I never spent eight weeks half way around the world. When I landed in Luang Prabang and was met by GVI’s staff and four other starting volunteers all worries were put to rest and knew I had made the right decision. There are anywhere from 12 to 20 volunteers at any given time. Some come for two weeks, others stay six months. Volunteers come from all over the world and are all age groups. The GVI staff are incredibly dedicated to their work and their enthusiasm is contagious. In the first week you’ll attend morning classes teaching you how to teach. They have a wonderful resource library and are very organized in the lesson planning. Every morning you will meet with your GVI mentor who will help you plan the day’s lesson, but it’s up to you to decide how to teach, what games you might play and to bring the needed resources to class. It’s a lot of fun to think of new ways to keep the students engaged. I taught two classes a day (along with another wonderful volunteer). The morning class was for novice monks, young boys that come from the neighboring Wats in order to learn and practice their English. My afternoon class were local girls and boys who are in school during the day and come to GVI for English classes. The kids are incredible, so happy to be learning and appreciative of your time. Most of the volunteers stay in the GVI guest house but there are options to stay in more private accommodations nearby. You’re given meals at a restaurant around the corner from a large set menu, but there are so many restaurants and the costs are very inexpensive, you’re also free to eat elsewhere. The volunteers have weekends off and there is loads of things to do in and around Luang Prabang. There are waterfalls and hiking in the mountains, art or cooking classes, visiting elephant sanctuaries, exploring the many Wats or just hanging out in the funky bars and restaurants. Luang Prabang is a hidden gem of a town on the Mekong River nestled in the mountains. I hope to make it back one day, I miss it and think of my time there often.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Six months in paradise

I recently spent six months volunteering with GVI Laos in Luang Prabang and, despite some initial nerves and scepticism, it was by far the most exciting and rewarding thing I have done in my life so far.

Luang Prabang is one of GVIs most established bases having been running for a number of years, as a result the links and partnerships with local institutions are extensive and all those involved are held in very high regard within the local community. The success of GVI’s Luang Prabang base can be put down to the quality training and inclusive,supportive atmosphere generated by the team of staff, headed up by the project manager whose energy, enthusiasm and dedication is as infectious as it is inspiring. The training received by all volunteers in the first week gives a comprehensive overview of the key aspects of effective EFL teaching, so even if you have no previous teaching experience you will still be equipped with a range of skills when you enter the classroom.

I could not have asked for a better experience from the team at GVI from pre-departure to the end of my project. However, it was the location and the people that I very quickly fell in love with. The Luang Prabang is situated within in the spectacular forests and mountains of northern Laos on the banks of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Within you will find a huge number of beautifully preserved bhuddist temples, the food in Laos (as well as the coffee and the beer!) is delicious and there are seemingly hundreds of independent cafes and restaurants to choose from, especially on the stunning banks of the Mekong. Most special of all however are the locals and students. Laotians by nature are quiet and mild-mannered and I found the locals to be some of the warmest and most hospitable people I have ever met. The students were a joy to teach, so energetic and keen to learn with seemingly permenant smiles, as well as demonstrating the keen and sometimes cheeky sense of humour that Laotians are famous for!

I would recommend this programme without any hesitation. GVI is a wonderful organisation and their Laos programmes have a justifiably excellent reputation. Be prepared to work hard but you will be motivated and inspired by the dedication and gratitude shown by the students. What you get in return is an immense feeling of pride in knowing that you have contributed to something that is making a positive and lasting contribution to people’s lives.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching experience

It's the 4th time I go teaching with GVI in Laos. It's an amazing program with real impact on the students. They are always doing their best and want to learn as much as possible. The staff is organized and truly involved!
The accommodation is really nice with well functioned showers and western toilets which is not in the most of volunteer programs. The volunteers are staying in the same house so everybody hang out and do some activities together. You can make friends, see another culture and help the most amazing people I've seen in this world. Lao are the nicest and they always give you the feeling to be welcomed.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

Spending 8 weeks teaching Novice Monks English in the beautiful UNESCO location of Luang Prabang was the most life changing, rewarding, fulfilling opportunity. Words cannot describe the immense support and care shown by GVI to their volunteers. Support began before leaving home, to collection at the airport, organized accomodation, training, support during teaching the lessons and even help with appropriate clothing required to wear in the classrooom. Support even continued after leaving and returning home. Highly recommend this program to all, whether you are a gap year student or mature aged like me.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Phenomenal Experience with GVI Laos

I spent a short three weeks volunteering in Luang Prabang, Laos with GVI where I taught English to novice monks and local school children. The accommodations were simple but great, the food was excellent, the work and the students made it all so deeply rewarding. I was especially grateful for the incredible team of volunteers and staff who were so supportive and fun and made the whole experience such a positive one. Getting to know the community in Luang Prabang and connect with students in an authentic and meaningful way made this a profound experience for me. I always felt safe, stimulated, and motivated. I would go back in a heartbeat.

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No, I don't recommend this program

Unethical pricing

I returned home a couple of weeks ago from volunteering with GVI. I found out within a few days of me starting that they charge different amounts depending on where you live. For example I live in the USA and they charged me about $700/$800 more than somebody living in the UK. I confronted GVI with this unethical way of doing business during my exit interview and have had two more conversations about this appalling way of doing business upon my return. They are so concerned about the culture and habits in the countries they have their volunteer opportunities and educate and stress with the volunteers how important it is that we do not offend anybody because GVI wants to uphold their name to high standards. But than they turn around and treat their volunteers in a disrespectful way by charging them different prices for the same thing depending on where you live. Shame on you GVI....Your volunteers are the backbone of keeping your business going. If you do not treat them right than it is just a matter of time your business will fail. A very unacceptable way of doing business.

What would you improve about this program?
Pricing should be the same no matter where you live
Response from Global Vision International (GVI)

Hi Yvonne,

We're really sorry to hear that you weren't fully satisfied with your GVI experience.

Unfortunately, the cost of marketing and recruitment is radically different in different markets. Currently, it costs us three to four times the amount to recruit participants via advertising from within the US as it does in the UK. This is something however that we are always looking to refine and improve upon.

I'm glad that you have already been in communication with our Alumni and Field teams. If you have any further questions, please do contact us at [email protected], as we're very happy to discuss this more with you at any point.


The GVI Team

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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

I'm glad I had the chance to discover Laos with GVI ! it's totally different than travelling on your own. It's nice to stay in a place and start to live a bit like the local people. It's another way to travel and I think everyone should try this at least once in their life.
It was such a great experience. I met so many people that i won't forget, I bounded new friendships with the volunteers and I still keep in touch with them.
I'm also happy to have meet the Novices and Monks that taught me so much about their cultures. I had another vision of life when I came home.
I decided to go back this year and I hope it will be as great as the first time I went there !

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Yes, I recommend this program

Luang Prabang 2017

I couldn't recommend volunteering in Luang Prabang, Laos more! Luang Prabang itself is such a magical and enchanting place and the people are so friendly and interesting that it makes volunteering even more special. Getting to know the local people, who have such a different way of life to my own, was fascinating and made the trip even more special.
If you'd told me I would be doing a women's empowerment project in Laos last year I would have said you were mad but with the training and support given it makes stepping into the classroom with confidence easy and fun! At first it may seem a little daunting but the first few hectic days are worth it for the fun and rewarding classes you get after the initial training days.
I found the accommodation and staff lovely and had much nicer accommodation and better support than I imagined would be provided. The food was great, lots of variety and some amazing restaurants around if you need something different.
During the Womens Empowerment project I was introduced to Days for Girls and taught menstrual health workshops to local girls and found this the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I'm already planning a future project doing something similar but I wouldn't hesitate in returning to Luang Prabang to do the same project again!
I feel doing the project has opened so many doors for me. I have volunteer projects upcoming in 2018, am raising money to go to Nepal, and have been offered some volunteer work with a local Trust near my home after the founder heard me speak about my time in Laos at a Rotary Club meeting. Thank you GVI for the experience! Can't imagine ordinary backpacking without any volunteering now!

What would you improve about this program?
I would say some more support to pairs of volunteers who have less experience (and perhaps less experience in the teaching field) and being flexible with volunteers who wish to try different things.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience

I spent 7 weeks teaching english to Novices and Monks in Laos. They are kind and they want so bad to learn new things. We always enjoy the class all together. The staff are professional and organized but also really nice and fun. Luang Prabang is a city like no other. There is temple on every corner and smiley people on the street. It's a unique experience and it changes your life!
I really recommend it!

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Yes, I recommend this program


It comes a time in life when you want something different. Not better, not more, but different!
And that's exactly what I found in Luang Prabang by joining GVI and teaching English to novices and monks for 2 months. I could have never expected such a fulfilling experience. I gave all that I could, they took what I had to give and they were not only happy, they really made progress – what an incredible satisfaction! The project in Luang Prabang is varied and extremely interesting. The support of the staff from day 1 allows you to do things you didn’t expect or think you could. And actually, now that I’ve lived this volunteering experience, and not only have taught English but have also learned so much from such a humble and culturally fascinating population, I wonder how visiting a new country as a tourist will feel like from now on!
Thanks to this project (1/150 GVI has to offer worldwide), I found out that you are able to spend precious time with the locals, discovering the city and its outskirts on weekends, whilst making a positive impact on the lives of wonderful people – A special thanks to all the amazing people I was lucky to meet and “rub elbows with” !!!

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn't change anything
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Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with novices

Through this program I was lucky enough to teach at a temple in Luang probang and teach the youngest novices in the temple. The youngest in the class was 8 years old. This was such an amazing and humbling experience and I learnt so much about myself and my life of these kids who were less than half my age. It was an irreplaceable experience and one that I will be forever greatful for

What would you improve about this program?
The cost is a little bit high, considering you only get a small good allowance for the week. Compared to traveling normally through this country, I think the cost was pretty high.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My volunteering experience

I visited Luang Prabang for about 3 months in 2014/15. My experience volunteering was amazing and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see such a different culture, meet so many new and wonderful people and teach students who really need and want the education this program offers.

Being in the classroom was so enjoyable. The students had a genuine desire to learn as well as an incredible gratitude towards their teachers. I was teaching between 3 and 5 hours a day (Monday to Friday) with a variety of Lao students, village children and Novice Monks of varying ages and abilities. I was also planning for lessons each day, often with a teaching partner and a staff member if assistance was needed. The resources available, while less than what is expected of a classroom at home, were adequate for creating engaging and informative lessons. The staff were incredibly supportive in all aspects of my trip, ensuring I was comfortable both in the classroom and the program.

The social experience of the program was amazing and I met so many volunteers from a variety of places and cultures. The Lao culture was also incredibly interesting. It was very humbling learning about Lao culture from my students and experiencing Lao customs in a way no tourist ever would. For example, being invited to watch hundreds of Novices chant at a meditation retreat or attending a traditional Buddhist Baci ceremony was something no tourist would get the privilege of experiencing . The city of Luang Prabang was beautiful in itself with so many things to do and see. It was the program as a whole, however, that provided me with such an amazing memory which is why I am considering volunteering on this program again.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Overseas Family

I spent 4 months in Luang Prabang with the GVI staff and volunteers and it was an amazing experience. I met so many wonderful people all involved and doing interesting things with their lives, getting to know them was such a pleasure. I am also still in touch with my fellow volunteers and even had the good fortune of visiting a few on later travels.
The GVI staff are always trying to help their volunteers and were such a fantastic support net and resource for the time I was there.
I spent about 4 hours a day in an actual class teaching and an hour or so lesson planning. I got to experience working in teams and partnerships which made lesson planning easier and quicker but also added a lot of quality to the lesson that one mind, by itself, might lack.
One of my favorite memories was on my birthday when my adult class, whom I had been with for my whole time in Luang Prabang, bought in a cake and a small gift and surprised me at the end of class - it was just an unimaginably touching gesture. The Lao people are so lovely and it was a pleasure to teach them (and celebrate Lao New Year with!).
I also got to teach Novices of Theravada Buddhism which immersed me in the very core of Lao culture, and that deep connection to the community and culture is something tourists and travelling alone couldn't give to you.
Luang Prabang as a city has my highest commendation as a travelling destination, especially as a volunteer, because you can immerse yourself in the culture, or go for a trekking or kayaking adventure, or anytime you feel home sick go indulge on their tourist strip catering for westerners. As an Australian the Asian flora and fauna is so unlike what i'm used to and so their was a constant feeling of awe and surreal-ness about the beautiful foreign surroundings.
I would highly recommend going to Luang Prabang to volunteer with GVI, hopeful I can come back and commend you for your choice.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience!!

I had an absolutely wonderful experience in Laos.
I taught 3 novice classes a day and a class at Xayadeth college with mixed students. I loved all of my classes, and they were very different, so I got challenged in different ways.

The staff was always very friendly and helpful - from help to lesson planning to medical advice when you get sick.

The program is very social, and there are volunteers from all over the world in different age groups. I think, it was really nice with the differences because people accepted each other.

The accommodation is fine. Nothing too luxurious but it works and it's a nice place. You can always upgrade if you want a nicer room.

It is an expensive program, but I do not regret spending the money at all. The students are so eager to learn and genuine kind people, so you can only be happy every single day. I was crying when I was leaving after 6 weeks, and I hope I can come back one day :)


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About Global Vision International (GVI)

GVI is an award-winning organisation that tackles critical local and global issues by operating education and training programs on sustainable development projects around the world. Formed in 1997, we have been operating our award-winning programmes...

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