Teach English as a Volunteer in Spain

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About

CIEE is proud to offer short-term, 3-month volunteer teaching opportunities in Spain. This program offers a low-cost gateway to the Spanish culture and language, with lodging and meals included. CIEE will be there to support you with guidance, an in-country orientation, travel insurance, and 24/7 emergency support.

You’ll have a position as a respected volunteer Language and Culture Assistant in Castilla y León or Castilla-La Mancha, helping local teachers for 12 hours a week at a public school. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve your language skills, while making a difference for Spanish students in wonderful, welcoming communities.

This is an incredible volunteer opportunity, a chance to dive into Spanish culture, gain language skills, and explore this beautiful country. You’ll receive cost-free accommodations, and two meals a day. Local families from the schools volunteer to host participants because they are interested in cultural exchange and in learning English.

A CIEE TEFL Certification will give you the tools you need to succeed at being a teacher starting on your first day. Learn more about CIEE’s TEFL Certification Courses.

Questions & Answers

The teaching program I participated in Spain was about 3 months. There are several teaching programs through CIEE. The one I did was all volunteer: In addition to teaching English 4 days a week I lived with a host family practicing English with the children and my host mother while they provided most of my meals. From my understanding, some of the other programs are a year long and you do get a...

Reviews

95%
based on 15 reviews
  • Benefits 8.9
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.7
  • Facilities 9
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 15
Default avatar
Ellie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer in Spain

This program is a great option for anyone who wants to travel and immerse themselves in another culture without leaving home for too long. This program is unique since you live with a host family, who provides you with housing, most of your food, and a truly immersive experience. Everyone’s experience will be different since there are so many towns, schools, and host families that you could be placed with, but overall the program is great and it gave me a sense of security to know that I had the support of CIEE andy host family for the duration of the trip. Spain has so many amazing cities to travel to and it is pretty easy to get around with public transportation if you are in a bigger city, like Valladolid, where I was placed. With 3 day weekends I was able to take lots of trips and learn so much about Spain.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Push yourself out of your comfort zone! You won’t love every single thing about Spain or the experience you’re embarking on, but you will have so many amazing experiences if you remember that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable (to an extent) and it’s okay to make a fool of yourself attempting to speak Spanish or doing things like the locals do. Most Spanairds seem to apprecciate that you are trying to speak the language, even if they laugh a little at your American accent.
Default avatar
Jaymie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience

I found this program in April of 2018 while I was at my desk at work, hating my job, and dreaming of teaching in Spain. I knew I wanted a change, but I was so worried about leaving my security for the unknown. I worked in finance and though it paid very well, I was unhappy. I couldn’t find many reviews about the 3 month teach in Spain program through CIEE, so I was nervous to go for it. Now that I’m 2 months into the program, I can say whole heartedly that it’s the best decision I’ve made. I felt supported before departure, my questions were answered very quickly, meeting at the airport was easy, and orientation with others in the same boat as me made me feel a lot better. The first week or two were overwhelming because it’s definitely an adjustment. I know a lot of Spanish, but no one speaks much English (even the English teachers), and I didn’t expect that. My host mom doesn’t speak English, and the host dad only speaks a bit, but I couldn’t have asked for a better family. They have a young boy and girl too, and I love them to death. I’m already getting emotional about leaving them!! They will forever be my family, and I feel so grateful that I was placed here. My school is amazing too! The teachers are so helpful, and the kids are very eager to learn. I could go on and on about this program because it’s been the biggest blessing. My only regret is not doing a longer program!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice is if you’re contemplating this program, you should go for it! It can be overwhelming, but as long as you prepare, everything will work out just fine.
Default avatar
OLayinka
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome experience

I was excited to experience a different culture and my stay in Spain did not disappoint . I had a lot of fun doing activities with the students and getting them to become more comfortable speaking English. The cities there are very beautigul. I stayed in Salamanca and had the chance to visit Gijon and Sevilla, which was nice. My host family was very nice and accommodating. My first week there, they took me to the main city to see some sights and try food at their favorite restaurants.
I also did private tutoring for one of the students at the school. My last week in Spain, we baked gingerbread cookies, which was a first for them and they turned out pretty good!
The orientation in the beginning of the program really help to set expectations and answer any questions. CIEE let us know how to have a safe and fun experience and kept the line of communication open for us for continuous support. Overall, it was a very cool experience and I'm glad I signed up for it.

Olayinka
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome experience

I was excited to experience a different culture and my stay in Spain did not disappoint . I had a lot of fun doing activities with the students and getting them to become more comfortable speaking English. The cities there are very beautigul. I stayed in Salamanca and had the chance to visit Gijon and Sevilla, which was nice. My host family was very nice and accommodating. My first week there, they took me to the main city to see some sights and try food at their favorite restaurants.
I also did private tutoring for one of the students at the school. My last week in Spain, we baked gingerbread cookies, which was a first for them and they turned out pretty good!
The orientation in the beginning of the program really help to set expectations and answer any questions. CIEE let us know how to have a safe and fun experience and kept the line of communication open for us for continuous support. Overall, it was a very cool experience and I'm glad I signed up for it.

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Alissa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience Yet

I've lived abroad in other countries, but this has been one of the best experiences abroad! From the community to the students to my host family, I am so glad I chose to do this program. I applied very late (the day of the deadline) and the staff was communicative and helpful! The orientation in Spain was thorough, and I'm glad I was able to meet the other participants. I volunteer at a high school and everyone there is extremely kind and welcoming. I do recommend this program for those who are pretty independent or have some travel experience, though. You only work 12 hours a week and can easily travel on the weekends! Last weekend, I went to Salamanca (such a beautiful city)! Also, while it's not required to participate, definitely practice your Spanish beforehand. Overall, I recommend.

Default avatar
Natalia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Texan in Spain

As most people in this program will tell you, I spent my first week in Spain in a constant state of panic. My host family was wonderful, my school was better than I could ever hope for, and I was gaining a once in a lifetime experience; but it was also the hardest thing I have ever done. It is difficult to feel like you don´t understand anything. It is really difficult to feel like a stranger everywhere you go. And it is extremely difficult to think that it will get better. But it does. This has been the greatest experience of my life. I have made best friends here, I have traveled to Italy with Italians, explored villages with natives from Spain, and ate way more food than I ever thought possible. While I do miss the comforts of living in a big city, this experience has given me an entire new perspective that I am so grateful for.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice with this program is to say yes to everything. At first everything is so new and really overwhelming that it can be difficult to even think about going further outside of your comfort zone, but I encourage you to say yes to every opportunity that presents itself. By saying yes to coffee with strangers and awkward dinners with families I had never met, I found myself with some of the most influential relationships I have ever had.
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Karen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Three Months in a Dream

From the time I was accepted as a three month volunteer in Castilla y Leon, I have felt supported by the US mainland staff. My questions were answered quickly, and the pre departure modules were informative. (I did need a quick tutorial on how to post answers in Canvas or whatever the platform was). Once at the Madrid airport, we met our leaders in Spain and felt we had someone to call locally should a problem occur. I appreciated the help with getting the Spanish SIM card the first night and cultural sensitivity training at the orientation.

My family is wonderful, and the school´s children and faculty are fantastic. The weather here is much warmer than in my home state of Missouri. I did not expect that. I am in a primary school and see each class in grades one through six each week (12 sessions). When I am not teaching, I am immersed in a Spanish class. Although Spanish speaking was not a requirement, I would feel more confident if I had a basic Spanish course under my belt. It would be easier to communicate with all the teachers at the school, not just the English teachers. I am expected to speak English at school and at home, so there is not much time to practice. Maybe CIEE would put suggest a basic Spanish book on the internet if needed. I could not find one that was colorful and self explanatory.

We all have at least three days to travel a week, and some have four. The bus and train systems are very efficient in Spain, and Laura compiled a list of everyone´s email and phone for group communication.

Overall, my expectations have been exceeded. This whole trip seems like a dream even after a month.

This is a chance of a lifetime. Grab it and go!

What would you improve about this program?
More of a tutorial to post assignments in the pre departure course and recommended Spanish for survival speakers online. I also needed to check with AT & T before I left the states to make sure my phone was ünlocked so I could change the SIM card easily.

Elise
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience!

I was hesitant as I had never heard of anyone who had done one of CIEE's Teach Abroad programs, but I really enjoyed myself. All the people I met were lovely, from the CIEE staff in the USA and Spain to the teachers and my host family in my placement. If you can afford to go abroad for three months volunteer, I'd highly recommend it. It is so much fun to embrace the Spanish culture, and they are such loving and kind people. The teaching experience was really what I made of it. Sometimes they would have activities they wanted me to do with the children, and sometimes I was able to lead my own lessons that I had designed, like learning about American holidays. And it is really easy to make a little money through private tutoring, if you're really worried about money.

What would you improve about this program?
I would recommend that they tell your potential host family about any dietary restrictions before they formally place you. They did not tell mine, so I had to be reassigned which was a bit stressful. However, it all worked out well in the end.
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Ti'Asia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

African American Volunteer in Spain

My volunteer experience in Spain was nothing short of amazing! The students and school that I assisted welcomed me and helped generate a new passion for helping the youth. Each day was different, and there were challenges, but I definitely received a greater appreciation for teachers while adapting to a new culture. My host family is what really made my experience what it was. Their hospitality and generosity has continued even now that I am back in the U.S. They were so loving and courteous throughout the duration of my stay that I did not want to leave. It is the people that make the experience, and I am so happy that I was fortunate to be placed in a home and town that was as inviting as Peñafiel.

Default avatar
Sarah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer in España!!

In the CIEE Volunteer Teach in Spain program you are placed with a family, which has its pros and cons. It was definitely challenging living in a small apartment with four other people, but my family was so great! By living with them, I was able to practice Spanish each day, throughout the day, and experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced (my host dad took me mountain biking!)!
One part of this program worth mentioning is that most of the schools don’t solicite for a host family until their school year begins in September. So probably won’t find out where you’ll be staying until right before you leave, or in my case after you’ve already left the States. (I left two weeks early to explore other parts of Europe.) So, with that said it’s important to just be flexible and know that everything will fall into place. The unknown can be scary, but CIEE has got your back.
Once I had a super frustrating morning at school. But, both the Spanish CIEE people and my English coordinator were super supportive and listened to my frustrations. It was nice to know that if I ever had any problem, there was someone to go to.

This trip was my first time in Europe, and I’m so happy I went through CIEE. I even went on a trip to Morocco with people I met in the program! With the program I felt way more supported and connected than I would’ve on my own. It I could turn back time I’d do it all over again.

What would you improve about this program?
I was a little frustrated to not know where I was staying when I left. I know its somewhat out of CIEE’s hands, and thats also Spanish style, but with the anxiety of leaving home and all, I would’ve liked to know sooner!
Default avatar
Wendy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching In Madrid, Spain

My experience teaching in Madrid, Spain has been wonderful.
CIEE has been a big part of that experience as they go above and beyond to make sure our stay is in the best way possible. CIEE staff is very helpful and is always available to answer questions, provide guidance, and support.
The school where I teach has also been a great experience. Teachers are very friendly, provide great knowledge, support and are very inclusive. They make us feel part of the school family.
I certainly recommend CIEE for the teaching abroad program!

David
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Dave´s Review.

The Teach English Abroad Program in Spain was great if you want to teach and want to experience something new in a foreign country. I would reccomend this program to anybody who wants to start a career in teaching English abroad or expand an existing career of teaching English abroad. You will make a lot of new friends and have fun when you hangout with them. This is a great opportunity to not only see Spain but also to see a lot of it´s neighboring countries. If you have never taught or studied abroad, I reccomend that you try this program out. You might be nervous at first but once you have settled in, you will be just fine. Even at the end of the program if you really didn´t like it, you don´t have to do it again.

What would you improve about this program?
It can´t. Everything about it is fine.
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Lucy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience in Cuellar

My experience teaching and living in Spain was truly wonderful. I was lucky to be placed with such a sweet family. They treated me like I was part of their family. I ate so much delicious food, and they took me on a couple of day trips. I was thrilled to have met their cousins and extended family. The atmosphere at my school in Cuellar was welcoming, friendly, and fun. Some days I would play games with my students and other days I would give a presentation about my culture or something I thought might interest them. I particularly enjoyed working with my students when they had questions and insightful comments about what I was explaining to them. I also had the opportunity to go with my students on a few field trips around Cuellar, as well as to Segovia and La Granja. I'm also glad I had the chance to travel to some other parts of Spain such as Barcelona, Sevilla, Toledo, Madrid, and many smaller towns.

What would you improve about this program?
The program could be improved by informing the participants in a timely manner the program dates and the placements where one would be teaching and if they were staying with a family.
Default avatar
Meaghan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer Abroad in Castilla y León

I spent the first three months of my 2016 living and volunteering in a small town in Castilla y León, a central north region in Spain. My town was quiet (except during the week of Carnaval!), and I volunteered in two local high schools with the bilingual classes. The experience was one that you can't really explain unless you have experienced a similar situation, because so much growth and progress happens both internally and externally during that special time abroad. Three months feels like a short time, but you come back totally changed with a new perspective on the world. Strangers become family, unfamiliar cafes become regular hangouts (you know you're a regular when your wifi connects automatically!), and unfamiliar streets start to feel like home. CIEE does a great job of making initial connections for you, and following up with you during your time there. If you're on the edge and unsure, take the leap! Going abroad was one of the best decisions I ever made, and has led me to so many more wonderful opportunities!

What would you improve about this program?
Have host family placement and school/town placement information available sooner, I didn't hear about what I was doing until right before I left. I personally understand the cultural differences and how Spain operates on a different time table, but many Americans are incredibly uneasy going into a huge change like this without all the information earlier on.
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Dave
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Non-Spanish Speaker and My 3 Months in Spain

I enrolled in CIEE’s 3-month volunteer program in the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain that ran from February 1, 2016 to April 30, 2016. Below, I have broken my review into sections so that it is more reviewer friendly.

Quick Personal Background:

I am 26-year old male who decided to quit his corporate job to pursue a life-long dream of living and working in another country. Traveling and experience other cultures is one of the things that truly excites me in life and so I made a concerted effort to save money over the course of three years for future travel plans. Prior to enrolling in CIEE’s teaching abroad in Spain program, I neither had formal knowledge of the Spanish language nor of its culture. I now am working to master the Spanish language and hope to eventually relocate back to Spain.

Learning About & Enrolling with CIEE:

I was referred to the CIEE organization through a college friend who enrolled in their year-long program upon graduating college in 2012. That friend, like me, did not speak Spanish and had never been to Spain and I felt her experience/perspective was a good barometer for me to decide if teaching in Spain was the correct opportunity for me. I did some further research and read reviews about CIEE and most of the information was positive. I even reached-out to a previous CIEE Spain blogger who responded and was very helpful with my questions. CIEE offers several different programs if you want to live and work in another country. Since I did a volunteer program, I was responsible essentially for all costs. You are provided housing and two-meals per day which helps to subsidize some of your costs.

Pros about CIEE:

• CIEE was prompt in responding to my questions (I had a ton!) about the program such as, insurance scenarios, host-family contact information, transportation information, etc. My phone calls were almost always answered and I did not have to leave many messages but did receive return calls when required to leave a message

• It was comforting to speak with someone and a company located here in the U.S. and not overseas. I have had other friends apply for teach-abroad programs that turned out to be scams and you can rest assured knowing that CIEE is legitimate. Knowing that CIEE was located in the U.S. reassured me that the fees, documents, and other information were all legitimate and I could trust that important items were not going to be missed or lost in translation

• This point may echo the last two, but I did enjoy that there was a more formalized application process with CIEE compared to some other teach-abroad opportunities that I came across on the web. It was nice having someone to contact who could walk you through the application process and answer your questions

• I thought that CIEE also did a tremendous job at coordinating the host family living situations. There is a section during the application process that allows you to give some input so that you can be best matched with a host family. My match could not have been more perfect! I still keep in contact with my Spanish family on a bi-weekly basis

• Three-months in Spain was the perfect amount of time to gauge if Spain was really a place I could see myself living and if I would enjoy staying longer. CIEE seemed to be one of the few companies who provided a 3-month opportunity. Although we weren’t getting paid, the housing and meal compensation really helped to reduce the cost of living abroad (i.e. not worrying about finding temporary housing and paying for rent) and provided a unique experience of living with a host family.

Cons about CIEE:

• Changes in Program Start and End Dates: This is my most frustrating point regarding CIEE but to be fair, some of this may have indeed been out of their control. The application deadline was late October 2015 and the program was originally listed to run from January 1, 2016 to March 30, 2016. I technically missed the deadline to apply but after calling and speaking with a representative, they informed me that the deadline had been extended and I could go still complete my application. I was informed within a week that I had been accepted to the program and that additional information would follow with a BOLD note stating NOT to book any flights at this time. This made me very nervous for several reasons:
1) I needed to resign from my job in order to partake in this opportunity. Since it was a volunteer opportunity and I was voluntarily leaving my employer, I would not be able to collect unemployment and therefore would not have any income for the next several months.
2) Flights are expensive and the costs only increases the longer you wait to book.
3) Non-sufficient time to make arrangements for life obligations while I would be in Spain. I have my own apartment, bills, etc. that I need to find ways to address while I was overseas

It was not until December that the program participants were notified that some items were unable to be finalized and that the program start date would need to be pushed-back until February 1, 2016. I consistently followed-up with CIEE on the status of our program through the month of December and it wasn’t until the second week of January 2016 that we received confirmation on the definite dates of the program and permission to book our travel arrangements. This left me barely enough time to properly resign from my job and make arrangements for my American life while I would be overseas. Thankfully, I was able to more or less leave on a moment’s notice but not everyone is afforded this luxury. If this is your first time going to another country, I could only imagine how stressful this would be for someone traveling to another country for his or her first time. However, as I mentioned in the beginning, much of this may have indeed been out of CIEE’s control as processes definitely do tend to move much slower in Spain. Still, this was a frustrating time throughout the process.

• On-site orientation: The orientation was held in the city of Toledo. It was nice that CIEE provided a two-day orientation upon arriving in Spain but I was left feeling somewhat confused at its conclusion. For instance, once the education representatives of Castilla La Mancha were done giving us an overview of the program and providing us tips for classroom instruction and activities, we went downstairs to meet with our host families. Note: Some participants had already made prior arrangements (facilitated with the help of CIEE) to take trains to meet their host families since Toledo was a bit of a drive for some. I had pictured more of a meet and greet type setting where we would all have some time to speak with our host families and say goodbye/exchange contact information with the other participants. In contrast, we met our hosts and then immediately were on our way to our Spanish homesteads. I wanted to say thank you to the organizers and other instructors and barely had the chance to do so. In the big picture, this is rather a minor con but I thought I would make the suggestion to allow a little more time at the end of the orientation for a meet and greet opportunity.

The overall Spain and CIEE Experience:

Participating in CIEE’s program has undoubtedly been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I found the Spanish people to be extremely friendly, hospitable, and patient. As someone who did not know but one or two words of Spanish prior to arrival, it was truly refreshing to find so many people willing to help me even when they themselves did not speak English. I could not have wished for a more compatible host family—they reminded me so much of my own that we had no issues getting along. The wife was a teacher at my assigned school and spoke fluent English but her husband only spoke Portuguese and Spanish. However, over the three months that I was there, the husband and I learned to understand each other very well even though we couldn’t speak complete sentences. By using only a few context words, we knew what each other was trying to articulate. If you believe in telepathy, than this was it at its finest.
I could write a novel about my experiences in Spain and how great the culture is but you can find much of that information readily available by doing a quick Google search. If there is one phrase that I feel best captures Spain and its culture, it’s that Less is More. They do care about their fashion (as is typical amongst Europeans) but they also know how to appreciate and enjoy and take advantage of the simple pleasures in life. The Spanish Siesta is greatly exaggerated concept here in America. Yes, many places do shut down for lunch (more prevalent in smaller villages than large tourist destinations) but not everyone goes home to take a 2-hour nap. While processed food exists and is readily available, I found that much of the food I ate in Spain did not contain all of the additive ingredients as American foods—chicken was actual chicken and not compressed chicken parts to look like a chicken breast. BUT I also live in a small village where most of the food was grown fresh (also without as many chemicals/pesticides). It is very safe country compared to the United States. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, I personally spoke with questioned me about America’s obsession with owning and carrying guns. Spaniards and other Europeans simply don’t understand our obsession with carrying guns. It’s not that gin violence and homicides don’t happen in Spain but they are nowhere near as prevalent and glorified by the media as they are in the U.S.

BOTTOM LINE: Keep an open-mind and always be aware and alert of your surroundings. You don’t need to be nervous, just cognizant of what is happening around you—as you should always be anyways no matter where in the world you are located or activity you are doing.

What would you improve about this program?
Cons about CIEE:

• Changes in Program Start and End Dates: This is my most frustrating point regarding CIEE but to be fair, some of this may have indeed been out of their control. The application deadline was late October 2015 and the program was originally listed to run from January 1, 2016 to March 30, 2016. I technically missed the deadline to apply but after calling and speaking with a representative, they informed me that the deadline had been extended and I could go still complete my application. I was informed within a week that I had been accepted to the program and that additional information would follow with a BOLD note stating NOT to book any flights at this time. This made me very nervous for several reasons:
1) I needed to resign from my job in order to partake in this opportunity. Since it was a volunteer opportunity and I was voluntarily leaving my employer, I would not be able to collect unemployment and therefore would not have any income for the next several months.
2) Flights are expensive and the costs only increases the longer you wait to book.
3) Non-sufficient time to make arrangements for life obligations while I would be in Spain. I have my own apartment, bills, etc. that I need to find ways to address while I was overseas

It was not until December that the program participants were notified that some items were unable to be finalized and that the program start date would need to be pushed-back until February 1, 2016. I consistently followed-up with CIEE on the status of our program through the month of December and it wasn’t until the second week of January 2016 that we received confirmation on the definite dates of the program and permission to book our travel arrangements. This left me barely enough time to properly resign from my job and make arrangements for my American life while I would be overseas. Thankfully, I was able to more or less leave on a moment’s notice but not everyone is afforded this luxury. If this is your first time going to another country, I could only imagine how stressful this would be for someone traveling to another country for his or her first time. However, as I mentioned in the beginning, much of this may have indeed been out of CIEE’s control as processes definitely do tend to move much slower in Spain. Still, this was a frustrating time throughout the process.

• On-site orientation: The orientation was held in the city of Toledo. It was nice that CIEE provided a two-day orientation upon arriving in Spain but I was left feeling somewhat confused at its conclusion. For instance, once the education representatives of Castilla La Mancha were done giving us an overview of the program and providing us tips for classroom instruction and activities, we went downstairs to meet with our host families. Note: Some participants had already made prior arrangements (facilitated with the help of CIEE) to take trains to meet their host families since Toledo was a bit of a drive for some. I had pictured more of a meet and greet type setting where we would all have some time to speak with our host families and say goodbye/exchange contact information with the other participants. In contrast, we met our hosts and then immediately were on our way to our Spanish homesteads. I wanted to say thank you to the organizers and other instructors and barely had the chance to do so. In the big picture, this is rather a minor con but I thought I would make the suggestion to allow a little more time at the end of the orientation for a meet and greet opportunity.

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CIEE offers paid teaching positions in Chile, China, Czech Republic, Morocco, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam, and volunteer programs in Spain and Portugal, for university graduates looking to teach English abroad and immerse themselves in...