Teaching English to Buddhist monks in Thailand


Schools or universities in the temples of Thailand are a world apart, as a volunteer you can be part of this life experience and know for yourself this lifestyle.

In schools inside the temples of Thailand, the day starts very early. Upon arrival, novice students line up to receive morning announcements from the school or faculty. In addition, before the classes, the prayer and meditation days are held until the beginning of the classes at 8:30 am Another round of prayer and meditation is also held at lunchtime.

Your experience as a volunteer can be very enriching. Not everyone has the opportunity for more direct access to a Buddhist temple. You have the option of joining group meditation, reciting mantras with students and celebrating festivals as a guest of the monastic community.



Each volunteer’s abilities are different, so he is assigned a Thai teacher, where the volunteer will support him and assist in daily classes. In the case that you feel capable and have enough confidence to teach and administer a class, there is no problem to have the experience.

Speaking English in the volunteering in Thailand is much appreciated and having a fluency puts you in high demand. While the priority is to support English classes, you will also have the opportunity to give art classes or share with novice students in other activities.

In 4 of the 5 schools (in temples), 100% of the students are Buddhist monks. The same with the teachers, almost everyone wears the saffron robe as a way of life.

The most important thing about the volunteer programis that you will help these students build connections in their lives.

Students in the five temple schools are between 12 and 15 years old, and most have had little or no interaction with foreigners. Volunteers are invited and encouraged to have lunch with students and teachers, this allows them to get to know each other better.


The university has approximately 250 university students, aged between 18 and 22 years. Usually half of the students are Thai and the other half are from other Asian nationalities such as: India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos. This diversity in class creates an international learning environment in an institution focused on higher education for Buddhist monks.

The university is located in one of the largest and most historic temples in Chiang Mai. Volunteers are supervised by the management of the English department, which has highly qualified and bilingual staff.

Primarily volunteers assist English teachers with scheduled lessons. In addition, to help students outside the classroom informally where they practice:

  • Pronunciation
  • Writing
  • Conversation
  • Other tasks and studies.

Occasionally, Thai teachers ask volunteers for support in class preparation and qualification. Many of these responsibilities will be based on the working relationship between the teacher and the volunteer. You almost always work directly with your assigned teacher.

Remember that a Buddhist day is selected every week. During this day the University is closed. When a Buddhist day falls in the week, that day recovers on Saturday of that week.

The university closes on Sundays, Thai holidays and Buddhist holidays.


For each class it is important to have planning and lessons prepared. It is crucial that when preparing and planning a lesson, a simple procedure must be followed. When planning, try to cover the four skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in the one hour period of class.

Here is a basic guide on how inexperienced teachers can plan lessons:

  • Introduction to class and a brief warm-up activity.
  • Presentation of new material / review of material already covered.
  • Practice of the material presented. Perform a speaking activity and then writing activity using the covered material.
  • A quick close / close activity.


  • You must be of legal age. Volunteers usually do not need any specific qualifications, but they are expected to enjoy and get involved with teenagers and young adults.  
  • In addition to being open and respectful of Buddhism and other cultures.
  • Volunteers must also have knowledge in written and spoken English, in addition to being creative, considering that there is a lack of teaching materials within the school.

It is very important that you present the following documents in the application process for your volunteer participation:

  • Certified police record before your start date
  • Copy of your passport
  • Curriculum

Very Important to keep in mind:

Keep in mind that not all monks (either Beginner students or teachers and staff) can touch or be touched by a woman. In addition, women cannot directly deliver something to a Buddhist monk, it must be placed on a secondary object (table, chair, NOT on the floor).


  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Playing active sports or games
  • Clapping

Buddhist monk students can play simple games (which are not too physically active).

Something they are allowed to do is act. Art programs in many of the schools are quite popular among students. They enjoy expressing themselves through art. Any kind of artistic technique or project that a teacher can bring to class would be useful and well received. But keep these Buddhist rules in mind when preparing and planning the proposal.



  • The meeting point is at Chiang Mai International Airport, trains and buses.
  • Pick up time is from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you arrive outside these hours, you will be picked up the next day at an agreed point.

The dress required in the project is:

The dress code in the Buddhist educational centers is formal. It is not considered appropriate to wear clothes that are too tight or bare.

Volunteers are required to wear:

  • Long skirts for the teaching project at the university and for teaching at school you can wear non-fitted pants.
  • Wear shirts that cover your shoulders and breasts. (Not adjusted, preferably polo type).
  • Volunteers will also be asked to remove the piercings and cover the exposed tattoos.

In addition smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in educational centers and accommodation. During the hours you are at school, all volunteers are asked to refrain from smoking (even off-site).