TEFL Success Stories – Part 84

Lynda – Cambodia

My friend and I are about to start a six month voluntary placement in Siem Reap, starting 1st October 2007. We will be teaching English to street children and orphans. At least, that’s what we thought we would be doing until recently, but the remit has become a lot broader. Let me introduce the two of us properly and give you some background to our trip.

I have worked in education (as a secondary school geography teacher) and social housing over the past 20 years. Gill has gained a wide range of skills and experience working in the supported housing / care sector for 20 years. In 2005 we both decided to take a career break and went travelling for a year. During this trip we visited Cambodia and our experience there convinced us to complete a Teaching English as a Second Language course in the UK, and return to Cambodia as soon as possible. In 2006 we both received a CELTA – ESOL Language Teaching qualification from Oxford House College in Central London.


Study a TEFL course with TEFL Zorritos in Peru, South America and travel the world, live abroad and enrich people’s lives by teaching them English. A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certificate is an internationally accredited and accepted qualification to teach English to people from non-English speaking countries. More questions? Head to our What is TEFL? page


I’m teaching a poem about expatriation which involves some difficult vocabulary. “What’s an ancestor?” I ask before we begin. They know that one, so I move on to the trickier words. “What’s a coffin?” This time they pause, eyes shifting uncertainly. I wait out the silence until Lenka looks up. I raise my eyebrows and she ventures a guess: “It is some kind of muffin?” she asks.

We spent a lot of time investigating organizations before making a decision about who we were prepared to approach for voluntary positions. Many organizations charge volunteers a lot of money and very little of this goes to the community in which you would be working. The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that we will be working for in Siem Reap is called Globalteer. Their philosophy is very much about supporting local staff and creating systems and services that will be sustainable at a local level.

The work Globalteer does in Cambodia includes a free education programme, the management of orphanages and a day centre for street children.


Our TEFL Certificate course is held at the gorgeous Sunset Club in Zorritos. Sunset Club is a private club and hotel where you will study surrounded by palm trees and overlooking their stunning private beach. Our training site is located within metres of the ocean which provides a lovely breeze and a breathtaking view. The club has various swimming pools, bars, a restaurant, tennis courts, a soccer pitch and a playground. 

Included in your TEFL course fee is lunch daily at Sunset Club for the duration of the course, as well as a private taxi twice daily from your accommodation to the club, as it is located approximately 15 minutes from the centre of Zorritos. You can also choose to stay at the club for the duration of course, which we offer in our Course Packages.  


As I stated earlier, the remit for our voluntary placement in Siem Reap now involves much more than simply supporting local teaching staff in the school. The increase in human trafficking in the area means that the street children are facing increasing danger. We have been asked to develop policies and procedures for use within the school, orphanages and the day centre. This work will include teaching the children about the dangers they may face from tourists as well as locals. There is also a lot of training to be completed with the staff in all the schemes.

Cambodia has one of the lowest adult literacy rates in Asia. The Khmer Rouge put anyone suspected of having an education to death, thus devastating the numbers of teachers in the country. Today 80% of Cambodia’s primary school teachers have only attended lower secondary school. If you add the lack of resources to this, our aim to support local teaching staff in schools will be a far greater task than we initially envisaged. What Cambodia does have, however, is a population who are desperate to learn, not only in their own language, but also in English. There is a strong culture of self-improvement amongst Cambodians, and they are fully aware that the key to getting on in the world is knowledge of the English language. English not only dominates commerce but also tourism, the country’s most rapidly growing industry. 



  • Round-trip airfare
  • Accommodations
  • Complete visa assistance
  • Support network in place to help you get settled
  • Competitive salary teaching oral English 
  • Positions starting in February & August each year
  • Graduates must be at least 18 years old with no upper age limit 
  • Bachelor Degree NOT required


As you can gather, I am at the start of what will hopefully be a productive and enjoyable journey.


TEFL Zorritos: What could be better?  Study in a beautiful Peruvian beach town, great accommodations available, including delicious local food.  Fully accredited 160 Hour TEFL course with a practical approach that provides you with 5 advanced certifications at absolutely no extra cost!  And guaranteed job search assistance in whatever city/country you want to work, waiting for you when you complete the course.

Class sizes are limited, so don’t wait, make your reservation today!

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