Looking for a fun and fulfilling opportunity to help young people and immerse yourself in a fascinating culture? Link Ethiopia runs one of the best value volunteering schemes around. Whether you’re taking a gap year, a career break, or just want a holiday that’s out of the ordinary, volunteering in Ethiopia is the experience of a lifetime. If you are a qualified teacher, sports coach, photographer, accountant, or looking to volunteer in Ethiopia a different way you might be interested in volunteering through our Share your Skills placements!
Why should I volunteer with Link Ethiopia?
Experience of a Lifetime
You will make new friends, have the chance to experience a beautiful and unique country, overcome challenges and see the difference you have made in the lives of young Ethiopians. Our teaching placements are tailored for professionals and people without teaching qualifications; we will provide all the training required for you to shine in your new role.
Link Ethiopia’s support
You will be supported from the moment you sign up by our friendly and knowledgeable UK and Ethiopia teams, who will work hard to create the teaching placement that is right for you. We offer help and advice in advance of your placement and on arrival, teaching ideas and materials and in constant in-country support as well as email and telephone contact to our UK office.
English Skills Needed
In Ethiopia, teaching is done in local languages at elementary school but then from the beginning of secondary school this changes to English. Many students struggle to bridge the language gap, and by providing a unique chance for pupils to practice their English with someone who speaks it as a first language, you will build their confidence and abilities, enabling them to succeed in the classroom.
Schools that have hosted our teaching volunteers have indicated the difference made to English levels and exam scores across subjects in their schools. Through your teaching of young children and teenagers, they will develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve at school, and make the most of their talents.
As you can see in the cost breakdown below, 50% of the price of your volunteering will fund our work in communities in Ethiopia, and so your volunteering placement will have an impact long after you return home! To find out more about the work your volunteering funds visit Our Impact.
Value for Money
We pride ourselves on offering the best value for money volunteering experience in Ethiopia, and our prices start at just £670 for a month of volunteering, and increase incrementally with the amount of time you spend there. Included are airport pickups, your accommodation and the support of our dedicated volunteering team.
Frequently asked questions
Experience of a lifetime
Volunteering in Ethiopia is an incredibly rewarding and can be a life-changing experience.You will be immersed in an amazing country, in all its richness – its culture, its music, its food, its religion, its historic sights, its wildlife, and of course, its hugely welcoming people. Many volunteers form strong friendships with the pupils they teach. Coming away from this trip will not only give you an insight into a different culture but will no doubt give you a sense of fulfilment and purpose to your overseas trip.
In addition their are more practical benefits from volunteering with Link Ethiopia; This experience will give your CV that extra edge and make it stand out. After all nothing radiates confidence and self determination more than living independently, navigating a new culture and teaching children in a foreign country.
Our schools testify to the difference extra English classes can make to its students. The language gap when moving from learning in Amharic to being taught in English is one of the biggest challenges Ethiopian students face, and learning from you is one of the best ways to meet this challenge. You work in schools that Link Ethiopia has established relationships with, both through volunteer teaching, and our broader project work. These relationships are school led, and Link Ethiopia supports these schools to meet their needs.
A typical day begins at 7 or 8am with breakfast in a local cafe. Volunteers spend four or five hours a day teaching at their local school and classes generally begin at 9 or 10am. In between and after classes you can spend your time in a variety of ways: many volunteers get involved with other projects, such as reading and literacy projects, supporting students with special needs, and supporting our teams in the office and visiting projects. Gondar and Bishoftu are large towns offering plenty of ways to relax – you can try Ethiopia’s unique and spicy cuisine at one of the many restaurants, explore the buzzing markets, play football, pool, table tennis or learn Ethiopian billiards, watch a film or simply relax with new friends in one of the many cafes. For weekends, the towns are well positioned for visiting other places in Ethiopia. From Gondar you can explore the monasteries of Lake Tana, delve deep into the catacombs of Lalibela’s churches and trek in the breathtaking Simien Mountains. Gondar is well known for its night life too and you will soon be initiated into traditional dance!
Primarily you will be teaching English while you’re working on our projects. In secondary schools you will be leading small, extra-curricular, English communication skills classes, whereas in elementary schools you will be working alongside a local teacher to help the pupils with more basic English. You will interact with your pupils through stories, games, pictures and other imaginative materials with the aim of encouraging the young people to speak confidently and to help them with pronunciation, use of a wide vocabulary and correct English. Activity books designed by UK and Ethiopian teachers are a useful guide to your work but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own skills and creativity to the classroom! If you have something specific in mind that you’d like to contribute, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss its feasibility.
Living away from home in another country is a challenge for anyone, but it is a challenge that all of our volunteers have really valued. All you need is:
- A willingness to pitch in and get involved
- An appreciation that life in Ethiopia can move at a different pace
- Patience and a sense of humour when things don’t go to plan
- A friendly and open attitude
You will usually be volunteering in schools in Gondar or Bishoftu, where our offices and teams are based.
Gondar is a large town in the north of Ethiopia. It is a friendly town on a hillside with a pleasant climate and it is home to one of Ethiopia’s major universities. The town centre has modern amenities such as internet services and laundries, however, venture a little outside town and you will see rural Ethiopia as it has been for centuries. Read more about Gondar here.
Bishoftu is situated 45km away from the capital city, Addis Ababa. There are five crater lakes near the town, which are home to many water birds and a great base for water sports. The Bishoftu community is very friendly and supportive, and the town attracts some tourists to see its beautiful lakes.
We are here at every step to ensure you have an amazing time in Ethiopia. You will receive:
- Good, clean accommodation
- Airport pickups
- Lots of help and advice in advance of your placement and on arrival
- Teaching ideas and materials
- The constant support and guidance of our full-time Ethiopian staff in our two Ethiopian offices
- Email or telephone contact with our UK office to support and advise as necessary
The schools in which you will volunteer are generally very basic, often short of resources such as books, sports equipment and IT. For this reason, volunteers can make such a difference. The lack of equipment is more than made up for by the enthusiasm of Ethiopian students to learn! Classroom discipline is very good for this reason. One of the challenges of teaching in Ethiopia can be the boosting of pupil’s confidence so that conversations flow without inhibition. But we have had many years of gap teaching experience and this will help you to make a real success of your time in Ethiopia. Your Ethiopian students will become good and lasting friends.
You will be based in good standard accommodation either within our Link Ethiopia compound or in nearby independent accommodation, sometimes sharing with another volunteer. See our gallery for a selection of photo’s of typical accommodation.
We don’t require our volunteers to have any official qualifications (eg. TEFL) to participate in any of our volunteering programmes. We will provide you with training before departing, and give you any support required whilst your in Ethiopia.
Unlike many other volunteer organisations, Link Ethiopia is run entirely on a non-profit basis and, as a result, provides a highly accessible and affordable experience. The total cost of the scheme, shown below, includes a minimum fundraising element to help fund projects in the community that you will be living and working in. This means that our scheme is not only less expensive than most others out there, but also you know that over half the money you pay will be reinvested back into projects within the local community you’ll be working alongside. There are many fun and easy ways you can raise this fundraising money. For example, our previous volunteers have run charity cake and jumble sales, or partaken in sponsored runs and sporting events. The core placement cost covers your accommodation, airport pickups, pre-departure help and advice, teaching ideas and materials, the organisation of your placement, support and guidance from our full-time Ethiopian staff, and support and guidance from our UK team. This only leaves you to meet the cost of your flights, food and leisure activities while in Ethiopia. In country costs are relatively low.
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The length of time you spend volunteering in Ethiopia is totally up to you. Over the years the vast majority of our volunteers have opted for three-month programmes, which give long enough to get immersed in the local culture. We can be very flexible with volunteering arrangements, so do get in contact if you have any particular questions.
Absolutely you can. Link Ethiopia will happily take applications from resident Ethiopians also looking to participate in our volunteering opportunities.
Hear from past volunteers
All our pupils gained massively in their personal confidence, benefiting from the more interactive learning.Ben
Too much for words to describeAmy
The Link staff were excellent. Extremely helpful and easily contactable. A credit to the human race!Sam
I now find it much easier to talk to new people and have also gained good experience about the world around me.Kitty