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Organising Voluntary Projects, Internships and Gap Years since 1994.



English is taught in all schools, but in rural areas the children have no opportunity to speak the language outside the classroom, so they get very little practice in pronunciation and speech. Their exposure to you as a native English speaker is very beneficial to them and helps them raise their grades, which is a big plus given that in the rural areas, the passing rate of English is only 60%.


Price: £1,395 for 4 weeks
£150 for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & Other Currencies
Duration: From 4 weeks, up to 6 months, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates: All year round - you choose your start and finish dates, but subject to school term dates.
Requirements: No experience or qualifications necessary, just lots of enthusiasm. Minimum age 17.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation and Food
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Return transfer to the airport
Transfer to the placement site
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Free T-Shirt
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas.
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, teaching projects abroad, or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement in Malaysia or South East Asia, short breaks or for those wanting to do TEFL teaching.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Asia and the fascinating Malaysian culture.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping children and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.
  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!



Please fill in the form below and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.



The school where you'll volunteer is in Tamparuli, which is located about 1 hour away from Kota Kinabalu. The school has primary school students aged from 6–12 and secondary school students aged from 13-17 (pre-University) age and teaching can be arranged in any one of these areas.

You'll usually work about 10 – 15 lessons per week, and you'll be in demand wherever you go! The school day usually runs from 07.30 to 1.30pm, Monday to Friday, during which time you'll be asked to teach or assist with lessons. As formal lessons take place in the mornings, the afternoons are a time for you to become involved with additional activities that interest you, such as Sports. You'll be given a timetable of lessons and will have the freedom to plan and take your own classes (with assistance, if required).

Your main focus is on assisting with conversational English but you may also be asked to help in other areas, not just sport, but also Drama, Maths and Music, if you have an interest in these.

Some of the classes will be conversation-based and some tuition-based. You'll work with groups or individuals, formally and informally outside the classrooms. You'll receive plenty of assistance from the School Principal and the teachers until such time as you have gained confidence in your own abilities.

The school is keen for you to become involved in school life and many volunteers with additional interests are encouraged to make use of these. In the past, volunteers have produced the end-of-term play, led drama or music groups, and arranged sports tournaments. You will be given a lot of freedom to arrange such activities.

The academic year runs from January through to November. The term dates in 2016 are as follows (to be confirmed):
Term 1: 4 January to 11 March
Term 2: 21 March to 27 May
Term 3: 13 June to 16 September
Term 4: 26 September to 18 November

Other types of Teaching you can do: If you don't want to teach in a conventional school we also have some placements in other centres and institutions. For example, we could arrange for you to work with children who have mental disabilities, such as Downs Syndrome, or, if you have practical skills, you could teach vocational subjects, such as woodwork, to young male adults who have not successfully completed conventional schooling or who have severely underachieved.

Please speak to us for more information if you would be interested in either of these options.


Accommodation will be with a local host family and you’ll participate in their way of life. Because you'll be in a rural village environment, you'll become involved in the local life. Very often this is one of the most attractive aspects of our placements in different cultures because you get to experience the country in a way that you would never be able to do as a tourist.

You may have your own bedroom or be required to share with another Travellers volunteer. You will have shared living accommodation and bathroom facilities.

There is a surprising amount of action in the evenings in Malaysian villages, including coffee shops, karaoke bars, and bustling open-air markets that are fascinating!

Your meals will be provided by your host family and will consist of local cuisine


Got any questions? Please email us:


Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in mind. Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity!

On Arrival, Your Introduction to the Country

When you arrive, you'll be welcomed by Ronn. She is the Volunteer Co-ordinator, assisting Albert, our Malaysia Manager. Ronn will take you to your accommodation in Kota Kinabalu, where you will spend the first couple days of your trip. She will show you the nearby facilities such as banks, pharmacy, food and beverage outlets etc.

Albert will give you an evening induction (so you will be free to do some activities during the daytime). You will then be taken to your project and accommodation and introduced to everyone concerned. You will be made to feel very welcome by all!

Our projects in Malaysia (particularly the Orang-Utan Centre, which you must visit(!) are very popular and you are sure to have a wonderful time during your stay in Sabah. Your adventure has begun :-)

As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

TRAVELLERS' SUPPORT AND BACKUP: Read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your programme.


Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Please note that all add-on activities in Malaysia depart from Kota Kinabalu. If you are doing the Orang-utan Conservation project, this is a 30 minute flight away.

Climbing Mount Kinabalu in Borneo

Kinabalu Park is Borneo's botanical paradise and home to the majestic Mount Kinabalu (4095.2 metres), the highest peak in South East Asia. On this three-day excursion you'll trek for about 5-6 hours for 2 days and will experience sunrise from the summit of Mount Kinabalu.

LEVEL: Moderate Trekking. No experience needed but see medical notes below
LOCATION: Departs from Kota Kinabalu
DURATION: 3 days and 2 nights
PRICE: £330

This excursion must be booked and paid for at least 3 months in advance in order to secure the necessary permits. A super peak season surcharge (approx 150RM (£30 or US$45) per night) is also sometimes applied to bookings between June and September. You'll need to pay this locally.

Day 1: You’ll be picked up from Kota Kinabalu and make a scenic drive to Kinabalu Park, arriving late afternoon. You’ll meet up with our representative and then proceed to Sabah Park’s HQ, at 1,563 meters, where you’ll register for the climb, check into your hostel and have some free time to explore the park at your leisure Then dinner and return to the hostel for a much-needed early night!

Day 2: The hard work starts today! After a wake- up call at 7am, you’ll ‘gear-up’ and have breakfast. You’ll meet with your assigned Mountain Guide and proceed to Timpohon Gate for the start of the climb. You'll have a packed lunch and plenty of rest stops! You'll climb for 5-6 hours before reaching Laban Rata. You'll have the afternoon free to relax and recuperate. Dinner will be at the Rest House restaurant and you'll stay in the mountain hut (which has dormitory bunk beds).

Day 3: Very very early wake up call - at 1am! It will be worth it though. You’ll trek for 3-4 hours to reach the summit of Mount Kinabalu to witness the glorious sunrise. You'll then trek down to Laban Rata for breakfast, after which you'll trek down to the Timpohon Gate, then transferred back to the Kinabalu Park HQ to pick up your Certificate of Achievement!

MEDICAL NOTES: A high level of fitness is required and we strongly advise that you have a medical check before attempting the climb. If you suffer from any of the following, you are advised not to do this climb: hypertension, diabetes, palpitations, arthritis, heart disease, severe anaemia, peptic ulcers, epilepsy, obesity (overweight), chronic asthma, muscular cramps, hepatitis (jaundice) or any other condition/disease which may impact on your ability to complete the climb comfortably. If in any doubt, please consult your doctor. If you are an inexperienced climber you should seek further advice before participating.

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Padas River Rafting

Spectacular scenery and thrilling rafting experience.

LEVEL: Moderate. No experience needed.
LOCATION: Depart from Kota Kinabalu. Located on the Padas River, near Tenom, Sabah
PRICE: £75 (Based on a minimum of 2 people)

The Padas River is situated in the interior of the south-western part of Kota Kinabalu. You’ll journey by bus for approximately 3½ hours through the countryside to Tenom Town, where you’ll have lunch in a local restaurant. The rafting start point is only accessible by train, so included in the price is a unique journey in an antique train on the North Borneo Railway. You'll journey through the heart of Borneo to the start of your rafting adventure - a brilliant chance to see the spectacular, untouched scenery of this beautiful country and glimpse the Murut tribes who live there. Upon arrival, you’ll receive a full safety briefing before starting your 9km rafting adventure.

The river holds eight thrilling rapids to negotiate - you’ll work as a team and will have an experienced guide with you. The journey will undoubtedly be an awesome adrenalin rush, as you experience the ultimate white water class III and IV rapids. The route takes about 1.5 hours to complete. You’ll then have the chance to change out of your wet clothes and enjoy some light refreshment at the station, ready for your return train journey to Tenom Town and bus trip back to Kota Kinabalu.

This excursion includes transfers to and from your accommodation in Kota Kinabalu, full safety briefing and equipment. Please note, this is a full day’s excursion and you won’t return to your hotel until at least 7.30pm.

Excluded: Drinks/extra meals and anything not included above.

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Scuba Diving at Tunku Rahman Park in Borneo

A chance to scuba dive and observe the beautiful coral life.

LEVEL: Beginner. No experience needed.
LOCATION: Depart from Kota Kinabalu.
DURATION: 5 hours
PRICE: £85 (Based on a minimum of 2 people)

ITINERARY: The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a stunning marine park, that comprises of a cluster of islands including Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. All of the islands have gorgeous white sandy beaches, shallow waters and fantastic coral gardens - and they are all only a 10 - 20 minute boat ride from the city of Kota Kinabalu!

This trip offers a perfect package for those who have never dived before but are eager to experience beautiful coral reefs and colourful marine life. You'll be given a step-by-step guide to scuba diving, from learning how to suit up, to how to use your diving equipment properly.

The package includes 1 beach dive and 1 boat dive, however it does not include the Park Dive Permit which is RM50 (approximately £10 at time of writing.)

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Cultural Village Tour in Malaysia

An opportunity to experience the fantastic culture of rural Malaysia.

LEVEL: Gentle
LOCATION: Depart from Kota Kinabalu, 3 hours journey to northern Sabah.
DURATION: Full day
PRICE: £95 (Based on a minimum of 2 people)

ITINERARY: You'll journey through scenic countryside to the north of Kudat. You'll pass some spectacular scenery including paddy fields, traditional villages, plantations and local stalls selling handicraft and food items. On arrival at Bavanggazo village (where the Rungus community live) you'll have a traditional lunch, before visiting the community and their cottage industries - Seeing the Rungus Tribe still living in their longhouses is a fantastic once in a lifetime experience! The community is very enterprising - the main economic activities include producing honey and making gongs.

Before returning to Kota Kinabalu, you'll visit Simpang Mengayau, the northern most tip of Borneo, where the Sulu and South China Seas meet. On a clear day, you'll be able to see the outlying islands of the Philippines from this point! Spectacular!

If you take this tour on a Sunday, you'll get the chance to visit the Tamu Besar (a bustling open air market in Kota Belud)

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Beginners PADI Open Water Diving Course

Take a Beginners PADI Open Water Course in the stunning Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, which comprises the islands of Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. Gorgeous white sandy beaches, shallow waters and fantastic coral gardens!

LEVEL: Beginner. No experience needed
LOCATION: Departs from Kota Kinabalu. 10-20 minutes by boat to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
DURATION: 3 days (Please note that accommodation is not included)
£300, based on a minimum of 2 adults, or
£355 if only 1 person on the course.

On Day one you'll be in the classroom - you'll meet in the hotel lobby and will complete academic scuba diving modules One to Four. This will then be followed by a short quiz. After lunch you'll take Module Five and a final exam, ready to start diving on Day Two!

Day 2: You'll have the chance to dive today. You'll meet in the hotel be transferred to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park by boat. When you arrive, you'll start your practical class and complete two different courses; Confined Water (Modules 1-3) and Open Water Dive (Module 1.) You'll have a chance to relax in your lunch break (a packed lunch is provided). In the afternoon you'll be taken back to the jetty and transferred back to your hotel.

Day 3: You'll be met at your hotel again, before transferring to the marine park. You'll complete the practical classes today so that you can receive your PADI qualification. You'll complete the Open Water Dive (Module 3) before lunch, and the Open Water Dive (Module 4) after lunch. In the afternoon you'll return to the jetty and will head for the classroom to finish the PADI certification!

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Advanced PADI Open Water Diving Course

Take an Advanced PADI Open Water Course in the stunning Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, which comprises the islands of Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. Gorgeous white sandy beaches, shallow waters and fantastic coral gardens!

LEVEL: Certified Divers (PADI OW)
LOCATION: Departs from Kota Kinabalu. 10-20 minutes by boat to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
DURATION: 2 days (Please note that accommodation is not included)
£250, based on a minimum of 2 adults, or
£280 if only 1 person on the course.

Day 1: You'll be picked up from your accommodation and will be taken to the jetty, where you will have a short boat ride to the dive site. Here you'll complete the exhilarating Deep Diving Course. In the afternoon you'll complete the Underwater Navigation Course, When the Navigation courses finishes, you'll take the boat back to the mainland and be transferred back to your hotel for a well earned rest!

Day 2: On Day 2 you'll be transferred to the dive site again and will begin the Peak Performance Buoyancy Dive. After a lunch break you can choose between the Boat Dive or the exciting Underwater Naturalist Dive. You'll be transferred back to your hotel for a break, before heading back out into the water for the thrilling Night dive in the evening.

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Turtles, Proboscis Monkeys and orang-utans Tour in Malaysia

View three spectacular species native to Borneo - the Turtle, the Proboscis Monkey and the Orang-Utan. You'll visit Selingan Turlte Islands Park, Labuk Bay Probsoscis Monkey Sancutary and Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre.

LEVEL: Moderate. No experience needed
LOCATION: Depart from Sandakan (but flights can be arranged cheaply from Kota Kinabalu, the journey takes approximately 45 minutes by air.
DURATION: 2 days / 1 night
PRICE: £385

This excursion must be booked and paid for at least 3 months in advance in order to secure the necessary permits.

Selingan Turtle Islands Park lies 40 kilometres north of Sandakan and comprises of three small islands. It's one of the best destinations in Malaysia for its unique marine wildlife and also is also the only breeding ground for Green turtles in South East Asia. Most evenings scores of turtles crawl onto the soft sand that fringes the islands to lay their eggs.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is located at the centre of the mangrove forests of Semawang. Here you'll get the chance to see Borneo's indigenous proboscis monkeys up close and personal!

Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre is the world's oldest, biggest and most established orang-utan rehabilitation centre in the world. It covers more than 4,500 hectares of unspoilt jungle that has been designated as a forest reserve and sanctuary for the beautiful Orang-Utan.

ITINERARY: Day 1: Begins with a boat transfer at 9.30am to the Selingan Turtle Islands Park (approx 45 minutes to 1 hour. On arrival you'll check into your accommodation. After lunch you'll enjoy the beach and fantastic snorkelling in this marine paradise. After dinner, the rangers will patrol the beach for turtles coming ashore to lay eggs - a nightly occurrence on turtle island! When the time is right, you'll go with the rangers to observe an adult female laying its eggs. This is a spectacular sight, as the females are typically 1 - 2 metres in length and go into a trance like state to lay their eggs. When the eggs have been laid the rangers will transfer them to the safety of the hatchery, away from predators. This gives the eggs the highest chance of success. At the hatchery, eggs are buried nightly and as such, hatchlings occur most nights too. You will help with the release of the baby turtles into the sea, giving each one a head start into the ocean! Who knows, maybe your turtle will be back to lay eggs on the beach one day... by the power of nature, all turtles find their way back to the beach they were hatched on to lay their own eggs.

Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner

ITINERARY Day 2 : breakfast, then you'll depart for the mainland and an hour's travel to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary where you'll get a close up encounter of these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. You'll depart around 12.30pm for the world famous Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre, where you'll have lunch on arrival. You'll then proceed to the feeding platform for the 3pm feeding of the primates. The aim of the centre is to release Orang-Utan's back into the wild and the feeding is a truly moving sight. You'll then get the chance to watch a short, informative video show about the primates and the Rehabilitation centre before departing for Sandakan. If you'd like to fly back to Kota Kinabalu you'll be transferred to the airport.

Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

The price includes all land and boat transfers, accommodation and meals (stated in the itinerary), all entrance fees and permits and an English speaking guide. Please note that the prices do not include the fee payable at Labuk Bay Sanctuary and Sepilok Orang-Utan Centre for taking photos. We cannot guarantee the sightings of turtles, due to unpredictable wildlife behaviour and weather conditions. However, it is well known as a nightly occurrence on Turtle Island so we hope that you will not be disappointed.

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Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.




Kota Kinabalu, or "KK" (as it is locally known), is the capital of Sabah. KK is home to the International airport and this will be your first point of arrival in Sabah - it is a great place to start your trip and get used to the Malaysian way of life.

Although Kota Kinabalu is far less developed than Kuala Lumpur (its counterpart on the Peninsular), the people are very friendly and the atmosphere here is more relaxed. KK also boasts impressive markets, a beautiful mosque, restaurants and nightlife - a fun introduction to the wide variety of attractions that Sabah has to offer.

Just off the coast it is possible to see an array of beautiful islands which make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Exploring the coral reefs and marine life in this underwater world is fascinating and day trips here can be easily arranged - most islands are less than 45 minutes away by boat. Once you arrive you will be amazed at how clear the water is and just how many different fish you can see. There are also many wonderful beaches to be explored on the islands!

If you are the outdoors type, a visit to Sabah isn’t complete without a climb to the summit of Mount Kinabalu (the highest peak in SE Asia). Standing at over 4000 metres, this is another of Sabah’s main attractions and the views from the top at sunrise more than make up for the two day climb. Afterwards you can soak your aching muscles at Poring where the sulphur hot springs provide a therapeutic bath.

Throughout the whole of Sabah you will find many local "Tamu", meaning market - the variety of fruit, vegetables, plants and handcrafted items on sale at cheap prices has to be seen to be believed!

Just off the West coast of Borneo, it is possible to see an array of beautiful islands which make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park – a protected area which boasts some of the best coral and unspoilt beaches in the area. Exploring the coral reefs and marine life in this underwater world is fascinating and day trips here can be easily arranged - most islands are less than 45 minutes away by boat.

Once you arrive you will be amazed at how clear the water is and just how many different fish you can see. There is excellent snorkelling and scuba diving (for both beginners and the more advanced) on these islands, as well as some wonderful beaches to be explored!

Take a trip on the North Borneo Railway, where you’ll travel through the heart of Borneo on a beautifully refurbished steam train. The journey meanders through villages, coastal towns, paddy fields, rain forests and rubber/coffee plantations. Passengers experience a glimpse into a bygone era, travelling along what used to be the ‘transport lifeline’ of Sabah – a great way to get a feel for the spectacular, untouched scenery of Borneo.


Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.


Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I gained so much from this placement. This placement just really opened my eyes to a completely different world, it made me realise how unimportant material things are. I think the teaching part has also made me more confident. It also introduced me to that part of the world which has given me confidence to go travelling there next summer. The best thing was the lovely, friendly people in the school - the teachers and the students. Everyone was welcoming and really made me feel at home.

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else?
Yes, definitely.

What type of person do you think this placement would suit?
People who want to experience something totally different from their life back home. People who want to experience a completely different culture and country and who want to be made to feel welcome in a different country. Also people thinking about teaching in the future.

Can you describe a typical day?
Started school at 7.20 then school finished at about 1, unless you worked in the kindergarten and then it was about 11.30. After school finished we then had the afternoon to ourselves where we attempted to sunbathe but just got too sweaty after about 30 minutes so usually gave up! Lunch was provided by our cook/mother - Monica who was lovely but cooked too many chicken nuggets.

Sometimes we would go to the nearest town and buy cool, refreshing drinks called Sagus...which were lovely. Or we would go to the river and swim in it...the afternoons were generally quite unexciting because most Malays sleep in the afternoon because it is so hot and the fact that they have to get up for 7!

In the evening we would usually have lots of visitors, usually the dorm boys and the teachers so we would go and play badminton with them...or just spend time talking to them which was nice. We would also do any marking if we had any to do!

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I am having a great time here in Sabah. The placement is great and I am looking forward to exploring the rest of the surrounding area in the holiday coming up. So far I feel that I have experienced not only a balanced interaction with children and teachers but also a clear insight into the local culture and the hospitable character that surrounds the school.

I have also experienced the everyday life of a world that was completely alien to me before. The diversity between the Western lifestyle and the Eastern has opened my eyes to travelling more often and has given me a real thirst to come back.

As a teaching placement, the best part is seeing how the pupils develop their understanding of English due to your influence. The noticeable difference in their pronunciation and basic understanding of the language is very fulfilling.

However, once you find yourself outside of the classroom many opportunities arise to discover Sabah and what it has to offer. Among many of the highlights, staying on Mamutik (one of the islands off Kota Kinabalu) has to have been the best part of my placement outside of the classroom. The coral beds and the vast variety of fish accompanied by the perfect sand make the island truly unique.

I would strongly recommend this placement to anybody else as it gives a perfect combination of teaching and free time, allowing you to discover Sabah but at the same time feel fulfilled, as you have added to the children’s education. Everybody I have met in Malaysia is very friendly and always willing to help with any problems that you may face.

The local cuisine is very tasty as well and I feel it would suit everybody’s needs. I think this placement would suit somebody that is not afraid to try new things. If you are easily moved by different cultures and cannot adapt very easily then I feel this placement shouldn’t be on the top of your list.

The lifestyle is far more relaxed and therefore this placement would suit someone who can find things to do in their spare time but also be willing to involve themselves with school after classes. It may seem quite daunting teaching children that have a basic knowledge of English, but if you are confident and innovative then this placement would be very suited to you.

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

Everything's going fantastically on our placement. We're all getting on fine in the house, and the house is great. Monica, our cook and mum, is a star, she's so helpful about everything and is always arranging trips for us to go on and taking us to the shops when we need to and everything like that. The other teachers at the school are really friendly and are trying almost too hard to arrange things for us to do - karaoke nights and eating out (we've even had sweet-corn flavoured ice cream!).

The school is really keen for us to get involved with everything. I have 11 lessons a week. Six of them are with the sixth formers, and I’m teaching them English writing and speaking. It can be very difficult as there's such a range of abilities in the classes. We're totally in charge of each class we teach rather than being assistants to the teachers, but its going okay so far, as long as they aren’t expecting too much from us about the results the kids get at the end of our placement!

My other five lessons are teaching maths to form one, about 30 kids. This is usually okay, although sometimes the mental arithmetic catches me out and I just get the kids to do the questions on the board that I can’t do myself!

Out of the classroom, I’m involved in teaching English to the English teachers twice a week, and in return they have started to teach me Malay. Next week I’m also taking lessons for some of the day students, I think they are all my sixth formers wanting extra help. Me and Lily are also involved in the church choir and teaching one group of students and one group of teachers how to sing, we play badminton when its not too hot, and I think we're starting to play rounders with anyone who's up for it next week!

At the weekends we've been coming to KK and the nearby islands with the other volunteers, been out with Albert (Travellers Manager) and to Poring Hot Springs. I’m currently in KK to get my visa extended (I was only given a short one because I came in from Thailand) and I think we're going hang-gliding and horse riding this weekend.

I'd definitely recommend this placement to other people, although I think you have to have a certain character to survive! The communication between here and home has been pretty easy so long as you don’t expect to get in touch with people on a regular basis! The internet has a habit of switching itself off, power cuts kill the line anyway, and the phone line's been down a few times. I bought a sim card out here very cheaply, but my phone doesn’t have much reception in the school.

I think you've also got to be pretty easy going to cope with the lifestyle out here, plans tend to be made very loosely, for sometime in the future and then something might be sprung on you the day before hand, and it can be hard to explain if you already have made other plans.

Finally, I think you have to be pretty hard to embarrass - we've been made to dance in front of the whole school, sing at weddings and give speeches - I think we're getting used to feeling pretty stupid in whatever we do!

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I am having a fantastic time, I can't believe I only have a month left! The people are great, really friendly and helpful. The pupils are generally really grateful to us for teaching them and living on campus makes life a lot easier and means we can lie in more in the morning. The fact that there are a lot of other Travellers volunteers in the areas means we can all go travelling together at weekends or go to Kota Kinabalu.

From living and working here you get a true insight into their culture, you can see how it works and not from a tourists perspective. I have been able to make good friends with local people. I have been able to find the good side in having only cold showers! Albert (Travellers Manager) is always helpful and checking we are ok and our house is great.

My Lessons are from 7.20 to 1.00 pm but I usually have about 3 or 4 lessons a day. During this time I will mark books or plan lessons. I teach Science and English literature, Grammar and Conversation. I have a lot of freedom in what I choose to teach, which I appreciate. After school I usually tutor the teachers or pupils. Lily and I have set up a drama club and we are helping to direct a play so that takes quite a bit of time.

Sometimes our house keeper, Monica takes us shopping. In the evenings we play badminton, or have rehearsals or tutoring again. At the moment we are trying to run every night to train for Mt. Kinabalu which we are climbing next week, we think we may have left it a bit late! So no time to be bored.

The teaching would suit a person who is patient and persistent. At first it is very difficult but then it becomes very rewarding and enjoyable. I think it is something most people can adapt to. The person absolutely has to be open minded, otherwise they wont get as much out of it and may resent it.

Next week we are visiting the Orang-Utans and climbing the mountain so wish us luck!!

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I feel that I gained a lot of confidence by teaching my own lessons. At first I didn't enjoy it, but I persevered and worked hard to overcome my nervousness and it started to pay off. The best thing about the placement was definitely the people here who are just fantastic. They are all so friendly and welcoming and would do anything to help you. Getting to know them and understand their lifestyles has been the most rewarding part of my placement. I don't think I've ever met such a lovely group of people. They were absolutely amazing and really made the placement enjoyable.

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else?
Definitely! You get given a lot of things to do and the work is varied and interesting. You also have the scope to take initiative and organise things outside the classroom. If someone was looking to teach their own class and organise every lesson this would be a great placement to do.

It would suit someone friendly and outgoing and willing to join in with everything. It is hard work and there is a lot of planning to do so you need to be committed. To get the most out of the placement you need to open your mind and really get involved with everything.

Can you describe a typical day?
We would get up for the start of school at 7am. We were always invited to worship with all of the teachers. This consisted of singing and praying but we weren't obliged to join in if we were uncomfortable about it. Lessons started at 7.20am and each lesson was 40 minutes long. If we didn't have a lesson we would usually be in the staff room planning lessons or marking work. The school day finished at 7pm and at 2.30pm. I would teach dormitory students and give them extra help. Otherwise there was always sports events in the afternoon to support or join in with.

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

My placement is giving me a full perspective of how people in a developing country live. Having lived here for a few months now, I am starting to realize that there are many luxuries we take for granted back at home (access to hot showers, decent public transport to say a few). Also, I have been confronted by a completely different way of seeing things, different opinions on what life is about. The people here are very superstitious. They all strongly believe in ghosts, for example. It is extremely interesting to have conversations with people here.

I think the best thing about my placement would be life with the host family. The parents are really friendly and treat me like their own child. The children are also very entertaining at times. Secondly, one of the best moments I’ve had here was the trip into the jungle with the school’s campus’ four-wheel drive club. That was an amazing experience.

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else?
Definitely, to anyone who is looking for a completely different experience and a culture shock.

What type of person do you think this placement would suit?
It would suit anyone who is patient and who can get used to not doing anything sometimes. The person has to be adventurous also, and has to be able to rough it at times. Someone who does not mind not having a luxurious life, without washing machines, having to spray your room with insect spray every evening if you do not want to suffer the mosquitoes, having to wake up in the night to get rid of the occasional cockroach visit!

Can you describe a typical day?
The time I wake up at depends on what time my teaching begins. The earliest I wake up is at 6.30 to be able to have a shower, take breakfast and be at school at 7.30, when class starts. Lunch is at 12.30, either at home or at the school cafeteria. School usually finishes at 1.30. I don't have school all morning though, I have 2 hours of class a day maximum. The rest of the time I sit in the teachers room speaking to the teachers, or I go home and take a nap. After school, there are some other activities, such as football, badminton… I play badminton everyday here, they’re all pretty good at sports. The foster parents get home around 6 or 7, and we have diner. After diner, the family usually watches television. They all watch their favourite Filipino sitcom together, which I have also started to follow.

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I would recommend this placement to anyone who likes adventure, children and who are not afraid to testing new things and learning about the cultures of this place. I feel I have learned a great deal of things out here, on the culture and the people but especially myself.

I enjoyed and still enjoy every single minute of this placement, thanks to my foster family, Albert, the children, the teachers and the nature of the place. The family I am staying with are absolutely fantastic and full of character. They have been so kind to me, very friendly and funny. They treated me like their own and made everything easy for me. I really enjoyed their presence.

Since I have been here I have gained much more patience with everything and everyone. I have also gained communication skills with non-speaking English people, which is difficult at first but then you find a way of communicating with them. I have definitely gained experience of being with children, teaching them, playing with them and learning from them. Teaching is an art and you must try and be as creative as possible when teaching so the children enjoy learning.

I've done so many activities out here, climbing the highest mountain in south east Asia, Mount Kinabalu, climbing the hill outside Tamparuli village with my local friends, going to the hot springs with the family and the tip of Borneo, going traveling in my week off to KL, the Perenthian Islands and jungle trekking in Taman Negara (National park). I have met some incredible people on the way!

Can you describe a typical day?
I wake up in the week at 6.50, have my shower and eat my breakfast. Breakfast is always prepared by my foster family who wake up earlier and who are almost always gone to work by the time I am up! I walk to school at 7.20, which is a 30 second walk from the house, and start lessons at 7.50. One period is half an hour but all the lessons are doubles so I teach one hour each class. I teach almost every period up till 12.20, lunch time. I have lunch at home, prepared by the nanny and then I have a nap between 1 and 2 pm because teaching really is tiring!

At 2pm I have my drama class in the youth hall and so I am on campus until 4. I teach the younger children between 2pm and 3pm (they are preparing a play called Snow White) and the older children between 3pm and 4pm (who are practicing Cinderella). The play will be held on Thursday 30th September for all parents and children.

At 4pm I come back home and read my book or watch TV till 6pm when the foster parents come home and then we either eat dinner at home or we have "Happy hour", which is when all the friends get together at someone’s house and bring food and we all eat together, or sometimes we go out to eat. I usually go to bed quite early, between 9.30-10.30pm.

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

Thank you so much for all your help before and during my placement. I had an unforgettable experience and enjoyed teaching at Goshen so much that I found it very hard to leave. Although I was the teacher, I learnt a great deal too. I am already missing everyone at Goshen but thankfully I have some wonderful photos that I can look at and reminisce.

The placement was even better than I had expected. I remember that I took several books with me, because I expected that there would be very little to do in the evenings and that I would get bored very easily. This was not the case at all, many of the books remained unread, because if there wasn’t marking to do, or lesson plans, or generally just chatting with my fellow volunteers, there was always some sort of activity on the school grounds to get involved in.

Sometimes I would go out for a run with a Kindergarten Teacher, or play badminton, sing songs with the dormitory girls, play with the children or even attempt karaoke at the teachers’ houses.

I thoroughly recommend that whilst in KK, you should definitely try and visit all the the Islands off the coast of KK – Manukan Island, Sapi, Mamutik… etc, I didn’t get to see them all, but the ones I did, I thought were beautiful, had amazing beaches, and brilliant snorkelling, you really can’t miss out on them. They are very easy to get to from the port, and if you have enough members in your group (6 or 8) you can go to whichever island you want at whatever time you decide. A perfect day on the beach.

The advice I would you give to someone who hasn’t done anything like this before is to be very open and understanding of the Malays and their religion and culture, try not to do anything to offend them, but if you do, they may not tell you directly since they dislike confrontation, so you need to talk to them to convince them of your friendship and trustworthiness. When someone is being indirect with you, it is very easy to treat them in the same way, avoid this and be as open and direct as you possibly can without being rude.

Don’t be afraid of joining in with strange customs, or attempting to speak their language, they may laugh – actually they definitely will laugh – but that is because they tend to laugh at most things, nonetheless, be confident and it will build respect and understanding.

Thanks again for all your hard work, it was very much appreciated.

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I just wanted to send you an e-mail to thank you and Travellers so much for all your help with everything on my trip to Malaysia. I had a fantastic time while I was out there, and I really enjoyed my teaching placement. The people over there were all so friendly and welcoming and the children were a lot of fun to teach. Although it was quite difficult teaching the younger children at times because they did not understand very much English, their smiling faces made the lessons a joy! A lot of the pupils were willing to learn and always made an effort. They always completed the work that I set them which was a relief.

My time at Goshen certainly made me think about teaching as a career in the future. Although, I think it would be a lot more difficult to teach over in England! All the teachers were so helpful, and it was great to chat to them in the staff room at break times.

Lucy and I also taught some of the teachers in the afternoon which was always a lot of fun too. They were very eager to learn English and we always had a few laughs in our lessons. At the end of our time there, Lucy and I were asked to judge the English contest which was very enjoyable to watch. Loads of the children sang and read poems and short stories, and they all did it so well! We were very impressed with how much preparation they had put into the event!

Albert [Travellers' Malaysia Manager] was always very helpful and he was so friendly, we all got on with him so well. It was sad to leave him at the airport, but it was so nice of him to wake up at 4am to come and see us off!

Overall, I would like to say thank you for everything you have done to help make this trip a success. I had the most amazing time out in Sabah and I was so sad to leave. I made some great friends, both with the staff and students, as well as with the other volunteers who hopefully I will keep in touch with for a very long time.

If I ever want to do another volunteering placement, I know where to come! Thank you again!!

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I feel the placement has prepared me for university life. I have gained confidence and the ability to address a large group. My teaching experience will help me further my own education and the teaching methods I learnt are likely to help me in whichever career I choose in the future.

It was sad to leave, I wish I had more time to spend there. It was a great experience and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Teaching was great as the children were so sweet and genuinely seemed enthusiastic to learn, even if they seem like they haven’t taken much in, you being there helps. On the last day my class told me how much my teaching helped (some were crying which was very flattering).

All the activities I’ve done: Staying in a long house with a local tribe, visiting and trekking in the jungle, white water rafting, has all been such a great experience and the people I met were all so friendly!

I would definitely recommend this placement to other people who wanted to experience a different culture. The people make everything so easy - with their open, friendly outlook you feel really welcome. This placement would also be useful to aspiring teachers - making yourself understood so the kids enjoy and take in what you’re saying can be difficult! I think this placement would suit anyone who is adaptable and up for a bit of a challenge. The abilities vary in each class and some children hardly speak a word of English. This can sometimes make lessons difficult so being confident and creative is important. Often there would be changes to class times and we wouldn’t be told and so being adaptable is important.

Thanks for everything! I had a great time!

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

From the moment you step onto the plane with a complete stranger, you feel completely independent from everything you used to be dependant on. It is a massive boost for your self confidence. When I got here I didn’t want to walk around town by myself because I got so many funny looks (which I now know were friendly looks!). Now I can quite happily hop on a bus to KK (or anywhere in Sabah) by myself and spend the weekend doing whatever I want wherever I want!

Out here I live for the kids. I wake up in the morning because I know the kids want me to teach them and I go to bed happy because I know I will be teaching the next day. They are an absolute joy to be around! Some have hardly any grasp of English at all but its still brilliant just to sit with them and communicate in different ways.

They are all so friendly, in the first few days I received around 50 notes ranging from a blob of ink on a piece of paper to a very well written letter in English, they are all as nice because you can tell that they have put a lot of effort into them.

I teach in the primary school so there is not very much planning or organising around lessons but it has made me more self controlled, you have to think about everything you say or do before you say it, so as not to offend anyone or make them uncomfortable. The afternoon lessons require planning and organising because they are for secondary students. You have to create the syllabus, but it’s not so hard.

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else?
Yes, everyone who loves kids! I would recommend this placement to anyone who has the patience to communicate with all types of children.

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I just want to say that I had the time of my life in Malaysia. The time at school was fantastic and was such an experience and the time out of school was so much fun. Lucy's Backpackers where we stayed every weekend - she looked after us all as if she was our mum, Shenanigans where we partied the Friday and Saturday nights away, all our friends in the band there, Uncle Tans Wildlife Camp and all the guys who worked there - believe me if you go to Malaysia go there. Seeing elephants, orang-utans and spiders as big as your hand in a zoo is nothing compared to being about a metre away from one in the wild.

The rice wine and so many other fantastic experiences and the girls I lived with made everything so much more enjoyable. I would advise anyone and everyone to go to Borneo Malaysia! The kids and teachers were great, very friendly - I miss them all so much and the girls I was teaching and living with were fantastic - we had the best time together, and of course I have to mention Albert - love him!

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I feel I have gained in confidence in that I am more assertive and am more willing to trust myself to do new things. I have learnt what it is like to live the warmness of the Malaysian culture while still being (and feeling at times) very different in my appearance!

I have increased my knowledge of the English language and felt both the rewards and frustrations of teaching both young children and adults. Yhe best thing has to be the integration you experience into a small and friendly community, that is both the school and the church. Your own views are respected but singing hymns at 6pm every evening with the dormitory girls is so much fun that it is not to be missed! Also the satisfaction I felt when I could see an improvement in the English (both written and spoken) of a few of the teachers due to concepts I had taught.

Would you recommend it?
Yes of course! There is much scope in who and what you teach and the school buildings and grounds are beautiful - you won't forget it. It would suit anyone up for a challenge who loves children wants to meet new and different people and if you want a tan (it is possible at the weekends). It is especially good for someone interested in teaching as a career - gives you the extra edge and confidence from an amazing experience.

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I am gaining teaching experience and also the experience of having to make new Malaysian friends fast. The best way to do this is to be confident and pro-active, sometimes this is out of your comfort zone. Another thing is being confident to ask questions - if you don't ask you'll never know!

Living with a Malaysian family is quite intense and sometimes I feel a little guilty they are going out of their way to make things perfect for me, I'm pretty laid back so sometimes this can be too much; it has taken a while to really convince my family I'll just do as they do...not sure I'm all the way there yet, I consider washing my own plate a personal victory!!

The best thing is working with the kids. In the primary school they are so smiley and happy to try and converse in English without inhibitions. The extra tuition at the secondary school has been rewarding as I made progress in eventually getting the shy ones to some out of their shells.

This placement would suit someone outgoing, confident, comfortable with their own company, open to new foods, happy to get involved with everything that's offered, open minded, don't have any preconceptions, even if you get into a comfortable routine things are liable to change without warning! Willing to get involved in church activities regardless of faith.

My typical day is that I get up around 6:15am, it seems to take my family a lot longer to get ready than me! Eat breakfast prepared by host mother around 6:45, then head to school for 7am. Normally I'll have 2-3 hours lessons a day, normally the teachers gives you relevant material but I would say always plan extra as there is a lot of disparity between the fastest and slowest. The rest of the time sit in the staff room either marking or reading. Get picked up at 1:30pm, often all the other teachers have gone home by now so patience and good book are pretty essential.

Have lunch around 2pm then head to the secondary school for 2:30pm. Teach for an hour then find the head teachers or wait for here, sometimes chat to students but often they have places to be so the book comes out again. Head home at 4:30pm and relish sitting down and cooling off.

Evening activities range from TV, jogging, badminton, choir practice or on Wednesdays mid week worship at the church. Normally we have a light dinner, a bread roll or cake etc, having had larger meals at breakfast and lunch. Sometimes I play badminton very tired and very hungry but you get used to it. I head to bed quite early maybe half nine to have some me time and write my journal. They are not ones for telling me plans well in advance so sometime badminton is sprung on me after I have just have to take it in your stride and enjoy every opportunity you're given!

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

Well, I've had the best time of my life out there, just wish I could have stayed longer! As far as accommodation goes the place was fantastic, with satellite TV and everything, I really wasn’t expecting that.

I really had the best time out there, think I achieved all the things I wanted to, and feel a better person because of it. I would definitely do it again, despite the fact I got bitten on my legs more than any volunteer on record! So tell them to bring a mossie net if they ever want to be able to wear a skirt in public again!

Thanks for all your help, I had the best time ever!

Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia

I can't believe I've been here a month already! We have done loads during the school holiday - white water rafting, Uncle Tans, a wedding at the school, an afternoon at the harvest festival in Penampang and yesterday we completed the open water diving course. Tonight Mary & I are going to stay in a longhouse, then on Friday we are going to climb Mount Kinabalu, followed by a big party on Sat for Ellie & Mary leaving - so by Sunday I will be shattered!

I think we have certainly made the most of the time off!!