Volunteer in Africa FAQs

What is the length of time for a volunteer program?
Volunteers can come for any length of time but for maximum impact in the school we recommend a 3 week minimum – the first week you are getting acquainted with the system and finding your feet; the second week you are getting into the swing of things; the third week you are fully operational; and any time on top is an added bonus.

Where in Africa would volunteers be?
Schools are near Nelspruit, the capital of the province of Mpumalanga, which is in the north-eastern part of the country of South Africa. It is in the heart of the bushveld, a sub-tropical woodland ecoregion of Southern Africa, and wildlife, close to the Kruger National Park. Most volunteers stay on after their teachership to travel elsewhere in South Africa, such as Durban, Cape Town, etc.

Do volunteers have to have any degrees or experience?
No. The only credentials that volunteers need is energy and initiative, a passion for education, a desire to make a difference, and a sense of adventure. Teachers and non-teachers alike are needed – as long as volunteers are enthusiastic and can make a contribution of some kind they are welcome. People come and coach sport, do maintenance jobs at schools and even building.

What can volunteers do?
Before you leave we will work with you to figure out exactly where you want to work, what you want to do, what kind of accommodation you’d like to stay in, what kind of extra trips, safaris, and excursions you’d like to do, and tailor a program accordingly.

What schools or organizations would volunteers be working in?
We work primarily with schools, but also have needs for volunteers in orphanages and community centers. There are more than 24 schools, primary and secondary, that are partners in our program, and we match them up with suitable teachers and workers, depending on volunteers’ specific expertise and interests. We can also accommodate groups of volunteers as well and can place them in pairs or small groups at the same location. Volunteers even have the choice of schools they’d like to work in and can choose to work in a well-resourced multi-racial private or independent school where the pupils usually come from privileged backgrounds, or in rural disadvantaged schools in poor township areas where the pupils and teachers are all black Africans. It is the latter option that most teachers from overseas choose to go because they get the opportunity to have a really authentic cultural experience and their help is desperately needed.

Do I have to speak a foreign language?
No – everyone speaks English. There are actually nine official languages in South Africa and English is the common one used for all official communication and is the language of tuition.

If I go as a teacher, what would I teach?
Whatever you are most comfortable with. At lower primary school level teachers teach everything. In the secondary school grades, subjects taught are Mathematics, English, Natural Science, Biology, Life Orientation, Business Studies etc., probably much the same as in the U.S or U.K.

How much does it cost?
The cost to volunteer in Africa is 800 USD, no matter how long you stay. The full amount is due once you are accepted into the program.

Do schools pay a salary?
No – work in the schools in on a voluntary basis. However, your experience in these schools can help you get paid teaching positions in other schools around the world. See our Current Jobs page for information.

What other costs are involved?
Most volunteers stay on after their volunteer job to travel elsewhere in South Africa, such as Durban, Cape Town, etc. For that, apart from allowing for accommodation, for leisure activities a budget of about R5000 (around 600 USD) will cover, for example, a guided 2 night all inclusive weekend trip to the Kruger National Park, a guided day tour of the prime beauty spots of the area and a township tour. There is so much else to do that volunteers will probably want to do more than that. Volunteers might also want to hire their own car which will make them more independent. We would not recommend that they bring cash with you because it is time-consuming and frustrating to change money and travelers cheques in the banks. Rather, it is safer and easier if they bring credit cards and draw money as and when they need it.

Where would I stay?
If teachers choose to work in a disadvantaged township school (as opposed to a private or independent school with more privileged backgrounds) they can stay in a family’s home for R120 (around 15 USD) per day, which covers accommodation, breakfast, packed lunch (if necessary) and dinner, and transport to and from school every day, plus other transport as arranged. This applies when volunteers stay for 3 weeks; if it were for an extended period, this would probably be cheaper. If volunteers want to stay in a guest house or bed and breakfast, this would cost between R250 and R400 per night (approximately 30-50 USD), and they would then have to hire a car (the public transport system is not very good) or we can organize a driver at a cost of about R120 per day (less if there is more than one person).

Will your representative be there with us in South Africa as well?
Yes! Our representative will pick you up from the airport and stay in touch with you throughout. She will keep a personal eye on things and will be on hand should there be any problems to sort out.

What is the first step?
Email us at info@educatorsoverseas.com for an application form!