Teaching English - Volunteer Reviews

MADAGASCAR

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Teaching English project

Nina - 2016

“It was a remarkable experience and I’m very thankful for it. 

Have you ever dreamt of going far away but never dared to? That was a long time me but then I decided that going to Madagascar would be worth it and with the help of Pod it became an unforgettable experience. I taught English to local staff members in one-to-one sessions - a luxury situation which I rarely have as a teacher over here. The students were great and it was a pleasure working with them. The impressions of my time spent with a lovely Malgache family and my students are still with me. I would definitely love to come back.

What did you find most rewarding?
The homestay with a malgache family - it was so much better than to stay alone.

What did you find most challenging?
To feel a bit like an "alien" at the beginning, since the children in the streets don't see Europeans very often and therefore always called me "vazahar" once they saw me.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be well prepared, also learn some French or Malgache to be able to communicate with people who don't speak English.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
No. The house is very beautiful.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Because it seemed very transparent, money-wise. The support was friendly and competent. It has a very good website and the people I talked to knew what was going to happen because they had experienced it first-hand, too.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes, thanks for this great opportunity!”

Jo - 2016 

“My six week teaching placement in Madagascar was exactly the right combination of challenge, reward and adventure. I’ve never been anywhere like it, and I was very privileged to live with a wonderful Malagasy family to see a different side to life in Fort Dauphin. The teaching was varied and intense but deeply rewarding with engaged and well-disciplined students (with 75 in a class!) - I think we had lots of fun. The local NGO team were very supportive, and the Pod team beforehand were reassuring and informative. It was exactly what I needed on a career break and gave me the chance to recalibrate. I’ve come back energised by the people and the place.

What did you find most rewarding?
It's always rewarding when students build their confidence and start speaking more English, and you could see that impact of the classes and one-to-one sessions over my time on the project. This was lovely to see and they really enjoyed having native speaker in the class! I was also lucky to teach all the different projects which gave are a great overview and a chance to dip in to the building and conservation projects as well.

What did you find most challenging?
The project is full on from day one so do need to be ready to roll up your sleeves, start teaching and think on your feet. There's no time for being 'eased in' to the project.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Even without much teaching experience your can give huge amounts to the students who love listening and speaking in English. The most basic of activities can be a lesson lifter or life-saver so perhaps having a bit of research in to some of the TEFL style games is really handy. I’d also try and get to visit the other projects if possible which was a great chance to see different teaching environments. Travel wise - I'd definitely try and factor in some time to travel at the end of the project.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
I think a bit more guidance around the 'objectives' of the teaching, especially for teachers who don't have quite as much experience as I did. The induction was a bit vague and we were pretty self sufficient as a group, I think a clearer idea around the purpose of the English Clubs, one-to-one's might have made the first couple of planning weeks easier in order to make the classes more appropriate for everyone.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I really like the ethos, the range of projects and the general impression of the company on the website. Small, but really effective with hugely positive feedback.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Kirsty- 2016 

“See the real Madagascar and make a difference. An amazing experience that I will always remember. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to make a difference whether it's one week or six months. 

How you would describe a typical day at the Teaching English in Madagascar project? 
I was never bored, there was always something to do: teaching, updating spreadsheets and lesson planning.  

The schedule is spilt so you have the opportunity to teach NGO staff one on one. This is vital as it not only builds confidence but improves communication within the office. The English club lesson at a local middle school is an extra-curricular activity for students so this tends to be a relaxed and fun lesson.  I aided the local Malagasy teacher at a number of English lessons at the high school. These classes had approximately 75 students and were taught as part of the curriculum.  

What did you find most rewarding?
Helping children who literally have nothing but are so keen to learn.

What did you find most challenging?
The various levels of ability in the classroom.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Do it, you won't regret it. If possible take your laptop. The office are always grateful for exercise books and other stationery items.  Stickers are also really handy.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
The area was far more appealing than other companies in the North west of the country, less touristy.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? 
Yes"

August

“The very best experience of my life (so far!)

I took the opportunity of a long summer before starting university to spend four weeks in Madagascar and I can honestly say that it was the best experience of my life so far. I loved how remote we were and how basic we were living because it made me feel almost at one with nature.

The activities each day were interesting and exciting and we had the opportunity to spend time relaxing also if we chose. We also worked with some incredible local people allowing us to experience their way of life and to see how very different their perspective of life is in comparison to ours.

Overall it was a very special experience and I wish to return to Madagascar in the future perhaps to work again.”

Find out more about the Teaching English project

 

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal