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Cambodia FlagVolunteer Cambodia  |  Phnom Penh

Volunteer Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is an energetic city which is home to approximately one million people. It is the commercial, political, and cultural hub of Cambodia. Phnom Penh was once known as the 'Pearl Of Asia' and is once again on the upswing. This can be witnessed especially along the riverfront street known as Sisowath Quay where many cafes, restaurants and trendy shops have opened in the past few years.

There are a variety of western style restaurants and bars in close proximity to the more traditional Khmer street vendors throughout the city. In addition to the eateries the bustling Russian and Central Markets are great spots for shopping and souvenir hunting. Sightseeing opportunities abound within the city including The National Museum, the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

Just a few kilometers outside of town The Killing Fields are a worthwhile yet heart wrenching afternoon journey. For weekend excursions, Siam Reap and the stunning temples of Angkor Watt lie a few hours to the north and the laid back beach town of Sihanoukville is a just few hours south of the city. Aside from sightseeing and excursions to the coast there are many ways in which you can spend your free time. As a modern city Phnom Penh has plenty to offer with many supermarkets, swimming pools, gyms, spa's, bars, restaurants and much much more. Getting about the city is easy and you can practice your bargaining skills with the many Moto and Tuk Tuk drivers plying the city's streets.

Our partner organization runs an NGO with no donors located in the heart of Phnom Penh. A Montessori nursery, day care centre and primary school, its goals are to help rebuild Cambodia, restore self-confidence and self-esteem to the Khmer, and provide quality education for the less fortunate.

Job assignment for volunteers will depend on the length of their stay:

4 to 8 weeks: Nursery teaching and supervision, children aged 1 to 4. Responsibilities: interact with children, teach them spoken English through flash cards and REMI (an audio method available at the school), read stories, teach songs, swimming, art and craft and overall supervision of children to make sure they are safe.
Volunteers also teach some adult English classes to teachers or support staff at the school. Small groups of two or three people or individual class.
12 weeks: Teaching classes of children aged 5 up to 14. Any subjects, academic (English, Math, Science, computer) or non-academic (swimming, art and craft, music etc.). Maybe sharing time with nursery and doing some adult teaching. May manage the crepe corner, a project where children make and sell crepe at the guesthouse next door to raise fund for the school.
24 weeks up
: Teaching (nursery, primary, adults), administrative work and crepe corner depending on skills and needs.

Currently there are 108 students enrolled in this school. The full time students are aged 1 to 12 years old. Older students from Government schools and Universities come part time for English and general knowledge. The children are from all kinds of backgrounds, the aim being to bring rich and poor together so that the children get to know and appreciate each other. Parents pay according to their income: expat parents pay full fees comparable to those in other International Schools in Phnom Penh, wealthy Khmers pay 50%, and economically deprived families contribute what they can in cash or in kind. Presently only 6 children come from expatriate families, 40% of the students are from middle income and the rest pay from poor families. The primary section has five grades. Students follow the Khmer curriculum of the Ministry of Education and alongside learn English and other academic and non academic subjects offered by the school with the help of volunteers. The school is especially keen in receiving volunteers with music and art skills.

One aspect that volunteers should be aware of is that it very much looks like a wealthy school and is on par with any international schools run by Western staff. It does not correspond to the image some people might have of a school in a developing country. The school is well resourced, the building is well maintained and the children are healthy and well fed. There is even a swimming pool. It is one of the school’s objectives to change the image of Cambodia from one of misery and dependence to one the children can be proud of. The school devotes all its resources towards this objective and T2T volunteers have significantly contributed to make this possible. Partly thanks to them the children can thrive in a beautiful environment.

Prices are available for any period between 2 weeks and 6 months.

Show prices in:
2 Weeks 4 Weeks 8 Weeks 12 Weeks 24 Weeks Extra Weeks
$820 $947 $1199 $1451 $2057 $50

Read how your fees are spent or compare our prices with other volunteer organisations.

View our prices in other volunteer locations's or combine your stay in with stays in other locations as part of a combination stay.

What you receive
  • Orientation upon arrival
  • 24 hour support
  • Accommodation
  • Regular follow-up meetings
  • Khmer language lessons
  • Khmer cooking class (Phnom Penh Only)
Apart from our fees, you must pay for:
  • Your ticket to Phnom Penh
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Food and other personal expenses

Our application process typically takes two or three weeks, but can be speeded up if there is a need for that. When we receive the initial application from you, we will send you our full application form.

(1) Complete the Initial Application Form:
The first stage of the application process is to fill out the brief initial application form. Upon receiving this we will send you the full application form.

(2) Complete the Full Application Form:
Fill out the application form. After receiving this we will assess your suitability and place you on one of our programs.

(3) Placement info:
We will return detailed placement information and an invoice. If you accept the placement you should clikc the link to say so. The fee can be paid with credit card through PayPal or by bank transfer.

(4) Communication:
Once you have made your traveling arrangements you should mail your time of arrival and the means of transportation and we will confirm pickup.

For the majority of our programs, you can join us for any amount of time from 4 weeks to six months.

We recommend a trip of three to six months since it offers the best value. Regardless of the length of your stay, you will be able to learn some Khmer and you will have time to get to know a new culture, come to know its people, and form relationships that will outlast the duration of your stay.


Dates for the Year 2014:
December: Sat 6, Sat 20
Dates for the Year 2015:
January: Sat 3, Sat 17, Sat 31
February: Sat 14, Sat 28
March: Sat 14, Sat 28
April: Sat 11, Sat 25
May: Sat 9, Sat 23
June: Sat 6, Sat 20
July: Sat 4, Sat 18
August: Sat 1, Sat 15, Sat 29
September: Sat 12, Sat 26
October: Sat 10, Sat 24
November: Sat 7, Sat 21
December: Sat 5, Sat 19
Phnom Penh

Volunteers will be staying in a lovely flat connected to the school. The school is located in the city center. Volunteers will live in shared rooms and share a western style bathroom and kitchen.

Volunteers are expected to take care of their accommodation and keep it clean and tidy. All bills are paid for but there is a cap beyond which they have to contribute. In the past volunteers have left fans and lights running unnecessarily, creating a bad example. Part of working in the school is being a good role model for the children. So, when bills go beyond the cap, all -Khmer staff and volunteers- have to share the extra cost.

Phnom Penh

Our volunteers in Phnom Penh love the cities nightlife and food. With clubs, bars and restaurants as well as great Cambodian street food in abundance, it’s a great place for group volunteers, young volunteers or the young at heart!

There’s some great shopping to be had at the cities Russian market which has been quoted to have "anything you could possible want".

For the culture vultures among us, the Royal Palace is a must see and is only a short tuk-tuk ride away from the volunteer house. Siam Reap, home to the breath-taking Angkor Wat, is a trip best saved for the weekends being an 8hours bus ride away. We at Travel to Teach recommend a stop at the Killing fields and The Khmer Rouge’s S21 Genocide museum which is just outside of the city center, to be reminded and to absorb some of the horrendously sad history of Cambodia. All entry fees from both the Killing fields and the S21 Genocide museum go towards the victims and families of the victims from the reign of the Khmer Rouge.

The school flat has cooking facilities and there are many supermarkets stocking local and western products. You can also arrange to eat at the school for around 3,000 Riel per meal (under $1).

There are also many wonderful restaurants in Phnom Penh including those with Western, Khmer, and Thai fare. The riverfront street called Sisowath Quay is located just around the corner from the school offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and nightclubs. There are many restaurants in town which double as charity organizations so that you can give back to the community while dining out.

The weather in Cambodia is hot and humid throughout the year with 2 distinct seasons, hot, from December to April, and rainy (although still hot) from May to November. The coolest time of the year is November February where temperatures average approximately 22 degrees Celsius.

Phnom Penh Weather Chart
Volunteer Phnom Penh Weather Image
Arriving by Air:

There are numerous flights direct to Phnom Penh. It is worth checking whether it is cheaper to fly direct to Bangkok or Malaysia first and then arrange a separate flight to Cambodia with a local low cost airline. Have a look at airasia.com who fly from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh.

Arriving by Bus:

If you are travelling elsewhere in Asia first, there are direct buses to Phnom Penh from Bangkok in Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. If you are travelling through Laos first you will have to change bus/boat before Stung Treng at the border and maybe again at Kratie.

If you are travelling within Cambodia there are many local buses to Phnom Penh. From Siem Reap or Sihanoukville there are also VIP coaches.

You will be picked up on arrival by a representative. If you cannot see someone immediately please wait near the bus or ticket office and wait until the crowds clear. If there is nobody there please call the coordinator.

Muoy

Muoy You is the founder and manager of Seametrey Montessori School. She is a native Cambodian and has returned to her native country along with her husband in 2001 after spending twenty years abroad. She received her Doctoral degree in French in Paris and has lived in London for many years. She has returned to Cambodia to help rebuild her country and instill a sense of self-esteem and pride.


Sok Lim

Sok Lim is a teacher at the Children's Village. She currently lives in the volunteer house so is on hand to help you with anything that you need. She can also provide Khmer lessons for you.


There are two options for your visa depending on the length of your stay:

Business Visa $25, valid one month, renewable for up to one year, available at point of entry. Visa extension: $45 for a month, $75 for three months.

Tourist visa : $20, valid one month, renewable only once for one month, available at point of entry. Visa extension $45. If you overstay just a few days, better pay a fine ($5/day)

NGO visa, applied by the school on behalf of volunteers who stay minimum 3 months. Valid 3 months and renewable for six months. $20 to pay to the school at arrival and at renewal.

If you will be volunteering for 3 months please send a scanned copy of your passport to apply@travel-to-teach.org three weeks before you are planning to arrive in Phnom Penh to ensure the visa is arranged on time. On arrival at Phnom Penh Airport report to the immigration counter and show the copy of the visa that the school will have sent you. Do not apply for any other visa!

Please Note: Volunteers at our Siem Reap and Phnom Penh projects are required to provide evidence of a police check-up prior to starting their placement.

If you are planning to work in Cambodia then you will need to obtain a police records background check before starting your placement. For details on the application procedure in your home country please take a look at: www.travel-to-teach.org/CRB-information.php

At all other locations you will be required to abide by the Travel to Teach Child Protection Policy.

Courses or boosters usually advised: hepatitis A, typhoid; diphtheria; tetanus.

Vaccines sometimes advised: Japanese B encephalitis, rabies, tuberculosis, hepatitis B.

Malaria: You cannot be vaccinated against malaria. Malaria precautions are advised in all areas, except Phnom Penh, the Mekong river delta and in the rice growing areas around the large inland lake of Tonle Sap. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellants on exposed skin, and sleeping under a mosquito net (nets will be provided by Travel to Teach)

One of the conditions of entry onto our programs is that volunteers have travel insurance. Most importantly the insurance needs to include medical treatment and repatriation in case of unforeseen accidents or illnesses. Volunteers should purchase insurance independently and bring a copy of their insurance certificate with them for their local co-ordinator to check before starting their program. Read our terms and conditions.

You will get a Travel to Teach certificate stating the time and place you have been teaching.

All volunteers are required to read and agree to our terms and conditions before being accepted onto one our programs.
Read our Terms & Conditions
Download our Teach Terms and Conditions as a PDF File

Cambodia Photo Phnom Penh School Dance Video
Watch
Cambodia Photo Donald, Canada
"I just returned on March 3, 2014 from a six week assignment teaching English in Luang Prabang, Laos. The day after I arrived back home the phone rang. It was one of my students, a novice monk, calling to say how much he missed me..."
Read Donald's Volunteer Story
Cambodia Photo Maria, The Netherlands
"From every hut you pass you hear many voices yelling the only English word they know to you: "Hello" "Hello" "Hello"....""
Read Maria's Volunteer Story
South East Asian Combination Stays
Combine volunteering in Cambodia with stays in Vietnam, Laos or Thailand
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