With local Phnom Penh students and international volunteer teachers helping to raise money for development work in rural communities, VIC forms a unique model of learning, cultural exchange, and sustainable fundraising. VIC provides an opportunity for foreign volunteers to learn and experience life in Cambodia for 3 months which includes teaching English a 10-weeks course at Conversations With Foreigner (CWF) English school (in the next tab).
VIC was founded in 2006 with the support from the Australian Government AusAid VIDA program. It is a local NGO that has been recognized by Cambodian Ministry of Interior. VIC channels sources of volunteer teachers to CWF and their purpose is to improve livelihood development and sustainability in rural Cambodia. VIC and CWF is governed by a Board of Directors where the majority are cambodian.

Since our inception we have raised over US$153K for our NGO partners, hosted more than 600 volunteers, and we now teach up to 500 students every day. We’re dedicated to improving Cambodian skills, opportunities and increasing our cultural perspective, and dedicated to the mission of our partners.

CWF is a english school that was founded at the same time as VIC in 2006. It has been licensed by Cambodian Ministry of Commerce being run as a business and recognized by Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS). This model enable CWF to provide meaningful English courses to local students and able to generate sustainable income to operate both VIC and CWF. Additionally, some of its profits is also used to donate to Local NGOs working for livelihood development and environmental conversation in rural Cambodia. VIC and CWF is governed by a Board of Directors where the majority are cambodian.
Many local NGOs rely on project-by-project funding, which can be problematic, so CWF was set up a social business to offer affordable conversational English language courses for local students in Phnom Penh in order to help raise regular funding for the important work of local NGOs but also to teach English to students, workers and entrepreneurs as it is the international bridge language. This project is an attempt to create a more sustainable source of funding through an activity which contributes positively to the community. 60% of the profits from the school are given directly to Local NGOs when the rest is to maintain the activity of CWF and VIC but also to improve the facilities.

Business Model

Our students pay US$110 per semester – that’s for 11 weeks (700 contact hours) of classes and costs about one-third the cost of similar courses in Phnom Penh with foreign teachers. Every semester, we offer scholarships to 5% of our enrollment, ranging from 100% of fees to 20%, based on financial hardship, disability, access to education, and family situation.

Students who study at our school are aware that they are directly funding development projects in rural areas and volunteers not only contribute directly to students in Phnom Penh, but also indirectly to the long-term sustainability of NGOs’ work. As rural communities make up 80% of Cambodia’s population, this model of fundraising will hopefully prove more sustainable for rural communities and for Cambodia as a whole. As part of the experience, volunteers will visit and learn from NGO’s projects in the provinces to gain an insight into rural life.

Meet the team !






Finance Manager



Educational Manager


Academic Manager


Recruitment and Marketing Officer


Volunteer support








Graphic Designer







Li Hong



Cook at the volunteer house


Cook at the volunteer house

Let’s follow the 17 common goals to transform our world !

Our partners


NGO Education Partnership (NEP) is a membership organisation that coordinates dialogue and cooperation among key stakeholders to improve the quality and accessibility of education in Cambodia.
NEP values Integrity, Equality, and Collaboration


(One thousand and one fountains)

Teuksaat (which means “clean water”) is a French NGO that provides a high quality service to rural communities. Their mission is to improve the health of rural communities in rural Cambodia by establishing and supporting sustainable social enterprises, which produce and distribute safe-drinking water locally within their villages and guarantee the quality of the water. Inspired by the idea that “we drink 90% of our diseases” as Louis Pasteur used to say, Teuksaat believes that focusing on drinking water (1.50L /day /person) can significantly improve people’s health and complement standard water and sanitation infrastructure approaches. And we VIC do agree.

With a current emphasis on project implementation in Cambodia, Capax World also has strategic partnerships and projects under development worldwide. Capax World integrates responsible, patient capital into the key developmental areas of education, clean energy, agriculture, healthcare, and water/sanitation in order to meet locally-identified needs, to enable the world’s poor to expand and utilize their skills, talents and drive to provide for their families and improve their communities.

“Children and Women Development Center in Cambodia” enhances people’s capacity and right to obtain sufficient food security, improves gender equality, education and health, focusing particularly on women, children and vulnerable families such as the poor, handicap and PLHA, Furthermore, to support community’s rights to manage their own natural resources. These will be done through collaboration between local government experts and NGOs.

Work as a teacher

Our volunteers teach conversational English courses designed to create an informal learning environment, with small groups (approximately 14 students per class) and fun, relevant topics. Although students often ask for advice on correct usage of grammar, it is not the primary focus of our courses. We do not focus on grammar, reading or writing, but rather on putting English to work in real life contexts through role-play, activities and discussion.

CWF school is open Monday to Friday, 6.30am to 8.00pm. You will teach up :

  • To 4.5 hours per day from Monday to Friday
  • Busiest periods in the early morning and evening

We encourage our volunteers to spend time preparing for their classes so the students get the most benefit from classes.

Depending on student demand and the number of volunteers we have in a given semester, we sometimes offer one-to-one conversation classes. Our one-to-one students pay more, but benefit from their teacher’s undivided attention during their class.

Our students often study at high school, or work and study at university 6 days per week, and have various family commitments on top of their CWF classes, so our schedule reflects the best times for our students to study English.

Our volunteers teach up to 4.5 hours per day, with a reserved class for back up and new student testing at the end of the semester. Our Academic Coordinator assigns your classes, and you will most likely teach from 6:30am to 8:00am, then have a break during the day before teaching two hours between 3:30pm and 8:00pm.

Should a volunteer fall ill or be otherwise unable to teach their class on a particular day, each volunteer is assigned a back up hour, and is asked to cover that class.

If we have a high number of volunteers, teaching hours may be reduced, but the back up hours increased. For example, if we have enough volunteers to schedule only 3 hours teaching per day, then everyone will be scheduled 2 back up hours.

Course Curriculum

CWF’s teaching approach is designed to address the challenge of teaching English in a development context. We aim to make English a real –life communication tool and our students confident users of English. In the context of regional integration, where English is the sole language of ASEAN, and set to become the region’s language of the workplace by 2015, this is vital.CWF’s curriculum draws on our student’s desire to share their traditions and uphold their cultural identity. So the course reflects the realities of Cambodian life by incorporating Khmer food, celebrities, travel destinations and ceremonies.

We teach only conversational English in a fun and informal setting. This results in a cross-cultural dialogue between our students and their teachers, who come from across the world. This is effective not only in motivating students to speak and practice English, but also to promote a balanced exchange of ideas. Students are empowered to express their pride in Cambodia.

“Responsible Volunteering”


There is currently a lively debate about the voluntary sector about the actual impact volunteers make on the communities and people they aim to help. The term Voluntourism has come to define the growing number of volunteer projects which have little value to beneficiaries. Instead these projects provide little other than warm fuzzy feelings and photo opportunities for the volunteer, and possibly lasting negative effects on children and communities. These projects are often short term, and cost the volunteer significant amount of money – far more than the actual cost of running such projects.

CWF’s Volunteer in Cambodia program was established to have a positive impact for everyone involved. The passion and hard work of our volunteers allows us to provide a valuable service to students at an affordable price, but our impact reaches beyond the CWF program:

 Benefits to students

  • Increased vocabulary
  • Improved pronunciation
  • Increased confidence when speaking English
  • Increased job opportunities
  • Greater understanding of other cultures
  • Exposure to an international world view

 Benefits to Cambodia

  • Increased understanding of modern Cambodia and Khmer culture
  • Positive impact on the local economy
  • Give a hand to NGOs
  • The students pays to improve their country
  • Food security
  • Income generation (from overproduction food security)
  • Improve communities’ health
  • Sanitation
  • Energy (solar)
  • Environment (conservation, eco-tourism)

 Benefits to Partners

  • Regular, sustainable funding that can be used to improve capacity.
  • Increased awareness of their work
  • Increased awareness of development issues in Cambodia

 Benefits to CWF Staff

  • Running a social business provides employment for 16 local staff.
  • Capacity development and training opportunities
  • CWF provides numerous other staff benefits such as:

50% scholarships for university Bachelor or Master’s degrees;
Free English lessons at CWF for themselves and another member of their family
A managed Providence Fund to support staff financial security
Accident and medical insurance

 Benefits to Volunteers

  • Practical teaching experience
  • Immersive cultural experience and understanding
  • Free Khmer language lessons
  • Certificate of appreciation and recommendation letter
Testing the Waters & Giving Back

CWF provide a supportive environment for test-driving a career in ESL. Many volunteers used the teaching practice obtained through the CWF program as a springboard into their ESL careers. More than 20 still live in Cambodia – up to 4 years after their semester –  and many past volunteers have gone on to complete TESOL, TEFL, and CELTA certificates, and Bachelors in education.  Many past volunteers are around the globe right now, teaching ESL in South America, Europe, and throughout Asia. The CWF program is ideal for getting out into the world and making a difference while still reaping rewards of learning and personal development.

 Practical Skills, Capacity Development & Motivation

As a teacher, you become a role model and leader for your students. Supervision, classroom management, and decision-making skills are all honed through teaching, and these practical skills can transfer to your own life and career. The pursuit of personal growth and self-initiated capacity development indicates to employers your personality, commitment, and desire to understand and make a positive impact on the community. The CWF experience also provides an opportunity for graduates to prove their dependability, flexibility, and capacity for responsibility and maturity.

 Cultural understanding & Networking

An immersive program like CWF’s can expose you to new ideas, new ways of thinking, and opportunity for self-reflection. The challenges of living in a new culture and country and experiences things you wouldn’t normally experience at home. Volunteering, whether at home or abroad, is a great way to network. The CWF program will help you make new friendships and connections with people from all over the world, widen your global perspective and understanding, and provide a valuable insight into the challenges, successes, and failures of international development work.

 We’re proud of the positive impact we’re making,

and we’re continually striving to improve our program for both volunteers and student outcomes. However, there is an increasing number of volunteer programs where the impact is low, or even negative.

If you are considering travel and volunteerism anywhere in the world, be sure to understand the consequences of your impact. Volunteering with the wrong organisation can cause more harm than good.

 Child Protection

Children from poor families in Cambodia are highly vulnerable, often facing daily threats to their health, education, safety and overall development. Every day in Cambodia, children are exposed to abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. These issues are often exacerbated by gender inequity, marginalization of urban and rural poor, and negative attitudes and discrimination towards ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

The justice system in Cambodia is still emerging and illequipped to respond to the needs of children who come
into contact with the law whether as victims, witnesses or offenders. Inadequate judicial and law-enforcement contribute to the problem of violence, exploitation and abuse of both boys and girls in Cambodia.

Every child has the right to be protected from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. CWF works with The Code, and other local partners, to implement Child Protection policies and procedures in support of a safer future for Cambodian youth.

Questions to ask yourself before volunteering abroad:

1. Would I be allowed to do this at home?

If the answer is no, then why is it OK here?  It’s a simple question, but perhaps the least considered when visiting developing countries. An organisation which allows you to walk in off the street and start interacting with young people or children without background checks and references, turn around and leave.

Imagine the public outcry if vulnerable people in your own country were subject to high risk environment.

2. Is visiting an orphanage a good idea?

If you can walk in to an orphanage and start interacting with children without stringent background checks or a proven learning or support framework, it certainly isn’t not an organisation that takes has the best interests of the child in mind.

The reality is that few of us are properly trained to support traumatised or vulnerable children. Instead, think about helping in a way that is both sustainable and effective, which supports the welfare of at-risk people such as organisations working to provide training and capacity building programs for families and young people, or those which provide access to education, improve food security, and help heal through medical, counselling, and psychological services. Many of these organisations need support to improve their services through fundraising and awareness campaigns, capacity development, and your skills could make a real contribution.

While CWF is strongly opposed to orphanage tourism, we do support organisations who take appropriate steps to ensure volunteers are suitably qualified, checked, and managed with the best interests of the child such as Khemera Cambodia.

For more information, please visit
Children Are Not Tourist Attractions
The Code, Child Protection

3. Where does my money go?

If you are paying a fee to participate in a volunteer program, you should be confident that the money you pay is used effectively for the intended projects. Financial transparency is a critical factor in determining whether you should support or get involved with any organisation. Appropriate registrations with government are also an important part to ensure that appropriate local taxes are paid, and local regulations are adhered to.

4. Am I taking away income from a local person?

If a trained, experienced local can do it, and get an income to support their own family and economy, why should you remove that opportunity? Displacement of local employment opportunities by foreign volunteers building schools or houses is not a positive impact.

If you are going to donate goods, source them from within the country. Donating goods from overseas can harm local markets and income sources. Try to source goods outside of your target beneficiary’s country only if no alternative exists.

CWF offers a unique service to student, an important part of which is exposure to a myriad of cultures, backgrounds, and accents, and a real opportunity for cross cultural exchange.