The Volunteer Experience

Your volunteer experience begins when we meet you on arrival at Phnom Penh Airport. A relaxed 10-day orientation period will be followed by 11 weeks of teaching. Each semester includes up to 9 holidays, which will generally coincide with a Cambodian festival.

A typical semester includes:

  • A trip to Koh Pdao or Koh Preah during the orientation program.
  • Social events such as dinners, boat trips.
  • Lazing about on a Sunday afternoon in a hammock by the Mekong.
  • Trips to the former royal capital Phnom Udong, Phnom Chiso, the wildlife rescue centre at Phnom Tahmao.
  • Visits to our friends and partner organisations around Phnom Penh, and other provinces.
  • Free, ongoing Khmer language lessons from high level CWF students.
  • Opportunity to dive into Phnom Penh’s vibrant arts scene. You can see a traditional shadow puppet performance on Friday night, catch a live Khmer or expat band on a Saturday night, and stroll around the city’s many contemporary art galleries on Sunday morning, then catch a challenging documentary and tasty bratwurst on Sunday evening.
  • Opportunity to travel around Cambodia during our school holidays.
  • Volunteers typically visit Siem Reap (for the Angkor complex), and the idyllic southern coast gems of Kep and Kampot, or the bustling backpacker beach party that is Sihanoukville. In the dry season, escaping into the hills of Mondolkiri and Ratanakiri in the north-east provide welcome relief from the heat of the lowlands.

Depending on the season, you might also experience:

  • Invitations to Khmer wedding celebrations (during wedding season).
  • Joining a pickup game of football at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium.
  • Enjoying a promenade along the riverside in the evening.
  • Seeing the planting, tending, and harvesting of a lot of rice!
  • Nyam muhop Khmer chroeun! Sampling the wide variety of tasty Khmer food!
  • Monsoon rains heavier than you ever thought rain could fall.
  • Many Buddhist ceremonies and festivals at Pagodas around Phnom Penh and in the provinces.
  • Lazy days in hammocks by the lake at Kien Svay.
  • Stay a year in Cambodia and you will also experience no less than 3 new year celebrations: Khmer (April), International (December), and Chinese (usually February).

It’s up to you!

We provide a range of social and cultural activities where all volunteers and staff join in, but Phnom Penh is dynamic and vibrant, and we encourage volunteers to explore – a bicycle ride down a random street may result in any kind of adventure, from the best bowl of noodles to a charming handicraft shop, to a chance meeting with a particularly interesting local who is happy to sit and chat about the world over a fresh cup of Cambodian coffee.


Our volunteers come to CWF to teach, share, and learn, so commitment to your teaching schedule must always be the first priority.

It’s not all fun, and it’s often very hard work both inside and outside the classroom. The various stresses, misunderstandings, and frustrations of living in a very different culture require patience, an open mind, and a genuine desire to develop and create understanding.

We exist for an important reason – fundraising for CRDT, we provide valuable employment and training opportunities for local staff, and try to ensure everything we do has a positive impact on our community. We’ve operated this way for 6 years, and we’re proud of our achievements so far. Our good reputation is reliant passionate and dedicated volunteers, so our volunteers must respect their commitment to their students, and show the utmost respect for the local community and culture.

Learn more about our thoughts on responsible volunteerism and ethical tourism.


For the benefit of the school and our students, we:

 only accept volunteers for the entire three month program.

 only accept volunteers on our specific group starting dates.

To be eligible for our program, you must be:

  • Aged 18+
  • Open minded, culturally sensitivity and respectful
  • Passionate about making a difference to other people’s lives
  • Fluent in written and spoken English (all nationalities welcome)
    • For non-native English speakers, we do require teaching experience or certification
  • Teaching experience and/or qualifications are a great help in the classroom, but are not required for native English speakers.
  • For more detailed eligibility requirements, please read our FAQs.
  • All volunteers receive two days of teaching workshops run by previous volunteers to help them get started.

Please contact us if you would like information on TEFL & CELTA courses offered in south east Asia.[separator /]

Our Volunteers

Since 2006 we have hosted more than 400 volunteers. Many love Cambodia and our program so much, they return for a 2nd, 3rd.. even 6th semester!

 Our volunteers come from all over the globe!

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