University of Oregon

Teaching English in Vang Vieng

Program Overview

While there are significant efforts to improve the quality of education in Laos, serious problems persist, including an insufficient number of qualified teachers, deficient school infrastructure and low student enrollment. These problems are visible in Vang Vieng, a small community where the growing tourists market is demanding skills such as English speaking ability. The failure to communicate with foreign travelers is the most significant obstacle for locals in search of decent jobs in the tourism sector.

The education project connects resource-poor schools in Vang Vieng with interns so that students can obtain valuable English language skills.

Program Description:

  • Work three (3) to five (5) hours a day teaching English.
  • Ages of children range between 5 and 17.
  • Many of the classrooms are overcrowded and it is not uncommon for 40 students to be in a class.As the level of English of some teachers can be very low, interns should expect a high level of independence in design classes and leading them.
  • Interns teach together or if needed on their own.
  • There's also opportunities for interns to give private English lessons to local teenagers and adults who are looking to pass university exams or improve their English.


  • Eager to contribute.
  • The creativity and initiative to lead classes with limited resources.
  • The flexibility to participate in many different tasks depending on the needs of the schools.
  • Bring new ideas and perspective that promote cross-cultural understanding.


  • It is each intern's role to fit in with their project and not the other way around. Being able to adapt, adjust and fit in is challenging, but also what makes an international internship so special.

This internship is self-directed. Participants must be able to work independently and contribute wherever the need arises, even if it means being involved in activities you were not expecting to work in.

This service learning internship opportunity is made possible through a partnership with UBELONG, the world's leading social organization for high-impact volunteering and learning opportunities abroad. UBELONG's mission is to bring people together across borders to share their humanity and take action for positive change.

Internship Details

Students must intern for a minimum of 30 hours per week, for a total of at least 240 hours for an 8-week internship.  This will earn 8 internship credits.

In addition to 8 internship credits, students will enroll in a 1-4 credit Intercultural Communication online course.  This course is designed to provide ongoing support to students who do internships abroad.  Students will observe, explore and investigate the core cultural values in their host country during the service learning internship, conduct comparison in the differences between their host and home country, and develop critical thinking skills and culture learning strategies. Some of the topics discussed in this course include: attitudes toward time, space, age, gender and authority, different views on self/others, conflict styles and culture shock. 

A weekly assignment for the online course includes: reading assignments, group discussions and/or a weekly journal.  The number of enrolled credits will determine the course workload.  It will begin one week before your internship begins and end one week after completion.

Eligible applicants will be considered automatically for a Freeman Fellowship for up to $6,000 in funding toward internships in East and Southeast Asia.

Housing Description

The Intern House is part of a lively hostel located in the city center near restaurants and shops. Staff is available 24/7 at the house to assist interns with any needs. Interns generally share a room with one to three other interns.

Additional Requirements

Prior to arrival, participants must provide a police background check.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearDeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.