Teaching and Community Development in Cambodia


Spend a few weeks discovering the real Cambodia through rewarding volunteer work, engaging cultural exchange and visits to impressive sites. Volunteers assist with education at a centre or kindergarten, as well as helping out with community development efforts in a rural village. Make friends, lend a hand and take in Cambodia’s beautiful scenery and history on this rewarding volunteer program!

Program Overview

Lend a hand to impoverished children while taking in the beautiful culture and history of Cambodia! This project targets local Khmer families who are struggling to support themselves and educate their children. Many families in rural villages have very limited access to education and medical attention. Volunteers help teach English and other related subjects in a local primary school, as well as help out with water and clothing distribution. You’ll experience big city and small village life, not to mention the opportunity to visit the popular attractions of Siem Reap and Angkor Wat!

Project Details:

  • Project Activities: Teaching local Khmer students basic English, and supporting teachers in other subjects, e.g. art / crafts, sports, math, science, computer class; assist on the daily water run and dropping the children back to their homes; opportunity to assist with the clothing run – volunteers are requested to bring as much appropriate second-hand clothing as possible, for both children and adults.
  • Project Availability: Fixed program dates each year – see the Program Fee and Dates tab (below) or contact CISaustralia for upcoming availability. 12 students maximum on the project at any one time – first in, best dressed policy.
  • Project Duration: 2-4 weeks
  • Working Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 4:30pm
  • Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Excursions: At least 2 excursions such as a river cruise, island bicycle tour, pagoda tour or other (varies by program, year on year). For programs with a minimum of 4 students, a 3-night / 4-day excursion to Siem Reap, pagoda tour with a huge mosaic of Angkor Wat is also included
  • Support: 24-hour on-site support from our Site Coordinator and Site Director
  • A valid Police Check or Working With Children Check is required
  • Minimum Age: 18+
  • Language: English (having basic Cambodian is not required but is helpful and shows the locals that you are keen to engage)


As an overseas volunteer, you will play a role in children’s education, as well as general community development. You can choose to teach English or other topics such as computers, health, gardening or sports at a local educational centre, or assist at a local kindergarten. Outside of your education project commitment, volunteers also contribute to general community assistance efforts, such as clothing and water distribution.

Volunteers play an important role in assisting at the local school / kindergarten offering much needed childcare services and assisting local teachers with English language classes. The water and clothes runs give valuable cultural insight, a connection with the local community, a look into local life and provide important supplies and clothing to those in need.

Sample Itinerary

Please note: This itinerary is subject to change based on local conditions, daily weather, project priorities and a range of other influences. Local staff will advise students at orientation, and ongoing, of the schedule and related amendments. Students should come to this project expecting to be challenged and be able to adapt to change quickly. 

Day 1
Airport pick-up by on-site staff and transfer to accommodation in the village (approx 1 hour drive from Phnom Penh).  After the orientation briefing, day 1 is treated as an arrivals day so you can settle into the accommodation and explore the local area.

Day 2
First day of volunteer work, visiting the educational / community development centre or visiting a village and assisting with water and clothing distribution / general cultural exchange.

Day 3+
Rotate groups so all volunteers have a turn in each project and on the village community development. Together the volunteers will spend some days – usually a Wednesday afternoon – guided by on-site staff, handing out second-hand clothing in the village. The village trip is a learning experience of Khmer culture and how the extremely poor Khmer are surviving. Students should be prepared for culture shock and to be challenged.

Siem Reap and Angkor Wat
The program also includes a 3-night / 4-day excursion to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. The trip includes transport, basic accommodation and all meals. Saturday you will spend the day at Angkor Wat and on Sunday you will take a trip to the Floating Village. The excursion to Siem Reap needs a minimum of 4 students on the program to run. If 3 or less students are on the program, the group excursion to Siem Reap will not run, however, students who attend the program in groups of 3 or less will receive an excursion refund voucher for $350 prior to departure and can then organise their own excursions to Siem Reap, should they wish.

COVID Safe Travel

The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. We take our duty of care for our students, their families and our Australian University partners seriously. For all of our program locations, we have developed a site-specific COVID-19 risk matrix and risk management and emergency response plans so that health and safety response protocols are monitored, managed and communicated.

In preparation for your overseas program, it’s important that you carefully read and understand information related to COVID-19 Travel Safety and Insurance Requirements.

CISaustralia monitors Smartraveller and reliable news feeds to keep up to date with the latest COVID information and any associated travel restrictions and entry requirements for all destinations where we have programs. Due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation, Government travel advice can change quickly. For the most up to date information on Cambodia, visit the Smartraveller website.

The Volunteer's Role

As is the case with many developing nations, Cambodia has only so many government-sponsored resources, such as schools and medical facilities, which are high in demand but short in supply. Rural villagers often find themselves without transport to arrive to such facilities, which is where local NGOs attempt to fill the gaps. Our partner NGO targets the most disadvantaged Cambodians: the homeless, landless, jobless and those without adequate healthcare access. We also focus on children whose parents are not able to provide sufficient care, with the end goal to keep families together.

Volunteers will primarily be teaching local Khmer students basic English, but there are also other subject areas that the children and teachers need support, e.g. art / crafts, sports, math, science, computer class (only basic skills required), etc. Bring as many teaching aids as you can fit in your bag, such as flip cards, maps, wall charts, puzzles, books, etc. – all will be put to very good use, both while you are there and after you are gone.

All volunteers will have the opportunity to assist on the daily water run and dropping the children back to their homes in the afternoons, and may also have the opportunity to assist with the clothing run (no fixed schedule). In order to hand out clothing, we ask you to bring over second-hand children and adult clothing in your luggage.

Volunteers are not required to have any background or formal qualifications in teaching or education for this program. If you have partial or complete teaching / education qualifications, you will be able to start engaging with students earlier and with less supervision. Your skills and expertise will be warmly welcomed by the teaching staff on-site.

If you do not have a teaching background, you will be provided with a detailed handbook with lots of tips and advice in terms of teaching primary school students in a classroom environment. The local teachers will also be there to guide and support you.

Skills Required

If you have a passion for teaching, working with children, assisting local communities and are enthusiastic, flexible, adaptable and smile a lot, you will be warmly welcomed – no formal qualifications are required.

The ability to show patience, compassion and understanding is crucial when working with people from a different culture to yours. Having the ability to work autonomously is also important as you may find there are times where you have to improvise and work independently.

For this project, a Working With Children or Police Check is required for all volunteers. Prior to commencing the project you will need to arrange a Working With Children / Police Check from Australia at your own expense.


For programs with a minimum of 4 students*, an excursion to Siem Reap, Ankor Wat is included in your program fees. The excursion includes transport from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, basic accommodation, meals and entrance fee to Angkor Wat. Siem Reap is located in northwestern Cambodia and is the gateway to the ruins of Angkor Wat. It is approximately a 6-hour drive from Phnom Penh (pending traffic conditions). Angkor Wat is a temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world!

*Students who attend the program in groups of 3 or less will receive an excursion refund voucher for $350 prior to departure and can then organise their own excursions to Siem Reap, should they wish.

The program also includes at least 2 excursions. These vary by program, year on year and may include:

  • Island bicycle tour (3 hours) – Enjoy a bicycle tour along a quiet tree-lined lane way, very little traffic and lots of smiling faces as you pass by. Visit a lovely Pagoda and sometimes get a blessing from the Venerable Monk, then on to a quaint rural village where there is a stop for refreshments before returning.
  • Pagoda tour with a huge mosaic of Angkor Wat.

There are also a variety of other cultural activities and places of interest volunteers can choose to visit on their own (at own expense) outside of project hours. On-site and local staff can assist in providing advice and recommendations.


Cambodia is a diverse and beautiful country, boasting ancient architecture, beautiful landscapes and a vibrant and friendly culture. It’s a unique blend of past influences, including French and Chinese, and the current majority Khmer ethnicity and Theravada Buddhism.

Volunteers will be accommodated in a basic but safe, clean and comfortable dormitory / guesthouse-style accommodation in Phnom Penh. Students will be transported each day (at no extra cost) to and from the local village where the volunteer project takes place. The journey each day takes about 1 hour one way (pending traffic).

Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capital and largest city. Located on the banks of the Tonlé Sap and Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since French colonisation of Cambodia and has grown to become the nation’s centre of economic and industrial activities, as well as the centre of security, politics, cultural heritage and diplomacy of Cambodia.

Once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” Phnom Penh was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina in the 1920s. The capital, along with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, are significant global and domestic tourist destinations for Cambodia. Founded in 1434, the city is noted for its beautiful and historical architecture and attractions. There are a number of surviving French colonial buildings scattered along the grand boulevards.

Situated on the banks of the Tonlé Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers, the Phnom Penh metropolitan area is home to about 2.2 million of Cambodia’s population of over 14.8 million, up from about 1.9 million in 2008. The city is the wealthiest and most populous city in Cambodia and is the country’s political hub.

Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia and a popular resort town as the gateway to the Angkor region.

Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter and around the Old Market. In and surrounding the city, there are museums, traditional Apsara dance performances, Cambodian cultural village, souvenir and handicraft shops, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonlé Sap Lake.

Siem Reap today – being a popular tourist destination – has a large number of hotels, resorts, restaurants and businesses closely related to tourism. This is much owed to its proximity to Angkor temples, the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia.


During the program volunteers will stay in the volunteer house at the local village, which is located in the same lot as the school. The school is only a 20m walk from the accommodation and facilities. Accommodation is comfortable, basic dormitory style.

Volunteers are housed in same-gender, shared rooms with 2-4 volunteers per room. Each dorm room has air conditioning, an ensuite bathroom with a hot-water shower and western toilet. Bath towels, sheets, blankets and pillows are provided. Wifi is available at the accommodation in the village. It is free to use but can be slow if everyone is connected at the same time.

During the week (Mon-Fri) meals provided are self-serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.  On weekends only self-serve breakfast is provided. Breakfast is self-serve style with options such as toast, eggs, cereal available. On Monday-Friday lunch is true Khmer style, volunteers will eat at the school with the teaching staff and the students. There is a dining room and kitchen at the school, a local Khmer person cooks lunch onsite and everyone eats together. Dinners are also Khmer style and are prepared locally and delivered to the volunteer accommodation each evening.

Why Volunteer with CISaustralia

CISaustralia believes strongly in supporting volunteer initiatives across the world that promote sustainable and long-term societal, environmental and economic change to benefit and empower local communities.

While the term volunteering is widely known and accepted, we prefer to use the term Experiential Service Learning. This better relates to our philosophy surrounding close community engagement as well as a focus on projects that have a long-term approach and a range of positive impacts for both communities and our students. Over 98% of CISaustralia participants receive academic credit for their program abroad, which fosters a more culturally immersive and deeper reflective experience.

CISaustralia volunteering programs contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which aim to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. While not every program will achieve all seventeen of the UN goals, your role as a volunteer will have a positive impact by doing work that really matters. We partner with organisations that have in-depth, first-hand knowledge and close relationships with local communities. Prior to your departure, our team in Australia will prepare you with extensive resources so you feel supported every step of the way. You will also be supported throughout your entire overseas program by our fantastic and experienced in-country staff. 

Volunteering abroad is a life-changing experience, enabling you to learn and grow on many personal and professional levels, to broaden your perspective on the world and to become a global citizen. CISaustralia prides itself in having the strongest global partners who are socially responsible and equally committed to their local communities and ethical practices. We love what we do at CISaustralia and are here to provide you with the support you need to successfully volunteer abroad – so that you can contribute to positively changing the lives of others, and yourself, along the way. Get ready for an exciting once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Read more: Why Volunteer Abroad with CISaustralia?

Program Fee & Dates

This program is available on fixed program dates (only). Programs start on a Sunday and end on a Saturday. Application deadline is 90 days prior to commencement. Places are limited – there is a maximum of 12 students per group. Please contact CISaustralia for upcoming program availability.
Application FeeA$ 95
Program Fee A$ 2,999 - 3,999
OS-HELP A$ 9,504


Program fees include the following:
  • Volunteer placement and supervision
  • CISaustralia support services before, during and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial advice
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure guide and session
  • Airport pick-up (on specified program dates within designated times)
  • On-site orientation
  • Accommodation – same gender dormitory / guesthouse-style, shared between 2 to 5 participants per room, separate beds
  • Meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner for the duration of the program (on weekends only self serve breakfast is provided)
  • Excursions – at least 2 excursions such as a river cruise, island bicycle tour, pagoda tour or other (varies by program, year on year)
  • 3-night / 4-day excursion to Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and the Silk Farm (includes transport from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, basic accommodation, meals and entrance fee to Angkor Wat) – minimum of 4 students on the program required
  • Program risk matrix and COVID-19 risk assessment
  • Risk Management and Emergency Response Plan
  • 24/7 on-site support – Site Coordinator and Site Director
  • CISaustralia Certificate of Participation (available on request)

What is not included:

  • Program application fee
  • International Student Identity Card
  • Flights (CISaustralia will however provide travel guidance and support via our formal travel partner)
  • Medical insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Police or Working With Children Check
  • Vaccinations (if required)
  • Meals (unless mentioned above)
  • Clothing donations – please bring children’s clothing (can be second-hand) to hand out in villages
  • Extra travel/excursions (other than those mentioned above)

Please do not book flights until you have received the dates in your acceptance paperwork and you are confirmed on the program.

CISaustralia reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partners.

Adventure Awaits

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