Hello from Orem, UT!

Our office is made up of staff who have all volunteered with us at one point or another, including the Program Directors who dreamed up and started ILP 25+ years ago! We’re here to share our own experiences and help answer your questions about volunteering with ILP.

Representative Supervisor


Volunteer in Russia Spring 2014; Head Teacher in Romania Summer 2017

The best thing you gained?

Hands down, it was the personal relationships I made with my kids. There is nothing more rewarding than getting a sad/grumpy kid to cheerfully participate and improve themselves purely because they love and trust you.

Favorite vacation?

In 11 days we found hobbit holes in Finland, a holiday festival in Sweden, an underground restaurant/pub with great food and music in Latvia, and jumped around the treetops on the coast of the Baltic Sea in Estonia. We found hilarious adventures, life-changing opportunities, and amazing people that I will remember for the rest of my life.

People you'll always remember?

We made friends with the shawarma guy on the corner who enjoyed practicing his English with the American teachers so much that by the end of the semester he refused to let us pay for our food…ever! Also, our Local Coordinator Sveta is an angel straight from Heaven who I’m grateful to call a life-long close friend—I love her more than words could express.

Assistant Rep Supervisor
+ Blog Author


Volunteer in Poland Summer 2017; Head Teacher in Thailand Summer 2018

Why did you choose ILP?

I had wanted to go to Europe for my entire life. ILP gave me the opportunity to have an affordable, meaningful, and wonderful experience abroad in the country that my ancestors are from, Poland!

Favorite student?

Maja. She was absolutely adorable and would say the cutest things in English. “Oh my goodness!”, was my favorite and she said that several times every class.

What about ILP did you like most?

ILP gives young people a chance to affordably adventure and explore while still serving others and making a difference.

Volunteer Relations Coordinator + Head Teacher Coordinator


vrc@ilp.org + headteachers@ilp.org
Volunteer in Thailand Fall 2016; Head Teacher in Mexico Summer 2017 and China Spring 2019

Why did you choose ILP?

I wanted to go on ILP because I wanted to travel, but not just be a tourist. Living in a country for 4 months and being able to interact directly with the locals was the perfect combination for me!

Best thing you got out of ILP?

CONFIDENCE. Not only am I confident to travel around the world now, I have the confidence that I can achieve all my goals and dreams because I already did it.

People you met?

I’m still friends with the girls in my own groups! But also became really close with the girls from the surrounding schools! Still have a group Snapchat going 🙂



Volunteer in Thailand Fall 2015

Thing you liked most about ILP?

I love ILP’s teaching method. It’s amazing how through play, love and example we could successfully teach our students English.

How did you afford it?

Lots of saving!! My parents were kind enough to help, as well.

The best thing you gained?

It helped me better understand the beauty of different cultures. I also realized I didn’t need a lot to be happy!



Volunteer in China Spring 2013

The best thing you gained?

ILP helped me realize that I really want to teach English as a career! Also, way too many stories, too often I will begin a sentence with “When I was in China…”

Thing you liked most about ILP?

I LOVE how ILP helps with the religious aspect of being abroad– I liked that I could still go to church. I also liked having enough free time to feel like I could go explore!

Funny trip memories?

One time we dined out, and since we couldn’t read the menu, ended up picking something random. When we got our food it was a big bowl of noodles and shrimp – it was so good that we went back to get it again!



Volunteer in Mexico Fall 2018

The thing you like most about ILP?

I really liked how balanced it was in having a purpose and enjoying yourself in another country.

Friends you'll always remember?

I will always remember our cook and “mami”, Sylvia. She called me baby and taught me how to cook the best mole that will get me a husband.

How did you afford it?

I spent the summer before working and saving up money… totally worth it!



Volunteer in China Fall 2015; Head teacher in the DR Summer 2016

Why did you choose ILP?

After high school, before jumping into real life, I wanted to see the world and try to make a difference! I always dreamed of traveling and helping others while I’m abroad.

The best thing you got out of it?

The best thing I got from ILP is EXPERIENCE! Travel experience, non-profit experience, experiences with new friends, and culture experiences. Everything I love.

Favorite memory?

I have TOO many crazy stories, so you’ll have to come hang with me and find out!



Volunteer in China Fall 2017

Why did you choose ILP?

I have always loved to travel and my sister and I were looking for something fun to do that was also service oriented. We got to go together and loved it!

The thing you liked most about ILP?

The perfect mix of teaching/serving and then being able to travel. One week you are so focused on helping the kids prepare for the Halloween concert and the next you are zooming on the metro in Shanghai or riding elephants!

Favorite memory?

One of my faves was in Yangshuo we met a guy who sold the most beautiful bongo drums on the main street. We asked him to give us a lesson and then after about 3 minutes of playing and dancing around, we had nearly 50 locals who were filming and cheering us on, so fun!!



Volunteer in China Fall 2015

People you met that you'll always remember?

I loved my group. Everyone super awesome. I became a bridesmaid for one my friends I volunteered with and I talk to a few everyday still.

The thing you like most about ILP?

Everything. It’s affordable, safe, good motto and goals, and will change your life just in 4 months!

Favorite vacation?

ALL OF THEM! Yangshuo was a favorite because we went river drifting in the middle of the jungle and it was the most insane thing ever.

Professional Teacher Rep


Professional teacher in Taiwan Fall 2015

Favorite student?

One of my first graders named Aison because he really struggled with English and paying attention in all of his classes and just needed a teacher that would show him love instead of typical Taiwanese discipline. I tried my best to be a loving teacher to him and one day, he even said (in the most adorable broken English ever!) that I’m his mom!

Best thing you got from teaching?

Experiencing a new culture and way of life and forming a deep love with my students, the school’s staff, the people of Taiwan and the country itself. I lived on a street called, “Ai guo,” which means, “Love country” and I feel that illustrates my relationship with Taiwan perfectly!

Thing you liked most about ILP?

The reps and the staff at ILP help you out a lot to get you out to your country to teach and are extremely kind! To this day, I will never forget the rep at the time I was applying, Tricia, who helped me so much and became my really good friend.



Volunteer in China Fall 2017

Friends you met?

My roommate in China became my roommate and school and was then my maid of honor! I’ll also never forget learning to make dumplings and movie nights with Ying, a Chinese-English teacher from our school!

Thing you liked most about ILP?

The thing I liked most about the program was being able to see the insane amount of progress that the students make through our classes. I also loved the duration of the stay because you get to really live in their culture instead of just vacation for a few weeks!

Why did you choose ILP?

I decided to go on ILP because I had never been out of the country before and I was curious about different cultures!

Applicant Coordinator


Volunteer in China Spring 2011; Head Teacher in Mexico Fall 2013

Why did you decide to volunteer?

I earned my associate’s degree and didn’t know what I wanted to study for my bachelor’s. I felt like I was stuck in a rut until discovering ILP. Volunteering allowed me to have a fun adventure, see the world and lose myself in service while I was figuring out my next steps.

Best thing you got out of ILP?

It has been eight years since I first went on ILP, but I think about my experiences every day. It was the happiest period of my life! I learned more in my two semesters abroad than during my entire college education in a classroom.

The thing you liked most about ILP?

I looked into a lot of different service abroad programs and this one was by far the most affordable! I loved that the cost covered my flight, food, and housing for an entire semester and would give me the opportunity to go again for free or a discounted price!

Design Specialist


Volunteer in Mexico Summer 2008; Head Teacher in China Spring 2011, Lithuania Fall 2013 and Thailand Summer 2015

Favorite vacation?

Yangshuo in China: Bamboo rafting down the river next to the Dr. Seuss Mountains, bicycling to a cave with mud pools, white water rafting China-style. Best weekend ever.

How did you afford it?

I saved and worked a bunch and also friends and family donated to help pay for my first trip. The following three semesters that I went, I went for basically free as a Head Teacher (ILP Head Teachers have their program fee waived and receive a personal spending stipend)!

Favorite memory?

While I was living in Thailand the school’s coordinator stole me away one afternoon for a surprise one of the last days we were there. She took me out to lunch at a beautiful place where you sit by the lake on pillows in little huts and we just talked for hours. It made me realize that my favorite part of Thailand was the people! I will miss their kindness forever.

Content Creator


Volunteer in China Spring 2016; Head Teacher in Russia Spring 2019

Why did you choose ILP?

I heard about the chance to teach English, travel, and live in a foreign country for an entire semester and there was no way I would pass up that opportunity!

Best thing you got out of ILP?

The opportunity to live completely immersed in another culture. Sure, you learn a bit by visiting for a couple weeks, but China taught me so much about kindness, compassion, and culture that was a completely unexpected take away from my ILP semester.

How did you afford it?

I got donations by asking my work and church, but I also keep a savings account I regularly contribute to that’s only used for travel 🙂

Blog Author
+ Financial Assistant


Volunteer in Ukraine Spring 2011 and Lithuania Spring 2012; Head Teacher in China Fall 2013

Favorite student?

That is the HARDEST question! I don’t have a favorite, but definitely some faves. Those
being Billy (the craziest, wild child!). Fish (he would sing Justin Beiber to me, Artur (he
gave the best hugs!)  and… ah, really though, I can’t choose.

Friends you'll always remember?

My host family in Ukraine! I still keep in contact with them regularly and they send me
birthday packages. They are the cutest. Also, my local co-ordinator Dima and his family. He is one of the coolest people I know and I just adore his cute girls!

How did you afford it?

I tried to fundraise as much as possible! I talked to a lot of family, friends and businesses
and told them what I was doing. I also set up a Facebook page where people could

Program Director Assistant


Volunteer in Thailand Spring 2014; Head Teacher in China Spring 2015, Ukraine Fall 2015, DR Spring 2016, and China Spring 2017

Campaign Coordinator


Volunteer in Thailand Fall 2015; Head Teacher in Russia Fall 2017

Why did you choose ILP?

I decided to go on ILP because I had never been out of the country and wanted to experience something new. It was the perfect opportunity to travel AND make a difference.

Favorite student?

My favorite students were the shy ones. Once I could get them to wave to me or give me a hug, it made it all worth it.

Favorite memories?

On our 24 hr train ride to St. Petersburg, we were bunked next to 2 burly Russian men. During the course of the day, we tried communicating with them. They ended up trying to teach us Russian words and visa versa. We tried sharing our American and Russian snacks. They did not like granola bars and in turn we really liked their meat pies. It was 5-6 hours of hilarious charades and a time I will never ever forget!

Assist. Campaign Coordinator



Marketing Operations Assist.
+ Program Manager


Volunteer in China Spring 2009; Head Teacher in China Fall 2013

Favorite student?

My favorite student my first time in China was Aiden from the Shiqi school. He and I became instant best friends! He was not the fastest learner in the class, but he tried hard. He made me cry like a baby when I had to say goodbye!

The thing you liked most about ILP?

I loved how safe I felt while being abroad with the program. The system was set up so that you are never really alone and you always have a side-kick! I love how much you were able to get to interact with the children and really get to know them during your semester abroad. Also how much travel time you have is wonderful!

Why did you choose ILP?

I decided to go on ILP because I really loved to travel and I had always wanted to see China since I was a little girl. I left China with a different desire than to travel, it was all about those kids that stole my heart!

Program Manager


Volunteer in Mexico Fall 2008; Head Teacher in Russia Spring 2010, Fall 2010, and Spring 2011, Lithuania Summer 2012, Ukraine Fall 2012, China Spring 2013; Taiwan Professional Teacher Summer 2017

Favorite vacation?

My top three amazing cities to vacation to are 1. Tallinn, Estonia, 2. Jiufen, Taiwan, and 3. Yangshuo, China. They’re super magical! Look them up!

Why did you choose ILP?

Before I did ILP I participated in a humanitarian program and became aware of the need for English learning and teaching. ILP seemed like a great way to test that out… then I got hooked!

People you'll always remember?

So many! One is an artist from Vilnius, Lithuania, who gave a friend and me a private showing of her paintings one day. We’re friends to this day, and one of her paintings hangs on my wall.

Program Manager


Volunteer in Russia Spring 2014 and Ukraine Summer 2014; Head Teacher in China Fall 2014, Thailand Fall 2015, Romania Summer 2016, and the DR Summer 2017

Favorite vacation?

One of my favorite vacations was the one we took in China. We went to Zhangjiajie to visit Tianmen Mountain, and then went to Beijing, and of course Yangshuo!

Thing you like most about ILP?

I like that you don’t get pampered. You really live like a local wherever you go. You have problems just like they would and you get to learn how to solve things in their culture and the differences between that and living here. It’s a very humbling and eye opening experience and I’d do it again in a heart beat!

Funniest memory?

Me, Ashley, and Brian were outside by a mall in China watching a small Chinese concert and a girl asked to take our picture so we let her, and then another girl, and another, and pretty soon we had a whole line of people with their cameras lined up to take our photo! When we looked back over at the concert, the camera men for the concert were looking and pointing at us and then left the concert, ran over to us and started taking our picture too! Legit PAPARAZZI. China is my favorite place on earth.

Program Manager


Volunteer in China Spring 2016; Head Teacher in Russia Fall 2016

The thing you liked most about ILP?

My favorite part of the ILP program is being able to stay in the country for an extended amount of time! You almost feel like a local by the end because it becomes your home away from home!

Favorite vacation?

On our 11 day vacation, I saw Scottish castles, toured the Tower of London, saw my favorite sculpture at the Louvre, saw mass at the Notre Dame, ate the most AMAZING Italian pizza, cried when visiting the Florence Duomo and fought like a gladiator at the Colosseum! The craziest, funniest, most adventurous vacation!

Why did you choose ILP?

After I graduated college, I realized I’d never done any traveling or had any amazing experiences with another culture. I wanted to do that along with helping other people so ILP was the perfect fit!

Financial Secretary


Teacher in Russia Fall 1993

How did you get involved?

ILP has been a part of my life for 21 years. I guess you could say I married this program! The first time I met my husband, Steve, who is one of the directors, he had just returned from a meeting about the chance to go to Russia to teach English. After he returned from Moscow, we were married. At that time, I worked in the ILP office as the receptionist and I’ve worked here in the office off and on over the years. I love being involved and I enjoy working as the financial secretary.

What do you like most about ILP?

Steve and I lived in Moscow in 1993 and I have enjoyed visiting Russia and the other countries a few times since then. I love this program for what it does for the kids and for the volunteer teachers. It is life changing and an opportunity I wish everyone had a chance to be a part of.

Program Director Assistant


Volunteer in Ukraine Fall 2012 and China Spring 2013; Head Teacher in China Fall 2013

Why did you choose ILP?

I was looking for a program that I could serve abroad with and that wouldn’t break my bank. When I came across ILP, the price and the awesome service opportunity that it provided sold me almost instantly.

Best thing you got out of ILP?

My memories and a deep love and appreciation for the power of the English language.

Favorite vacation?

Xingping, China or Odessa, Ukraine. Both places were so beautiful and so much fun to explore.

Executive Director


Teacher in Russia Spring + Fall 1992; Teacher in China Fall 1996

Why did you teach abroad?

I wanted to go and learn a language, but couldn’t afford study abroad and I wasn’t interested in classes abroad, I wanted to get involved with people.

Why did you create ILP?

I had an awesome experience! Helping kids, making friends that shared my standards, learning a language, travelling, many things. I wanted others to be able to have an experience like that.

Advice for volunteers?

“Don’t let school get in the way of your education.” You learn and grow in many different ways, and school is just one. Approach your experience as part of your education and you will learn and grow more than you could ever expect.

Director of Marketing


Teacher in Russia Spring 1992 and March-December 1993

How has ILP blessed your life?

When my wife Cheryl and I lived in Russia together, it was an incredible growing experience, both individually, and collectively. It kind of felt like a senior mission in our twenties. We also learned a lot about children, and how to interact with them. We still refer to this time in our lives as our “Parenting Internship.”

Keep in touch with your students?

Yes, my sweet “little” boy Rubik (Reuben) who was 3 when I first taught him, just friended me on Facebook a few months ago! He is now 24, living in Moscow, using his English at work every day.

Advice for volunteers?

Put the kids first, which means teaching them or preparing to teach them, and all the other amazing opportunities (studying the language, travelling, shopping, etc.) will fall into their proper place. There is nothing more meaningful then when you’re teaching the kids, and both you and they are having fun, talking, and interacting. Its amazing seeing your students learn, grow, and enjoy themselves.

Assist. Executive Director


Volunteer in Russia Spring 2003; Professional Teacher in Taiwan 2008

People you met?

The students! I still have some students who ask when I am coming back. When I was in Russia it literally killed me to leave them, because they had become so much a part of me.

The thing you like most about ILP?

I love the way it gives to a lot of people at the same time. ILP enriches and betters the lives of the participants, students, host families and native coordinators all at the same time.

Favorite vacation?

So hard to choose! I really like green island Taiwan. We rented scooters, went snorkeling, visited the hot springs, hiked around the island and had a blast.