VOLUNTEER IN VANUATU

Are you ready to soak up true island life? Vanuatu is the untouched paradise you’re looking for.  While we think you’ll love the blue lagoons hiding in the jungle and the chance to lounge on deserted beaches, get ready to love the people and the culture even more. Walk through the palm-fringed streets of your village. Soak up all the sunshine. Wave to the “friendliest people on earth” — the community here is like one big family that you’ll instantly be a part of.

Volunteers in our South Pacific program spend teaching English to children in this humanitarian program, with plenty of free time to explore. Come fall in love with the people and the country of Vanuatu.

THE EXPERIENCE

Get ready to to discover corners of the globe that only a handful of people have seen. Come live on the island of Efate, in the nation’s capital city which is surrounded by a unique culture and 82 other islands. Join a small group of volunteers (about 6-8) who will all be living, teaching, exploring, and traveling together.  A semester here is all about stepping into the local culture and becoming a part of that tight-knit community … and more than a few adventures. We know you’ll love your new island home, so here’s a sneak peek at what a typical day is like in Vanuatu:

Glimpse a day in Vanuatu

Wake up in time to see sunrise at the beach — after all, you’re just a three minute walk away. You’re living with your ILP group in a house found in a small village outside of the capital. The culture here is really welcoming. Oh, and your neighbors are all related, even if they’re not really. You’ll live right next to someone’s auntie, and a family friend who isn’t really an uncle, but everyone calls him that anyway. Welcome to the family! Though you’ll be living in a house with your fellow volunteers, it’s not hard to be close to your friendly neighbors. The people here are a huge part of your ILP experience. Ni-Vans are known to be the “happiest people in the world”, focused on family and community. 

Alright, onto breakfast. Your group gets a stipend for breakfast so you all sit out on the balcony, soaking up the tropical views while you eat freshly baked bread and local fruit. Yum! You have some free time after breakfast to do some exploring. You’re not teaching until the afternoon, so plenty of time to hop on a minibus to explore a new corner of the island. Before class. some cute “local mamas” cook up some lunch before you need to leave. You’ll eat lots of classic island staples like rice, eggs, chicken, hot dogs, fish, fresh fruits and veggies (like avocado, pineapple, papaya, cucumber, and tomato). Another popular dish? Yams wrapped in banana leaves and cooked deep in the ground. Then, that’s all drizzled with coconut milk. These sweet ladies will also be cooking your dinner, so you’ll have a real taste of the culture with every meal. 

Your whole group teaches at a nearby school, which is converted from someone’s house. It’s a very short walk, and the kids are so excited when you get there. In fact, they’re already begging for a day at the beach after class ends. The beach is just a five minute walk from the school so that’s hard to say “no” to! The classrooms are really open-air, with no A/C and clear views of the ocean, especially from the small playground. That playground is made up of old tires, and a tin roof pavilion. The people here are so resourceful and have become self-sufficient with what the island has to offer. Many families live off their gardens, selling some of their organic fruit and veggies at little roadside stands you’ll see all over the islands (which is a huge perk for you). 

While you have free time during the week, your weekends off mean time for so many adventures. Your island is crammed full of the best of the best in Vanuatu. We’re talking turquoise lagoons, and kayaking the coastline for hidden coves, spotting turtles along the way. Plus, soooooo many pretty beaches. The water here is unbelievably clear, a bright aqua that doesn’t look real. You’ll have vacation days too, but think you’ll want to explore all Efate has to offer.

HELP KIDS IN VANUATU LEARN ENGLISH

Come teach by the beach! In this Humanitarian Program, you’ll be making a difference by helping young kids learn English, up to 20 hours per week. No experience is needed, we provide training on our teaching method! You’ll mostly be teaching young kids who are 3-6 years old, and possibly some older students who are in 2nd and 3rd grade (cute). 

Volunteering and Costs

$4,320 — Includes your roundtrip airfare to Vanuatu, visa, housing, meals, language and culture experiences, as well as training and support throughout the entire experience.

Teaching English in Vanuatu goes so far. One of the main languages of the island nation is Bislama. It’s a creole language based in English with some French influence. Bislama’s an important part of the culture, but there is also quite a bit of English on the island, too. In Vanuatu, classes are taught in both languages, but there’s a catch. Classes are taught in Bislama until the 3rd grade, then switch to be taught in English.  Can you imagine having classes in one language, then suddenly switching around 10 years old? These kiddos are often unprepared when they make the switch, which tends to contribute to a high drop out rate. Through ILP classes, you’ll be teaching young kids as a part of an after school English program, giving them a head start for when they start English classes in the 3rd grade. 

ILP classes are built on a one-on-one teaching method, a rarity in this country where there is a teacher shortage. To put it bluntly, there are simply not enough teachers. In some schools, a single teacher is trying to teach three full classrooms at the same time. They’re running between the rooms and giving students as much attention as one person can. Because ILP volunteers focus on smaller groups, students get more individual time with a teacher, which is not only unique, but incredibly valuable to these kids. There’s also a chance volunteers will be able to step into schools as a teacher’s aide. 

Why is the program fee higher here? Unlike the Exchange Program, the families of the children you work with will not be helping to subsidize your costs. All the children you are working with come from very limited means, and the service you provide is completely free for them. Thank you for wanting to provide the best care and service for these kids by volunteering in this humanitarian program.

Interested in other ways you’re needed? Compare ILP’s Humanitarian Programs here. 

WHERE
Pango, a community just outside of the capital Port Vila on the island of Efate

WHEN
—Spring: Depart late January – return end of April
—Summer: Depart end of April or early May – return middle of August
—Fall: Depart end of August – return middle of December, just in time for Christmas

WHO
—6-8 volunteers in a group
—Single males/females and married couples
—18-about 25ish years old
—US and Canadian volunteers
—No experience needed!

EXPLORING THE SOUTH PACIFIC

Have a semester of adventures in this slice of Pacific paradise! In Vanuatu, the islands are rimmed with colorful coral reefs, topped with active volcanoes, and covered with dense rainforests hiding plunging waterfalls. Spend time in the ocean and dive down to shipwrecks from WWII. Or kayak to natural swimming spots that haven’t hit Instagram yet if you’re sick of spending time on the pristine, white sand beaches. 

While there’s more than enough to keep you happy with all of these islands, you can also travel over to spots like Australia and Fiji on vacation … but honestly? Why would you! With a chain of islands boasting completely isolated beaches and adventures that aren’t flooded with tourists, we think you’ll be more than happy island hopping here all semester long.

Here are just a few of our favorite islands and places for your vacations —

Efate — Your island home is fringed coral coves and that pristine turquoise water. Talk about paradise! Come for waterfalls, snorkeling trips, jungle trekking and more. Plus, have the chance to glimpse local island life. A handful of tiny islands home to native tribes and active volcanoes are just a boat ride away. 

Pele + Nguna — People call these islands the “Pacific Islands Paradise”, so don’t miss out. Between Pele and Nguna is a protected marine reserve, a safe haven for your favorite ocean friends. It’s one of the best places to snorkel in the country. Or, hop in a kayak and explore the aqua blue coastline. These two gems are just a short boat ride from Efate.

Champagne Beach, Espiritu Santo — This spot tops the chart of the world’s best beaches. It’s complete with clear baby-blue water and sugar white sand in a calm cove. Are you totally in love yet? Dip into the water and see if you can spot turtles and manta rays hanging out by the reef. Welcome to actual paradise. 

Matevulu Blue Hole, Espiritu Santo — While there are a few of these natural swimming spots dotting the island chain, this one found on Espirtu Santo is our favorite. You can only get here by kayak. Paddle up the river, with the lush jungle on either side of you to get there. And once you make it up the crystal river?  Find rope swings strung up in a huge banyan tree and the most picture perfect swimming spot, all to yourself. 

Tanna — A remote island home to black sand beaches, and the chance to trek to hike up to an active volcano. Peer over the edge to see lava spitting out from the crater, then glimpse rural villages home to local tribes, with a bright and vibrant culture. Adrenaline junkies can try ashboarding, here too! It’s kind of like snowboarding on the ashy slopes of this volcano.

New Zealand — Choose between the Northern and Southern islands for a vacation full of rugged mountains and gigantic glaciers. Spend time on golden sand beaches, too. Then cap it off, visit sites made famous by the Lord of the Rings.

Fiji — Another island chain home to baby blue water and Instagram-famous bungalows. You’ll find similar ocean views, beaches, snorkel adventures, and more tourists on a quick vacay over here. 

Australia — Take a trip to Australia, visiting big modern cities like Sydney to see the world-famous Opera House. Or, explore their Golden Coast. Before leaving, hang out with koalas and kangaroos. We have a feeling a vacay in the world down under is going to be hard to resist.

New Caledonia — A quick, 90 minute flight and you’ll feel like you’re visiting the tropical version of France. This set of islands has a huge French influence, so stop by the capital for fresh baked croissants and European architecture. Lastly, fit in some white-sand beaches and island hopping.