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English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher

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One of our most popular placements. The ESL Teacher placement gives volunteers an opportunity to hone their teaching skills and gain valuable experience that will help with future employment, all whilst exploring one of the last true wildernesses on Earth. On this placement, you will make a huge impact on the lives of children in North Sumatra by providing them with high-quality education in the English Language completely FREE!

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Placement Overview

Travel to the very edge of the wilderness to our Hub in Bukit Lawang. Situated on the edge of the Endangered Leuser Ecosystem which is the last place on Earth where you can find Elephants, Tigers, Rhinos, Bears and Orangutans living together in the wild! You will contribute towards our program objectives of giving all of our students equal access to English language learning and work to deliver a comprehensive ESL curriculum to students from up to 10 different rural communities across North Sumatra. You will spend most of your time at our community centre in Bukit Lawang delivering English classes to a wide range of classes of varying ages and abilities, including an adult class, advanced class and role specific classes! 

Your Impact

During the course of your placement as one of our English as a Second Language (ESL) Teachers, you will be delivering a comprehensive curriculum built around the University of Cambridge ESL curriculum. You will be providing FREE education to hundreds of students who otherwise may not have access to get themselves.Our ESL program has been designed from day 1 alongside the communities we serve to ensure that our program is needed and wanted by the local people. What's more all of our programs have been built upon the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. During your time on this program you will be contributing and working towards these goals. 

Placement Highlights

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Here at the Bukit Lawang Trust we don't teach, we facilitate. We believe that children should be trusted and empowered with the opportunities to learn on their own terms and this ethos extends to our ESL teachers too! 

As an ESL teacher at the Bukit Lawang Trust you will team up with one of our local Indonesian staff to deliver a comprehensive ESL curriculum completely in your own way. You will design lessons, activities and learning journeys to help nurture and inspire education. 

Our ESL program is an outstanding stepping stone for a career in education and we pride ourselves in our bespoke staff training and support. As a volunteer on the ESL program you will receive comprehensive training at the beginning of your placement & 1 to 1 support from our experienced management team, throughout your placement!

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Alongside your work as an ESL teacher, you will also  have the opportunity to participate in a range of traditional workshops including organic soap making, bamboo weaving, tree planting, Eco brick making and traditional Indonesian cooking classes!

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"The Trust has given me a whole new family!"

Rosemary Plummer, ESL Volunteer 

Our community centre is situated in the small community of Gotong Royong near Bukit Lawang, on the very edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park. One of the most severely endangered tropical ecosystems on the planet & a UNESCO world heritage site.  The Leuser Ecosystem is the last place on Earth where one can find Orangutans, Tigers, Rhinoceros, Elephants, Clouded Leopards & Sun Bears living together in the wild.  Every one of our placements includes a 2 day expedition into the Tropical Jungle! 

"I can honestly say it was the best time of my life!"

Emma Johann, ESL Volunteer

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

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Dates & Placements 2023

Orangutan Cycle: Friday 6th January - Sunday 5th of March 

Tiger Cycle: Friday 5th of May - Sunday 2nd July 

Elephant Cycle: Friday 7th July - Sunday 3rd September

Leopard Cycle: Friday 8th September - Sunday 5th of November

Rhino Cycle: Friday 10th November - Sunday 17th December 

     Duration - 8 Weeks   Volunteering Fundraising target - £1000

We still have spaces this summer (2024) for volunteers!


If you'd be interested in joining us this year, but you cannot completely commit to the dates on one of the above cycles, please apply anyway and we can discuss a time period that would work for you.

Got a Question? 

We would love to hear from you!

You can email us at

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