Volunteering Abroad Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Volunteer English Teaching Paraguay



We are a UK registered small charity founded in 2001 dedicated to the education of the poor people of the rural area where it is based in Paraguay. We have four main programmes: university scholarships, a tertiary education Institute, music classes and English classes. We are looking for volunteers to teach our English course. Our English course […]

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Dates of program:
Year round

Duration of program:
3 months minimum, 6+ months preferred

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+

Free but volunteers cover their own expenses (i.e. flights, insurance, accommodation, food, etc).

Other information:


Loved it! Highly recommended experience.
"I spent 14 months volunteering with SMEF when I graduated college in 2016 and returned for another month about a year later to work on my graduate thesis and catch up with family and friends that I missed dearly when I left. Everything about Santa Maria is absolutely lovely - the people, the town, the work. It's a small town so most everyone knows each other, which means your neighbors greet you as I walk to the Institute, the church, the grocery shop, or anywhere else, and people will invite you in to chat, share a merienda, or drink terere. People are SO welcoming that even as someone who is shy at first I quickly felt at home. Additionally, you host family and your students provide quick ways to integrate into the community and begin practicing your Spanish. I formed so many meaningful relationships while I was there, especially with my older students. All of the volunteers teach a wide range of classes varying from beginners to near-fluent speakers and from children to adults. I loved all of my classes for different reasons- the kids are fun, energetic, and learn quickly, while the adults are a joy to teach because they become your friends as well. They're also incredibly patient when you first begin and help you to feel comfortable in front of the class. You're given both a lot of guidance and a lot of freedom in how you teach your classes. There are structured books and planned activities, and the SMEF staff are always around to support you, but you are welcome to adapt the materials in any way you'd like or add additional content, games, and activities as you see fit. If you have any additional talents to offer, SMEF is really great about letting you share your other passions through institute classes as well. I helped teach some music classes and aided with Biology class and lab at the Food Technology school that SMEF also supports. Since you teach in the morning and in the evening, there's lots of free time mid-day to go to the plaza and see the monkeys, spend time with friends, go for a swim in the river during the summer, or any number of other things. On the weekends I took harp lessons (and in the end bought a harp to bring home) and sang in the church choir. Plus, If you ever need a break from small town life or just want to explore, you can also take weekend trips to amazing places like Iguazu falls just across the border in Argentina/Brazil, or any number of natural wonders in Paraguay that aren't super touristy, which is nice; there are tons of rivers, waterfalls, forests, etc. to explore if you're an outdoorsy person! I ended up not travelling as often as I'd planned before arriving because I never wanted to leave Santa Maria and miss out on weekend activities like soccer games, friend's graduation parties or other events. If you're around for the fiesta patronal in September celebrating the virgin Mary or in the spring for Holy Week, there are also all kinds of local festivities and events that draw in people from all around the region. I could go on all day about the amazing time I had in Santa Maria. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking to learn about another culture, practice their Spanish, and form meaningful lifelong friendships."- Jennifer Beckner

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