Teach English in Portugal as a Short-Term Volunteer

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Teach English in Portugal to Youth & Adults

“Funny how much the students are like ours at home.
They joke, laugh, and are so open to anything. I’m not
sure who is going to grow the greatest from this experience—them or me!”
Mary Ann Buchanon, Portugal Volunteer

Take a week or two to each English in Portugal! Since 2007, our teams have worked with teens and adults with varying English abilities in classrooms, offices, and community centers. In the picturesque town of Beja – off the tourist trail – you help students improve their educational and career opportunities through easy lessons, instructional games and your own creativity.

FAQs: How to Teach English in Portugal

Your service program contribution is tax-deductible when you follow our itinerary. Select a date for a specific program and register to teach English in Portugal with your $350 deposit. Available discounts are explained here. If you prefer, you may print a text registration form and submit it by mail or fax. Children under age 18 must register as a minor and travel with a parent or adult legal guardian. Please call a volunteer coordinator at (800) 487-1074 for help if needed for any of these steps.

Most partner community lodging is double-occupancy, with a single room option for an additional fee. See single room fees here for countries where this option is available.

Note: Those who register six months (180 days) in advance for international programs, receive a $233 discount (one per family or group). Register early and help us confirm our commitment to the communities we serve.

Upcoming Volunteer Dates in Beja, Portugal

Joe Testa is our volunteer team leader in Portugal. He first joined a Global Volunteers service program to Guatemala in 1991, completed Global Volunteers Team Leader Training in 1993, and has since led more than 50 teams worldwide. Joe earned an MBA and built a highly successful ground water and water purification business. He sold the company and now serves as General Manager so he can spend more time with two beautiful grandchildren, volunteer as an ESL tutor, and continue mentoring with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. He’s beloved by his volunteers – and appreciated for his good humor, easy-going style, attention to detail, and his endless cultural interest.

Plan your arrival in Lisbon (airport code LIS), before 6:00 PM on the first Saturday of your service program. Provided you send us your flight itinerary at least two weeks before the service program arrival date, your team leader will meet you between 1:00 PM and 6:30 PM to transport you to the hotel. This coordinated schedule assists in assembling the team for in-transit transportation. Meet your team at the airport within this window if you travel in the country before the start of the service program. The following morning, you will travel approximately 2.5 hours to Beja by bus with your teammates. If your flight is delayed, please contact us as soon as you confirm your new arrival plans so your team leader can arrange an airport pick up for you. Plan your departure from Lisbon for after 2:00 PM on the final day of your service program.

Your health, safety and security is our top priority. Your lodging, food and transportation are provided always with a mind to protect you while at the work site and in your hotel. Your team leader is trained in CPR and first aid. Read more about health and safety here.

We strongly recommend you consult your own physician, public health clinic and/or travel clinic for detailed travel health information. For general recommendations, consult the following sources:

Global Volunteers includes emergency medical evacuation insurance in your service program fee. We also recommend health insurance that covers you while you are outside your home country, and trip cancellation insurance in the event you must cancel your participation on the service program. Your travel agent can refer you to travel insurance providers. Click here to read risks associated with international travel.

Ample time is available on evenings and weekends to enjoy the numerous nearby natural and cultural attractions in Beja. Favorite sites including Castelo de Beja, a castle rebuilt by King Dinis in 1310, the Church of Santo Amaro, and Rainha D. Leonor Regional Museum, with displays of pre-historic times to the present day. The streets and lanes are lovely – and feature fascinating architecture and equally fascinating people. A leisurely walk around the entire central city area will consume about two hours.

While our non-profit status doesn’t allow us to plan your free-time activities, your team leader and the hotel reception canl provide a list of the many free-time options previous teams have enjoyed. You may visit a winery, olive oil factory or one of the many cork-producing factories. A weekend trip to Lisbon is 2.5 hours by train, where you can explore the Oceanario de Lisboa, an enormous aquarium on the waterfront. Or, you may visit the Algarve region (1.5 hours by car) on Portugal’s southern coast, which offers excellent beaches and seaside restaurants.

Engaging one-on-one with Portuguese students of all ages, your teens learn how their education and natural skills are important resources to others, and that people the world over share common hopes and interests. Every volunteer makes a difference – students who otherwise have no exposure to native English speakers learn the language of commerce, industry and opportunity from you and your children age 15 and older. The emphasis is on improving real-life speaking skills and not on formal rules of grammar. Practice pronunciation, talk about mutually interesting topics, and read texts. Through games, songs, skits, field trips and other creative activities, students learn through “whole body” exercises. In this way, your family’s personal skills and dedication enable youths’ personal development to ripple throughout the country – advancing the entire nation’s capabilities.

You’ll usually teach four hours a day, allowing equal time for preparation and team meetings. Parents and guardians are expected to supervise their child volunteers, and collaborate with our team leader and local partners to maximize the service experience for everyone. In this way, your teen gains a personal understanding of Portuguese culture and traditions from a variety of perspectives, and learns the role and responsibilities of a team member. They likely also will create life-long friendships with local youth who share their interests and experiences.

Beja is a comfortable and stimulating group volunteering community. Friends hug and “kiss the air” while brushing cheeks, reflecting the true warmth in greeting “bom dia” (good day) and “boa noite” (good evening). Portuguese culture is closely related to the Spanish culture, with major influences from the Latin of ancient Rome and Muslim societies throughout history.

Today, Portugal is a European leader, having joined the European Union in 1986, and is a founding member of NATO, OECD, and EFTA. Students know that English is a critical skill for their career development – and their influence on the country’s future. You contribute your skills at a most important time in their lives – providing a service that isn’t available locally. As volunteers in Polish classrooms, your members discover a colorful country with a brilliant history, help bolster an emerging tourist industry, and most important – help expand Portuguese students’ career options

We work with you to apply your group’s unique skills, interests and personalities to service projects. The daily schedule, accommodations and free-time options are conducive to group dynamics. Our unique philosophy of service ensures your group’s contributions in just one to three weeks help build students’ capabilities – and offers a variety of ways to continue to support your host community. In short, volunteering with your group in Portugal is an investment in knowledge, discovery and optimism.

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