English Education Volunteer

Before You Apply

You can only have one active Peace Corps Volunteer application, so choose a position that best fits your skills and interest. You have the opportunity to tell us if you’d like to be considered for other openings and more about the ones that interest you most! See application process

Project Description

The English Education project aims at creating greater opportunities for teachers, students, and community members to participate in the global community through English language education. Through working with teachers and students, English Education (TEFL) Volunteers help increase English language proficiency and self-confidence. In addition to classroom teaching, Volunteers organize clubs and camps, share resources, develop teaching materials with local teachers and become involved in community and school-based projects.

TEFL Volunteers teach or co-teach English as a foreign language in public middle and high schools. During their first school year, most Volunteers peer teach alongside an Albanian English teacher, supporting and enhancing the existing English language program with communicative teaching methods. Volunteers teach upwards to fifteen 45-minute classes per week. After peer teaching during the first year, some Volunteers may start to teach more on their own.

Volunteers may also spend part of their time working with teachers from neighboring village schools to help improve their English and enhance their teaching techniques. They may also conduct teacher development workshops through collaboration with partner organizations and regional/local level education offices. Volunteers also work with teachers and counterparts to improve critical-thinking and problem-solving skills of students, often through after-school activities or English clubs.

Volunteers will likely have ample opportunity to conduct other community development projects, once they are grounded in their communities. The types of projects Volunteers may collaborate with their community members include, but are not limited to improving the overall quality of life in rural areas, strengthening the educational system, identifying income-generating opportunities, and managing the natural resources. Volunteers will also have opportunities at the local or regional level to participate in youth development efforts/activities through the schools or NGOs, or by taking part in youth-centered projects such as Model UN, Outdoor Ambassadors (an environmental-themed after-school program begun by Volunteers), Girls Leading our World (GLOW) camps, etc.

Required Skills

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline, and a strong desire to teach English

Desired Skills

• Degree in Education or English
• Experience teaching, co-teaching, or tutoring English language, a foreign language, or literacy tutoring with primary, middle, or high school students or adults
• Experience working in extra-curricular activities with primary, middle, or high school students or young adults (such as sports, youth development, or academic programs)
• Experience with professional development for teachers or curriculum development

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

Pre-Service Training (PST) will focus on language and cross-cultural adaptation. Albanian (Shqip) is a challenging language. The emphasis during Pre-Service Training (PST) will be on language and cross-cultural adaptation. Your language training will be competency-based and will emphasize communication, not grammar. Language acquisition is difficult and will consume a substantial part of your energy during training. You will use the Albanian in work settings during your service. PST will give you the basis for continuing to develop your language skills during service. Diligent commitment to learning Albanian during PST and throughout your service will help you acquire language skills that will be critical to developing relationships within your communities and to the success of your projects.

Following PST, all Volunteers are required to retain a tutor for the initial six-months of service.

Living Conditions

Trainees will live with Albanian host families during pre-service training and for six months after Swearing-In at the Volunteer’s permanent site. Living with, and becoming part of a host family is often one of the most rewarding aspects of Volunteer service. In some cases, public transportation may not be available to the smaller villages and you may have to walk to them. Housing and host families are identified by your host agency and Peace Corps works with them to ensure that they meet our safety and security criteria.

Housing in Albania tends to be small and you should anticipate living in less space, in much closer proximity to others, and with far fewer amenities and privacy than you are used to.

Housing is often scarce and expensive. Most communities in Albania are conservative and close-knit; Volunteers may choose to stay with families for convenience, integration, relationship-building, or security.

Most Albanian villages and towns have electricity and running water, but power and water outages are frequent. Most housing has minimal conveniences. Houses are not centrally heated and most Albanians heat only one room with a gas or electric heater. Warm water may be a luxury and toilets are often Turkish style (squat). Outside temperatures will range from 100 degrees in the summer to below freezing during the winter, depending on your location.

Volunteers have to significantly modify their standard of living while serving in Albania. This may be more challenging than it sounds. Volunteers also face challenges around the expectations of community members, who perceive Americans as wealthy. These expectations are sometimes reinforced by the smart phones, tablets, expensive-looking cameras and iPods that Volunteers use during service. You will need to become comfortable explaining that you are a Volunteer and as such, live on a modest allowance that is provided by Peace Corps. Your goal will be to have as few things as possible stand between you and the members of your community—including differences in wealth.

You will spend most of your time in your community but may travel periodically to the closest larger town to access supplies and services. You should be prepared to walk long distances (several miles) regularly, especially during training.

Food in Albania is readily available, although shopping and preparation are time consuming as there are few processed items available. Vegetables are seasonal and meat is expensive, which means that bread, beans, rice, yogurt, and cheese are common staples.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Albania: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Albania cannot accommodate couples within the same sector. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for:

Health Education Volunteer or Community Development Volunteer

Couples will likely be placed in different host families during Pre-Service Training, which will allow them to study language independently, to train with peers from their own programmatic sector, and grow and develop individually before being sworn in as a Volunteer (Swearing-In). During service couples will live together with the same host family. Couples may be separated for workshops and conferences for up to two weeks at a time due to in-service training events.

Medical Considerations in Albania

  • Albania may not be able to support Volunteers  with the following medical conditions:  insulin-dependent diabetes;  gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; mammography; ongoing behavioral health support; seizure disorder; urology.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve:  gluten.
  • After arrival in Albania, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.

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