TEFL 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

Armenia, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has been a country in transition politically, socially and economically, but a country with tremendous possibilities. Students in Armenia, especially in rural areas, lack access to equal educational opportunities due to a variety of reasons, including geographic location, socio-economic status, and lack of social mobility.

Volunteers are needed to assist teachers and students in Armenia to improve access to personal, professional, and academic opportunities through English. TEFL Volunteers work to promote new methodologies that emphasize critical thinking skills, cooperative learning, and greater understanding across borders. Armenia is moving away from the centralized Soviet model and establishing its own identity. Educators recognize the need for a wide range of reforms in the educational system and the need to interact with the rest of the world in order to access the wealth of information available through the English language.

In this assignment, Volunteers serve in primary, middle, and high schools (grades 3-12) and universities, where they team teach with the local TEFL teacher(s). Volunteers focus on developing students’ speaking skills using student-centered methodologies. In addition to classroom teaching, Volunteers conduct after-school clubs and activities that work to identify and address specific school and community needs. TEFL Volunteers also work with youth through a variety of formal and informal avenues, including clubs and camps, to creatively address topics that are interesting and engaging for Armenian youth to foster healthy development.

All Volunteers selected for Armenia’s TEFL project are enrolled in the TEFL Certificate program, regardless of previous experience. After successful completion of 27 months of service and satisfaction of the technical requirements, Volunteers receive a TEFL Certificate. The program starts before arriving in Armenia with a 3-month online pre-departure course and continues in Pre-Service Training with technical TEFL trainings. Teaching observations are conducted throughout the Volunteer's service to offer feedback and support to the Volunteer's professional growth. Also, to help Volunteers enrich their teaching repertoire, they participate in six Online Learning Communities (OLC) events and submit written assignments. Volunteers with previous teaching experience use their skills and knowledge to facilitate training and to support other Volunteers.

Required Skills

• a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and
• At least 3 months of English/ Foreign language tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students and
• a strong desire to teach English.

Desired Skills

• Enthusiasm and dedication to team teach with local English language teachers and help their students grow as learners.
• The ability to adapt to unfamiliar customs and family norms is an important skill to have or obtain; Peace Corps introduces customs and norms along with ways to adapt during the eleven-week Pre-Service Training. Armenia is a traditional family-centered society and Americans may have difficulty adjusting to cultural views on gender roles and expectations. Therefore Volunteers must have mature interpersonal skills and a willingness to adapt to and accept local norms and social customs throughout their service.

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.

Additional Language Information

Armenian is a phonetic language with a unique 39 letter alphabet in the Indo-European language family. Invitees must be motivated and ready to dedicate themselves to learning a complex language that is not spoken widely outside of Armenia. Trainees receive 3 months of training in Armenian and must attain a Novice High level, which is tested at the end of pre-service training. In order to help facilitate language learning, invitees are invited to participate in a 6-week pre-departure course. Additionally, trainees who are couples may be required to live in separate host families. (Please note: If invitees choose to study Armenian before arrival, they should study Eastern Armenian.)

Living Conditions

Armenia is a small and beautiful country. The winter months (November to March) come with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, similar to Chicago. Volunteers are required to stay with host families during Pre-Service Training and for an additional three months after training. The host family experience is a unique opportunity for Volunteers to fully immerse themselves in the Armenian culture. Many Volunteers live with their host families for the entirety of their service because of their close relationships and a scarcity of independent housing options in many rural sites.

Armenian culture does not rely heavily on advanced planning, and communication can be unclear at times. It is not uncommon for appointments to be made and cancelled last minute, including business meetings and school classes. This is an adjustment for most Volunteers. Cultural expectations around professionalism include conservative attire and neat appearance. Volunteers with long, untrimmed beards and mustaches, long hair or other unique hairstyles and piercings are not easily accepted within the culture. Body piercings and tattoos have negative connotations in Armenia and should be covered during work hours and professional events.

Despite limited exposure to minorities, host families and counterparts are accepting of diversity among Volunteers, and close relationships are forged without any regard to ethnicity. It is true, however, that Volunteers who do not resemble the Armenian profile should expect to receive additional unwanted attention. Further, although homosexual relationships are not criminal in Armenia, openly gay relationships are not socially accepted by the general population and Volunteers are advised to be cautious. Peace Corps Armenia’s pre-service training will address these types of concerns to prepare Volunteers for service. Peace Corps staff and second-year Volunteers also serve as a support system for new Volunteers in having a successful service.

Let Girls Learn

Armenia is one of the Peace Corps countries participating in Let Girls Learn, an important initiative promoting gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers receive training on gender challenges in Armenia and have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities and projects that are contextually appropriate. During service, Volunteers look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of the initiative, Volunteers also report on these efforts and their impact.

Community Integration

Community integration is an indispensable and very important part of Volunteer work. To be successful in service, Volunteers should be accepted by their communities. The responsibility for integration rests on Volunteers and on their host communities. Volunteer integration is measured by their social and cultural adaptation. During PST, we provide tools and strategies for Volunteers to enhance their community integration process. The Volunteers’ main job assignment during the first three months is community integration. By devoting adequate attention to community integration during the first three months at site, Volunteers lay the groundwork for their future success.

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

Medical Considerations in Armenia

  • Armenia may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: cardiology; insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizure disorder; ongoing counseling.
  • 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: none identified. 
  • After arrival in Armenia, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please also review Important Medical Information for Applicants [PDF] to learn about other health conditions typically not supported in Peace Corps service.

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