through Global Volunteerism
Learning Enterprises connects volunteer teachers and host communities around the world in order to foster cross-cultural exchange and empower young leaders.
Special Announcement Regarding COVID-19:
Starting in early March, the Executive Team and the Board of Directors have communicated frequently about the global developments regarding COVID-19 and the feasibility of running our programs in the current context. As always, our top priority is the safety of our staff, our volunteers, and our host communities in determining whether and how our programs will operate.
Unfortunately, given the U.S. Department of State Level 4 Global Health Advisory, multiple travel bans, and the widespread health concerns, the Board of Directors and the Executive Team have decided to suspend all of our summer programs for PY2020. We do not make this decision lightly but do so with the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and host communities in mind.
We appreciate the interest and commitment to Learning Enterprises and our mission demonstrated by our staff and volunteers. We recognise how disappointing this news may be to everyone involved in our organisation, but want to assure you that this is not the end of their involvement with Learning Enterprises. Given the unprecedented nature of our announcement and the challenges we all face this year, the LE Staff, Executive Team, and Board of Directors will continue to discuss ways we can still support the organisation’s mission and our relationships with our host communities.
Please stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands.
- Learning Enterprises Executive Team, PY2020
We’re in the business of connecting people.
Learning Enterprises is an entirely student-run 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit organization that began as a way of connecting people who had the expertise to share and time to spare. Volunteers, most of whom were college students, had their summers free and wanted to spend it in a meaningful way. The students in underserved communities -- many of them rural villages in developing countries -- also had their summers free, and these communities had a felt need for extra English language classes. To create a mutually beneficial program, someone just needed to connect the two parties, and that is what Learning Enterprises does every summer. The volunteers travel to the underserved community, and the local communities take them into their families, providing meals, room and board for an average of six weeks. In exchange, the volunteers teach English in local schools for an average of 20 hours/week. The program operates on the goodwill and trust between the volunteers and the people they teach. Learning Enterprises facilitates this meeting by screening host communities and families as well as preparing the volunteers to teach and become acclimated to a different culture. Learning Enterprises is centered on the idea of connecting people.
You control your experience.
In the classroom, you have control. We give you the tools to teach, but you are responsible for developing a curriculum that best suits your class. Our goal is to increase communication, and you decide on the best method to do that. You are encouraged to bring your flair and skills to teaching. If you want to write songs for your students to sing, do it! If you have a knack for art and want to incorporate it into your lessons, you’re free to do so.
While you do have a set work schedule, your free time is yours. However, we encourage all volunteers to spend as much time as possible with their host families, students, and communities, as it often provides the most meaningful experiences for everyone.
There is no charge for program participation.
Unlike many other service organizations, who charge volunteers hundreds - even thousands - of dollars to participate in their program, LE relies on a modest application fee and the generosity of donors and alumni who share our vision that students should not have to pay to volunteer. Teaching English with LE is based on our volunteers' commitment and hard work, not their ability to pay a program fee.
We are staffed by volunteers.
Everyone who works for Learning Enterprises is a volunteer, whether they are the ones teaching English or the ones planning the LE programs. We continue to exist because volunteers who believe in the mission of LE spend their time and enthusiasm supporting what we do. We have been having a great time teaching, traveling, and meeting new people since 1992, and we don’t expect this to change anytime soon!
We keep it fun.
Teaching with Learning Enterprises is many things. “Interesting,” “educational,” “fulfilling,” and “eye-opening” are all words that Learning Enterprises alumni have used to describe their experience. However, we don’t want to gloss over one simple fact: teaching with Learning Enterprises is tons of fun!
Orientation offers volunteers the chance to bond with one another before setting out for their villages. Days in the village are filled with games with the children, local celebrations, and sightseeing. Some programs also include a midpoint break, where volunteers meet for a weekend in the middle of their teaching assignment. Many also choose to travel together after the program ends.
We keep it simple.
As Learning Enterprises expands, we try to keep things simple and not lose sight of our core values. We exist to promote the ideals of our mission statement, not to promote ourselves. Learning Enterprises started as a way of connecting people who had skills to offer with those who needed them. We run a minimal yet efficient operation. Our model for operating has served us well since its inception, and it should continue to function for many more years to come.
Learning Enterprises is guided by the 5 following principles
1. Fostering Creativity
In many of the countries where Learning Enterprises programs operate, the predominant method of learning a new language is still rote memorization.
Our programs provide an opportunity for students to express their creativity in a dynamic learning environment. Volunteers create, plan and execute their curriculum and lesson plans and have essentially complete freedom in running their classrooms.
Learning happens through creative problem solving and improvisation, for both the teacher and the students.
2. Expanding Horizons
Bilingualism is an essential part of modern global citizenship, and an affinity for learning new languages is a positive in any setting.
English has become the primary language for business and travel throughout much of the world, and having a well-educated population with proficiency in multiple languages strengthens a country's economy, opens new markets and solidifies its position as a truly international player on a global stage.
3. Promoting Understanding
Everyday technology makes our world a little smaller. Cross-cultural encounters are daily occurrences, and with them comes the risk of misunderstanding.
Our volunteers and hosts live together, eat together, and learn to acknowledge - as well as respect - their differences and commonalities.
The mutually respectful and engaged relationship between our volunteers and our host communities reinforces the enrichment and harmony in diversity. LE nurtures empathy in a world that needs it.
4. Spreading the Spirit of Volunteerism
Our volunteers give their time, experience and enthusiasm to a community desiring their skills.
Host communities welcome volunteers into their homes and give them the invaluable opportunity to authentically and thoroughly experience a new culture.
All parties involved give to promote learning enterprises and the multiculturalism and reciprocity it stands for.
5. Providing Rewarding Work Experience
At Learning Enterprises, young adults have the opportunity to take on significant responsibilities that positively impact the lives of people around the world.
Volunteers are not only teachers but leaders in their host communities. They develop skills such as leadership, adaptability, and resourcefulness.
From volunteers to the executive team, the entire staff of Learning Enterprises is comprised of college students or recent graduates. Learning Enterprises encourages volunteers to stay involved after volunteering by serving as a staff member, whether it be a campus director, program director, executive, or board member.
Where They Learn and Where We Grow
I go to a university where LE is not present. Can I still apply?
Yes, of course! We accept applications from students all over the world. Students from a new university even have the opportunity to bring LE back to their campus. That being said, LE requires volunteers to be native English speakers or possess equivalent fluency.
Am I too young/old to apply?
LE requires that all applicants are at least 18 years old at the time of applying, but there is no upper age limit for volunteers for any of our programs. However, the majority of LE volunteers are undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 24, and our programs are also similarly run by university students. As such, you should be prepared to function in a team of youth and take direction from our Program Directors.
How much does it cost to participate in an LE program?
The answer to this question varies from program to program - the cost of living, as well as the cost of airfare, depends largely upon the country you choose.
As a volunteer, your main costs will be flights, visa (if required), vaccinations and any other medication required before departure (if necessary), gifts for your host family and discretionary spending while in-country. Your accommodation and food costs are usually covered by your host family.
Unlike other international English teaching programs, Learning Enterprises charges no fee to participate. This makes Learning Enterprises one of the most affordable ways to volunteer abroad, and illustrates that we are fueled by a genuine belief in our mission, not by profit.
Meet the Team!
The Learning Enterprises Family
Learning Enterprises is staffed entirely by volunteers. All of our staff were once Learning Enterprises volunteers themselves and all believe in our mission of expanding horizons through access to the English language as a means of communication.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is a crew of dedicated professionals and LE alumni who provide general support and direction to the Executive Staff. They assist in reaching the overarching goals of the organization and offer guidance.
The Executive Directors comprise a three-person team that works tirelessly to make the LE world go ’round. They lead a team of nearly 300 staff and volunteers, coordinating their efforts in recruiting, training, programming, and daily operations.
Program Directors spend their summers by leading our programs in-country. All Program Directors are previous volunteers of their programs and provide logistical, cultural and training support to our new groups of volunteers.
Campus Directors are previous volunteers who bring Learning Enterprises' mission back to their college campuses. They focus on recruiting volunteers for the next program year and fundraising.
The Country Coordinators are Learning Enterprises' in-country leaders who make our programs possible. As respected leaders within their communities, they are responsible for all program organization on the ground in each of our 9 countries.