Nicaragua Volunteer Program: Teaching English To Children.

Volunteer To Teach English At An After school Program In León, Nicaragua

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on September 11 2017.

About the volunteer project:

NECAT is an after-school program for disadvantaged children in the neighborhood of Guadalupe, León.  These children come to here to eat lunch, learn, play and receive assistance with their schoolwork.  The situation for these children is quite difficult and volunteer teachers must prepare themselves to work in such conditions. Volunteers will receive training with the staff before the first day of volunteering and a reflection session after the first day.  You will also have a local bilingual coordinator with you at every moment, so no need to worry if you don’t speak Spanish.

Volunteers will be teaching students of different ages in the afternoons for a minimum of 4 hours per day (including 2 hours of lesson plan prep), and there may be an opportunity to teach the younger children in the mornings.  These children need you to provide them with high quality English lessons and give them an advantage over their peers.  As you will quickly see, offering English from native English speakers with a high quality of certification means that these children have an opportunity to advance themselves through English education, at one time only afforded to the social elite.

In order to participate in this program, you must already be TEFL certified by ITA/ITAN.  For course dates, follow this link.

Volunteer Teaching Program Includes:

  • Excursions- Weekend at Las Penitas beach, visit Leon Viejo (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and hike to Laguna del Tigre, and then a
    Donde fue El Fortin Leon Viejo

    Volunteers on one of their excursions.

    restaurant outing to the last traditional Nicaraguan restaurant in Leon, for their famous 149 year old black bean soup.

  • Airport Transportation from the Managua Airport – Will be included if you arrive on the scheduled pick-up date, usually the Thursday before the program starts. Check with the onsite coordinator for exact dates and times. If you need a private pick-up, it is $60-70 depending on time, which you can also arrange with the onsite coordinator.


  • Transportation- From the TEFL School, to the volunteer location, each day of the program via taxi.
  • Teaching materials and resources


Read Stephanie’s story about her Hybrid/Volunteer experience, and why she almost didn’t leave Nicaragua. 



Not included, and is the responsibility of the volunteer teacher:

  •  Accommodations – Housing will be available at many locations throughout Leon, as well as onsite at International TEFL Academy Nicaragua.  Rooms and bathrooms may or may not be shared with other TEFL students or volunteers.  There is also the potential to live with a host family or homestay.  All housing fills fast, so please contact us for availability.  Whenever possible, we try to group students together, or close to each other in Leon. For more details on accommodations, check out ITA Nicaragua’s housing page.
  • Airfare to the Managua, Nicaragua airport and to wherever you are going after the program.
  • Medical Insurance
  • State or local background check
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Entry fee into Nicaragua ($10)
  • Additional fun or travel money
  • Fees for textbooks if you are taking the 4 week TEFL course in Nicaragua
  • Onsite/online/hybrid TEFL course completed
Volunteer English Program Nicaragua

Volunteer’s teaching in Leon, Nicaragua

Requirements to participate in the program:

  • Volunteers must commit to all dates included. Due to the nature of the opportunity, it is important to provide consistency to the children/adults participating as EFL learners. There are no refunds.
  • Volunteers must complete an ITA TEFL Certification Course in Nicaragua or complete the Hybrid option (one week practicum in Nicaragua after completing an online or other onsite course).
    *If you complete an online TEFL course, you also must complete 12 of the 20 hours of practicum before arriving in Nicaragua. If you complete an onsite TEFL course, you must provide proof of your certification.
  • Willingness, flexibility, and mental ability to be able to handle working with, and teaching children from difficult backgrounds.
  • It is recommended that all volunteers purchase Medical Insurance for duration of program before arrival. If your current medical insurance has coverage in Nicaragua, you must provide a copy of the paperwork.   If your current medical insurance does not have coverage in Nicaragua, possible providers where you can purchase insurance are: STA Travel, Atlas, HTH Worldwide
  • Signed volunteer agreement
  • State or local background check

Deadline to apply

  • As soon as possible.The hybrid practicum teaching program only holds 4 spots and volunteers will be taken on a first come, first serve basis.Students at NECAT

Benefits of the Volunteer Teaching Program

  • You will impact the lives of children in Nicaragua by providing them English language skills that can lead to better opportunities. (Speaking English is largely a luxury here.)
  • You will be helping people who really need to learn English to better their lives and careers.
  • You will receive first hand experience teaching overseas, which is something that will set you apart from you peers the next time you are looking for a job.
  • It will help you acclimate to living and teaching in Nicaragua or Latin America.
  • You can receive direct Job Search Guidance from our staff in Nicaragua.


Related staff article:  How I was introduced to volunteering by my TEFL training.


There are two different TEFL class options to be trained for volunteer teaching.

Each option is outlined below.

TEFL Class Option 1&2: Designed for students who are taking the 4 week onsite or Hybrid TEFL course in Leon, Nicaragua

The volunteer teaching program at NECAT will begin the Monday immediately after your TEFL course.

4 week TEFL course in Leon, Nicaragua, and 3 week volunteer program: ($1799 for the TEFL class and $500 for the volunteer program totaling $2,299)

  • Arrival: Thursday prior to your TEFL class.
  • Welcome Event: Friday prior to your TEFL class at 4pm.
  • TEFL Course: 4 week, 180 hour course, with 10 hours practice teaching/feedback.
  • Beach Excursion: Leaving the Friday all TEFL students graduate, and returning that Sunday afternoon.
  • Volunteer Teaching: For three weeks starting the next Monday after graduation

*Please note that we offer discounts for the 4 week TEFL course for registering more than 60 days in advance ($150) of the course start date* 





1 week Hybrid course in Leon, Nicaragua, and 3 week volunteer program: ($450 for the Hybrid course, and $500 for the volunteer program totaling $950.)

Sunday Funday At ITA Nicaragua

TEFL Students who have completed an 11 week online TEFL course or another 4 week onsite TEFL course can opt to come down to León for one week and complete some of their practicum hours teaching ESL students in Nicaragua.  While in León, teacher trainees will receive focused lesson plan development instruction, teaching time with ESL students observed by an onsite professor, instructor feedback, resume development, job search guidance for Nicaragua and Latin America, culture and sensitivity training, classroom management focus, Spanish introduction, and an introduction to León. This is a great option for people who would like to either teach in Nicaragua afterwards or would like international ESL teaching experience before they go overseas more permanently.

  • Arrival: Thursday prior to your Hybrid class.
  • Welcome Event/Orientation: Friday prior to your Hybrid class at approximately 3 – 4pm.
  • Beach Excursion: Leaving the Friday all TEFL/Hybrid students graduate, and returning that Sunday afternoon.
  • UNESCO excursion/hiking and swimming in a crater lake: Visit to Leon Viejo and Laguna del Tigre.
  • Dinner and drinks: Have dinner and drinks with the your colleagues at the last traditional restaurant in Leon, and their 149 year old red bean soup!
  • Volunteer Teaching: For three weeks starting the following Monday after graduation
  • Hybrid Course:  1 week course, with intro to Spanish, Nicaraguan Culture, and 10 hours practice teaching/feedback.

Summary for accommodations

There are a variety of housing options located all over the city, and pricing is subject to change.  That said, housing with homestays normally starts at $1 per month, and goes up from there.  Most accommodations with western conveniences start at $250 per month and go up from there.  Please arrange to speak with the onsite coordinator, or visit our housing page here.

Summary and Process for Application

  1. Enroll into Nicaragua TEFL class, Hybrid class (After the online class.) or any other ITA TEFL class.
  2. Contact the onsite coordinator at International TEFL Academy Nicaragua by reaching out to student affairs.
  3. Pay $250 deposit of your total balance to the onsite coordinator in Nicaragua and sign the Volunteer Agreement, registration and terms and conditions to secure your space in the program.
  4. Pay final balance to onsite coordinator in Nicaragua 60 days prior to TEFL/Hybrid course.
  5. Book your plane ticket to Managua, Nicaragua.
  6. Pack and make sure to read ITAN’s Packing and Travel Checklist.


Volunteer Dates 2018

We are talking with the community, and should have an answer by November 15th, 2017.  Contact student affairs for more information.


Sample Hybrid Schedule (CAN BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

Friday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10:00 – 11:30 -Introductions: Overview of schedule and Practicum-Spanish to use public transportation and the local bus system Intro to Spanish* Nicaraguan Culture* Most common Spanish phrases* Final Course evaluation.Resume and job search follow up session
12:30-1:30 Guided introduction to Leon /Lunch Graduation and Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 * #
3:30- 5:30 Meet and Greet&Orientation Classroom Management Resume workshop/ Teaching in Latin America and the world wide job market feedback time with instructor. Common Language Problems Cultural Sensitivity & Culture Shock/Tips on living in NicaraguaFeedback time with instructor.
6:00-8:00 Observation of EFL Classroom in Nicaragua EFL Practicum EFL Practicum EFL Practicum


*We will have a teacher available to you in the afternoons Monday – Thursday and in the mornings Tuesday – Thursday. During this time you can request and receive additional lesson planning support.





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