Volunteer at IAPS

The Institute of Academic and Practical Studies (IAPS) is the Build Project's institute in Mae Sot, Thailand for students aged 17-23. Read about how it works. This page tells you about the steps involved in volunteering at IAPS.Apply

    1. If you are interested in volunteering at IAPS:Please read all of the information on this page, the relevant position description and the IAPS teaching calendar.

    2. Please complete the Application Form, indicating the specific role you want to apply for and which term(s) you are available.

    3. If you are shortlisted, we will email you to arrange an interview and ask you to provide a current resumé (CV) and details of referees.

    4. As part of volunteer screening, we will request a Police Check and a Working with Children Check, and will contact your referees.

    5. If you are accepted as a volunteer, we will endeavour to notify you no later than one month from your nominated start date, and will provide you with a volunteer information pack.

General Selection Criteria

    • We believe that our students deserve the very best when it comes to their education and learning environment. We look for volunteers who are:experienced in a relevant discipline

    • proactive and able to work independently when necessary

    • confident, mature travellers who will be respectful visitors to Mae Sot

    • aware of the political and social context, and of the circumstances of displaced peoples from Burma

    • keen to spend time getting to know the young people, and ready to act as a mentor

    • able to approach their role in the students’ lives with enthusiasm, imagination and commitment to the students' aims for the future

    • confident computer users

    • able to spend at least one full 8-week term at IAPS, as defined on the IAPS teaching calendar


    • As a future volunteer, here are a few things that you'll probably need to do before you leave your home country.Plan how you will finance your trip, including your travel, food, accommodation and entertainment. We are unable to provide financial support, but we require no payment to participate. We may be able to provide dormitory accommodation and some meals.

    • Seek advice about vaccinations and other medical precautions that might be appropriate. Note that Thailand is a malarial country.

    • Arrange fully comprehensive travel and health insurance for the time you will be volunteering, and ensure you have available credit to cover e.g. medical emergencies, lost luggage, etc. We will require you to present a certificate of insurance before you commence your placement. We cannot provide insurance nor money for medical emergencies.

    • Read about Burma's history and politics, and learn about life on the border. Seek out different perspectives and remember that the truth is often complex.

    • Make arrangements for your travel and accommodation. Visiting Mae Sot can be a wonderful travel experience!

    • Do bear in mind that Thailand does get very hot at times! In the wet season it rains most days and can be very humid

    • Pack the essential and recommended items - we will provide you with a list.


We aim to provide a supportive and welcoming environment for volunteer workers. We will provide one week of orientation in Mae Sot before you start working at IAPS. The IAPS manager and the Build Project's executive leaders will provide ongoing follow-up and regular contact with volunteers to ensure they receive appropriate support and to address any questions or issues.

All volunteers will be required to agree to and adhere to our policies relating to Professional Conduct, Operational Health & Safety, and Acceptable Use of Resources. If you have any questions about these at this stage, please do not hesitate to contact us.

In addition to the summary of responsibilities below, prospective volunteers should also read about How it Works.


Teachers will be provided with a 6-week curriculum, or 'module', to deliver to the students. IAPS has adopted a modular curriculum so that we can ensure that students' learning progresses in a predictable and measurable fashion, regardless of changes in teaching staff. It's important that teachers plan their lessons in accordance with the specified learning objectives, so that the students are prepared to progress to the following module.

Teachers will be expected to supplement the standard teaching materials with creative and interactive teaching activities. For example, debating, drama, and music are activities that the students are keen to incorporate into their studies.

Lessons can also be an opportunity to help the students develop their broader skill sets, including

    • critical thinking

    • intercultural awareness and international business protocols

    • interdisciplinary understanding

    • business skills and entrepreneurship

    • ability to analyse the roles of governments, corporations and NGOs in an international and historical context

We ask all teachers to help us build a library of appropriate teaching materials and resources which can be used by future students.

We aim to offer opportunities for teachers to collaborate with local educational advisors, people from local businesses, organisations and the community in planning and delivering lessons.

Teachers are encouraged to get to know their students, to participate in evening and weekend activities, and to collaborate with and support youth workers where possible. Teachers may be asked to occasionally sleep on site and supervise students.

Youth Workers

Residential youth workers will provide mentorship and leadership to students outside lesson times. They will live on site and will lead the students in organising evening and weekend activities, such as music, drama, sport, art and film nights, and help the students to discover forms of culture and entertainment which may be new to them.

Students will be encouraged to speak English; youth workers will particpate actively in this and help students with their conversational English on an ad-hoc basis.

Students expect each other to act as young adults, and have established rules relating to the conduct of students and workers. They have also decided that they will appoint student leaders (a 'head boy' and 'head girl') and will work in teams to carry out housekeeping tasks such as cooking, cleaning and laundry. While they will be largely self-managing, the youth worker may be required to help the student body to enforce the rules and resolve disputes, and to ensure that housekeeping tasks are performed adequately.


All volunteers are encouraged to help develop and improve IAPS and the Build Project by providing feedback and suggestions for improvements.

After your engagement as a volunteer at IAPS, we may invite you to participate in our follow-up mentoring program. This could involve sending occasional online messages (once per month, or so) to the students. Maintaining contact in this way is an important aspect of the mentoring approach which we encourage at IAPS.