The Project

The Instituto Filhas de Maria Auxiliadora (IFMA) require a Vocational English Teacher to work with the students and teachers of their vocational (Tourism and Hospitality) school St Maria Mazzarello, Venilale, located in the district of Baucau, Timor-Leste.

Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.

The Location

Venilale is a regional community located about 30km south of Baucau. It is the capital of the Venilale Subdistrict in Baucau District, East Timor, which has a population of around 16,000 people.

The Challenge

  • About half of the country’s people live below the poverty line, and 70% live in rural areas, where poverty rates are higher than in urban centres.
  • Inequality between urban and rural communities is increasing.
  • There are limited employment opportunities in Timor-Leste, particularly in rural areas. A growing tourism industry promises to change this.
  • Infrastructure is limited, but access to roads, water, electricity and transport is improving.

A nation rich in culture, history and natural beauty, Timor-Leste is still one of the least visited countries in the world, even in the market of adventure and eco-tourism. Though the Timorese government has allocated $7.4 million to developing the tourism sector, it is a relatively low figure considering the sector poses the second-largest non-oil opportunity. As part of this, the Ministry of Tourism is working on a professional branding and marketing strategy to raise Timor-Leste’s attractiveness among potential tourists. While still in progress, the tourism industry will be critical to Timor-Leste’s future economic stability.

IFMA is responding to this potential and the opportunities it will provide to the youth of the mountainous Venilale district. The college, run by the Salesian Sisters, offers technical and vocational courses for 184 male and female students. Vocational training is an ideal education model, particularly in rural societies, as it provides employment opportunities and community-generated income. A highlight of the training on offer at IFMA is a course in hospitality and tourism. Around 85% of these students are young women.

About You

IFMA require a Vocational English Teacher to continue building and consolidating what previous teacher, Liz Keating, has achieved over the last 12 months.

An important aspect of the hospitality course (and indeed Timorese tourism) is that students gain confidence in their English communication, which is a mandatory component of their course. While education policy tends to favour the Portuguese language, there is a feeling among students and parents that learning English and Bahasa Indonesia is more practical. Speaking English will make it easier for graduates to find work in the hospitality sector, as it helps them engage with international tourism partners and visitors directly.

The volunteer must also demonstrate a willingness to engage their Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role.

How You Will Help

Although Tetum, Portuguese and Bahasa are widely spoken, many Timorese have identified the importance of English in establishing an effective tourism industry. For the small, young nation, the importance of developing and supporting a tourism industry is integral to overall economic development. An increased capacity to understand, speak and write English will contribute significantly to students’ employment opportunities. This is particularly true in rural areas, where tourism opportunities are abundant due to their natural and rich beauty.

The mentoring and improved English skills of teachers within the vocational school will help make it less reliant on native English speaking volunteers in the future.

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    I am not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand.I am a citizen of Australia or New Zealand.
    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.