Be the Change. Be a Global Volunteer in Portugal.
Help students reach their full potential.
Work with teens and adults with varying English abilities in classrooms, offices, and community centers. You’re a valued resource here! The picturesque town of Beja – off the tourist trail – has hosted us since 2007. Help students improve their educational and career opportunities through easy lessons, instructional games and your own creativity. See Covid-19 requirements.
Genuine development projects to help children thrive. Exceptional service-learning for families, groups and individuals.
Teach Conversational English in Lively Classrooms
Practice conversational skills – pronunciation, vocabulary, idioms, sentence structure and the like. Choose assignments in public elementary and secondary schools, or with young adults in high schools or the university. You may also tutor adult community members one- on-one. Each year, more and more classrooms are requesting volunteers as important student resources. As a native English speaker, you don’t need any formal teaching experience. You use the standard curriculum texts and established lesson plans, and at other times your lessons will become more free-form. For example, you may discuss North American culture, including discussions on history, daily lifestyle, sports, and school systems with your students. All contribute to mutual international respect and unity!
Dates & Fees
Upcoming Volunteer Dates in Beja, Portugal
Arrival & Departure
Leave the details to us!
Your service program officially begins with the evening meal on the first Saturday. Plan your flight to arrive in Lisbon (airport code LIS), before 6:00 PM on the first Saturday of your service program to meet your team leader for transportation to the hotel. The following morning, you will travel approximately 2.5 hours to Beja by bus with your teammates. Plan your departure from Lisbon for after 2:00 PM on the final day of your service program.
You must confirm your flight itinerary with us at least two weeks before the service program arrival date to confirm your team airport transfer to the hotel.
Food and Lodging
Rest and comfort for a productive program.
When you teach English in Portugal, your health and safety are our primary concerns. On the first night of the program, you stay in Lisbon at a four-star hotel near the Orient train station. After your train ride to Beja, you check into the popular Residencial Bejense, a lovely 24-room family-run hotel just steps from several outdoor cafés. All rooms are double-occupancy in air-conditioned rooms with telephones, private bathrooms with hot and cold water, closets and a small balcony.
- Air conditioning
- Television, telephone
- Laundry service
- Common area with fireplace
- Breakfast room
- Single rooms available for an extra fee
Portuguese cuisine is a mixture of Mediterranean and Atlantic traditions – seafood, olive oil, fresh vegetables and pork with interesting sauces containing cinnamon or curry powder. Hearty soups and breads are also served very often. Bottled water is provided daily. Vegetarian diets can generally be accommodated.
Health and Safety
Your lodging, food and transportation are provided always with a mind to protect your health and security. Your team leader is trained in CPR and first aid to handle most emergencies. Global Volunteers includes emergency medical evacuation insurance in your service program fee. Read more about health and safety here.
We strongly recommend you consult your own physician, public health clinic and/or travel clinic for detailed travel health information. For general recommendations, consult the following sources:
We also recommend health insurance that covers you while you are outside your home country, and trip cancellation insurance in the event you must cancel your participation on the service program. Your travel agent can refer you to travel insurance providers. Click here to read risks associated with international travel.
Your Team Leader is anxious to meet you!
Joe Testa leads our Portugal program. He first joined a Global Volunteers service program to Guatemala in 1991, completed Global Volunteers Team Leader Training in 1993, and has since led more than 50 teams worldwide. Joe earned an MBA and built a highly successful ground water and water purification business. He sold the company and now serves as General Manager so he can spend more time with two beautiful grandchildren, volunteer as an ESL tutor, and continue mentoring with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. He’s beloved by his volunteers – and appreciated for his good humor, easy-going style, attention to detail, and his endless cultural interest.
Oh, what sights there are to see!
Ample time is available on evenings and weekends to enjoy the numerous nearby natural and cultural attractions in Beja. Favorite sites including Castelo de Beja, a castle rebuilt by King Dinis in 1310, the Church of Santo Amaro, and Rainha D. Leonor Regional Museum, with displays of pre-historic times to the present day. The streets and lanes are lovely – and feature fascinating architecture and equally fascinating people. A leisurely walk around the entire central city area will consume about two hours.
You may visit a winery, olive oil factory or one of the many cork-producing factories. A weekend trip to Lisbon is 2.5 hours by train, where you can explore the Oceanario de Lisboa, an enormous aquarium on the waterfront. Or, you may visit the Algarve region (1.5 hours by car) on Portugal’s southern coast, which offers excellent beaches and seaside restaurants.
Take your adult and teen children with you!
Engaging one-on-one with Portuguese students of all ages, your teens learn how their education and natural skills are important resources to others, and that people the world over share common hopes and interests. Every volunteer makes a difference – students who otherwise have no exposure to native English speakers learn the language of commerce, industry and opportunity from you and your children age 12 and older. The emphasis is on improving real-life speaking skills and not on formal rules of grammar. Practice pronunciation, talk about mutually interesting topics, and read texts. Through games, songs, skits, field trips and other creative activities, students learn through “whole body” exercises. In this way, your family’s personal skills and dedication enable youths’ personal development to ripple throughout the country – advancing the entire nation’s capabilities.
You’ll usually teach four hours a day, allowing equal time for preparation and team meetings. Parents and guardians are expected to supervise their child volunteers, and collaborate with our team leader and local partners to maximize the service experience for everyone. In this way, your teen gains a personal understanding of Portuguese culture and traditions from a variety of perspectives, and learns the role and responsibilities of a team member. They likely also will create life-long friendships with local youth who share their interests and experiences.
To ensure a positive experience for everyone, you must comply with Global Volunteers’ minor supervision policy.
Provide your group a premier volunteering experience.
Beja is a comfortable and stimulating group volunteering community. Friends hug and “kiss the air” while brushing cheeks, reflecting the true warmth in greeting “bom dia” (good day) and “boa noite” (good evening). Portuguese culture is closely related to the Spanish culture, with major influences from the Latin of ancient Rome and Muslim societies throughout history.
Today, Portugal is a European leader, having joined the European Union in 1986, and is a founding member of NATO, OECD, and EFTA. Students know that English is a critical skill for their career development – and their influence on the country’s future. You contribute your skills at a most important time in their lives – providing a service that isn’t available locally. As volunteers in Polish classrooms, your members discover a colorful country with a brilliant history, help bolster an emerging tourist industry, and most important – help expand Portuguese students’ career options
We work with you to apply your group’s unique skills, interests and personalities to service projects. The daily schedule, accommodations and free-time options are conducive to group dynamics. Our unique philosophy of service ensures your group’s contributions in just one to three weeks help build students’ capabilities – and offers a variety of ways to continue to support your host community. In short, volunteering with your group in Portugal is an investment in knowledge, discovery and optimism.
“We all arrived in Portugal with our dreams of helping to wage peace with another culture through mutual communication, interaction, and respect. I truly believe our dreams came true during our two weeks in Beja.”
Leon YoungpeterPortugal Volunteer
“I especially enjoyed seeing the growth in the students’ confidence throughout the two weeks. It was the perfect opportunity to use my skills as a teacher!”
Janice HemenPortugal Volunteer