Are you a budget traveler interested in teaching English or volunteering in some way in Europe, and are looking at an Angloville program? Are you wondering if it's legit or not and looking for first-person reviews and experiences from the program? Are you worried it's a scam, or unsafe?
This article will ease your fears as I interviewed four (4) past Angloville participants and got their take on the program, details of their experience, and if they recommend it to fellow travelers.
PSA: I am not affiliated with Angloville in any way– Just a girl who loves traveling for free and connecting people to bucket list travel opportunities!
Angloville is one of the most popular PTOs
One of the most popular PTOs I get asked about all the time is Angloville, and 90% of the questions are basically: is Angloville legit?
As a young woman who wanted to explore but didn't have deep pockets, I began hunting for opportunities that would help me travel for cheap. After mastering the art of finding paid travel opportunities I began advising others about how to win new opportunities.
If you've ever Googled “how to travel to Europe for free” you've probably stumbled upon Angloville. I've shared this volunteer opportunity on the PTO Dashboard, and many of Packs Light readers have applied and participated in it.
Whether you're a solo female traveler looking for a group to explore with, a Gen-Z traveler who wants to visit Europe for basically no cost, or just an adventurer who likes to experience new ways of traveling, Angloville will probably sound like a dream opportunity. But is it worth it?
Not sure if Angloville is worth it yet? Meet four past participants of the program:
Even after reading about the Angloville program I had questions. So, I tracked down four alumni and asked each of them some burning questions about their experience so I could get an unbiased account of what to expect.
Pam was 29 when she first volunteered. After quitting her corporate job and heading off to work in Europe, she started to travel frequently with few plans in mind. One thing led to another, and she stumbled upon an opportunity to live in Prague for free while teaching English.
Brianna was 25 when she participated, traveling to Poland to help adult individuals improve their grasp of the English language so they could engage in international business more easily.
Nicole Hu, a young traveler who participated in Angloville at age 24.
And Yinka, a young man who volunteered at age 29.
All four of these travelers provided expert insights, so you can get a first-hand look at what the program has to offer.
Here's what these four had to say when I asked upfront: “Is Angloville legit?“
“Is Angloville legit?”
“Is it legit? Yes. Before officially joining as a mentor I did a lot of research online just to make sure that the opportunity described fit the experience. After participating, I can 100% say they practice what they preach! Throughout the application process, Angloville is very honest about which expenses they cover and what you should expect to take care of as well as the general expectations of your job. It is a fast-paced language exchange program usually run in rural parts of the host country of your choice. While it is a fun and life-changing experience it definitely isn’t a vacation. The students (or their parents if you’re working with kids) pay a lot of money to come and learn from you, so be prepared to really engage and become a part of a team while you’re an Angloville mentor.“ (Brianna, 24)
“Angloville is definitely legit. To be upfront, they don’t have the best response system. But when I was sent the time and place to meet, I went and they were there with the bus waiting for me! And everything went great after that!” (Nicole, 24)
“Yes, Angloville is actually legit! They do exactly what they say—so pretty much they take care of your housing, your food, and your transportation in whatever location you are at.” (Yinka, 29)
“What kind of schedule should you expect as a teacher?”
Obviously, most people looking into PTOs are trying to travel first and foremost. But these are work opportunities, so obviously you're going to be completing a job!
Brianna gave me a great idea of what being a mentor looks like:
It is a fast-paced language exchange program usually run in rural parts of the host country of your choice. While it is a fun and life-changing experience it definitely isn’t a vacation. The students (or their parents if you’re working with kids) pay a lot of money to come and learn from you, so be prepared to really engage and become a part of a team while you’re an Angloville mentor.” (Brianna, 24)
So if you're entire goal is to have nothing but free time to visit museums and drink Aperol Spritz's all day long, maybe Angloville isn't the best idea. But don't cross it off the list! It's not all work, all the time.
After all, when you work hard, you're probably going to play hard, at least according to Pam:
“When we weren’t talking we were wandering the grounds, hitting the spa, drinking, playing games, and basically acting like kids at summer camp.” (Pam, 34)
“What was your favorite part of the experience?”
Brianna gave us an in-depth analysis of her highlights from the trip! For her, Angloville is not only a great experience abroad, but a rewarding immersion opportunity that lets you learn about an entirely different culture from your own.
“It’s hard to choose a favorite part because I truly enjoyed all of my experiences!
I worked as a “mentor” in an adult learners program just outside of Warsaw, Poland. My “mentees” were mostly mid-career business professionals looking to improve their skill set by learning English.
As one of the youngest participants in my program—as well as a woman of color—I was anxious about how I would be received. However, I was greeted and welcomed with open arms from the (equally anxious) Polish students. Throughout the week, I learned so much about Poland through the students who shared everything from their history, cultural norms, and even their thoughts on current events from a Polish perspective. During our time off I even got to learn some Polish!
For me, being able to gain a unique perspective on Polish life and culture was one of the highlights of my experience. It’s something I’ll never forget.” (Brianna, 24)
Teachers you can vibe with!
Volunteers from around the world are assigned to groups based on age, which is a super intentional choice by the company. The goal is to encourage you and the other mentors to form friendships with your travel buddies.
For Pam, the chance to connect with the other mentors was an invaluable opportunity.
“Angloville was SUPER organized and made everything easy. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I wish we had more free time, but I made lifelong friends.” (Pam, 34)
So it's more than just teaching and exploring; it's building your community of international besties, which I am always down for. Learning how to make friends while traveling is essential for any of my solo travelers out there.
A cultural exchange program may be a slightly unconventional way to meet friends than going to a local pub, but the relationships you build living and working with your fellow mentors will be lasting and meaningful.
The classrooms are actually fun.
Obviously, if you're spending all day teaching English, you want it to be somewhat enjoyable. For two alumni, the student-to-mentor interactions were actually their favorite part!
During the program, Nicole and Yinka discovered their passion for the students:
“My favorite part was talking to the participants. You have so many great conversations about life and their passions and you learn about their culture and how they think.“ (Nicole, 24)
“Well, my favorite part of the experience was just getting to be with the kids. Because, wow, the kids are so awesome! You get to be with them all day, and it was amazing.” (Yinka, 29)
You may walk into this program thinking, “I'm going to share so much knowledge about English and my own culture,” but be prepared for the exact opposite to happen. After all, this is an exchange, not a drop-off. You're not only giving something of yours away but also receiving lessons on unique European lifestyles.
“What was your least favorite part of the program?”
So far, the program sounds amazing, right? Anyone who's been researching “how to travel Europe solo as a woman” or “ways to travel Europe on a budget” is probably loving the idea of Angloville.
But I know from experience that sometimes PTOs like this can be less-than-glamorous and leave you feeling regretful. So I asked these solo female travelers what they didn't enjoy about Angloville.
Some campuses are pretty remote.
Here's what Brianna said about her visit to the campus in Poland:
“In general, Angloville chooses rural areas to host their programs because they want the students fully immersed in the language exchange without the distractions of city life or the option to speak their native language. Despite this, the hosting centers that are chosen vary greatly in their amenities.
Unfortunately, our program only had the option to play pool or take a short walk to a convenience store for snacks (except for one outing to grab drinks towards the end). While we usually made the best of it by getting to know each other more, the limited options made our time off pretty repetitive after a couple of days. So make sure you do your research on the program you’re choosing to see if the place is a fit for you.“ (Brianna, 24)
If you're looking to disconnect for a bit, it sounds like one of the more remote Polish destinations is a good fit. But, if you want access to more things to do locally, be sure to research each campus and find out what's nearby.
What are the accommodations like at Angloville?
Nicole, who has completed a few Angloville programs, shared a similar warning, but didn't run into any issues during her volunteer programs:
“My least favorite part depends on the venue. Some are just not as nice as others but they were all good enough for me!” (Nicole, 24)
No matter where you're planning to go, I would definitely take Brianna's advice while prepping for the trip:
“Tip: If your program has fewer amenities, I would suggest grabbing a book or downloading some Netflix shows beforehand just to have extra options.” (Brianna, 24)
You'll talk more than you have ever talked before
As for Yinka, he gave us a realistic take on the amount of work you could be doing on some days. Remember, Yinka said his favorite part was being with the kids…
“My least favorite part was that we got to hang out with kids a little too much. Because it’s like a 12-hour day and you have to be with them the whole day pretty much. I love talking, but SHEESH those kids made me talk so much! Other than that, everything was amazing, to be honest.” (Yinka, 29)
I know when I hang out with kids for an hour, I start feeling exhausted. Those things have energy. It seems like Angloville is definitely going to require quite a bit of social battery from you.
“What do you wish you knew before you did the program?”
The Angloville website is extremely informative and detailed, but I still wanted those personal insights from these alumni.
Some of you may be social butterflies and think talking all day is no biggie, but take it from Brianna, our resident extrovert. Here are her thoughts on what she wishes she had known before her visit:
“Just how exhausting spending 10+ hours a day talking can be! I knew that I would be spending the majority of my waking hours in conversation, but actually doing it is a completely different experience. I wouldn’t take any of it back, but just expect to feel pretty over-talking by the end of your program.” (Brianna, 24)
Be prepared to be busy
Angloville has several different age brackets for their students, ranging from young kids to full adult programs. While you may be using different teaching methods, it sounds like the work load is consistent across every demographic.
Nicole went ahead and gave her two cents on how busy you'll be:
“I wish I knew the schedule better since the days are pretty long and filled. I did an adults, families, and teenagers program and all the venues were different so it was a good variety but the days are long and filled with many sessions of speaking.” (Nicole, 24)
But Brianna came through with a brilliant idea that I think everyone should implement!
“Pro Tip: If you’re including this trip in long-term travel plans as I did I suggest planning a few days of solo travel immediately after to help you decompress!” (Brianna, 24)
A few weeks of living and eating for free in Europe, meeting new people, and learning the local culture, followed immediately by a solo travel excursion sounds like a dream situation.
Be sure to research which campus you want to visit
Yinka offered his own heads up as well. Any solo travelers who are expecting to casually explore big cities and European monuments in their free time should keep this in mind:
“I wish I knew that we were going to be housed in one hotel (well, sort of a resort kind of place). It would have been nice if they had told us that before.
It was fine, we just weren’t expecting that so we were thinking we would be able to commute back and forth (to the main city) and be able to at least get some experience with the city. We pretty much just camped at the resort—which was really nice!—but we had to move around back and forth.
But I wish I had known that beforehand because then you can plan properly your travel and what you want to do after or during your free time and things like that.” (Yinka, 29)
The program does tell you upfront that you will not be staying in big cities. However, if you're visiting their Poland campus, you may want to spend a few days before exploring Warsaw. Or, take advantage of the close European borders and hop on a plane to Italy afterwords for a cheaper commute.
“Would you recommend the program to others?”
My most important question yet: is Angloville actually worth it?
Just because you get to travel to Europe on a budget doesn't mean it's a program for everyone, so I wanted to know if the alumni actually enjoyed their time with Angloville. Here's what they said:
“I would definitely recommend it. I will do it again if I can. It was so much fun and the other volunteers are really cool and you just get to know polish culture really well which I think is really cool.” (Nicole, 24)
“Absolutely, I would recommend this to others. Y’all need to make sure you check out Angloville—they’re an amazing group of people!
If you want to see if teaching kids or something like that is for you, this is a great way to actually test it out. If you want to get to travel kind of for free (you do have to pay for flights), it’s also a great way to test things out. It’s fair, it’s amazing, it’s awesome and you guys need to check it out
I would absolutely recommend it. 10/10 experience from me for sure!” (Yinka, 29)
“What is Angloville?”
Angloville is a cultural exchange program that invites English speakers from around the world to volunteer throughout Europe for free housing and food. Locals…
“What expenses does the Angloville program cover?”
- Complimentary (free) accommodation. Angloville has high-quality venues in 12+ destinations across Euroep
- Complimentary (free) food package that includes 3 meals per day during each program
- An accredited AngloTEFL certificate (optional)
- Free city tours and fun-packed activities as part of your package
- Local transportation from the departure city to the venue (and back)
“Where can you go with Angloville? “
Most accommodations are about 2-3 hours from major tourist cities throughout Europe. Here are a few places that they service:
- Rome, Bologna
- Tatra Mountains
- United Kingdom
“Do you need to be certified to participate in Angloville?”
You do not need to be a certified or official teacher to volunteer with Angloville. Volunteers also do not need any ESL qualifications such as TEFL, CELTA, or TESOL, though achieving that certification is an optional offering of the program!
You can even apply for their AngloTEFL scholarship to help cover the expense of earning your certification.
No nationality requirements exist at all. Whether you're an American-born citizen, a native English speaker, or simply mastered the language on your own, you can apply.
“Can you apply to Angloville if you've never taught English before?”
While you are technically working, the classroom setting during the program is somewhat is unconventional. Most of the time, volunteers are people who have never even thought about becoming teachers! They're mostly just travelers who wanted a unique adventure around Europe for cheap.
As a mentor (that's what the teachers are called), you will be partnered up with a local student who is learning and practicing their English! You hold conversations, go on outings, work on projects, play games, anything to make learning the language a fun and engaging process.
See what Pam (34) had to say about her experience as a teacher:
“Basically, you spend all day talking and getting to know [your student], lessons are loose, they give the English speakers terms to teach the non-English speakers…The non-native speakers had the assignment to present a topic of their choice as their final project, and the native speaker's job was to help them.“ (Pam, 34)
So, while you are technically teaching students how to speak English, the classroom setting is much more collaborative and flexible than standard education settings.
The program is an intensive workshop at the end of the day, so on some days, you may be talking to people for 10-12 hours. But you're not just going through textbooks or studying flashcards! You are immersed in their culture while sharing your own.
“Should you volunteer with Angloville?”
For any travel opportunity I discover the first thing I ask myself is: Feel right? Or does it feel like a scam?
I earned $40,000 in these PTOs, so I'm pretty good at figuring out what's real and what's a scam. But, I do that by vetting the company, asking questions, and finding other people (like these four ladies) to tell me about their experiences!
After investigating the question “is Angloville legit” with these former participants, I can safely say it's 100% real. However, it comes with pros and cons depending on your travel goals!
This PTO is perfect if you are looking for a great way to travel Europe on a budget. This program is great for meeting people, challenging yourself, and learning about new cultures.
This is not a vacation though. Prepare to work hard, because Angloville is an exchange opportunity. You have to provide the service to receive the perks.
But if the perks are free room and board in Europe? You can count me in!
Angloville is a legit program. Thousands of young people participate every year! The website's FAQ section is also packed with resources and information, so you know exactly what to expect out of the program. And, of course, you just read some incredibly detailed testimonials here!
Angloville is not entirely free, but it is an extremely budget-friendly way to see Europe. You will only have to pay for flights to one of the major cities near your campus. Accommodations and food are covered during your work exchange, saving hundreds, potentially thousands, of dollars.
Every alumnus I spoke to said the program was very safe and organized. But, like I say about every travel experience, be sure you're doing your research about the destination in advance so you know how to prepare for your journey.
Angloville covers most expenses for the experience. You are responsible for your flights to and from your designated location, and personal expenses (souvenirs, non-program experiences, etc.)
No. Angloville compensates the work and time provided by volunteers with many covered expenses, but not with additional monetary compensation.
Do you think you will apply to Angloville?
Let me know in the comments below!