Vocational ESL Volunteer



Start Date


End Date


Times of day

Weekday Mornings

Time Commitment

A few hours per week


Long-Term (6 months-1 year)


International Rescue Committee
1210 S. Bascom Ave
Suite 227
San Jose
United States


IRC-San Jose:

As one of the International Rescue Committee’s 28 domestic offices, the San Jose office serves refugees, asylees, special immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan, and victims of human trafficking in Santa Clara County. Since opening in 1975, the San Jose office has resettled over 20,000 refugees, who in turn have helped to build a stronger community. A committed staff of professionals, interns and volunteers provide essential case management and immigration services to immigrant families, providing them with the resources and tools to rebuild their lives with safety and dignity. The IRC in San Jose offers a variety of unpaid volunteer opportunities with hands-on experience to learn about the scope of services and programs available to resettled refugees. 

General Requirements:

  • You must be 18 years or older to volunteer and complete a background check
  • An interest in international and refugee issues
  • Must be reliable and willing to work independently and as part of a team
  • A willingness to learn about the diverse ethnic backgrounds of clients and adhere to IRC volunteer/intern and workplace policies
  • Ability and willingness to drive clients to and from appointments, and/or help teach clients to take public transportation. Work-related driving would be reimbursed.
  • Proficiency in other languages highly desirable (i.e. Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, Tigrinya, Farsi, Dari, Pashto, or Swahili)

Volunteer Role:

VESL Volunteers work closely with the Employment team and VESL instructor to provide basic ESL classes to newly arrived refugees, asylees, and victims of trafficking. The English taught is primarily focused on creating a vocational vocabulary for IRC clients to secure their first job. 

Start Date: Ongoing

Number of positions available: 2-3

An ideal volunteer for this role:

  •  Practice English Language Skills with students, including grammar, conversation, reading, and writing
  •  Other duties as requested by the VESL Instructor or Employment Services staff
  • Reliable with a strong attention to timeliness, detail, and organization
  •  Excellent communication skills (both interpersonal and with supervisors)
  •  Teaching experience preferred
  •  Prior experience in a multicultural setting highly desirable
  •  Proficiency in Arabic, Farsi, Spanish or Tigrinya preferred


Time Commitment

Minimum commitment 6+ hrs/ week. Class takes place Monday-Friday 9:00am-12:00pm 

Looking for Monday & Wednesday or Tuesday & Thursday Commitment


  • Training Provided

How To Apply


  1. Complete an online application here
  2. Applications must include a resume and cover letter in a single PDF file. Please tailor your cover letter to include the following:
  3. Up to three positions of interest, ranked in order of preference
  4. Time availability, i.e. specific days and times each week, your anticipated start and end dates for interning, and your immediate interview availability, if different from internship availability
  5. Any requirements for filing your internship for school credit, e.g. total number of hours to be completed or filing deadline
  6. Once your application is received, qualified candidates will be invited to schedule a phone screening