Albania is a small country in southeastern Europe struggling to overcome more than 40 years of almost complete isolation. With its chronic unemployment, poor social services and impoverishment it is quite poor by European standards.
The current population of Albania is estimated at 3.5 million, with as many as 700,000 living in Tirana, the capital. Traditionally, Albania has been about 70 percent Muslim, 20 percent Albanian Orthodox (predominantly in the south), and 10 percent Catholic (predominantly in the north).
Albanians are eager to learn English to begin to participate more fully in the world community. English and other western languages are taught in public schools from an early age, but the teaching and learning conditions are very challenging. Skilled English teachers have left their profession for higher paying jobs and the government has few resources to maintain schools and provide materials. The demand for English education far outstrips the ability of the school system to supply it.
In this climate, lots of jobs for ESL teachers are available but due to the relatively poor conditions and low pay this is a country that would suit best those in search of volunteering opportunities.
In recent times Albania has made moves to join the European Union. This will only increase the need for English in schools and the need for teachers is expected to rise.
Volunteers can find work teaching English as a foreign language to Albanian students as part of a regular secondary school program, but also work with students and teachers outside the classroom to help them improve their abilities to communicate in English. They can also participate in English summer camps, produce English radio programs, coach debate clubs, contribute to newspapers, and create English language materials.
Education volunteers serving as teachers of English in Albania are always in demand. If you are interested try and contact the Peace Corps.Image © net_efekt