Work and Travel in East Timor
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN EAST TIMOR FOR TRAVELLERS
Timor-Leste, or East Timor as it’s commonly known as is the eastern half of the island of Timor. After Portuguese occupation, the newly independent country was attacked and occupied by neighbouring Indonesia until the 21st century.
The brutal occupation opens up a lot of volunteering opportunities in East Timor. If you want to go to a place most people couldn’t place on a map, travel in East Timor is for you.
Here’s our travel guide (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/east-timor) to East Timor for true adventurers.
1. Protect Dugongs in East Timor
The dugongs are considered to be sacred in East Timor. Whilst they’re not hunting, their habitats are suffering from severe problems, due to environmental issues within the country.
There are a range of groups dedicated to protecting the dugongs along the coastal areas of the country. Whether it’s ensuring the health of seagrasses to cleaning up the coastal areas, you could play a part in protecting them as you work and travel in East Timor
2. Teach English in East Timor
The language of East Timor is Portuguese, due to the colonial history of this part of the world. To help the locals have a better future, English teaching is becoming a popular option for work in East Timor.
So if you’re a native English speaker and you possess some form of TEFL qualification, you can spend your time teaching the young and old English.
You’ll be able to get closer to the locals and see a different side of this country.
3. Improve IT Skills in East Timor
One thing you’ll notice as you travel in East Timor is that access to technology is a problem. Most people don’t know how to use a computer or how to use a computer well enough to change their lives.
Computer literacy programmes are there to show local people how to take advantage of computers. They can be useful for education and helping people to build up their own businesses.
In a place where poverty is such a problem, learning how to use computers could be their salvation.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR EAST TIMOR
Travel in East Timor used to be difficult because of the visa system there. Thankfully, that has changed. The only parts of the world that can work and travel in East Timor without a visa are the whole of the Schengen Zone (https://bit.ly/2yDoSWz), along with some Eastern European countries, and Cape Verde. Entry without a visa for 90 days, for both tourist and business purposes, is permitted.
For anyone else who wants to take advantage of the volunteering opportunities in East Timor, you will either need to arrive via the international airport (https://migracao.gov.tl/html/sub0301.php) or Dili Seaport. Arriving via a land border with Indonesia requires you to apply for a visa application authorisation (http://visiteasttimor.com/good-to-know/visa-immigration/) in advance.
The system for applying for a visa on arrival is uniform across the world, other than with neighbouring countries, Cape Verde, and the European Union (EU).
There are high monetary requirements of $150 per day of your stay, but we are informed that this is rarely enforced. But be wary because East Timor is expensive for outside visitors, despite its high levels of poverty.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN EAST TIMOR
From April, you’ll experience the dry season in the country. It’s an ideal time to visit because you’ll see few rain spells, especially if you choose to go to the north coast or the central mountains.
We recommend indulging in the marine conservation programmes here. Many of them open their doors immediately after the wet season, so spring is the ideal time to work in East Timor if you have an interest in marine conservation.
The summer season is another ideal time to work and travel in East Timor because it’s in the centre of the dry season. You can continue involving yourself in marine conservation programmes during summer, but you can also move into the rural areas and support community engagement there.
Promoting communities in the rural areas is always popular at the height of the tourist season. There are no barriers to accessing remote areas.
You’ll be carrying out a range of duties as part of helping to bolster communities. A lot of it involves manual work, so it helps to be fit and healthy.
Until November, you can partake in the projects listed above. But for the final part of autumn you should begin making your way back into Dili and other urbanised areas. The wet season has been known to cause flooding and landslides.
In remote areas, this could lead to you being cut off and having to wait for days and weeks to pass. Refer to the next section for what you can do during the final part of autumn.
Winter in the country should be spent in the urban areas of Dili and elsewhere so you don’t need to worry about being cut off.
There are a number of great options for work in East Timor in winter. One option is to spend your time teaching English to the locals. This is an easy way to connect with real people. You can also join computer literacy programmes.
These are the main seasonal skills recommended for winter. Typically, the heavy rains last all the way from December to April, so it’s wise to schedule these volunteer opportunities in East Timor well in advance.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN EAST TIMOR
Ever wanted to visit a place where you’re one of the only foreigners present?
Work and travel in East Timor is exactly that. It’s travelled about as much as parts of Central Africa. Be prepared to be a target of curiosity as you make your way around the country.
Due to the nature of the work available, you’re not going to experience any hostility from the locals. They’re grateful for the help that international organisations can provide. Just exercise usual caution, especially if you happen to be working in Dili.
Do you have what it takes to travel into the unknown?
- Edited on Oct 31 2018 by Marichka