Work and Travel in Tonga
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN TONGA FOR TRAVELLERS
Tonga is a nation in the South Pacific, known for keeping its traditional culture alive and its stunning natural beauty. But like so many other countries in this part of the world, isolation and harsh weather stops Tonga from reaching its potential.
If you want to support the people here, work in Tonga could be the right option for you. Not only will you be able to visit an isolated part of the world, you’ll be able to make a lasting difference.
Read our travel guide to Tonga for more information on some of the options open to you here.
1. Improve the Locals’ Skill Base in Tonga
As already mentioned, whilst you travel in Tonga you’ll see that people have few prospects here. They don’t have the skills to get better jobs or to make a difference in their country. A lack of funding within the education system is the main reason why.
You can join a community friendly project that involves teaching the locals new skills that can improve their prospects going forward. Ideally, you’ll already have useful manual or digital skills, but you can also find a position supporting trained staff in their work.
2. Help with Construction Projects in Tonga
Tonga regularly suffers from bad weather, which leads to damaged infrastructure and buildings across the country. Support the local community, as they rebuild after these weather events, and improve the local area by aiding new projects as they get off the ground.
You will be expected to have some manual skills if you want to take up these volunteering opportunities in Tonga. Furthermore, you should have a strong work ethic and a willingness to work in difficult conditions. Tonga is hot and humid throughout most of the year.
3. Volunteer as a Teacher in Tonga
Tonga doesn’t have an optimal education system because the government doesn’t have the money to invest in it. That’s why international organisations have stepped in throughout the world to make a difference.
If you want to volunteer as a teacher, you should have a high level of fluency in English. Plus, you should have prior experience in teaching. The majority of international organizations look for formal qualifications when hiring volunteers to work and travel in Tonga.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR TONGA
Tonga has a simple visa policy for people who want to volunteer in the country. Citizens of the European Union (EU) and China are able to stay in the country without a visa for 90 days in a 180-day period.
If you’re from the US, Canada, the UK, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, or Japan you can get a visa-on-arrival for 30 days. This can be extended when you’re in the country for up to six months.
Citizens from Mexico, India, and South Africa must apply for a visa from a Tongan embassy in advance. This visa isn’t extendable whilst you’re in the country, so you’ll need to apply for a long-term visa before you leave. Most international organizations will be able to provide you with visa support during this process.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN TONGA
Tonga enjoys a hot and humid climate throughout the year. During the spring season, you’ll experience cooler temperatures.
This is the best time to work outside. Construction projects and helping to rebuild and strengthen the infrastructure of the country are both popular options if you want to work in Tonga in spring.
There are also a variety of environmental conservation projects. Travel in Tonga and you’ll be able to traverse its vast coastline and help care for the marine creatures living there.
The summer is the middle of the cool season. It also happens to be the time when you’ll see groups of tourists visiting the island. Work and travel in Tonga in the tourist industry and you can support locals make a sustainable business for themselves.
There are a variety of charities dedicated to helping local Tongans implement IT into their businesses, for example.
You should also refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for more information on some of the things you can do in the summer season.
The autumn is the shoulder season, which means you should expect more rainfall and high winds. It can be difficult to find work if the weather is particularly bad.
That’s why we recommend looking into educational projects. Working in a school or as a private tutor is a great way to spend autumn in Tonga.
You may also want to consider community development projects, where you’ll be spending your time teaching vital skills to the young people of Tonga.
We would strongly recommend avoiding work and travel in Tonga in winter. This is the rainy season and the weather can be terrible. It’s also the time of year when cyclones hit the country. Most of these are nothing more than a nuisance, but there have been serious natural disasters during cyclone season in the past.
It’s possible to find some work in Tonga, but these opportunities are typically restricted to those mentioned in the ‘Autumn’ section.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN TONGA
Tonga is a Pacific nation that has long held its traditions close. Make sure that you respect the cultures and traditions of the country during your stay here. Like most islanders in the region, Tongans are extremely friendly and welcoming. As long as you respect their ways, you’ll have no problems as you work and travel throughout the country.
Whilst Tonga is more developed than many of its neighbours, you still shouldn’t expect the standard of living you might find in the West. If you can deal with this, you’re going to have an experience that will stay with you forever here.
Do you want to work and travel in Tonga?
- Edited on Jun 27 2019 by Igor