Paid vs Volunteer Work
The most obvious difference between paid and volunteer work is always going to be the pay cheque. Paid posts offer a fixed wage or salary over a set period of time and often include a cash bonus at the end of your contract. Volunteers receive no wage, or a very small sum which is determined by what the recipients of your labours can afford.
Although the pay is nothing to write home about, volunteering may carry rewards that money cannot buy, such as the sense of satisfaction that comes from helping others without personal gain.
Volunteers may have little say in where they will be required to help out, and may often find themselves working in remote poverty-stricken places way off the beaten track. Paid personnel usually have the luxury of choosing from a range of employment opportunities and locations.
Paid staff are responsible for their own accommodation and meals, and although some agencies may provide ongoing support, they are pretty much on their own once out in the workplace. On the other hand, volunteers will usually have to make do with shared dormitories and communal dining but do have the benefit of support from the charitable organisations which they serve.
In the field of teaching, volunteer workers will find themselves faced with a classroom of unsophisticated, uncomplicated children while paid teachers are more likely to be in charge of children from wealthier families with greater expectations. Either way, children in Thailand are known for their respectful behaviour and willingness to learn, so teaching in this country is a rewarding occupation whether you are paid for it or not.
Likewise, any form of work can be a valuable addition to your resume and simply living and working in a foreign country is an unforgettable learning curve and a worthwhile experience.