Teaching English in Quito
The Andes region, known as the “Avenue of the Volcanoes,” is a fascinating mixture of colonial heritage and indigenous cultures ideal for the community services. Large, bustling cities with fine colonial districts contrast the lively, colorful artisan and produce markets of indigenous communities. But not many visitors see the underprivileged regions and communities of this region that are often unable to access good healthcare, education, technical advice, and other similar services. Ecuador Volunteer seeks to address these issues and reach these underprivileged communities. Through social, educational, community, and conservation projects, Ecuador Volunteer strives to support these communities in their efforts to improve their well-being. Enjoy your volunteer work surrounded by the majesty of the Andes mountains.
This project involves teaching English in underprivileged public schools with limited economic resources located in the south and central parts of Quito, the areas of the city where the low economic classes live. These schools lack many resources and qualified or motivated teachers, while the students are often unmotivated or uninterested in learning. The opportunity to learn English for these children could mean the chance to get a good job in the future, so volunteers teaching these students English could literally change their lives. Volunteers will teach English to classes of primary school children between the ages of 5 and 12 years, as well as assist other teachers in class planning and preparing class materials. This project is the ultimate experience in teaching and education in impoverished urban areas, as well as the opportunity to make a difference and truly inspire young children looking for a friend and a role model.
Working with children is one of most fulfilling jobs. Among the things that most touch the volunteers are the simplicity and humility of these children, who are often happy and content just to have a hug. The project’s location in the center of Quito also allows volunteers the chance to get to know parts of the city visitors rarely see. Volunteers can also take advantage of their location in a metropolitan city with a rich colonial history, so they will never be bored!
|Location||Quito (Andes Mountain)|
|Distance from Quito||About 45 minutes by bus|
|Housing||Volunteer Apartment or Host Family|
|Do i need to speak spanish?||Intermediate Spanish required|
|Age Limit||At least 18 years of age, no maximum age limit.|
|Free-time Activities||Sites and tours around Quito’s Historical Center, Mitad del Mundo, Museums, Teleferico, Panecillo; many parks, shopping centers, restaurants, and clubs to meet up with friends.|
|Nearest Health Centre||Hospitals and major health clinics are located throughout the city, about 15 minutes from the project site.|
This Teaching English project takes place in several deprived schools with limited economic resources located in the south and central parts of Quito. Although public schools are available to all Ecuadorian children, the associated costs of school materials, teachers, and other important resources often surpass the funds provided to the schools by the government. As a result, qualified and motivated teachers are rare and limited and outdated classroom materials are rare. Furthermore, most of the children come from lower class families that have may have issues with child neglect, abuse, and alcoholism. As a result, the children often have poor attendance, low motivation, and learning disorders which often go unnoticed due to the shortage of teachers. Due to the scarce economic resources of these schools, the number of teachers in relation to students is unbalanced. Currently, there is only one English teacher for all of the 178 students and for all of the grades at the elementary school. As a result, this project seeks volunteers to collaborate in the educational sector and lend continuity and development to the learning process. Volunteers will assist in teaching English to classes of 20 to 30 elementary school children, between the ages of 5 an d 12 years. It is essential that volunteers offer the children positive reinforcement and personalized attention in order to build up the students’ self-confidence in the classroom. Volunteers should also reinforce classes with group and interactive activities as the teacher may not have the time or training to plan such activities for all of the classes.
Why the Project Needs Volunteers
The activities taken on by the volunteers improve the skills of the teachers at the schools by suggesting new teaching methods, building ties with the children, and reinforcing classroom activities to obtain better results every day, every hour, every minute, and every second of work with the most important human resource that we have—our children. Volunteers are essential to collaborate in the educational sector and lend continuity and development to the learning process, while giving children the gift of self-confidence and, ideally, a deeper interest in learning.
Volunteers are mainly involved with teaching English and other subjects and with supporting other teachers at the school. Volunteers also have the opportunity to develop and implement educational activities and extracurricular activities that develop the children’s creativity and interest in learning. If possible, the volunteer can also organize field trips and excursions to complement the classroom topics. It is essential that volunteers take into account the facilities and resources available and establish intercultural relations with the children inside and outside the classroom.
Life in the Project
Volunteers have a choice of one of two accommodations. The first is a host family, where the volunteer will have a private room, either shared or private bathroom, 3 meals daily and laundry service. There is sometimes but not always internet access at the host family’s house. The second option is our Volunteer Apartment, which has two shared bedrooms, shared bathrooms, and a communal living and kitchen area. Breakfast is included, wifi internet and cable television available, and the kitchen free for anyone’s use.
With host families, volunteers generally eat with the family and are given 3 meals a day, though volunteers with specific dietary needs may have trouble eating the same meals as the family. At the Volunteer Apartment, the Apartment Coordinator makes continental breakfast. Volunteers are free to buy and prepare their own lunch and dinner or eat out at restaurants.
The project runs during the school year, which lasts from September to June. Volunteers are expected to work 20 – 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday. The schools open at 7:00 am and close at 1:00 pm
Free Time Activities
Volunteers mostly have free time on weekends and during holidays. During free time, volunteers can take trips to other parts of the country or stay in the city to get to know better the local people and the wealth of cultural and tourist sites that Quito offers.
Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America. It is located at the foot of the volcano Pichincha and surrounded by grandiose mountains. The streets and houses of Quito are both colonial and modern, and the people are proud to conserve their traditions and history. As in any metropolitan city, Quito is home to great cultural diversity. Although the volunteers will work within the environment that surrounds them in the childcare centers in the south of the city, they will develop their private life in the residential areas located at the north end of the city. In the north of Quito, most of the families are middle and upper class with access to technology, internet, and a better quality of food, education, and multicultural knowledge. This enables the day-to-day activities and lifestyle of volunteers to be comfortable and minimizes the effects of culture shock during their time in Ecuador. Like any large city, there are people of different nationalities living in Quito. In different parts of the city, you may see stores and restaurants that reflect different cultures and countries. There is a Bohemian sector called Guapalo in the east of the city, and the Mariscal sector in the center of the city has a mixture of Middle Eastern, British, and American food as well as the heart of Quito’s nightlife in the Plaza Foch. This variety makes Quito a diverse and fun place to live, so be sure to take advantage of all the city has to offer!
Volunteers should: • Have teaching experience (preferably, teaching English) and/or a desire to study a related career • Have the patience to work with school-age children • Be team-oriented and able to maintain good working relationships
Volunteers should be at least 18 years of age, though exceptions can be made for families or high school groups. There is no maximum age limit.
An intermediate level of Spanish is required to be able to make a significant contribution to the project.
Hepatitis A & B, tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria, and rabies (optional)
Travel insurance is required of ALL volunteers and must cover: 1) transportation in case of emergency, and 2) repatriation in case of death.
Volunteers should fly into the Quito Mariscal International Airport (airport code UIO) and plan for 2 business days in Quito before going to their project site. For volunteers under 18 years of age, it is important they have a Minor Consent Form signed by their parents to permit them to fly internationally.
Ecuador Volunteer will meet volunteers at the airport in Quito to transfer them to their accommodations in Quito. We will also assist the volunteers in arranging accommodations (host families, volunteer apartment, or hostel). On the following business day, volunteers will have an Orientation (safety and security, travel information, and cultural orientation) before heading to their project site.
For a stay of less than 90 days, volunteers from most North American, Asian, and European countries can enter without a visa (indicate the purpose of your stay as “tourism” at immigration). An extended tourist visa may be issued to volunteers for 90 to 180 days (for the purpose of “tourism”). For volunteers staying for more than 180 days, Ecuador Volunteer can help them attain a volunteer visa. If you are unsure of visa requirements for citizens of your country, please contact the nearest Ecuadorian Consulate or Embassy.
Safety and Insurance
Travel insurance is required of ALL volunteers for the entirety of their stay and must cover: 1) transportation in case of emergency, and 2) repatriation in case of death. No exceptions will be made, and volunteers must leave their insurance information with Ecuador Volunteer in case of an emergency.
Ecuador’s large cities have hospitals and clinics equipped with the latest in medical technologies, while smaller and medium-sized cities have hospitals and clinics equipped to handle basic medical emergencies. Smaller towns often have local clinics to handle basic healthcare, but volunteers will have to travel to the nearest city if there is a major health problem. Ecuador Volunteer has an Emergency Response Plan in place to handle medical emergencies. It is important that volunteers disclose all relevant health conditions so that project coordinators are prepared for any sudden health problems.
Highly recommended for all volunteers: Hepatitis A & B, tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria. For projects located in the Amazon Rainforest region, we also recommend the Yellow Fever Vaccination and malaria pills. For projects that involve work with animals, the volunteer may want to receive a rabies vaccination as well.
Language & Training
Ecuador Volunteer works alongside a qualified Spanish school, Equinox Spanish School, in Quito, and many volunteers have taken intensive language courses to improve their Spanish before entering their project. One-to-one intensive courses (4 hours/day, Monday to Friday) are most popular for volunteers, and cost $125 per week. The Spanish School also offers classes per hour and a Comprehensive Program that includes guided group tours and activities around Quito. If volunteers are interested, Ecuador Volunteer can help them organize Spanish courses.
• Airport pick-up service from the airport to accommodations in Quito (one way). • In-country informational workshop to highlight aspects of the project(s). • In-country workshop upon arrival on safety and security tips and information, and a cultural introduction to Ecuador to help volunteers with the effects of culture shock. • 24 / 7 contact in case of emergencies, health problems, or similar problems. • Monitoring and regular check-ins during the volunteer program. • Training Workshop and Orientation (mandatory for all volunteers). • International phone call in our office in Quito to contact family. • International phone calls and Internet service in our office in Quito in case of emergency. • Local phone calls to landline numbers from our office in Quito. • Pre-arrival information about activities around the country for the volunteer during his/her free time. • Certificate of Participation when the volunteer has completed his/her volunteer program (upon request). • Accommodation and food that is included in the program costs, 1-3 meals per day from Monday to Friday (depending on project and accommodation).
• International Airline tickets or fees related to travel. • Visa costs and expenses related to the necessary paper work. • Travel insurance (a travel insurance that includes repatriation in case of emergency or death is required of ALL volunteers). • Costs associated with vaccinations and personal medications. • Meals or food outside of the program, including weekends (depending on project and accommodation). • Land or air transportation within the country (in Quito, from Quito to project site, etc). • Expenses related with cultural and/or tourist activities during free time. • Airport drop-off service to go back to home country. • Personal expenses / Items for personal use (such as laundry service, medicine, daily internet use, or phone calls).
How to Apply:
Follow the Four C’s
- Confirm your interest in a project(s).
- Choose your participation dates.
- Check you meet the project requirements.
- Complete the Registration Form.
After you apply:
Things to do
- Once accepted, pay your minimum deposit ($250) to officially reserve your spot.
- Book your flight to Quito.
- Turn in a digital copy of your passport, flight itinerary, and travel insurance.
- If necessary, get the necessary paperwork or visa to travel to Ecuador.
- If possible, pay your program costs before arrival.
- Read the pre-arrival information sent by EVF to prepare for your trip.
- Get excited for the experience of a lifetime!
Costs & Dates:
2 weeks: 350 USD 4 weeks: 700 USD 6 weeks: 1050 USD 8 weeks: 1400 USD 10 weeks: 1750 USD Additional week: 140 USD
Select your Date
You can start your program in the following dates:
|November 2013||3rd o 17th|
|December 2013||8th o 22nd|
|January 2014||5th o 19th|
|February 2014||2nd o 16th|
|March 2014||2nd o 16th|
|April 2014||6th o 20th|
|May 2014||4th o 18th|
|June 2014||1st o 15th|
|July 2014||6th o 20th|
|August 2014||3rd o 24|
|September 2014||7th o 21st|
|October 2014||5th o 19th|
|November 2014||2nd o 16th|
|December 2014||7th o 21st|
1. Will there be other volunteers there when I go?
As in all of our projects, Ecuador Volunteer cannot guarantee there will be other volunteers at the Organic Farm during your same volunteer dates. You can check around 4 weeks before to see if anyone else has signed up, but keep in mind people do sign up at the last minute some of the time. Do not let this be the deciding factor; remember you will be with a family with a lot of activities to keep you busy.
2. Can I take time from the project to travel?
All of our projects are flexible and understanding of your interest in traveling and seeing different parts of Ecuador. If you would like to take a few extra days for a long weekend once a month, just let the family know and there should not be any problem. Please keep in mind that your primary concern should be your volunteer project, so do not take a long weekend every week.
3. Why can’t I live closer to the schools?
Unfortunately, the schools we work with are located in areas that, at night, can be quite dangerous though our volunteers have never had any problems during the day. Our pre-arranged accommodations are located in safer areas where volunteers do not have to be worried about waiting to catch a taxi or going to the corner store. Our host families have worked with our organization for years and are trusted families to host our volunteers, so it is safer and more comfortable for volunteers to stay with the pre-arranged accommodations.
4. Which is a better choice for accommodations, the Volunteer Apartment or a host family?
The best housing option for you will depend on what your expectations are. If you are in Ecuador to improve your Spanish and learn about the Ecuadorian culture through direct interaction with Ecuadorians, then the host family will be the ideal situation for you. The families are very open and welcoming, and volunteers truly become part of the family. The Volunteer Apartment allows volunteers more freedom and the chance to interact with other volunteers. If you are more interested in making friends with fellow volunteers, then the Volunteer Apartment may be the best option as volunteers often form strong bonds.
1. What is the principle function of the Ecuador Volunteer Foundation?
The Ecuador Volunteer Foundation is a non-profit organization whose principle function is to select and train volunteers and create a bridge between them and local community projects throughout Ecuador.
2. Is the Ecuador Volunteer Foundation authorized to operate?
The Ecuador Volunteer Foundation has been legally authorized in Ecuador, as recognized by Ministerial Resolution Nº 0350 and is one of the few volunteer organizations in Ecuador authorized by the government to select national and international volunteers.
3. How long should I be in Quito before I begin volunteer work?
Volunteers should be in Quito for about two or three days before beginning any work. This allows enough time for the volunteer to obtain all necessary information about their project, important guidelines about safety and travel, and useful advice about the culture, and challenges of the project to prepare him or her for culture shock. If the volunteer needs to buy any personal items, sort out any paperwork, or take care of any last minute arrangements, this would be the ideal time.
4. When should I travel?
The majority of the projects are available year-round, but it is still very important to plan your trip at least one month in advance. Most volunteers travel in the late spring and early to mid-summer (April to July), but be aware these are also the most expensive times travel.
5. Why do I have to pay to volunteer?
As a non-profit and non-government entity in Ecuador, the Ecuador Volunteer Foundation does not receive financial support from any public or private organization. The Ecuadorian government offers little to no grants for non-governmental organizations, so Ecuador Volunteer relies on volunteer contributions in the form of Registration and Support fees to allow the organization to carry out the functions and services provided to volunteers. Furthermore, the daily project costs are essential for projects to be able to host volunteers. Nearly all our projects take place in communities with limited economic resources, so in most cases supporting a volunteer for free is not possible and would only cause more strain for the communities we support.
6. Where do my volunteer funds go?
Funds paid by the volunteers principally serve as a cover for administrative costs for the foundation, volunteer transportation from the airport to their accommodations in Quito, informational material, and website promotion to make our foundation as accessible as possible for future volunteers. The daily project costs go directly to the project coordinators and/or host families to allow them to buy food for volunteers and project materials to be able to complete the necessary activities.
7. Why are the project costs so low?
Our main focus is to improve the quality of life for the communities we support through intercultural exchange and sustainable development. We coordinate our efforts in order to allow volunteers to work towards those goals through daily interaction and exchanging ideas and knowledge. We do not want communities to rely on the financial support of volunteers, but rather the cultural and interpersonal support they bring. This is how we distinguish ourselves from other organizations– by looking into all alternatives in order to find the best possible way to allow volunteers to live comfortably in Ecuador, while always being mindful of volunteer’s selflessness.
8. How and when can I pay my program fees to Ecuador Volunteer?
At the moment, you can pay via bank transfer, Western Union, or check (only in the US). We ask you to complete your payment in full before your arrival in Ecuador. For more information to complete your payments, email email@example.com.
9. What is Ecuador Volunteer’s refund policy?
Ecuador Volunteer operates on a strict no-refund policy, with certain exceptions made in cases of emergency. It is important that volunteers make concrete plans before committing, otherwise they should be prepared to lose the unused funds. If a volunteer is not sure about their exact travel or volunteer dates, they should commit to a minimum number of weeks or months, then pay the remaining balance if they decide to volunteer longer.