From tropical jungles to the volcanic landscape of the Galapagos, Ecuador is an enticing, exciting country. The colonial Spanish influences are evident throughout the country, particularly in the stunning cities of Quito and Cuenca, but take a trip into the villages and you will be amazed by the native Amerindian cultures that still flourish in the Amazon basin. There is a real chance to make a difference to the lives of children here in Ecuador, where education and the ability to speak English will transform their lives.
Placements are located in and around Quito and Cuenca with a couple of placements in Yunguilla in the rainforest north of Quito.
Is it for me?
If you are up to the challenge of helping a variety of different students while learning a new language and becoming immersed in a completely different culture then Ecuador is for you. Volunteers must be mature and behave in accordance with their host family’s rules. It is also necessary to have a good intermediate knowledge of Spanish before arrival. If necessary, volunteers will also attend a one or two week language course in Quito before starting their placements.
Ecuador is unique among our programmes in that it offers each volunteer the chance to work at two placements each day, perhaps teaching in the mornings and working with street children in the afternoons. This gives you the chance to make a difference to two distinct communities during your time in Ecuador.
Ecuador offers opportunities to work in either primary or secondary schools. Many of the schools only have basic facilities, but some better endowed private schools are also included in the programme. Volunteers will assist teachers in the classroom, teach English and help to organise extra-curricular activities.
We have one exciting opportunity to teach music in Cuenca. Volunteers will have their own students and will also be able to sing in the Conservatoire choir and audition for the Symphony Orchestra. There is another placement in Quito to work with children who have musical talent but no financial means to learn to play an instrument. This placement has been rated very highly by our previous volunteers.
We also offer a unique placement to teach English to a community in the Andean cloud forest. This is an isolated but beautiful organic farming community home to about 40 families. Volunteers are needed to teach English and will also get involved with other activities taking place in the community including looking after the animals and caring for the crops. This is a fascinating, demanding and very rewarding project where you will stay in Yunguilla during the week and return to Quito at weekends.
Placements involve working with children in care, with physical or learning difficulties and street children. Volunteers will be based in a state school for children with disabilities and will help with teaching, caring, gym, dance, art and anything else the children want them to do! If working with street children, volunteers will be involved with teaching, helping with homework, art and writing a newsletter.
Accommodation and Food
All volunteers will live with a host family whose son or daughter is volunteering in the UK. You will therefore be included in all family activities and it is an excellent opportunity to be part of the Ecuadorean way of life. Living with a family is also the best way to learn Spanish and when you leave you will have gained a second mum, dad, and brothers and sisters who you will never forget.
Accommodation & food
Need to know
Pre Departure Briefing: All volunteers will be invited to a pre departure briefing.
On Arrival: Volunteers will attend an in-country orientation as well as a Spanish course.
Language Requirements: The ability to speak Spanish is desirable.
You will also need to budget for:
Teaching skills course (teaching placements only)
Volunteers have the opportunity to travel around Ecuador during school holidays and after their placements. Ecuador is environmentally diverse and an adventure traveller’s dream destination. You can take in Incan culture, get close to iguanas and tortoises in the Galapagos Islands, trek up active volcanoes or straddle the Equator. Spend time in Quito and Cuenca where Ecuador’s colonial past comes alive through festivals, art and culture. If you’re there at Christmas you must not miss the Pase del Nino Viajero that takes place on Christmas Eve in Cuenca.