English Opens Doors Program


The English Opens Doors Program is a English education initiative developed by the Chilean Ministry of Education, and is supported by the United Nations. It was established in 2003, and has since flourished. The Chilean Ministry seeks to advance the level of English education throughout Chilean public schools and provides students with many resources such as summer learning camps, competitions, and scholarships. We seek talented and ambitious teachers to come join our teaching program in Chile, and make a noticeable impact in Chilean English education throughout public schools. Avoid paying any fees to recruiters by applying directly with us.


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Yes, I recommend this program


“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
-Benjamin Franklin
Throughout my time as an English teaching volunteer, I have tried to live by these words. Whether it’s a lesson about flavors of the world, free-time activities or even something seemingly routine as talking about the weather, the aim was always to encourage students to participate and have an interactive experience in class.
To help me in this regard, I designed a rewards system for individual and group participation, whereby students would receive a prize (which included stickers, color pencils, badges, medals and keychains) if they followed the 5 simple class rules i.e. 100% English, Respect, No Distractions, Raise Your Hand and Have Fun! (Yes, having fun was a rule since I wanted them to enjoy English class and not feel forced to learn the language since they’ve been instructed to.)
Since my task was to focus on improving students’ listening and speaking skills, the lesson plans were usually designed in such a way that gave the students a chance to converse in English, improve their pronunciation and understand the topics in a more practical manner. Games such as rock-paper-scissors, tic-tac-toe and hangman were quite handy in deciding turns and tallying scores. And since these games are already popular in Chile, it was not difficult to explain the rules of the game. The resources provided by the NVC help immensely in designing particular activities/games based on the topic in hand. Tongue twisters were quite a hit with the students too, as they tried to outpace each other by trying to repeat the phrase as rapidly as they can; all the while expanding their vocabulary and pronunciation.
The students’ enthusiasm, positive attitude and eagerness to learn English were the most satisfying aspects for me. In order to maintain that level of interest it is up to us as volunteers to think creatively, and go beyond the lesson plan. So once in a while, the students and I would exchange roles and they would teach me about Chile; its food, culture, festivities, and some slang. We would also discuss about music, sports, and movies; most of them were quite curious to know about India as well.
The extra- curricular activities such as Spelling Bee, Karaoke, Scavenger Hunt and The Amazing Race were also much loved by my students, as it wasn’t just a usual class; instead they got an opportunity to follow Rule 5 (Have Fun!) to a tee, by learning to spell new words, sing their favorite English pop songs, or decipher tricky riddles to win a race.
I would especially like to mention the support and guidance given by my head teachers in both the schools, the other teaching and support staff, and most importantly the directors of both schools who were all very warm, cooperative, and always ready to help in any situation. My experience at the English Winter Camp was also very positive. It was heartening to see students actively take part in all the activities and games, coming up with innovative ideas, and being very open-minded about their approach towards improving their English.
Coming to my host family, I couldn’t have hoped for a better living situation. Although my host family consisted of just my host dad and his son, their extended family and friends were equally gracious and welcoming to me. My host family was kind enough to provide vegetarian food, even though it used to be inconvenient at times to them. Their help and advice throughout my stay was of immense help and made me feel very comfortable. Living in a small and well-knit community, I became familiarized with the locals of the town. Everybody I came across, be it the neighbors, shopkeepers, barber or school bus drivers, they were all very friendly and helpful to me; and more often than not, they used to be parents or guardians of my students.
During me free time I used to play football and volleyball at the local gymnasium, which was quite refreshing and energizing. If there was a long-weekend (and there were quite a few!), I would travel to other cities such as Valparaiso, La Serena and Pucon to experience the array of beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage that Chile possesses.
The one outstanding feature for me during this Program has been the people of Chile. The breathtaking scenery, diverse climates and delicious cuisine are accentuated by the warm and friendly nature of Chileans, who are ever-welcoming and hospitable to foreigners. Coming from India, I didn’t know what to expect since the cultures and way of life in India and Chile are quite different, and so I was a bit apprehensive initially. However, this apprehension soon gave way to excitement and eagerness to explore the various facets of Chile and discover all the unique elements that make Chile what it is.
Although being a vegetarian I could not taste most of the typical food of Chile, I loved to gorge on ‘empanada de queso’ quite often. The traditional desserts and pastries were delicious too, apart from the renowned Chilean wine, which does not need any endorsement to be counted as among the world’s best.
In conclusion, to say that my experience with this Program has been delightful and satisfying would be an understatement. It has exceeded my expectations and has helped me make a lot of memories that I would cherish for a long time. Hence, for anyone looking to have an enriching teaching experience, I encourage you to avail of this wonderful opportunity and to be a part of this Program. It would be one of the best decisions of your life!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with English Opens Doors Program

I was just starting teaching English and looking for opportunities of volunteering abroad when I found the English Opens Doors Program. It was ideal for me, as I wanted to teach, travel, learn about Chilean culture and learn Spanish. And that's what I did.
It can be a little overwhelming sometimes, especially in the beginning, as there is a lot of new information, cultural differences and a language barrier. But it is what you make it, so I tried to be open to new experiences and learn as much as I could, while contributing to the Chilean society. It is great to feel that you are helping these kids not only to learn English, but also to feel more confident and motivated. You are making a change, you are this special person for many of them, supporting them and making them believe that things are possible, that they can travel and learn about different cultures in the future as well.
I lived with a host family, and they were great!
The coordinating staff in Santiago was always ready to help, and the orientation week in Santiago is exactly what you need to be ready to teach and live in Chile.
So, if you like teaching, want to learn Spanish and experience real life in Chile, if you are not afraid of challenges, this program is what you need!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Experience with the kids

The was the core of my service. The kids were so excited to meet their new foreign English teacher. I was well received y the school. I spent 4months with these kids and at the end of my program I saw a face of satisfaction from them, their desire for English was established and this was thanks to the English Opens Doors program thought the National Volunteer Center (NVC). Their training never
ver went in vain. The school was so encouraging, providing every single thing I needed coupled with that from the ENGLISH OPENS DOORS PROGRAM. The students started mounted great desire for the language and it turned out to be fun. The school took me out with other teachers to a beautiful touristic side(sorry I can't recall the nae of that place), it was fun out there. Another aspect of the school was the caring nature of every single teacher in the school the fun here was everyone wanted to talk to me in English even those who didn't know a single vocabulary in English.

What was your funniest moment?
Oh the camps were were the striking moments I had in this service. The struggle by these children to talk English, them trying to dance and the lipdub were moments never to be forgotten
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Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience With the EODP

In 2017, I decided I wanted to do something different that included traveling and community development. I happened upon the English Opens Doors Program (EODP) after searching through a long list of online options. I chose the EODP over other programs for several reasons. First of all, you don't have to pay to participate in the program. The only fee you cover is your flight. Second, the way they integrate volunteers into the local community ensures that you're not taking a job that could be fulfilled by someone who already lives in the community. You're not replacing a Chilean English teacher; rather, your native English skills are put to use to complement the classes taught by the local teacher. Finally, I wanted a program that seemed like it was well-run, and I wasn't going to just be dropped in a foreign country with limited teaching experience and be told to have at it.

The EODP ticked all of these boxes for me, so I said yes to the offer and headed down to teach for one semester (~4 months). I arrived along with a group of about 70 other volunteers with an average age range of 22-30. Some volunteers have teaching experience, but it's not a requirement because the first week of orientation gives you a crash course on how to teach ESL. Since then, I've taken a variety of other ESL crash courses (and a longer TEFL certification), and I have to say, the week of orientation provided by the EODP has yet to be beat. It's incredibly well-curated, it covers all the information you could need to know, and not only prepares you to teach, but also makes you aware of the extensive support network available to you. The support within the program is super accessible and includes the National Volunteer Center in Santiago, other volunteers, a Regional Representative in your region, and staff in the school in which you're placed.

I was placed in the center of Chile, in the Bernardo O'Higgins region. My host family consisted of a single mom and her daughter. She was really enthusiastic to help me improve my Spanish and do everything possible to make sure I had a great time. I worked in the same school that she taught in, so we would drive to school together in the morning. I actually taught in two schools (something that occasionally happens), so I saw one group of kids for two days a week and another group for the other two (I had Fridays free). I enjoyed working with my co-teacher and getting to know the other staff in the school, but by far the students were the best part of the whole experience. I taught middle school, so my kids were 5th-8th graders, and they just have an energy that can't be beat. Although there are some days when motivation to learn English is low, the kids are generally just so excited that you're there that it doesn't take long for them to come around to a lesson. The most rewarding part of the whole experience is when you hear students use English outside of class. I remember hearing a group of fifth graders yelling directions in English at each other during recess, and it made me so happy to see that I was having an impact.

Outside of school, I had plenty of time to travel around Chile. Chile is a beautiful country that offers a little something for everyone. I went hiking and rock climbing in a number of national parks in my region and in neighboring regions. I traveled to Santiago every once in a while on the weekend to explore restaurants and museums. And, I went on a couple of trips with other volunteers, including wine tastings at vineyards and a longer trip to the island of Chiloé. I've never had such a full social calendar as I did in Chile. And, I think that's because, in my experience, my host mom and Chilean friends were really excited to show me around Chile, so I was constantly invited to things. That, coupled with all the things other volunteers plan, and I always had something to do.

But, time flew between when I arrived in July and the end date of November, and when my return to the United States loomed, I just knew that I had to come back. So, I applied for a second semester and came back to teach again in 2018. I was again impressed by the organization of the program, and I had a similarly great experience the second time around, this time in the surf town of Pichilemu.

If you're looking for an opportunity to go abroad, get involved in a local community, and contribute in a meaningful way, then you should look no further.

What was your funniest moment?
I think whenever you're in a new country and you don't speak the language well, pretty much every day is either full of self-deprecating laughter or tears of frustration, and most days have a good mix of both. There were only a few times that I felt frustrated by my inability to communicate in Chile, and whenever that happened I usually took my frustration as both a sign that I really cared about the people to whom I was expressing myself, and a sign that I probably needed to spend some more time on Duolingo.
Most of the time, my inability to communicate for the first few months was pretty funny. I joined a climbing club in my town that had gym with a bouldering wall (i.e. no ropes, just free climbing) where I would train a few days a week. One of the first times I went to the gym, I struck up a conversation with one of the members with the intention of asking him about the different types of climbing and what they were called in Spanish. So, what I wanted to say in English was:
Is there a different name for the type of climbing we're doing here, climbing without a rope?
My Spanish version of that:
Como se llama el tipo de escalar que estamos haciendo aqui, escalar sin ropa?
The English translation of what I said:
What would you call the climbing that we're doing here, climbing without clothes?
Needless to say, he gave me a funny little side glance and then laughed. I quickly realized that I had said "ropa," which means clothes, when I meant to use the word "cuerda," which actually means rope. I laughed pretty hard at that mistake and he laughed along with me, and I assured him that we do climb with clothes on in the United States.
Things like that happened all the time. But, what made it not feel quite so soul-crushing was how the Chileans always just laughed it off with you. They didn't judge your inability to speak their language; they just liked that you were trying.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Really fun and meaningful program!

I went for a 4-month service last year (VS4 2018) and it was such a special experience! It can be tough at times, but for those tough moments you will get back so many rewarding moments! Although the program is aimed at teaching English, I learnt Spanish on the way, from speaking with my host family, colleagues and friends I made. It was not only an unforgettable experience for me, but I could also see a change in the children, becoming more excited about English and foreign culture.
The coordinating staff in Santiago is super helpful whenever you need them and they are all really nice! As a non-native English speaker like me, it is still possible to apply for this program if you can prove your fluency. So if you are up for a fun and rewarding challenge then I would definitely recommend this!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was teaching a couple of different classes, but there was this one class that never really paid attention and there would always be children messing around. I thought they just did not like English and although I kept my enthusiasm and excitement up, at times this group was hard on me. Then, one week before the program ended, I told them I was going to leave and the most surprising thing happened. All of them were like 'noo miss, we like your classes, please don't go' and 'but we are learning English so well now'. I was just so surprised by their reaction, as their behavior throughout the semester did not show any of these sentiments. To me this proves that keeping a positive attitude is always good, even when you don't think it is doing much.

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose to work with the English Opens Doors Program (EODP) because I spoke with a past volunteer who had a very positive experience with both the program and the country of Chile.

Additionally, the program appeared extremely reputable as it is an initiative supported by the Chilean Ministry of Education and the United Nations Development Program-Chile.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I was responsible for purchasing my transportation to (and eventually from) Santiago, Chile.

Once in Chile everything was taken care of for me by EODP. Transportation from the airport, lodging, and board were all covered in Santiago during the week-long training program. Transportation from Santiago to the town where I worked was covered as well.

My host family and place of work (school) were organized for me by EODP. The host family, with funding from EODP, provided me with 3 meals a day and I had my own bedroom in the house (a guarantee of the program).

EODP provides a small stipend to teachers to cover basic travel, school supplies, and other costs. Should an applicant to EODP want to travel frequently or long distances they should save the funds to do so before arriving to Chile.

EODP also helped guide me through the process of receiving my visa from the Chilean consulate before I departed for Chile.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone going on your program?

While it is fun to imagine what your experience will be like ahead of time, it is impossible to anticipate what will happen and who you will interact with upon your arrival to Chile. There are many variables when working with EODP, such as your assigned town, family, and school.

Most likely not all the variables that influence your experience will be ideal, but you can draw upon the components and people of your experience that are positive, as well as the EODP staff, to address any serious issues or concerns you may have.

In short, not everything will be perfect, but I can sincerely say that navigating the issues that arose during my experience resulted in some of the most memorable and personally developmental experiences I had.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

All teachers with EODP are responsible for 24 hours in the classroom each week. Additionally, 4 hours of leading an extracurricular activity and 7 hours of lesson planning are expected.

EODP teachers will meet with the Chilean English teacher of their assigned school to determine which classes and times the EODP teacher will be working. Each class will have about 15 students and last 45 minutes. What is normally a 90-minute class with 30 students is divided into two parts, with the EODP teacher taking half of the students, and the traditional Chilean English teacher taking the other half. The two groups switch after 45 minutes. EODP teachers focus on speaking and listening skills with the students, while the Chilean English teacher works on more technical, grammar oriented material with the students.

An EODP teacher’s 4 hours of extra-curricular activities could be in the classroom (an expansion of what you are teaching during the school day, or games in English), or could be outside the classroom in the form of sports or other activities.

I hosted a baseball club on a field near the school. We played with tennis balls and used cones as bases. The students enjoyed getting to learn a new sport they had only seen in the movies, and loved some of the phrases and words surrounding the game.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issues change?

My largest concern before departing for my work with EODP was the language barrier. I knew almost no Spanish when I left.

Professionally, this was not a large concern for me, as EODP asks teachers to use only English in the classroom (total immersion being the current leading theory in language learning).

Socially, I was concerned that the language barrier would be an issue. While learning a new language was of course difficult, I found both my host family and the other teachers at the school to be very patient and willing to help. The most difficult part was having patience with myself. Being stripped of the ability to speak was frustrating, but the progression I saw each week was exciting and fun.

Were you able to travel within the country during your time abroad?

I was able to travel frequently and found the bus system in Chile extremely efficient and affordable. Santiago, the capital and largest city, was a popular place for EODP teachers to meet and share their experiences.

Other places I enjoyed visiting in the middle portion of the country were Pichilemu and Valparaiso (both near Santiago), and Valdivia and the Island of Chiloe (further south).

But, if one has the time and resources to do so, the far north (San Pedro de Atacama) and the far south (Torres del Paine) are absolutely stunning. In San Pedro one can bike through the desert, tour the mountains, swim in salt lakes, sand board, and star gaze.

Torres del Paine serves up an epic hiking adventure—be sure to book campsites way in advance! If you are fit and an experienced hiker look into the big circuit, also known as the “O”. I travelled to the far north during my school’s winter break and to the far south after the school year was completed, as these trips necessitated more than 2 or 3 days.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Jeremy Patrick Gould

Job Title
Coordinator of the National Volunteer Center

What is your favorite travel memory?

It's extremely difficult to identify one favorite memory from two years of volunteer work, however I would say that my fondest memories would have to be the inside jokes that I had with all of the different groups of students with whom I worked.

When I imagined what teaching would be like (before I started teaching), I never realized that each class would have such distinct "collective personalities," and that the bond that I would form with each class would be so unique. Each group that I worked with had their different stories, senses of humor, inside jokes, and relationships with me, which really made every hour of my day so unique.

In the end it’s all about the making a positive, exciting educational experience for your students and when you have moments where you feel like you’ve done so, you’re filled with a very warm and wholesome feeling of accomplishment.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Before volunteering with the EODP, I had a lot of passion and desire to live a meaningful life, but not a lot of structure or consistency. Working with adolescents teaches you a lot about the importance of planning and “follow through” when working towards goals, or generally approaching challenges.

That said, even after two years of volunteer service, I would still say that in 2012 when I started working for the English Opens Doors Program as an intern, I was still lacking a lot in organization and administrative capacities.

Over the years I’ve worked for the team in many different capacities, and in various areas of work, and I have come to feel like there is no problem or challenge that isn’t approachable and conquerable with a methodical, experience based approach.

I think over the course of the last 7 years, I’ve been lucky enough to find a lot of meaning and purpose in my life, and I owe that overwhelmingly to the experience of having both volunteered an worked for the English Opens Doors Program.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

After working on this side of the program for over five years now, having trained, supported, and overseen over a thousand volunteers of the English Opens Doors program, I think some of the funniest stories have to be the stories where there was a language-based misunderstanding that culminated in some embarrassing moment that ended up changing the trajectory of the volunteer’s service in a positive and unique way. Most volunteers have one!

That said, what I think my favorite thing to hear from volunteers at the end of their volunteer service is how meaningful and profound this experience was for them.

In some ways I think that perhaps the best part of this program is that it is quite challenging, and so when you’ve completed your volunteer service, you really come away from this a stronger, more confident, socially aware, and competent person.

Every year we have volunteers write to us a few months (or even years!) later after they’ve completed their volunteer service to tell us that this was the most meaningful experience that they’ve had in their lives, and to thank us for making it all possible and navigable. I think that’s one of the “best “stories” I hear from our volunteers.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I always joke with my colleagues that when I finally decide to leave the English Opens Doors Program, I’d like to go out with one final year of volunteer service. (I highly recommend year-long volunteer services over semester-long services when possible, in order feel a sense of community and belonging in your town/area, as well as a sense of normalcy and stride in your volunteer role.)

My dream is to train a group of volunteers, and instead of heading back to the office while they ride off into the sunset to start their new meaningful adventures, I’d jump on that bus/plane with them, and enjoy one more year of being a volunteer!

It would be so amazing to have one more year in which my main concern is getting students to believe in themselves by giving them the tools to communicate in another language, and making their experience as exciting and memorable as possible.

I think if I were to choose the location, I’d probably go with a very rural location in the Patagonia, like say, the Aysén Region. In any case, it’s not so much about the location, but rather the attitude with which you approach it that really determines just how much you get out of your volunteer service.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

In contrast with a lot of the different “international experiences” that are being marketed to prospective international volunteers, this program is really about students and public education in general, as opposed to some sort of “voluntourism” enterprise.

This program is 100% funded through Chile’s public funding, with the objective of providing underserved public school students the opportunity to develop their communicative abilities in a foreign language, thereby gaining contact with the international community, which I find to be so much more meaningful than a program that costs money and ultimately exists to serve “me.”

In terms of accomplishments, I really couldn’t be more proud of my team (my friends) for their positive energy, endless efforts, and flexibility as we work together to make this initiative stronger every year. I think that when 2015 rolled around and we made a very important move as a program, whereby we started working exclusively in public schools, there were a lot of adjustments to be made in so many different ways, and the team responded to the challenge so smoothly and successfully.

This initiative is doing incredible work in the schools that need it most. We’re constantly evolving, and I can honestly say that my team is my second family.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think that the biggest factor in being a successful organization is really having a worthy goal/purpose, and being constructive and holistic in the way that you work toward it.

In the case of this program, there really are no strings attached here. We are working to strengthen the public education system of an amazing country, constantly building off of previous experience, and deliberating over feedback to see how we can do it better to meet the needs of all parties involved.

Lastly, if you want to be successful, you really have to love what you do, and constantly inspire the same for all of those around you.