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WorldTeach

About

WorldTeach was founded in 1986 by a group of Harvard students who were motivated by the desire to promote local education initiatives in places where teachers and resources were lacking. Today, we continue to provide opportunities for individuals to serve as volunteer teachers around the world, working to educate under-served students in countries that would otherwise be unable to afford or locate qualified teachers. Each year, we send about 500 volunteers, impassioned by that same desires as our founders, to local schools and host communities in countries around the world that have specifically requested our support. WorldTeach is a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit and Charity Navigator 4-star charity.

Founded
1986
Headquarters

1 Brattle Sq
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Rajni
10/10

WorldTeach Ecuador has made me into a new person. Despite the inevitable struggle that comes with culture shock and a deep longing for the familiar, slowly a new me emerged, one who spoke fluent Spanish, hitched rides with pigs on trucks, marched in rallies, sold chickens to locals, or whatever new adventure the day presented. I taught English at night and spent the daytime planning how to create clubs at our school or take my students on field trips to practice English, learn Backstreet Boys lyrics, or live the life of an Ecuadorian in a gateway city to the jungle. I made lifelong friends even with spiders, which I indicated on my WorldTeach application I was deathly afraid of, guess I got over that. Like a lot of others fears in life, my year in Ecuador helped me let go and focus on what matters. I found a career path in international development and pursued international studies in Latin American at the post-graduate level and returned to Ecuador several years later with my now husband. I hope the next trip will be with our children and some day with theirs. A legacy was started more than 20 years ago by volunteering with WorldTeach Ecuador and it has changed my life forever. In just one-year. I love Ecuador and traveling and hope that other people will allow themselves the opportunity to explore our global community.

How can this program be improved?
It already has since I was a volunteer. I wish I had access to more career guidance and counseling, but it all worked out and I can see WorldTeach is offering more of these services to its volunteers.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Adriana
9/10

I have always wanted to visit the Amazon so when I saw an ad for a fellowship that would pay for me to teach there, I immediately applied. After going through the application, some recommendation letters, and an interview, I was accepted and decided I was leaving. I left the first week of December not knowing anyone in the program but excited to do some traveling post grad and reinforcing my Spanish skills. I love working with kids so teaching 2nd-4th grade was really challenging but ultimately, my ideal situation. I learned about patience, how hard it is to be a teacher, and how helpful the teaching community is (Ecuador has a Facebook specifically for English teachers!). I loved every part of my experience, being with the kids in the sweltering sun or pouring rain; going to every social event that was run by the teachers; traveling for almost an hour to reach my school site; doing lesson plans every week; running some English classes for my fellow coworkers; and getting accustomed to the Ecuadorian traditions that as a Peruvian, I had never heard about. There was definitely some stress in the lack of training we received; when I was put in front of my class, I felt unprepared and got really anxious. I think some changes could be done to the program like better planning and communication from the team, a longer training program, and working with the actual government to better the system as a whole as opposed to just tweaking the lesson plans at our school sites. I left feeling like I had a stronger connection to my language and my roots. I made really great friends both in the program and in my site and I would not have changed my location for any other place. I loved being surrounded by animals and feeling so in touch with nature. I would recommend this program to someone that has more experience teaching as I feel like many of us felt unprepared in our classrooms. Also, I think that those that do apply, should be conscientious of the privilege and space you are taking wherever you go, be it Ecuador or Ghana. Overall, I am really glad I did WorldTeach and really do feel like I left a piece of my heart in Tena, Ecuador.

How can this program be improved?
More training, higher stipend, better planning, open communication, a curriculum that helps English teachers as they are the ones that will be staying there in the long run
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Olivia
6/10

It's been a few years since I returned from Ecuador, and although the program was a little expensive for what it is and has its flaws, it is a good start for someone who wants to start traveling and seeing the world. The orientation is great. My main qualms with the program were where the host families were located and some issues with the program directors, but as I said, it's been a few years and I hope they've worked out those kinks. The Spanish classes at the beginning of the program were great for someone who doesn't know much Spanish like me, and I really, really valued the toolkit they provided as far as teaching goes, with orientation, resources, and support. Ecuador is a beautiful country and anyone who has the opportunity to spend some time there is supremely lucky! If you are a more experienced traveler and speak Spanish, however, I think it is probably easier to just move there and find a job with one of the schools, but it is super nice to have WorldTeach take care of the visas, housing, etc.

How can this program be improved?
Host families closer to the places where we worked, getting paid on time.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Katharine
7/10

This program came with the typical dysfunctionalities that accompany working or volunteering abroad (communication issues between local program and NGO, logistical problems, etc), but for the most part, the staff at WorldTeach were a consistent and supportive resource for me as I navigated my way through a school transition and moving to a different site placement. I spent the majority of my eight months in the province of Chimborazo where I lived with a host family and taught at a school in a neighboring town. Teaching in Ecuador comes with unique cultural challenges, but it is really up to the volunteer/fellow to adjust and accommodate to the needs of the local teachers and students.

Ecuador is one of the most vibrant and diverse places I have ever visited, and it was relatively easy for me to travel throughout the country during my time there. One element of this program that did fall short for me was the research component, there was little guidance from WorldTeach and it ended up being a self-directed, independent project for most fellows. Otherwise, living in Ecuador changed my life for the better. I made life-long friends and still keep in touch with my host family. Increased Spanish fluency will come with the experience, but you'll have to be intentional about not spending too much time talking to your English-speaking (or your respective language) friends and family. If you're considering choosing Ecuador as the country where you want to work, travel, or volunteer abroad, it is really one of the best options.

How can this program be improved?
The fellowship could be improved by having a more training-intensive orientation and better communicated expectations and mediums of accountability. This program met my personal needs but I know that for several other fellows the lack of oversight and support in academic research and teaching led to a weaker experience.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Rebekah
7/10

After graduating from Teachers College in Canada, I decided that I wanted to go overseas and expose myself to an entirely new way of life. I had previously taught and lived in other countries, but nothing as unique and remote as the Marshall Islands. I wanted to see how far my teaching skills would go, and how much I could learn in return. So in 2014 I set off with my boyfriend at the time to Majuro where I had a month of orientation with the other volunteers. It was an amazing experience and a good transition period for the volunteers to build a support system and a knowledge base of the cultural differences and way of life yet to come. We had an amazing Field Director Todd Mulroy and other World Teach Staff that provided so much support and great communication. After orientation we were all sent to the outer islands on either a small plane or a supply ship. I was sent to Namdrik Atoll which was no bigger than 2 square miles. We were surrounded by ocean on all sides and the islanders were so welcoming. Life there was extremely tough and isolated with few teaching resources but extremely rewarding. Namdrik had no internet or phones and the only communication was a radio to the main island. Mail was received sparsely by the small plane that landed occasionally. We ate mostly fish and coconuts and learned to live an ultra slow relaxed lifestyle where time had no relevance and priorities included sweeping up leaves or making copra. I could talk forever about this experience but given limited space I will just say that I highly recommend this program if you want to experience extreme conditions of cultural diversity and if you can handle limited communication with the rest of the world. The culture is entirely different from a North American one, but I promise it will change your life and the way you view poverty and education forever. - Rebekah Osio Vanden

How can this program be improved?
The program could be improved by providing more teaching resources to the volunteers.
Response from WorldTeach

Hello Rebekah,

Thank you very much for leaving such a detailed and vivid description of life in the Marshall Islands for WorldTeach volunteers! We are very glad to hear it was a positive experience for you. Also, those pictures are wonderful! If you'd ever like to host the WorldTeach Instagram let us know at [email protected] :-).

Thanks again Rebekah!

Best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend

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