This program is no longer offered. View more programs from BridgeAbroad.
English Opens Doors Program - CLOSED
60% Rating
(4 Reviews)

English Opens Doors Program - CLOSED

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from BridgeAbroad.

Ready to teach English in Chile and make a big difference in the lives of others?

Bridge Abroad has been chosen by the Chilean Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) and the United Nations Development Program to recruit a select group of English teachers for the esteemed "English Opens Doors" program. In 2011, Bridge Abroad will be placing volunteers in all 12 regions of Chile. From stargazing in the deserts of the north to trekking the pristine glaciers of the south, you’ll find a region to love in Chile.

As a teacher in Chile’s prestigious “English Opens Doors” program, you’ll teach English to elementary or high school students and live in a Chilean community with a local host family. You’ll work alongside a local English teacher, planning lessons and activities and providing students with their rare chance to communicate and connect to a native English speaker.

Recognizing the fundamental importance of English language instruction in the modern world, the Chilean government created English Opens Doors in 2004 in order to connect local children with native English speakers. Since then, the program has been extremely successful and continues to expand. And now, you can be a part of it. You’ll be prepared for the EFL classroom with the 120-hour TEFLOnline.com Master’s Diploma included in the program, as well as one week of Spanish classes at our school in Santiago. A Bridge Abroad advisor is there to help you at every step of the way, from pre-departure materials to in-country orientation to visa assistance.
Locations
South America » Chile
Length
6-12 Months
Salary / Benefits
see site for details.
Currency
USD
Other Locations
Every region in Chile

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Benefits
    78%
  • Support
    50%
  • Fun
    55%
  • Facilities
    63%
  • Safety
    90%

Program Reviews (4)

Default avatar
gencat
Female
24 years old
Louisville, KY

Everyone's experience will be different...

8/10

Expectation seems to be the most influential part of analyzing one's experience. It is hard to sum up an entire 5 months in a paragraph, and my personal experience cannot equate any other volunteers- but that may be the most important thing to know going in to EOD. You need to know what you expect to contribute and to recieve from the program and be flexible and willing to take it for what it is. The program is not 100% professional and expectations are not very high for volunteers; however, that is just what I was looking for. I got experience teaching in a informal way, and I got to live in another country in a very relaxed and fun way with little work demands or expenses. Also, the Chilean Ministry of Education may seem a little unorganized, and the students may be more rowdy than in the United States- but that made it less stressful for me.

The teaching is what you make it. If you have teaching experience and you put in the time to make great lesson plans- it can be really rewarding. If this is the first thing like this you have ever done, then that is fine too because there are no expectations for you- they are happy to have a native speaker. It depends on how commited you are to teaching, or if teaching is just secondary to you exporing another country. Also, you experience will depend greatly on your relationship with your co-teacher.

Chile is an amazing country. Your experience will be totally different, depending on what city/region you get placed in, but the people are beyond inviting. I have made friends for life. Also, the travelling is cheap and easy, and there are innumerous places to explore! I went somewhere EVERY weekend and enjoyed every minute of it. Also (if you try) you will be able to be conversationally fluent within months! The improvement in Spanish alone is invaluable.

It is a great experience and I learned so much from many aspects. It is a safe, beautiful country with great relationships and incredible travel opportunities. I felt totally comfortable there 100% of the time. I would recommend this experience if you are flexible and laid back. If you want everything to turn out just as it is written, you might not want to work for the Chilean government.

How can this program be improved?

Instead of leading volunteers to think that everything is written out and determined (like in the orientation in Santiago), just tell them up front that there are many things that vary for each volunteer depending on many factors: region, city, host family, type of school (private or subsidized), co-teacher, personal teaching skills and experience, AGE OF STUDENTS (middle or high school), and many other things. Clarify that there are many things they won't know going in and that the program is growing and changing.

Default avatar
sunshine
Male
42 years old
Chile

A mixed bag

7/10

Potential Teachers:

I want to begin by saying if you are coming to the EOD program through Bridge you won't be disappointed in terms of the skills you will learn and the practice you will get. I had some teaching background prior to my arrival in Chile; however, the intensity matched with the breadth and depth of materials covered throughout my month long course at Bridge proved beyond useful. You will be begin teaching classes within the first week of your training. But don't worry, the lectures, reading, and breakout session will prepared you and offer amble means by which to reflect on your teaching. Although I had taken some teacher training in graduate school, I found that the course Bridge offered to far surpass my previous training.

As for the EOD experience, I have had a great time with both my students and my fellow Chilean colleagues. In terms of the personal, this country and culture far surprised my hopes. I was quickly welcomed into the fold and made part of the community. Family is an important element of Chilean culture and the openness with which you accept this and live this you will be returned that warmness in kind.

However, on the flip side of this, you will need to realize that while Chileans are open they can be easily offended. This is usually because of cultural missteps that are bound to happen. Don't let that intimidate you. But the one element of Chilean culture that complicates this is that Chileans tend to skirt conflicts, so even though they might be offended they won't tell you. This can lead to some passive aggressive behavior on their part. You need to communicate everyday and continually ask questions and ask for things to be clarified. If you don't, you'll wind up isolated in your home. The Ministry does little to prepare you for this and it appears that they do little to prepare host families for cross-cultural visitors. You might feel like you're being asked to live up to some standard you don't understand--and you are.

There are several drawbacks to this program. The Ministry of Education offers little training prior to your arrival in your town. If I hadn't had my experience at Bridge, I think I would have floundered. Additionally, the resources at schools varies, so be prepared for anything and mostly hands on approaches. If you have a reliance on technology it would be best to shake that. The regional representative in my area like many others has a way of being absent and aloof. You will have to handle most problems that arise yourself. A major difficulty with the regional representatives is their tendency to leave vital visa paperwork unattended for quite sometime. There were several volunteers in my area that never received their visas and were almost deported because of our representative's negligence.

You should be prepared for difficult classes and a lack of a study/classroom culture. Chilean students aren't asked throughout their time in school and often act as if they are in the midst of recess even during classroom sessions. While you will not have to manage the attention of the entirety of a class (most of the time), you will find that students will act out often and be rude. Most of this can be and is countered by making your lessons as active as possible and also as physical as possible. Make lessons hands on. Provide a lot of colorful material and be prepared to act and mime yourself. Make the language something lived and participated. But even still there is a great resistance among students to pay attention at times.

Additionally, be prepared for your schedule to apparently change on a daily basis. This is not because there is no set schedule it is just that events, programs, and special meetings will come up that no one will have remembered to have told you about prior.

Lastly, be open to a loose interpretation about being on time. Things never, never, and I mean never, start when they are suppose to even in schools. Plan accordingly with your lessons and don't sweat it.

The kids will be trying, but I would say that well over 90 percent of your class time will be of great value to your students and to you. You will learn a lot about thinking on your feet and preparation for classes. You will definitely gain some stripes.

Default avatar
Kenneth
Male
32 years old
Cunco, Chile
Other

Great Life Experience Abroad

6/10

The experience has most definitely impacted all spheres of my life and I have gained valuable experience and people skills. Through working with kids of varying age-groups and also with many different types of professionals and other teachers I have learnt a lot about myself and about what it means to be a volunteer and a teacher.

Don’t come to Chile with any strong-set preconceptions. Even though there is a definite cultural trend, Chile is still very diverse. Schools, host families, and volunteer placements can vary considerably. You need to expect that you may have to work with what you have and just make the best of any situation.
Students may not be motivated, or your working environment may not be ideal. However, even though it’s going to be tough (yes, it’s not going to be easy) it will be worth it in the end. After all, giving of yourself, your time, and your skills to help others is one of the best things one can ever do.

Default avatar
tammytefl
Female
24 years old
Limache, Chile
Hamilton College

Idealistic but not functional

3/10

This program is great in theory, but almost all of the volunteers are taken advantage of. The program leaves you in the lurch and does not tell you how the situation will really be. What the program wants from the volunteers is almost impossible, since the students are no where near the level of English they should be. The real problem is with the teachers and that is where this education system needs the most help. Very few people have a great experience. Those are the few lucky ones to be in semi private schools and/or in Santiago.

Response from BridgeAbroad

Tammy, we're sorry to hear that you left English Opens Doors with a negative perception of your experience in Chile. We understand how and why you feel the educational system in Chile lacks the organization and professionalism that education systems in other countries enjoy, and we're sorry that you felt that you were not well-prepared for this.

The English Opens Doors program is intended to help the Chilean Ministry of Education boost its educational system and give its students, many of whom do not have a high level of fluency in English, get the opportunity to learn from a native speaker. While it can be frustrating as a volunteer to see little improvement in your students from day to day, Bridge feels that every volunteer's contribution is valuable. Change is always incremental and slow but with each individual life that is touched and changed by this program, whether the students' lives or the volunteers', we feel that we are making a positive impact. Many volunteers do have great experiences in Chile; we find that those that accept the limitations of their role and are content to do the best that they can often leave with the most positive opinion of the program.

We apologize that you felt that you were taken advantage of and unprepared for your role. We do our best to fully explain the program on our website and again in-person during the advising sessions and interviews. We would welcome your suggestions for improving our communication and better preparing our volunteers for their time abroad. We encourage you to write to us at [email protected] with any further comments you have.

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With over 20 years of experience, Bridge is an established leader in the teach abroad market. BridgeAbroad internships and study abroad programs are a great way to start gaining professional experience while learning the local language. Internships also come with the opportunity to fill educational

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