WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in Colombia - (past program)

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

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About

WorldTeach is currently accepting applications for our Colombia Year TEFL and Volunteer Teaching program departing in January 2017. This is a great opportunity for those interested in international development and education to get their feet wet in the field.

WorldTeach volunteers in Colombia teach English as a Foreign Language at a variety of placements, including elementary schools, high schools, universities and adult education centers. This is done in coordination with the Colombian Ministry of Education and the Colombian NGO, Volunteers Colombia. Volunteers are placed in both cities and rural towns. The volunteer commitment is $1,750.

With our year-long program, you can also become TEFL certified to earn credibility and give you an edge in the ESL teaching job market. While certification usually costs about $1,899, with WorldTeach you can become certified for only $350 while also gaining priceless in-country teaching experience.

Volunteer commitment:
  • $1,750.00
  • Costs include: Visa sponsorship, orientation including teacher training, language and cultural training, mid-service and end-of-service conferences, in-country transportation between training sites and placement site, housing, monthly stipend, full-time field staff, teacher quality coordinator in US office to provide professional teaching development.
Requirements:
  • Fluent English speaker
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Have a bachelor’s degree by time of program’s departure

Questions & Answers

Reviews

88%
based on 22 reviews
  • Benefits 8.6
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.9
  • Facilities 9.1
  • Safety 8.4
  • Instruction 7.3
  • Support 7.8
  • Value 8.5
  • Academic Rigor 7
  • Job Assistance 7.5
Showing 16 - 22 of 22
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Shannon
9/10

WorldTeach - Colombia

Right before my senior year of college, I made the decision that I wanted to teach overseas. I researched organizations and programs for several month before selecting and applying for WorldTeach, and I couldn't be happier with my decision. WT provided a ton of information and support before I got to Colombia, and continued to do so after I had arrived. The field staff was incredibly helpful during my transition into teaching, and was always available for questions and feedback. This is a top-notch organization if you're looking for one that is both truly committed to what they do, and transparent about administration and finances.

How can this program be improved?
In-country communication is sometimes undependable/infrequent.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
P.
7/10

Toughest and most rewarding year of my life.

The TEFL orientation was extremely well done. It was held in Bogota, where I suffered from sever altitude sickness. I would highly recommend that volunteers arrive a couple of days early to rest and get ready for an intensive study program. The recruiter that I had in Boston was very helpful to me. This person had originally accepted me for the year in Tanzania, and let me change to Colombia when I learned about bucket showers!
Somehow, I missed the part about doing the full training and orientation. I wanted the orientation, but was already certified in TESL. I was not happy at first that I had to do it 'again', but am very glad that I did! It had a completely different orientation than my first TESL program.
The study program throughout the year was amazing for me. It was a truly supportive continuing education program.
I had been assured that not speaking Spanish would be no problem for me when I signed up. So, I went speaking no Spanish, and this created many difficulties and misunderstandings for me. Added to a new work culture, this was a very painful time for me. I learned Spanish in a hurry, as it was for survival! I think that no Spanish would be fine if you are posted in a touristy spot, as some locals would have some basic English.
I reminded myself repeatedly that I was living in Latin America, which I have done a lot in my life. The disorganization at school at first drove me crazy! I had to reach deep into myself to organize things away from the happy chaos of the school. I ended the year feeling on top of everything, but have taken a lot away from this very loving culture. I loved my students, once I could talk with them, and know more about their lives. It was very hard to say good-bye.
I will also share that I turned 60 over this year. I was the only older person in a group of 20 year-olds. It could have been very hard, but I never once felt excluded or discriminated against by my fellow volunteers. I am truly impressed by this.
I will end by reminding people about the rule: peel it, cook it, or don't eat it. I got very sick from the food at my home stay. I am well now.

How can this program be improved?
I would have wished for a little more on the ground support, but this has been taken care of. The company has hired another full-time staff member for this very reason.
Some volunteers said that they were 'just' volunteers. I would recommend that you think of this as a professional job, which is what teaching is. Then, you will give your students the very best support that you can!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Annie
10/10

Why WorldTeach Colombia is great!

I chose WorldTeach because I wanted the opportunity to volunteer in a Spanish-speaking country. There are a lot of options out there for teaching English anywhere in the world, but I chose WorldTeach because of their commitment to creating sustainable education programs for low-income students who have the most to gain from learning English. WorldTeach also has an excellent in-country support system as well as top notch professionals overseeing the program from Boston.

I chose WorldTeach's program in Colombia because Colombia is at a critical and fascinating point in their history right now: they are rebuilding themselves after years of guerrilla warfare and drug trafficking violence. Despite their recent past, Colombians are very friendly and optimistic, and so eager to change their country's image. Colombia has a little of everything, from cool bustling cities to pristine tropical beaches to the Amazon rainforest and beautiful Andes mountains.

How can this program be improved?
The selection process may be a little too open-ended, allowing participants who are not fully committed to the idea of volunteerism or living abroad for an entire year.
Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this helpful review, and for bringing this topic to attention.

During the WorldTeach application process, and throughout our communication with applicants, we stress that WorldTeach is a program of service that can at times be difficult and is only for those dedicated to teaching, service, and challenging themselves. Volunteers join WorldTeach for many personal reasons, but ultimately must share these priorities of teaching and service, otherwise their chances for success are not as high.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jon
9/10

Great program if you can afford it!

Teaching with WorldTeach Colombia was a great experience. I was one of 43 volunteers who did it during the 2013 calendar year (they now have July departures as well as January). 20 of us are remaining in Colombia the following year which shows how much people enjoyed the experience.

Each placement brings a totally unique and different challenge--some teachers worked with pre-K students in a disorganized public school, others taught in a hard-working university setting. You're kind of agreeing to roll the dice because there's no guarantee you'll be placed in the exact teaching situation or city you want to. But generally WT places volunteers in good spots (most placements were in Baranquilla, Bogota, Medellin, Pereira/Manizales and Isla de Baru).

The best reasons for choosing WT over a different opportunity or program in Colombia, in no order, are: 1. You're connected to a very reputable org. which provides good professional development throughout the program and strong recommendations after it. 2. The three-week intensive orientation gives lots of useful teaching ideas and you actually get to practice teaching a week in a bogota school. 3. You'll be connected to a great group of volunteers in addition to the colombian people you'll meet. 4. WT staff was extremely professional and timely with answering volunteers' questions, helping volunteers fundraise for the program, and organizing the three service conferences. 5. The placements in some public/rural schools may be very difficult in terms of student discipline, etc. but are extremely great opportunities for kids who would never have the chance to learn from a native speaker without this program, and were generally very rewarding to work with as volunteers.

How can this program be improved?
You'll need to come in with a decent amount of savings if you want to do a lot of traveling or going out--stipends are barely enough to make ends meet if you're in a city. But if you're teaching in Colombia to begin with you're probably not going to save much money, and WT provides a lot of great support, especially helpful if you are new to teaching english or living in South America that can make it worth the financial problems. Also, it provides a great TEFL certification program (I think it only cost 50 for our group) that is comparable with much, much more expensive courses.

VolunteersColombia, the organization with which WT partners in Colombia, has started a new program that only teaches in the national public colleges which is much more financially viable but has many kinks to be worked out yet. This program can be found via Atlas Corps. or Cultural Embrace.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
laurendoll
9/10

Just do it

WorldTeach Colombia was exactly what I was looking for when I volunteered in 2010. It began in January, giving me time to make some money after graduating college; It provided teacher and language training; and placed me in a country where not a lot of foreigners care to go. Very few people spoke English, so it was a great country to learn Spanish in.

I was placed in Barranquilla, Colombia, perhaps my favorite city of all time. While it is not beautiful by any means, it has an energy that you can't find anywhere else. Plus it has the biggest Carnaval in the world, outside of Rio.

Teaching was amazing. I co-taught at a local elementary school in a very poor neighborhood, teaching with local teachers. I can easily say that I felt I made a huge difference. The local teachers had a lot of heart, but could barely speak English and had no idea how to structure a class (like assigning homework that relates to what you do in class). So I had the opportunity to influence 200 students, but also improve the skills of the local teachers.

I loved my WorldTeach experience so much that I stayed in Barranquilla 2 more years and kept in touch with all my students and my school. If you want to help people, experience a new culture, practice your Spanish, and find adventure, this is definitely the program for you.

How can this program be improved?
I agree, clarity in contracts and a wider base of living situations to place people (making it easier to tailor living situations to people's personal preferences)
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
VanessaChalan
9/10

Experience of a lifetime

Although my experience in Colombia was not perfect, it was still a life changing experience. The staff of WorldTeach and Volunteers Colombia were amazing, helpful and supportive every step of the way. I had no idea what to expect from the program or the country. We started out with a 3 week orientation with the whole group and that was an experience I will never forget. We learned a lot about the program, the other volunteers and ourselves. I felt very prepared for the adventure I was about to embark on.

WorldTeach does an amazing job of choosing diverse but similiar volunteers with the same goals. Helping the citizens of Colombia to learn English and succeed in their lives.

The memories and friendships with both the volunteers, the program field directors, the students and the other teachers at my school will last a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?
I would never take back any part of my experience. My only regret is not staying longer when times got tough at my school. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who asked and would do it again in a heart beat.

My school was a different situation because they lost government funding and had no way to support our group halfway through the year. In this case it was very frustrating and sad. WorldTeach Colombia and Volunteers Colombia gave us options to transfer to other cities or even to Panama to continue volunteering at no cost to us. After a long time of thinking, I decided to come back to the States. I still often wonder what would've been if I went to a new program but no matter what happened, the 6 months I had in Colombia were amazing.

I even went back down for 2.5 weeks after to visit other volunteers and friends. I would go back to visit anytime I have the opportunity and this had led to me to other opportunities abroad. I am moving to Belgium in April and credit WorldTeach Colombia for this opportunity. This program inspired me and I will eventually be going to Graduate school to become an ESL Teacher and hopefully someday a porgram director.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
brighidtc
10/10

WT Colombia 2012

I had no idea what to expect coming to Colombia...and looking back, it's no wonder. I was a full-time English teacher to about 125 high school students for an entire academic year. I never once felt like I was volunteering - teaching was certainly the hardest job I've ever had. That being said, it was also incredibly rewarding from a personal and professional standpoint. I developed very strong bonds with students, fellow teachers, community members and friends that I will carry with me forever.
WorldTeach was extremely supportive and professional, keeping things as structured and smooth as possible in the Colombian context. Staff in the home and Colombia offices were exceptional. Entering a totally new profession in a foreign environment is just plain difficult, but was worth every moment.

How can this program be improved?
Clearer contracts with the partner schools
Yes, I recommend this program

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About WorldTeach

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...