I had high hopes for this program, as I was dropping over $3,000 for the course, flight, immunizations, etc. I signed up for the TESOL Plus program for June of 2013, which meant I was supposed to receive extras besides the basic program, like a host family, spanish classes, and culture classes (it was also $700 more). However, I didn't even get some things that I initially paid for in the basic package.
LanguageCorps says that assistance with a cultural exchange visa is included in the basic program, however- you actually have to pay the partner institute (EIL) if you want them to sponsor you and assist you with the cultural exchange visa. In addition, they will only do this for you if you end up working for a school in which they partner with (It's confusing, I know). I ended up going with this option, and very much so regretted it. EIL was very disorganized, the staff didn't really know what they were doing, and we had to make numerous additional and unnecessary trips to the bank for our bank account, ministry of foreign affairs, SRI office, etc. due to the disorganizion and lack of communication. We even got deducted pay from the private school we worked at for all of these trips. Not only that, but because of the type of visa, we had to pay about $100 monthly and taxes and health insurance (which was already provided by the school that we were working for). Unless you stay in Ecuador teaching English until April, you lose all the money that was taken from you for taxes.
The Plus program also claims to include Cultural Awareness classes, but that literally consisted of a one hour lecture on culture. There are no excursions, tours, or anything like that included. They literally talked to us about living with our host families and gave us a map of Quito. We only had Saturdays and Sundays to explore the city and that was very difficult considering the courseload. They have many assignments due on Saturday afternoons which makes it hard to fully enjoy your weekend. Do not anticipate having time to take any trips as well while you're doing the TESOL course. The spanish classes the week before the course were great however, and I enjoyed them. The funny thing is they make it seem like they are going to put you in a class based on your level. However EIL stuck everyone in the same spanish class regardless of level.
The Plus program claims to include a re-entry package upon return to the United States. This was never provided, and it's still unclear to me what it even entails.
Besides relying on EIL for our cultural exchange visa, there were other issues we faced with them. While I was lucky and had a great experience with them for my host family, my best friend did not have such luck. Her "host family" consisted of two 23 year olds with a one year old baby, and no internet in the apartment. They would also make her late to classes, wouldn't come home until after 10 p.m. some nights, and yelled at her in front of their entire family for accidentally letting a towel fall on the bathroom floor. We even confronted the director of host familes at EIL and she said, "These things happen. Maybe buy them some chocolate". I kid you not.
The information on LanguagCorps' website is also very outdated. I know for a fact it hasn't been updated since 2012 (that is when I first started looking at their programs) Also- If you can live somewhere in Ecuador for $100 a month, it must be the jungle or some remote mountain town. Expect to pay minimum $200/300 in a small town, and $400/500 in cuenca or Quito. The beach is even more expensive. The pay can range from $800-$1000+ depending on where you work. Universities are where you really make money.
Overall, don't believe everything LanguageCorps has to say. Do your own research about Ecuador - however know that there still is very little online when it comes to resources. My friends and I found out the hard way that it's very much who you know. So if you can get to Ecuador through a program, it makes it a lot easier to adapt and get to know the country before having to just live on your own. However, I wouldn't do it through this program. It's misleading, outdated, and their partner school- EIL- isn't very dependable either.