WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in Ecuador

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About

WorldTeach has been serving in Ecuador since 1991, partnering with different organizations and institutions over the years, all of whom personally requested and helped fund WorldTeach volunteers. There are several placements in the WorldTeach Ecuador Year teaching program. These include Quito, Riobamba, and other cities within the Sierra region, where participants teach English to students ranging in age from children to young adults and motivated professionals in local colleges and universities.

The Ecuador Year program includes the opportunity to obtain accredited Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification.

Qualifications:
  • Native-level English speaker
  • Between the ages of 18 and 74
  • Flexible, open-minded and patient
  • Bachelor's degree

Questions & Answers

While I served quite some time ago, I believe the commitment is still 1 year. There was a summer program at one point so that could be an option depending on if the fit is right for you. Check their website. Quito has a fair amount of NGOs if you wanted to try to set up your own sort of assignment. You should be able to do internet searches, etc. to figure that out.

Reviews

89%
based on 31 reviews
  • Benefits 8.8
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.7
  • Facilities 9.1
  • Safety 8.2
  • Instruction 8.5
  • Support 8.8
  • Value 8
  • Academic Rigor 6.4
  • Job Assistance 7.1
Showing 1 - 15 of 31
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Russell
6/10

WorldTeach - Ecuador 2008-09

The experience of teaching abroad is one that I would not trade. It is rewarding beyond any tangible measure and helped to mold me into a great teacher. That being said, were I to do it again, I would have more carefully scrutinized the programs that I considered. WorldTeach, while it provided a beneficial experience, could have done more to support me as a volunteer. I feel that there are other programs that offer a more comprehensive training program designed to better prepare their volunteers to run a classroom. While we did receive close to 100 hours of training, I did not feel prepared to succeed when I was given my classroom. However, if you view the initial mistakes that new teachers make as an inevitability, then you should not be deterred. I knew that I would make mistakes, but I did not feel incredibly well-supported to understand and evaluate them, and ultimately use them to improve.
I found that one drawback to the program was the wide variety of teacher placements. There was too much of a difference in the teaching loads, institutional support, and stipend pay across volunteer assignments, even within the same city. I was unlucky with my placement in that I ended up at a school with the lowest pay, least vacation days for travel, and a less than ideal daily schedule. While one school in the same city had 8 week terms with a 2 week break, my school offered 10 week terms and a 1 week break. The former school also paid approximately $100 more per month. While I did not enroll in this program to make money, the stipend that I received was not enough to get by each month and I had to use my savings.
My daily schedule was to teach a two hour class from 7am-9am and 6pm-8pm, five days per week. The 8 week school, as a comparison, offered classes closer together and teachers did not teach on Fridays. These stark differences only caused me to envy my fellow volunteers who were lucky enough to teach at that school.
I can look back on the experience with mostly fond memories, but there is some definite room for improvement. The students were of course the most inspirational and memorable part of the experience. I also learned a great deal about perseverance, grit, and self-reliance through this program. Overall, it was an incredibly valuable experience, if not always fun.

How can this program be improved?
Instead of having the host institution pay its individual teachers, they should pay WorldTeach so that they can average the stipends and pay the teachers equally. The pay inequity was a source of strife. WorldTeach can lean on institutions to improve the teaching schedules to be more favorable, or at least consistent across host institutions. Work with the government to increase the number of hours volunteers can work from 20 hours. It is not enough to fill your day, and it would void your visa to work more. I had days to fill with no money or activities. That was a great challenge.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jeff
10/10

Life Changing Volunteer Opportunity

I was at a crossroads in my life, two years out of college, close to completing a two-year job, looking for the next thing, when I met someone who had recently returned from a year in Costa Rica with WorldTeach. I immediately sought more info and decided to apply to the Ecuador program. For a very reasonable fee the organization provided a month of training in Quito, placed me with a family in a small town, found a school for me to teach at, visited during the year, and provided a mid year and end of year training. My experience in Ecuador was otherworldly and life changing and led me to pursue an advanced degree and to pursue an international career. The program is demanding. There are volunteer hours you need to complete before departing the United States. The teaching schedule is demanding. More is expected of you than the other teachers. But it was a very rewarding experience seeing how I could help impact others and it certainly led me to an interational career.

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

WorldTeach changed the course of my life!

WorldTeach definitely changed the course of my life in the best way possible. I arrived in Ecuador with zero Spanish and very little teaching experience. Now, two years later, I still live in Ecuador and work for another organization 50/50 in Spanish and English. I keep in contact with people who were my students while I was with WorldTeach, and I still see my host family regularly. I would definitely say I lucked out by finding this program because when I knew I wanted to go abroad with an organization and possibly get my TEFL I was overwhelmed with options. Some of my favorite memories from my time with WorldTeach range from visiting the jungle with my host family and playing with monkeys, watching one of my least confident, lower level English students graduate at the end of my service, and getting to know the incredible mix of cultures and landscapes that Ecuador has to offer. The friendships I made, my personal and professional development, and the deep love I've developed for Ecuador are some of the best things to come out of this experience for me.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Deirdre
10/10

Ecuador Year

I loved my year teaching with World Teach. The volunteer requirements leading up to my departure really helped prep me for teaching English. Once I was there, the the month of Spanish language courses and Teaching English classes were excellent preparation for my year teaching English. I felt so supported both acclimating to my new home and in my growth as a teacher. I made so many great friends and had such a rich experience professionally and exploring Ecuador. I really liked The approach they took to working with and immersing yourself in the community.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Phillip
9/10

Just Go

This program was perfect for a someone like me. It gives you enough freedom to really find yourself and plenty of guidance if you are confused or lost. The month-long orientation was extremely helpful. It is crafted to make you feel as comfortable as possible with your new environment, new language, even with your new colleagues. My field directors were really cool people. They don't act like parents or bosses. They do whatever they can to make sure you are safe and sound. And in extreme cases, they will stop what they are doing an come to your site to assist you. All of this is to say that my transition to into my new situation was smooth thanks to this program.
Be prepared to work. When I arrive at my site in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, I assumed I would be a teacher's assistant or work with children in the community. Some of my colleagues did get those types of assignments, but not I. I was given the responsibility of a university professor. Structuring curriculum, grading papers, assigning project, uploading official grades. It was a challenge but a welcomed one. You've been warned.
Then there's the culture. Man, oh man. Culture. It's everything. Your new world will change the way you food, language, friends, family, humor, love and everything else.
I highly recommend this program to anyone, like I, who is reluctant to begin working right out of college and you think you might like teaching, or, in the case of some of my colleagues, you just want to try something different.
I'm still here, by the way! Five years after my initial journey, I still live and work in Esmeraldas. I am now a full-time professor with benefits and have an Ecuadorian wife and son. So, just go! If your heart is in the right place, it could change your life forever

How can this program be improved?
I believe that the traveling restrictions put on volunteers gives them a warped view of the country and the people. As adults we should be able to travel when and where as long as it does not interfere with our volunteer duties. The night traveling ban complicated everything.
Yes, I recommend this program
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ROSETTA
10/10

Oh Ecuador!

What an amazing experience to be able to teach and live in this new culture for a year and see a whole new perspective of life. I learned so much about the culture and the people, and I grew stronger as a person, learning how to overcome cultural differences. One year with World Teach and I became such a different person - all for the better. Everyone needs a year abroad, and maybe the world would be more accepting and tolerant. Thank you World Teach.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Rajni
10/10

Change your life forever in one-year abroad

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 this program
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Olivia
6/10

Worth it for a new traveller

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 this program
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Amy
10/10

Once in a life-time experience

My year teaching English in Ecuador with WorldTeach changed everything for me. My parents say they think I learned more in that year than I did in my 4 years of college. I came into my own that year - I learned how to trust myself, how to navigate delicate cross-cultural interactions and how to face my fears. On top of everything else, the experience teaching English was a stepping stone towards my Masters degree in International Education which has led to 15 years of working in the higher education sphere.

I taught English in Ecuador 20 years ago. I am still in contact with a ton of my students from that year and still think of Ecuador as a second home. The WorldTeach structure and format made the experience accessible and achievable.

Response from WorldTeach

Hi Amy,

Thank you very much for sharing your review, and we're so glad to hear WorldTeach was such a positive and life-changing experience for you. We especially love your parents' insight :-). Many of our volunteers have continued on to higher education in the field, and it's great to hear that you've benefited from your experience with WorldTeach in your career.

Thanks again Amy!

Best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend this program
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Vanya
9/10

WorldTeach Ecuador

This program is an amazing fit for anyone looking to spend some time away from home in a rich cultural experience in South America. Ecuador is an incredible country where I have now spent a year and a half teaching, learning Spanish, loving the cuisine, exploring the country, and making lasting connections with friends and the community. I came to Ecuador planning on staying for only a year and ended up enjoying it so much that I decided to extend my stay. I am currently applying to medical school and am thus definitely leaving in August, something that will no doubt be very bittersweet. However I will be leaving with the knowledge that I have a second home; a place that has taught me so many invaluable lessons that I plan to use in my future career. I highly recommend this program!!

Response from WorldTeach

Hi Vanya,

Thank you for leaving this review and sharing your positive experience with us! It's great to hear from someone who extended their stay as well (a not-uncommon occurrence among WorldTeach volunteers :-). Congrats on your applications to medical school!

Thanks again Vanya,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend this program
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Warren
9/10

Year in Ecuador

I lived in Quito and worked at the university as a volunteer English teacher. I loved my experience all around- I learned so much about myself through the process that I finally figured out what I want my future to look like and the career direction I want to pursue. My host family was amazing and I really improved my Spanish during those five months. The second half of the year I lived in my own apartment with some other teachers and really got the full Quito experience. There was a ton of time to travel because every two months you have at least a week break between cycles. You have a huge responsibility to your students so you should definitely come into the program with a desire to teach and learn how to teach well with help from your field staff and other volunteers. Field staff were great and always available to help us with whatever we needed! Very approachable.

How can this program be improved?
The monthly professional learning communities were not always helpful. It became more of a meeting to do paperwork than to actually improve in-class teaching methods and learn form one another. I would suggest making it more informal and cut down on the beauracracy.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jon
9/10

A year in Portoviejo

The Worldteach Ecuador program gave me a great stepping stone to transition from the corporate world (the dark side of the force) to a new life of independent education-related work. The support, program structure and homestay all ensured that the experience would be a valuable one - and one that I would never forget. Learning Spanish on the hoof and travelling around as much of the country as I could added to the learning of a new culture and alternative perspectives on life.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Betsy
10/10

A Formative Experience

I went to Ecuador right after college with WorldTeach. Though the year was anything but easy, it continues to be one of the most important experiences of my life. I had some trouble with my host families and had to move several times. Each time the program director was very supportive and helpful. I also had a bit of trouble with my teaching placement, but again the program director was very supportive and helpful wit the change. Those were some of the challenges, but now almost ten years later I still reflect on Ecuador as one of the most important things I ever did. If you decide to go it won't be easy, or maybe "fun" all the time, but it will be something that really changes you and forces you to really think about yourself and the world around you. Ecuador was the place where I realized that I wanted to be a teacher. I applied to grad school from in-country and I'm still an English Teacher today. Even if you don't think that you will continue to teach after completing the program the experience is completely worth it.

How can this program be improved?
WorldTeach does a great job with their programs and I highly recommend them to anyone wishing to have an experience abroad.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tara
9/10

Don't Miss this Great Opportunity

I'm currently a WorldTeach volunteer placed in Ibarra, Ecuador. Although I have not finished the program yet, I can say that the program has done nothing but impress me. The program is very well organized and does a good job in helping volunteers prepare for teaching/ adjust to Ecuadorian life. The field director is helpful and very well informed. I currently have nothing but good things to say about the program. As a word of caution, this program has a big emphasis on teaching. If you want to travel constantly during your stay here, this might not be the right program for you. Also this program unfortunately has a program fee. If there one thing I would say could be improved it would be more funding to help volunteers with the cost.

How can this program be improved?
Program could be funded to cut down program cost. Would be nice if details pre-departure were sent to volunteers earlier.
Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much Tara for taking the time to leave this review. You are absolutely right that this program has a volunteer fee, and a high one. We have been in Ecuador since 1992, and historically it has been one of our most expensive programs because our in-country partners have only been able to give so much funding. We are currently finalizing a new contract that will provide significantly more funding, starting in 2015. Our placements will change, resulting in all volunteers teaching at one university in Quito, and the program fee will be reduced from $4,590 to $1,750.
Thanks again Tara for taking the time to leave this review. Enjoy Ecuador!

Yes, I recommend this program
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E
10/10

Highly recommended

If you're looking to volunteer abroad while still having an incredible support system, this is it. There was amazing support from start to finish and WorldTeach (WT) was there for every small and big issue that arose.

Because you come into the program with a cohort, you enter a foreign place with 30ish new friends. Some WT volunteers were the only volunteers in their cities, but in my city, there were 2 other WT volunteers. These 2 people are two of my best friends now.

When I first got my placement, I was a little upset because I really wanted to be in Quito (and I was placed in Ambato), BUT, clearly they saw the right fit, and in the end, they were spot on, this really was the perfect fit for me, and I wouldn't have done it any other way.

Yes, of course, there were days that were really hard, but in the end, I had an amazing experience that altered my career path for the better. And I couldn't speak more highly of the WT program itself.

Yes, I recommend this program

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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...