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

90%
based on 30 reviews
  • Benefits 8.8
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.7
  • Facilities 9.1
  • Safety 8.2
  • Instruction 8.7
  • Support 8.9
  • Value 8.5
  • Difficulty 6.3
  • Job Assistance 6.8
Showing 16 - 30 of 30
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Nina
10/10

Best year of my life.

I was an Ecuador volunteer in 2011 and had one of the most challenging and best years of my life. The field staff and WorldTeach were always there to support me and truly cared that my students and I had a worthwhile experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

How can this program be improved?
Bring the cost down.
Yes, I recommend
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Lisa
7/10

Great program

Living in Ecuador was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was young - 21 years old - and had no understanding of the difficulties of living in a developing country before I left. WorldTeach was absolutely the right program for me - it was one year long, had good orientation support, and placed me in a definite position. Without them, I don't think I would have made it. It was the most important experience of my professional life, and I'm now 34 years old :)

How can this program be improved?
If it were better funded, volunteers could go more cheaply, and with more support. However, there are few funding sources available, and they make diamonds out of coal with what they have.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Heather
10/10

Best year of my life

My experience with WorldTeach in Ecuador was amazing! It really was the best year of my life. I learned so much from the experience and it really changed my outlook on life. WorldTeach is really great at helping you prepare for the experience by providing a lot of helpful reading materials before you go and connecting you with current or previous volunteers. The month long training when you first arrive in country was a great way to adapt to the country and helped with the tradition. I absolutely loved living with my host family and while not everyone has that same experience it is a great way to really engross yourself in the culture. If your experience with your host family or teaching placement isn't great then the WorldTeach in country staff can be really helpful with helping you work through it and fix the situation.

How can this program be improved?
We had multiple people in our program that wanted to extend but only a few opportunities for extension. I would have loved to see more opportunities for extension.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Amy
10/10

Manta, Ecuador

I was placed in an apartment with two other WT volunteers - Manta is a great city and living right by the beach was an incredible bonus! The people of Manta are friendly and, teaching at the university, I immediately had a ton of friends around my age. The poverty is somewhat difficult in the beginning, but I wouldn't change my experience for anything - it was life-changing!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Katie
10/10

Life Altering Experience

I loved my year in Ecuador, but it did have extreme ups and downs. Living in a developing country is challenging, especially as a single woman. But I believe the challenges are also what make it incredibly rewarding. It's because of WorldTeach that I decided to start a career in TESOL, and 7 years later, I'm still not regretting it.

In my time there, the strongest asset WT had was its in-country staff. They were there to help with anything and everything. I felt safer and truly supported because they were there at any time of the day or night, ready to accept my call.

The hardest part of living there is the crime. I spent the entire year never feeling entirely safe. That said, however, the worst thing that happened to me was I lost 20 dollars from a pick pocket. Use caution, and you will have a truly wonderful year abroad.

Yes, I recommend
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Melissa
9/10

An enlightening, exciting experience

I lived with a lovely host family in a town in northern Ecuador, where I taught at a city-run school. I taught 3 1.5 hour long classes a day, Monday-Thursday. I had never taught before, but there was so much support from the yearlong volunteers and from the field staff. I had time to travel around on weekends all around the country (arguably the most beautiful country in the world) and to meet so many amazing people. I would highly recommend this program!

How can this program be improved?
Mid-service conference seemed a little unnecessary, but nice nonetheless
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
9/10

WorldTeach Ecuador

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience with World Teach in Ecuador. There were parts that were easy and fun; there were parts that were difficult and frustrating. If you decide to do WorldTeach Ecuador, go into it knowing that you have no idea what your experience will be like, but it will certainly be an experience. The volunteers who had too many expectations of their job, their homestay, their city, of learning Spanish well, and so on, were the ones that were disappointed. Adaptability is important in Ecuador as in many countries of the world.

It has been mentioned in other reviews that Ecuador can be dangerous. This is certainly true, but you can and should adopt certain kinds of precautions and strategies that will keep you safe. It's better to find ways to skirt the dangers than just stay at home saying something like, "Oh, I thought of going to Ecuador as a volunteer once, but didn't."

Other reviews have mentioned that their jobs changed while they were there. Though that is not common, it could happen. Unfortunately, some things are beyond the control of WT staff. My job was dissolved about six months through my term for various reasons, but I was able to get another job through WT, and as a result was able to live in two very different regions of Ecuador, which was a blessing.

The Ecuador WT staff were great. They promptly responded to problems and concerns of volunteers. They provided a good orientation with information about Ecuador and teacher-training sessions. Best of all, I always found them caring and concerned.

Going to a country like Ecuador as a WT volunteer should not be about your expectations of what you think it will be like. But if you are open to experiencing Ecuador as it really is, you should have a great time with WorldTeach Ecuador.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, it would be the homestay requirement. I think that homestay should be optional.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
BPS
9/10

Looking Back with No Regrets

I was a WT Volunteer in Ecuador from 1998-1999 and it was a life changing experience - probably one of the most challenging years of my life, with no regrets.

I chose WT b/c it was a one-year commitment and I could choose the country to which I applied (unlike Peace Corps, for example). I didn't like the idea of a fee, but at the time it really was the best option for me based on what I wanted out of an overseas experience. After college I was living at home and saved my money; I also fundraised part of the fee while simultaneously recognizing that not everyone has the luxury to partake in a program like WorldTeach because of the costs.

The one-month training was excellent and the field staff at the time was top notch. In early 1998 Ecuador went through some economic/political upheaval and there were many strikes. When I returned 2 years later to visit, Ecuador was using U.S. dollars, to give you some context. There are definitely safety issues in Latin America, and they were increasing in Ecuador over the course of the year I spent there because of the economy. Safety and security risks depend on your level of comfort and street savvy but should not deter you!

I taught at a university in Ambato, a medium sized town. There were other volunteers in my town which was great in terms of having support. We didn't hang out all the time, so there was plenty of time to spend with my host family and get to know the community a little better while still feeling like I was not completely isolated. I taught 4 or 5 classes a semester to both beginning and advanced learners. I really grew to love my students and became close with a few of the teachers that worked at the university.

Being a WT Volunteer really gave me confidence, a better sense of direction for my career (international education), and experiences I will never forget. I felt like I learned about the world and about myself in a way that I have not experienced since (I was 23 at the time, so that could have been part of it).

I am very well-traveled and Ecuador is one of the most beautiful countries I've ever been - it has everything including the mountains, the beach, the culture, the color, the history, delicious food, friendly faces! It is also full of pain and poverty, dirt and grit, a slower pace, and people just trying to have a better life.

I think WorldTeach is a great organization. What you will probably find by reading these reviews is that people had quite a range of experiences. And this is the TRUTH about WorldTeach, Peace Corps, and any other organization - it all *depends*. Are you ready for the challenge? Because life doesn't go as planned, and the question is: can you make the most of it? The second thing is this - what is the best organization for YOU and WHY. It might be WorldTeach and it might not. Contact people, do your research and learn to live in ambiguity - because nothing in life is guaranteed.

I know that I wouldn't be who I am had I not served as a Volunteer in Ecuador and I hope you find a way to live and work overseas - it's amazing!

Yes, I recommend
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o2bnecuador
8/10

WT Ecuador is Fantastico!

I decided to join WT when I realized that Peace Corps was not a good fit for me. WT was an excellent way to get myself abroad, with a built-in support system, a training program to prepare me since I had little experience teaching, a job and house lined up, and someone to call on when I needed help. If you feel comfortable going abroad without any of these luxuries, then WT might not be the right fit for you.

I found the WT staff to be helpful and responsive. There are so many things that are out of their control and they do their best to accommodate all the volunteers' needs. They work tirelessly for their volunteers, host families and partner institutions.

Ecuador is an amazing country with amazing people. Yes, it can be a little dangerous sometimes--mostly pickpocketing and nonviolent muggings. Not fun but not unusual in most countries where WT operates.

My best advice--check your expectations at the door. Be ready for a lot of red tape ("tramites" in Spanish--you'll learn that quickly).

Yes, I recommend
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IbarraChica4Life
9/10

WorldTeach Ecuador--Just do it!

WorldTeach Ecuador is a long-standing, well established program. I was very impressed with the wealth of information provided to me upon leaving the U.S., as well as once in training in Ecuador. The program directors were super organized and I felt very comfortable in their care. The country has certain places that are very safe and others that are much more risky. I felt very well aware of my boundaries and well supported by the WorldTeach program should anything happen. I LOVED my teaching site in Ibarra, northern Ecuador. It was the perfect medium size city with plenty of restaurants and places to go, but not overwhelming. My school was beautiful, and very helpful in welcoming my co-volunteer and I to the school. We were given resources left from the previous volunteers which served to be very helpful during our year. We could teach as we were trained during our orientation month, and we were very successful in the style of communicative teaching. I also adored my host mother and felt very connected with the culture thanks to my living situation. I recommend living with a host family and sticking to it, regardless of different lifestyles. It's worth the immersion! Going to live in Ecuador has proven to be the best decision of my life thus far, and I would do it again in a heartbeat if I could. Just do it!

Yes, I recommend
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Ecuador2011
4/10

Ecuador - Expectation not met

I found Ecuador to be very dangerous with the majority of volunteers robbed by the end of the program. There was not a need for volunteers at my school because there were paid teachers that did the same job and were paid more. Bad host families were used over and over again by WT Staff.

Response from WorldTeach

We are disappointed to hear that your expectations of our program, and of the country of Ecuador, were not met.

An unfortunate reality of working in marginalized communities everywhere, in the US and abroad, is that they are often deeply affected by corruption and crime. Notwithstanding, WorldTeach works to ensure the safety of our volunteers through awareness, training, and emergency action plans and response protocols.

Likewise, we continuously assess the appropriateness of school and housing placements through three annual volunteer evaluations as well as in person site visits and weekly check ins with each volunteer.

We value your feedback and encourage you to reach out to us at the head office ([email protected]) with your thoughtful suggestions for improvement.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
KRTFK
10/10

WorldTeach extender loves this program!

The experience of coming to Ecuador with WorldTeach changed my life in amazingly positive ways. This type of program is for anyone who is dedicated, wants to teach, wants to integrate into the local community, but is also looking for support from an awesome in-country staff. Wonderful program!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
TEB88
9/10

Review from a 2 year WT Ecuador Volunteer

I knew upon graduation that I wanted to spend at least a year abroad. A friend told me about WorldTeach, and although admittedly teaching made me nervous, I decided to apply.

I was placed in a medium-sized city on the coast and initially taught English at a trade school. The demographic of my students ranged from adolescents to working professionals. It was not a course that was mandatory; therefore, my students were there because they wanted to be.

After my year with WorldTeach ended I knew that I was not yet ready to leave. I loved my students, had a great volunteer internship at the local hospital, and was not yet ready to leave my host family. I applied for an extension and after it was approved, I got the chance to work help pioneer a new site in my city.

Yes, I recommend
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ecuadorianadventures
5/10

Great... Until it's not.

WorldTeach Ecuador was great for training. Orientation can be tedious but is very informative, it runs all day (8-6) five days a week. Afterwards, you return, exhausted, to your Quito homestay families. Or, on some days, go and get a Pilsner with some of the group. By the end of it, I felt over prepared. I felt like I knew how to teach, plan without a curriculum, and had a wonderful support group of friends. I think Worldteach Ecuador is a great organization until something goes wrong.

Less than three months into my year I was terminated. Not because of my actions, but because WT had problems within my school. My university is slightly corrupt, like most places in Ecuador, and I understood the decision until I wasn't given another placement.

Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador, was my only option. A person from my group terminated because the situation at the school was so terrible there, he was unable to teach. I was not willing to give up my dream of living in the Andes to move to the big and sweaty city (not to mention dangerous) and have to fight to be able to teach. When I said no to Guayaquil I was terminated.

I paid over $5,000 for those three months. I got to keep my return ticket back, and luckily, found a job on my own. I stayed in close contact with my WT friends and watched as they attended midservice and end of service. I have been in Ecuador for 1.5 years now, living and working at a school without the help from WorldTeach.

And I wish this was an isolated incidence. I have watched as this has happened multiple times in the new WT groups.

I would have never come to Ecuador without WorldTeach , and for those who didn't have problems, it was a great program. For those of us who did, however, it was $5,000 for a month long ESL course.

Response from WorldTeach

We are happy to hear that you found the WorldTeach training relevant and comprehensive and that you found the support of the group of your fellow volunteers valuable. We are also thrilled to see that you remained in Ecuador to live and teach. Though you didn't fulfill your dreams to live in the Andes through our organization we are sincerely glad to see that you were able to make it happen by your own means.

Though it's been some time since you left your review, please contact us at the head office ([email protected]) if you'd like to discuss the details of how your service in Ecuador came to a close. While we'd love to be able to bypass red tape and bureaucracy to guarantee that every volunteer will have a picture perfect experience, unfortunately, we are only a small group of individuals working within imperfect systems. Nevertheless, through your proactive engagement with us, we can identify ways in which we can improve to help ensure positive experiences for future volunteers and ultimately a greater impact on the students we serve. We look forward to hearing from you.

No, I don't recommend
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MollyC
10/10

yo

I feel WorldTeach is a really wonderful option for someone wanting to go abroad and volunteer in a 3rd world country for the first time. The support of World Teach is outstanding in the US and then out in the countries where the vols are. The orientations you are a part of really prepare you for all that you are about to witness and interact in. They truly prep you and continue to support you with checkins throughout. And even after your stay is over, the WT Alumni group is very close knit and well organized, updating you on new countries WT is working with and even announcing jobs that are available in WT's US offices and abroad. WT was my first experience in a 3rd world country and I continue to be so grateful for them. I met some really incredible people in Ecuador thanks to them.

Yes, I recommend

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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...