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Volunteer Teaching in Guyana with WorldTeach - (past program)
91% Rating
(11 Reviews)

Volunteer Teaching in Guyana with WorldTeach - (past program)

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

Guyana, a Caribbean nation, is the only English-speaking country in South America, making it the perfect teaching abroad destination for those interested in teaching a variety of subjects. The Ministry of Education works with WorldTeach to sponsor volunteers to teach in Guyana. Volunteer teachers will be able to teach a variety of different subjects, with a special focus on mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology. Once you arrive in Guyana, you will be placed in a public school based on your skills and interests and the school's needs. Volunteers receive a stipend of $225 USD/month to cover living expenses in Guyana.

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.

Locations
South America
Teaching Practicum
No
Job Placement
No
Currency
USD
Other Locations
Various

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Benefits
    87%
  • Support
    85%
  • Fun
    82%
  • Facilities
    86%
  • Safety
    82%

Program Reviews (11)

Default avatar
Meena
Female
32 years old
Orlando, FL
Pace University

A Fulfilling Experience

10/10

As a native Guyanese, this was a unique, but quite rewarding experience for me. The WorldTeach admin officers provided excellent support, and while the conditions in the country were not ideal, knowing that I was making a difference was well worth the minor discomforts. The other teachers in the school are helpful, for the most part, and the students become quickly attached. Some may find several school practices rigorous and perhaps too structured, but approaching the experience with an open mind and not trying to change the system (too much) is a more productive use of a volunteer's time. Life is Guyana is slow. A volunteer should make friends with the locals; listen to their advice if they say to stay away from a certain person or place; become very familiar with the local stores in the villages and the vehicles that go around selling vegetables; and make sure that a seller does not inflate prices. Foreign products are available in Georgetown, but they are quite expensive. A volunteer on a stipend needs to budget carefully. The riches a volunteer may experience in Guyana are not of monetary value, but it is a learning and fulfilling experience that will stay with a volunteer for a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?

There should be more communication between the Department of Education and WorldTeach. At times, it seemed as if we, the volunteers, were left to do our own thing or figure out what to do on our own in the schools. There could be sample syllabi from the schools so there is a smooth integration of what the students' are used to and what the volunteer can offer.

Default avatar
Guyana
Male
24 years old
United States
Other

Guyana was great but the Worldteach program was not professional.

4/10

I enjoyed Guyana very much. I even took addition jobs after my program was over. The people were fun and friendly.

Despite my efforts I'm sure I did not make a lasting impact on the education of my students. The conditions at my site turned me into more of a babysitter then a serious educator. But my understanding is that this is typical of these types of programs.

Worldteach ended their program midway my year. They cited safety concerns but in my opinion it was obviously budgetary reasons. It was very embarrassing to be part of an organization that dropped its responsibilities.

In addition, we received poor training and inaccurate information about our placement sites. I had to rely on a lot of help from the local community when I first arrived to just get the basics for survival. I felt like a foolish tourist not a professional.

I voted "would not recommend" for this program for the above reasons. But I do not regret my time there. If you choose to go, bring extra cash. Also be sure to check your privilege and be extra kind when asking the locals for assistance.

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this very important review. WorldTeach has been working in Guyana since 2006, when the Ministry of Education first invited us to help address the educational needs that they had self-identified. In 2008, we closed the program due to a local security threat in Guyana, but then we restarted the program the next year after the situation had improved. The safety of our volunteers is the biggest priority, and therefore the security of each host country is constantly being analyzed. It is extremely unfortunate if programs have to end or temporarily close due to the security situation, but it is the deciding factor. We take our responsibilities in each country very seriously, but both the WorldTeach organization and the in-country partner consider the safety of the volunteers to be the most important priority.

Our in-country partners provide the majority of funding for each program, and the Ministry of Education in Guyana is extremely dedicated to having WorldTeach volunteers, therefore they pay over 80% of the cost required for each volunteer, and the volunteer covers the remaining financial commitment (for Guyana, the volunteer fee is $1,690).

I am sorry that you felt that you received poor training, this is unacceptable. WorldTeach highly values the training and support system we have in place upon the immediate arrival of the volunteers. During orientation, volunteers receive teacher training, language immersion and health and safety briefing. Volunteers must be flexible because housing and school placements can often change at the last minute (at the needs of our partner schools). And once in their placement, the volunteer should and will work with their host community in order to learn the ways of their new environment. While this can be challenging, it is often the most rewarding part of the entire WorldTeach experience.

Thank you so much for addressing these very important issues with us.

Default avatar
Kelly
Female
32 years old
New Orleans, LA
University of Missouri- Columbia

Guyana

8/10

Guyana's education system is in tough shape. I worked in a community high school, so I was with the students who did not pass their entrance exam into middle/high school. My 6th grade students had very basic or no reading and writing skills and corporal punishment was a daily reality. This was a very challenging work environment.

How can this program be improved?

More support and training before and during the teaching experience would have been helpful.

Default avatar
Sara
Female
42 years old
DC
George Washington University

Definitely Teach Abroad!

10/10

The communities and people of Guyana welcomed us immediately. The schools are needy but the students appreciated you being there and trying your best to help them. You will hope you taught your students at least as much as you learned from them! It was an experience that I will forever be grateful that I chose to do!

Default avatar
Mariah
Female
24 years old
Richmond, Virginia
Christopher Newport University

The Land of 6 [Hospitable] People

9/10

WorldTeach is a great organization that is supportive on both the teaching and living fronts. They help develop the volunteers teaching ability and experience while also supporting living arrangements. Guyana is a small underdeveloped country that is the unpolished gem of South America and the Caribbean! It is overshadowed by the big tourism countries, leaving it untouched by industrialization. Guyanese, as a whole, may be stand-off-ish at first but are always welcoming! Also, once integrated into the community, they treat you like family. My students found out I love roti and pickled mango (unrippened mango and peper sauce) so they would bring some for me if they had extras at home! The students may be challenging at times, but it was easy anyone would do it! Patience and flexibility are musts when converting between the fast paced American life to the laid back Guyanese culture! Overall...Guyana will take you in and make you fall in love with it and make you never want to leave!

How can this program be improved?

I would improve the pre-departure what to pack lists. I brought a bunch of things I never used and when working with a weight limit, it's crucial to pack efficiently. WorldTeach sets you up well for what this experience is!

Default avatar
Amanda
Female
32 years old
Pittsburgh, PA
Ithaca College

World Teach Guyana Year

10/10

I probably tell too many stories about my experience in Guyana. Years later, the year I spent teaching in this country continues to be one of the most important aspects of my life and the person I have become. I was shaped by the experience I had living and teaching in this country and the obstacles I had to overcome to do so.

Default avatar
Kiara
Female
24 years old
NYC

A once in a lifetime experience

10/10

I taught 7th grade science and 8th grade information technology at a school near the country capital. It was AMAZING! Not only did I get to mold the minds of a countries children, but I was able to learn a lot from them and about myself along the way. The program helps be realize that education is my true calling and now I'm teaching in NYC. I will NEVER forget this experience and my students :)

Default avatar
AnnE.
Female
32 years old
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University- Baton Rouge

If you like a challenge

10/10

Life in the hinterland of Guyana presents quite a few challenges daily. The good thing about challenges is they are usually followed with rewards. The day-to-day wonder if there would be water or electricity always helped to add excitement. Every task was so simplified it helped provide perspective on different parts of life. The students are excited to have volunteers and for the most part enjoy them. I will not lie to you and tell you these kids are angels. If you want a challenge, the Guyanese classroom is the place for you. Even after my worst situation in the classroom, I would go back and teach those students again in a heart beat. Being so far away from the capital and really any officials there were issues getting important things taken care of. They were always but it was usually quite the ordeal. It is just apart of being a satellite. Not all programs in Guyana are hinterland most are actually around bigger towns. Now in Guyana cell phones and electricity are much more available. In our little village we had electricity, kind of. It's run on a generator for the whole village, so there are many issues there. Also, most people has a blackberry, so you can get on the internet, blackberry internet that is. One of my favorite things about Guyana is the laid back, slow pace of it. It's nice to be able to slow down and really appreciate the moment. This program through all it's up and downs was a wonderful experience and I would do it again in a second.

How can this program be improved?

More time at mid-service to work on issues in the classroom.

Default avatar
t&c
Female
42 years old
Taupo New Zealand
All Hallows College

Rural Guyanese Amerindian Village

10/10

One of the best experiences of our life, full of laughter, challenge, new friendships, hardship, and joys. Living in rural Guyana was definitely challenging! But you can't beat fresh pineapple and mangos overflowing from your porch (as thank yous from the community). We'll never forget the dissection frogs coming alive in the middle of the night (if kids brought them to our house "dead" they could get out of a written test). We learnt to be flexible (the water pump that was supposed to run each day sometimes when 12+ days without working, we didn't get our first paycheck until 6 months into the programme), innovative (teaching computers with no electricity!), and creative (trying to teach science lessons with just a few beakers and no running water. It wasn't easy but it was one of the best years of our lives! We were really remote (no electricity in the village at the time although it was promised to arrive any time) up a river 10 hrs by boat. Sharing 3 phones with the whole village was interesting. It really was a year of appreciating the simple things (lots of book-reading!) and realising that life is more than modern conveniences and each day truly is a gift!

How can this program be improved?

Just realising that many Amerindian villages are quite reserved, so you don't fully connect with the community until near the end of the stay. We signed up to return for a second year too late and our position was filled. So, choose carefully in May if you want to come back or not. The actual programme was great and provided much more support than other programmes in the area.

Default avatar
BigUp05-06
Female
32 years old
Den Haag, NL

You won't regret it

9/10

Overall: The year I spent teaching in Guyana is one of my proudest and most challenging endeavors-- something I speak warmly and highly of even 7 years later. I was part of the first group of 25 volunteers in the pilot program (2005-2006), so in many ways, we were World Teach trailblazers in our school and community. To those that came in the following years, you might find this hard to believe, but as I'm sure you saw, change takes time. I attribute these early growing pains to some of the lower ratings. To future candidates, you don't want to miss out on this experience. It's truly like none other and the daily, non-tangible rewards are abundant.

My school near Georgetown, despite a recent World Fund grant, had many short comings including broken desks and benches; no chalk or teaching aids; books few and far between; not to mention an uninspiring headmistress, lazy teachers and rude children. Somehow despite these odds, you manage to corral your class into listening and learning for one period. And before you know, the dry season (first trimester) has passed and it's Christmastime and your students start asking you, "Miss are you coming back?"

Over the 11 months, you will undoubtedly encounter the seemingly most frustrating experiences like getting paid your salary on time, pushing to get a seat on the minibus on market day, no water/electricity days, little communication with home/the outside world. And before you know, it's the rainy season (second trimester) and you've figured out where the best/cheapest place is to buy tennis rolls and mangoes; how to comfortably sleep under mosquito netting; gained an appreciation for handwritten letters; and your students are excited for Mashramani celebrations.

In between all the teaching and the frustrating parts, you're learning too. Not only do you learn about another beautiful, unique culture and people, but you learn a lot about yourself through the difficulties and in stillness of simple, "unplugged" living. You travel by bike, boat, foot, minibus, and twin propeller plane to remote places of Guyana like Kaiteur Falls or to the coast to help with leatherback turtle conservation; you visit and laugh with your volunteer friends; or even a trip to the nearby Caribbean. And before you know it, it's time to go home. And if you're lucky enough, you have touched the lives of one student; you have new friends to reminisce with for years to come; and you know how to make a spicy curry/roti.

Default avatar
Kia
Female
42 years old
nyc
Other

Guyana- Home Sweet Home Away From Home

10/10

EACH DAY YOU CAN EXPECT TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW ABOUT YOURSELF AS WELL AS THE STUDENTS YOU TEACH. I TAUGHT AT TUTORIAL SECONDARY IN BERBICE AND BARTICA SECONDARY IN BARTICA. AT BOTH SCHOOLS I HAD GREAT EXPERIENCES AND THE HEAD MISTRESSES WERE TOUGH YET VERY CARING ABOUT THEIR STUDENTS AND FACULTY.

I WAS PROVIDED WITH THE MATERIALS THAT I NEEDED AND ALL I HAD TO DO WAS MOLD THE YOUNG MINDS FOR THE CXC EXAMS.

IT WASN'T ALL A BED OF ROSES THOUGH. THERE WERE TIMES WHEN I JUST WANTED TO STAY IN BED AND LISTEN TO THE ROOSTER SING AND HEAR THE COW GRAZE BY MY WINDOW RATHER THAN DEAL WITH MY HEADMISTRESS OR THOSE BAD KIDS. THERE ARE JUST TIMES WHEN YOU FEEL "OVER IT". BUT YOU STILL DRAG YOURSELF INTO WORK AND BY THE END OF THE DAY YOU REMEMBER THAT YOU REALLY ARE FOND OF THOSE KIDS AND THE HEADMISTRESS ISN'T THAT BAD...

CHALLENGES OF THE COMMUNITY-
EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYONE. EVEN IN GEORGETOWN PEOPLE KNOW WHEN YOU ARE FOREIGN. I THOUGHT I WOULD BLEND IN MORE HAVING FAMILY IN GUYANA BUT THEY STILL KNEW I WAS FOREIGN AND THEY ESPECIALLY KNEW IF I ASKED A QUESTION. YOUR ACCENT WILL GIVE YOU AWAY ALL THE TIME. WITH THAT BEING SAID CONTRARY TO WHAT I RECENTLY READ ON TRAVEL.STATE.GOV THINK GUYANA IS VERY SAFE AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN SCARED WANDERING THE STREETS OF STARBROEK OR BARTICA AT NIGHT. PEOPLE ARE GENERALLY FRIENDLY AND LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER WHICH IS VERY UNLIKE THE US (SPECIFICALLY NYC).
ITS TOO HARD TO JUST THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU DID IN A YEAR BECAUSE YOU NEVER REMEMBER EACH DAY YOU JUST REMEMBER MOMENTS IN TIME THAT STOOD OUT TO YOU THE MOST, I.E. YOUR FIRST DAY, GETTING USED TO STUDENTS CALLING YOU MISS AS IF ITS YOUR NAME, FINDING YOURSELF USING WORDS LIKE SKYLARKING, SHY(AS IT SHY THE BALL TO ME), TENESSE (NOT THE STATE- IT MEANS THE BLEACHERS), DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY WITH THE LOCALS (INCLUDING STUDENTS WHO ARE OFFERING TO BUY YOU ALCOHOLIC DRINKS- NO AGE LIMIT TO DRINK), MASHRAMANI, PHAGWAH, EGG BALL & CHANNA FOR LUNCH W A COKE, SPORTS DAY (AKA SPORTS MONTHS), CXC EXAMS, REGATTA, LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, AND LASTLY CRYING AS YOU SAY GOOD BYE TO YOUR NEW GUYANESE FAMILY.

SO IF YOU CAN'T TELL I STILL LOVE GUYANA AND I LEFT THERE IN 2007. I VISIT WHEN I CAN AND YES THE STUDENTS STILL CALL ME MISS. IT FEELS SO NICE AND ITS GREAT TO SEE THAT YOU LEFT AN IMPACT SOMEWHERE AND THAT YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A GREAT TEACHER TO AT LEAST ONE OF YOUR STUDENTS.

GOOD LUCK! I HOPE YOU ENJOY GUYANA AS MUCH AS I KNOW I DID!!

About The Provider

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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 serve as volunteer teachers around the

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