WorldTeach Ecuador Global Education Fellowship

Video and Photos

About

As one of our inaugural Fellows, you will be on the front lines of international education and innovation, developing your professional skills and cross-cultural expertise while broadening your global network. Our first cohort of Fellows will live in Ecuador for 10 months. Fellows will advance student-centered and effective education practices in schools while driving our emerging conversation about globalization, education and national development in the 21st century.

This professional development opportunity is ideal for someone who has international academic or professional experience. The Global Education Fellowship is designed to deepen your ability to compete in the global marketplace.

Fellows will teach English at the primary or secondary school level and complete research projects on education and globalization, all while receiving extensive professional development. Placements for the fellowship will be in various rural areas in the Amazon and Sierra (Andres) regions.

Impact

Questions & Answers

Reviews

76%
based on 7 reviews
  • Impact 5.4
  • Support 6.4
  • Fun 7.6
  • Value 6.9
  • Safety 7.1
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
Nicole
8/10

New program

I had a great time working in my English teaching placement and living with my host family. It was the first year (and last) of this program and there were more than a few kinks. Much to work out but the basics were great! Some of the goals were not met because of the pilot and partner organizations. Overall, I would recommend world teach Ecuador because of their history and presence in the country! Their other programs are much better worked out!

How can this program be improved?
New partner organization. More time to develop systems
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Eliza
8/10

Unorganized

Ecuador is an amazingly beautiful country and everyone I met was extremely welcoming. The WT program was very poorly organized. In part due to inexperienced staff who couldn’t speak spanish well and partly due to partnering with the Ecuadorian government. I went there due to my interest in Education and research. However the research portion of the program was completely a joke. Basically we were just English replacement teachers so that the Ecuadorian teachers were less busy. If they had continued this program it could have improved and been successful

How can this program be improved?
More organization. Actually do what the program advertises with regards to research. Employees who know Ecuador well and speak Spanish.
No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Adriana
9/10

Dreaming of the Amazon

I have always wanted to visit the Amazon so when I saw an ad for a fellowship that would pay for me to teach there, I immediately applied. After going through the application, some recommendation letters, and an interview, I was accepted and decided I was leaving. I left the first week of December not knowing anyone in the program but excited to do some traveling post grad and reinforcing my Spanish skills. I love working with kids so teaching 2nd-4th grade was really challenging but ultimately, my ideal situation. I learned about patience, how hard it is to be a teacher, and how helpful the teaching community is (Ecuador has a Facebook specifically for English teachers!). I loved every part of my experience, being with the kids in the sweltering sun or pouring rain; going to every social event that was run by the teachers; traveling for almost an hour to reach my school site; doing lesson plans every week; running some English classes for my fellow coworkers; and getting accustomed to the Ecuadorian traditions that as a Peruvian, I had never heard about. There was definitely some stress in the lack of training we received; when I was put in front of my class, I felt unprepared and got really anxious. I think some changes could be done to the program like better planning and communication from the team, a longer training program, and working with the actual government to better the system as a whole as opposed to just tweaking the lesson plans at our school sites. I left feeling like I had a stronger connection to my language and my roots. I made really great friends both in the program and in my site and I would not have changed my location for any other place. I loved being surrounded by animals and feeling so in touch with nature. I would recommend this program to someone that has more experience teaching as I feel like many of us felt unprepared in our classrooms. Also, I think that those that do apply, should be conscientious of the privilege and space you are taking wherever you go, be it Ecuador or Ghana. Overall, I am really glad I did WorldTeach and really do feel like I left a piece of my heart in Tena, Ecuador.

How can this program be improved?
More training, higher stipend, better planning, open communication, a curriculum that helps English teachers as they are the ones that will be staying there in the long run
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Katharine
7/10

Teaching, Research, and Connections in Riobamba

This program came with the typical dysfunctionalities that accompany working or volunteering abroad (communication issues between local program and NGO, logistical problems, etc), but for the most part, the staff at WorldTeach were a consistent and supportive resource for me as I navigated my way through a school transition and moving to a different site placement. I spent the majority of my eight months in the province of Chimborazo where I lived with a host family and taught at a school in a neighboring town. Teaching in Ecuador comes with unique cultural challenges, but it is really up to the volunteer/fellow to adjust and accommodate to the needs of the local teachers and students.

Ecuador is one of the most vibrant and diverse places I have ever visited, and it was relatively easy for me to travel throughout the country during my time there. One element of this program that did fall short for me was the research component, there was little guidance from WorldTeach and it ended up being a self-directed, independent project for most fellows. Otherwise, living in Ecuador changed my life for the better. I made life-long friends and still keep in touch with my host family. Increased Spanish fluency will come with the experience, but you'll have to be intentional about not spending too much time talking to your English-speaking (or your respective language) friends and family. If you're considering choosing Ecuador as the country where you want to work, travel, or volunteer abroad, it is really one of the best options.

How can this program be improved?
The fellowship could be improved by having a more training-intensive orientation and better communicated expectations and mediums of accountability. This program met my personal needs but I know that for several other fellows the lack of oversight and support in academic research and teaching led to a weaker experience.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ariane
9/10

WorldTeach Ecuador 2013

I spent 8 weeks teaching in a rural community in Ecuador. I was placed with a fantastic, welcoming host family who made me feel very comfortable and eased my anxiety about my language level. The community, while small, was also very nice. I was placed near three other volunteers and was able to plan excursions on the weekends with them.
On the teaching side, I'm not sure how much of an impact I had. First of all, the school had a hard time placing me. I didn't know what grade levels I'd be teaching and what my schedule was until I was in the town for at least a week. Then, I had no idea what previous volunteers had worked on with the students, so I had no idea where to begin. As the community was remote and didn't really have a store, I didn't have many materials. Internet was available at my host family's house but otherwise was limited. I am a math teacher in the States, so I really had no clue how to begin teaching a language. I basically worked on greetings, colors, food, animals, etc. I do not think that my teaching the students helped them learn much English.
While I think I learned way more than my students, my experience was awesome, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about other cultures!

How can this program be improved?
More guidance, preparation, and materials for teachers. Resources about language learning would have been helpful, and goals for what to teach students would also have provided guidance.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Benjamin
10/10

Break even financially, but earn so much more

I went to Ecuador with WorldTeach back in 2004-2005. My plan had been to find a program in South America so I could learn Spanish, but everything would cost me money ("volun-tourism"), even for short programs. Though WT does charge an administrative fee, this includes in-country support and I did receive a small salary while working. WT is great. It's a lot like the Peace Corps but (1) it's only a 10-12 month commitment and (2) it allows you some choice in where you're assigned. Once I settled on the program in Ecuador (my choice), I was assigned to work in Guayaquil (not my first choice). Initially I was really apprehensive about everything I had read about that city, but the Field Directors who knew the country so much better than I did, were great in making that assignment. Guayaquil was fantastic. WT set me up with a host family, whom I loved. There were a couple of other volunteers in Guayaquil with me, and when one wanted to change families (she didn't like the location), they helped her find a new residence. WT also provided another volunteer with a monetary advance when his school failed to pay him on time. The first month consisted of a country and teaching orientation and then we went out to spend the rest of the time in our host cities/schools. Some people had more remote locations (eg, the surf city of Montanita) and some, like me, were in big cities (eg, Quito, Loja, Ambato, Cuenca), or near them (eg, Vilcabamba). We had access to teaching supplies, but the level of support while actually teaching varied by school. We had 2 Field Directors in country with us who provided constant support and visited us/our schools every so often. We had mid- and end-year retreats to reconnect with our other volunteers and compare stories (and have fun). Great program. Felt supported. Totally recommended.

How can this program be improved?
Would like more help developing curriculum for teaching English. It was hard to teach entry-level English when I didn't speak Spanish; I would have been more useful, I think, teaching a higher-level class.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ari
2/10

Mixed Emotions but Mostly Harmful Experience

The program boasts about being around for nearly 20 years but still does a good job of making you feel like the experience is happening for the first time for everyone. The orientation was fumbled. Volunteers were often bored during presentations because the information was redundant or not very helpful. Some volunteers got lost walking around the city due to the lack of preparation on part of the staff, which is very dangerous. The home placements is a draw but can be nightmare-ish. For example, I was extremely flexible with preferences except for a strong allergy to cats and to my surprise, I was placed with cats. I was blamed, then moved to a hostel and then moved to another home. For the first 3 months no one was paid until well after the fact which naturally caused problems at the home. So on top of the fee, make sure to bring at least $3,000. I know the program gives vague suggestions on the amount you should bring but just bring as much as you possibly can because they won't help you out financially. Actually, overall the program is vague is how I would describe the program. Vague with key details, disorganized, non responsive. They push the saying "flow like water" and "resilience" to place the responsibility on volunteers to respond passively when they're met with disorganization, misinformation, and peril.

What I wish I knew: Essentially this is a staffing agency. Foreigners work as cheap labor. The program has no true interest in supporting volunteers with anything related to teaching, curriculum, etc. They bring you to work for universities. That's it.

Most importantly, it is dangerous. I have been robbed at gun point, beaten, groped, suffered physical and psychological injuries. I was still forced to work at night. Violence is normalized so there was no empathy from the program/universities. Colleagues were drugged, robbed, beaten by folks dressed as cops, sexually assaulted, attempted kidnapping. They gloss over protection and due process because they do not respect volunteers enough to take the seriously. Once they have your money, you're treated like a nuisance (e.g. Smaller incident, one volunteer had an allergic reaction and needed help and they just told him there wasn't enough time to deal). So there's a concern about capacity and a sincere empathy issue.

I know the application process is roses because they are responsive and nice but please don't allow yourself to be duped. If you are still considering, just go expecting not to receive support, in all honesty.

There are some fun times. The schedule allows you to take up other interests and sometimes travel. However, please keep in mind that you have about 2-4 hours worth of paperwork and planning so the 4-hour work day is more realistically 6-8. No big deal if you love teaching, but just a heads up. It's important to note that I loved my students, my final host family and some of my colleagues became really great friends. The country is beautiful but you can also enjoy it without the drama.

If anyone has questions, please feel free to comment or send in your email address so I can give more details and/or support. I'm really focused on telling the truth so you can make an informed decision.

How can this program be improved?
Stop taking applications. Revisit your goals, priorities, strategies and resources. Become honest about the limitations and damage you have done. Find that you may not have the capacity to do this work. Close.
Response from WorldTeach

Dear Ari,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us and pushing us to work more diligently towards improving our efforts.

Please accept our sincere regret that you did not have a positive experience. We’re normally known for our exceptional support and regret that we missed the mark with you.

As volunteers are the heart and soul of this organization, I take comments such as yours seriously and will use it to improve our efforts. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me directly at 857-259-6646 or [email protected]

Thank you again, Ari.

Best of luck in all your future endeavors,

Mitra K. Shavarini

No, I don't recommend

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...