I came to Central America to learn some Spanish and gain teaching experience. I just finished my undergraduate in international business and entrepreneurship in December, so I planned to have more international experience before settling down into a real job in the States.
Initially I felt the website was a little sketchy and was weary of a scheme to get me out of $100, so I e-mailed and talked to the staff a little bit before filling out the application. I loved that CIS has language exchange and works with local entrepreneurs and took the risk. I am generally against paying to volunteer and CIS allows the freedom to pay for housing/meals on your own, so I appreciate that. I'm glad I found this program, and would have not preferred it any other way. I have made great friends here, gotten a little bit of a tan, and have accomplished what I came here to do.
Teaching has been a great learning experience. I am always nervous speaking in front of groups, but I have grown close to my students and have enjoyed conversing about social issues with them. I spend an hour or two prepping each class and 3 evenings teaching a week.
Overall this experience has been wonderful! Everything has exceeded my expectations. I have been able to live in El Salvador for a lot less than if I were still in Oklahoma, the discounted Spanish course is great. I'm in a class with only one other student. The weather here (in Jan-Mar at least) is perfect with no humidity. There are beaches, volcanoes, bars, and good food to stay entertained while here. The group goes on many excursions which are around $20-30 a weekend for the ones further away.