• El Salvador
    • San Salvador

Program Details



Price Details
We ask volunteers to contribute a $100 program fee which is used to assist in training costs and transportation for weekend excursions. This also guarantees 2 weeks of our intensive Political Cultural Program for volunteers.
Apr 14, 2016
Mar 03, 2016
6 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

The mission of the Centro de Intercambio y Solidarity (the CIS) is to promote solidarity and exchange across borders between Salvadoran people and others in the search for development and dignity. The CIS works to promote and strengthen a culture of solidarity that implies accompaniment, respect for the equality of different cultures, and mutual support between people.

We focus on using different strategies to promote a solidarity that creates the space for grassroots organization for Justice and Dignity. We operate on a model of innovation and participation. Both Rural and Urban opportunities are available, with youth as well as adults.

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.75
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Value 4.25
  • Safety 4.5
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Before starting a real job, I needed to leave the US

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have preferred a little more structure or guidance on what to teach, but the program is working on this.
80 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience teaching abroad

In the US, I teach English to adult immigrants in a couple of settings. One is at a community college, where the context is academic ESL. The other is at a community agency where the focus of the curriculum is survival/acculturation. I was looking for a way to try teaching abroad, and my preference was for a community-oriented curriculum rather than ESL as preparation for academic work. Furthermore, I knew that although I didn't want to be commited long-term, neither did I want to be part of a stream of travelers, each willing to teach for a week or two.

CIS has been a great way to satisfy both of my criteria. First, the curriculum at CIS is focused on the social issues of El Salvador today. Since the teachers in the English school are all from outside of El Salvador, CIS provides constant opportunities to visit to places, participate in activities, and discuss El Salvador past and present. CIS was a great way for me to learn more than I could on my own with a guidebook!

My second wish was for a stable teaching/learning environment. CIS has fixed cycles, which has been great. There's time enough to feel at home with the curriculm and to get to know the students. Many of the students have attended the CIS English school for several cycles, advancing from one level to the next. CIS fosters a sense of community which extends from cycle to cycle, so the teachers feel welcomed into a 'family' at the school.

81 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Discussed important topics to me and learned Spanish

Teaching English and Social Justice at the CIS is a great way to spend time in El Salvador and provides a great oppotunity to learn Spanish.

I had taught some English before as a volunteer, but I appreciated the training and experience. The students became my friends and class involved discussing issues I was passionate about and gave me the opportunity to learn Spanish at a discounted rate. The CIS kept me as busy as I could handle, and when I wanted more time to myself, I just opted out of some activities.
In the 9 weeks I studied Spanish, I learned a lot not just about language, but El Salvador, Latin America and life.
I made lifelong friends and the homestay I was provided will always be my Salvadoran mom and sisters.
The things I learned in El Salvador have changed my perspective on life.

84 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I love teaching and learning at the CIS!

I came back to El Salvador after my first visit as a participant on an election observation delegation because I wanted to improve my Spanish and I heard good things about the CIS. After a few weeks in classes - which were great - small, personal attention, skilled teachers - I found out that CIS depends on volunteers to teach classes in the English school. I signed up and I've been living in San Salvador and volunteering at CIS since the fall of 2012. The CIS program is really great- teaching and learning language in both Spanish and English classes through engagement in exploring social issues relevant to our hemisphere. Each cycle has an extensive orientation for volunteers and continued support and weekly teacher meetings as well. The volunteers tend to be under 30 or over 60 - and it's fun to have the age diversity and the various experiences that people have in the mix. Most of the volunteers come from the USA, Canada or the UK. Although El Salvador has issues with security, the CIS is very thoughtful about helping volunteers stay safe and healthy. Volunteering at the CIS is a great way to learn about the country and make friends with Salvadorans. The afternoon cultural program also provides visits to many historic places and communities outside the city- and there is an opportunity to visit some of the projects CIS coordinates in a number of local areas around the country.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the CIS does a good job of finding people low-cost housing, orienting participants to the day-to-day life in San Salvador and getting started in our work. The internet has been hit and miss - but has recently been improved - but sometimes can be a frustration. When I first started I didn't really understand the full scope of the work that CIS does and we are trying to improve that by giving people an overview of all the programs during the orientation.
71 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers