From tropical jungles to the volcanic landscape of the Galapagos, Ecuador is an enticing, exciting country. The colonial Spanish influences are evident throughout the country, particularly in the stunning cities of Quito and Cuenca, but take a trip into the villages and you will be amazed by the native Amerindian cultures that still flourish in the Amazon basin.
There is a real chance to make a difference to the lives of children here in Ecuador, where education and the ability to speak English will transform their lives.
Teaching will involve assisting teachers in the classroom, teaching English and helping organize extra-curricular activities. We have one exciting opportunity to teach music in Cuenca. There is another placement in Quito to work with children who have musical talent but no financial means to learn to play an instrument.
We also offer a unique placement to teach English to a community in the Andean cloud forest. This is an isolated but beautiful organic farming community home to about 40 families. This is a fascinating, demanding and very rewarding project where you will stay in Yunguilla during the week and return to Quito at weekends.
Caring placements involve working with children in care, with physical or learning difficulties and street children. Volunteers will be based in a state school for children with disabilities and will help with teaching, caring, gym, dance, art and anything else the children want them to do! If working with street children, volunteers will be involved with teaching, helping with homework, art and writing a newsletter.
All volunteers will live with a host family whose son or daughter is volunteering in the UK. You will therefore be included in all family activities and it is an excellent opportunity to be part of the Ecuadorean way of life. Living with a family is also the best way to learn Spanish and when you leave you will have gained a second mum, dad, and brothers and sisters who you will never forget!
Is it for me?
If you are up to the challenge of helping a variety of different students while learning a new language and becoming immersed in a completely different culture then Ecuador is for you. Volunteers must be mature and behave in accordance with their host family’s rules. It is also necessary to have a good intermediate knowledge of Spanish before arrival. If necessary, volunteers will be required to attend a one or two week language course in Quito before starting their placements.
All the placements are in the sierra where the altitude is over 2,500 meters! This requires you to acclimatize when you first arrive. Placements are located in or near Quito and in Cuenca, an attractive Spanish colonial university town about 10 hours by bus from Quito. We also have placements available in Yunguilla, in the rain forest north of Quito.
Volunteers have the opportunity to travel around Ecuador during school holidays and after their placements. Ecuador is environmentally diverse and an adventure traveller’s dream destination.
You can take in Incan culture, get close to iguanas and tortoises in the Galapagos Islands, trek up active volcanoes or straddle the Equator. Spend time in Quito and Cuenca where Ecuador’s colonial past comes alive through festivals, art and culture. If you’re there at Christmas you must not miss the Pase del Nino Viajero that takes place on Christmas Eve in Cuenca.