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Teaching in Ecuador
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ForProgress



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 14
Location: United States

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 4:49 pm    Post subject: Teaching in Ecuador Reply with quote

Hi all,

I have a Bachelor's degree, and intermediate Spanish speaking skills, but I don't have a TEFL or anything like that. Here's my plan: In 3 months (September) move to Ecuador for a year and teach English.

My goal: Become fluent in Spanish

My questions/problems:

1. I'm trying to teach english as a Volunteer through a program, but all of their prices seem SKY HIGH. Like, $3,000 for 12 weeks. Are there any programs that are more affordable?

2. When I move to Ecuador, where will I stay? Are there hostels, or cheap places I can live at until I get on my feet?

Thanks guys! And I'd appreciate it if we kept the conversation around S. America.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 904

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look for a job with one of the big mills like Inlingua or English First that offer free or heavily subsidised Spanish and cultural lessons (usually in Spanish) to their teachers. They don't insist on certification, and may also help you arrange accommodation. If not, it's easy enough to find somewhere once you are there, either a flat share or long stay hostel if you prefer. Do be aware that teaching English is not a great way to improve your Spanish. You will be surrounded by English speakers, you will speak English all day at work, but if you make a real effort to make local friends it can be done. If you want to volunteer there are plenty of real and free volunteer opportunities on the ground once you are there.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1133
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your primary goal is to improve your Spanish (and I understand that, that's what drove me to my first EFL job--also in Ecuador--in 1995) then I suggest you do that. A pay to volunteer program should offer you room and board as part of the service you've paid them for. Maybe you should cast your net a little wider than just teaching English. If I may ask, what was your BA in? and what if anything do you see your self doing after your year in Ecuador? And how is your year in Ecuador and the Spanish ablity you are hoping to develop going to contribute to your long term goals. I googled the words Volunteer Ecuador and found programs costing less than you mentioned, which include room and board and support services in a wide range of projects, one of which might actually interest you more than teaching English if you are not looking to make a career as a language teacher.
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ForProgress



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 14
Location: United States

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MotherF: I have found one volunteer position that sounds great, and that is affordable. But they didn't appear to be plentiful. So I'll search for more on the internet and see what pops up.

I got a B.A in Film. After my year in Ecuador, my goal is to find some work where I can use my Spanish skills, while simultaneously studying for the LSAT so I can attend Law School.



HLJHLJ: Thanks for the wake up call. I realize now how teaching English would not be the best way to improve my Spanish. I was under the impression that I could teach English 4-5 hours a day, and the rest of my time engage with the Spanish speaking community and thus greatly improve my Spanish that way. After reading your post, I feel more inclined to seek other things to do in Ecuador first, and potentially having the Teach English idea as a backup.

When you say, "there are plenty of real and free volunteer opportunities" - do they also provide accomidation? Because free is awesome, but if I have no where to live, and no way to eat, that's not good!

Thanks guys.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 904

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You would have to provide your own accommodation, no-one is going to pay you to volunteer in Ecuador, not even expenses.

Labour is plentiful and desperately cheap, they can pay someone local to do the work for less that it will cost them in accommodation for you. (The exception is people with certain skills (legal or construction usually) that happen to be needed for a specific project).

There are some true volunteer positions around, usually in the rainforest teaching English. They are immersive situations, but typically you will be immersed in a local/native language, not Spanish. Also, the conditions are not for the faint hearted.
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just_a_mirage



Joined: 11 Nov 2008
Posts: 160
Location: ecuador

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your biggest issue, if you want to stay for a year, is to find a place that will get you a visa. Most do not have the resources to do that. You can get a six-month extended tourist visa on your own that will allow you to work, but for a year, you will need to find an agency that will get your a volunteer visa if that is what you desire to do. One possibility teaching-wise is CEDEI in Cuenca. They provide culteral exchange visas, but you wont make a ton of money with them. Cuenca is a lovely city though, and attracts many gringos. Others, including EF also offer culteral exchange visas, but it may be difficult to get one if you do not have any teaching certification.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8999
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 11:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Teaching in Ecuador Reply with quote

ForProgress wrote:
Here's my plan: In 3 months (September) move to Ecuador for a year and teach English.

My goal: Become fluent in Spanish


They don't mesh. If you want to become fluent in Spanish, you need to study Spanish, not teach English. FYI: definitions of fluent vary. I've used Spanish daily for 7 years, studied it for more than half my life and I wouldn't consider myself fluent at all. Other peopel would. I wouldn't.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9402
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on the person I guess...I found teaching English very helpful for learning Spanish, and found lots of opportunity to learn by the immersion. I consider myself fairly fluent...I found I learned better by immersion than by the classroom though.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8999
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I scored high on Praxis and the other test you need, ACFTL, in order to be certified to teach in the US. Got a perfect on the listening, which was SO slow. So I'm good enough to be classified as advanced as well as teach Spanish K to 12 in the US. Still, don't consider myself fluent.

Guy, ever done the DELE?
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9402
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I've never ventured into teaching Spanish (beyond working with my kids at least).

Side discussion here - what do you consider to be the the turning point to fluency? I consider myself conversationally fluent. My listening skills are high, my reading skills near perfect. My Spanish writing skills are not very good for lack of practice/need.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8999
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guy Courchesne wrote:
No, I've never ventured into teaching Spanish (beyond working with my kids at least).

Side discussion here - what do you consider to be the the turning point to fluency? I consider myself conversationally fluent. My listening skills are high, my reading skills near perfect. My Spanish writing skills are not very good for lack of practice/need.

Oh, were hijacking the topic Shocked

For me, fluency would be when my Spanish is on par with my English. That is to say, like you I couldn't write a formal paper or give a formal speech. That being said, my vocab is fine, I can understand anything, pretty much.

Also, culture is an issue, I hate hate hate Ud. My grammar is iffy as well, but to be fair, you hardly use all the grammar tenses they have.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9402
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Also, culture is an issue, I hate hate hate Ud. My grammar is iffy as well, but to be fair, you hardly use all the grammar tenses they have.


Agree, and that's a lot of what I say I'm fluent on. I'd probably have some trouble in Spain or Chile, but Mexico I have down pat. I struggled with some Cuban while there but overall did fine.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8999
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guy Courchesne wrote:
Quote:
Also, culture is an issue, I hate hate hate Ud. My grammar is iffy as well, but to be fair, you hardly use all the grammar tenses they have.


Agree, and that's a lot of what I say I'm fluent on. I'd probably have some trouble in Spain or Chile, but Mexico I have down pat. I struggled with some Cuban while there but overall did fine.


Fluent in ? Wink

You plan on taking the DELE.
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DebMer



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 211
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:
I scored high on Praxis and the other test you need, ACFTL, in order to be certified to teach in the US. Got a perfect on the listening, which was SO slow. So I'm good enough to be classified as advanced as well as teach Spanish K to 12 in the US. Still, don't consider myself fluent.

Guy, ever done the DELE?


Nature Girl, how do the DELE and the CSET compare as far as content and international usefulness?
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9402
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both in and on work in this case...but you're right for the context we're using.
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