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English Opens Doors 2011

 
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chicagojohn



Joined: 28 Feb 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:49 pm    Post subject: English Opens Doors 2011 Reply with quote

Hi Everyone

I am applying for the English Opens Doors 2011 program (May - November). Anyone else applying? Any alumni with advice for the application or other general advice?

I am thinking of doing this program until November and then trying to branch out to a different country (Ecuador/Argentina) to teach English for pay.

Thanks!
John
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Dia



Joined: 09 Apr 2008
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had a few friends that did the English Opens Doors program. They all liked working at the schools they were placed at, and enjoyed working with the kids and doing some extra activities with them that they were asked to do. But none of them were doing it as a way to earn money, and the stipend would not go far at all if you were using it as an income.

Some of them felt like they weren´t being challenged or used by the schools as much as they might have been.

If you´re looking to do this as part of a more long term teaching career you might be better off looking independently for a school to work at. In the long run you are still helping the same overall goal of improving the English level in Chilean schools.
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Don Alan



Joined: 11 Dec 2004
Posts: 150
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is a good way to get more experience while not being totally dropped in the deep end in a different country. I worked successfully in schools in Chile but it isn't at all easy and being an assistant rather than the main teacher would be a better way to ease yourself in.
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chicagojohn



Joined: 28 Feb 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information guys. Teaching English abroad isn't really a long-term thing for me, so I think that the program is the best choice (especially when I hear teaching in Chile isn't very easy).
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japanart1234



Joined: 03 Dec 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:05 am    Post subject: English Opens Doors terrible. Reply with quote

I gotta say, I just finished the English Opens Doors program. Well actually I finished back in December but I'm still in Chile.

I really love the country and the people are very friendly, its a safe(ish) country. The stipend doesn't go very far and you WILL be using your own money, but not that much.

That being said, English Opens Doors sucks.
The kids are the usual and the co-teachers are fine, overall its like teaching ESL in any public school (I've taught in Japan and Korea).

The problem is the homestay part. Sure, some people got great families, but the vast majority of volunteers were placed in horrible places.

They give absolutely no thought to where you want to go or your lifestyle. For example: A gay guy was placed with an intensely super devout family. Some people had to change host families 3 or 4 times. Sometimes the family members steal from the volunteers, yell, are violent, etc. And the support for problems is terrible. My regional support sent me emails and called me right up until I did the survey, after that I didn't hear from her for months, even when I called and emailed her. They told some people to go find a place to live themselves, using the paltry stipend and housing allowance, if they had problems. Not enough.

Want to be in the desert? Too bad, they'll put you in Patagonia. Want to be in Patagonia? To bad, they'll put you in Antofagasta. Want to be in a big city, well, you get the point. I was left wondering, why not just switch up the Patagonia guy and the desert guy? Wtf?

At the end of the program when we all met up in Santiago again it was a non-stop comparison of horror stories. Thinking about how people were at the beginning of the program, aftewards everyone was subdued, quiet and kept their distance.

The strange thing is that I absolutely love Chilenos. So I kept asking myself, what went wrong? With all these great people here, why did so many volunteers end up miserable? The conclusion I came to is that there must a bit of typical Latin American laziness and procrastination going on. My own co-teacher just asked the other teachers at the school "who wants to make some extra money with a boarder?"

Indeed, my host family had absolutely no interest in the US, English or me. They made no effort to help me with my life or Spanish. They fed me noodles and beans, but on the weekend had grand asados (BBQs) at the grandparents' house. The mom had side businesses and her friends were always trying to sell me things and pissy when I didn't buy. In the end I had to move out. I'm far from being the only one with this type of story. Most were much much worse off. Volunteers dropped out in droves.

So, long story short, if they could spend a little more time and effort in finding good families for the volunteers it would have made so many people's lives better.

I certainly wouldn't do it again, nor recommend it to others.
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Higo



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for posting such a candid review of the program. Too often on these boards I read "PM me". And I get it, nobody wants to have a mod ban them, or ruffle feathers. But if we can't share the truth with each other, what's the point in having a forum?

So thanks again for the candor and honesty. I've considered EOD before...now I'll just keep on looking.
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Dia



Joined: 09 Apr 2008
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given the above information, I realized something else might be relevant to my above (otherwise on the positive side) comment... The (3, i think?) people who I knew that did the program joined it AFTER they were already living in Chile with Chilean families, and therefore avoided the whole host family issue. Another I knew was placed, but she didn't talk about living situation much.

Usually volunteers dont get much choice in where they work, but from what I understood the people I knew contacted EOD saying they were already living somewhere and didnt plan to relocate, but asked if perhaps EOD would have need for them in the place they were already living. I think the housing stipend then got passed on to the family where they lived (though I do believe there were some requirements to be met).

Anyway a living situation can really affect perception, its too bad they apparently arent managing this part well.
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