I've just got back from my 3 months in Ecuador, and wanted to give you some feedback on my trip.
I had a fantastic time! Ecuador has so many diverse regions, (climate, natural features, people and culture) within easy reach of Quito. The natural beauty is amazing, particularly the Galapagos which is worth every cent of the expensive trip. The people are really friendly, and when they realise that you are learning Spanish, speak slowly and really help you to learn, not only the language but about their lives and country (without making you feel stupid).
Speaking Spanish really helps you to get to know all sorts of interesting and kind people, and to find out about local events/culture/thinking that you would not otherwise know.
To give you some structured feedback, I'll give you the real positives (of which there are many), and the areas for improvement in the program. Please feel free to copy my mail to Patricia as I don't have her address.
Patricia, the local co-ordinator, is a really bubbly, enthusiastic and friendly person, who speaks excellent English (and of course Spanish). From a people perspective she is just the right person for the job. Particularly in delicate or urgent situations she is really responsive to help
The trips arranged by the school, (to the market, old city and museum), and Salsa, were good to orientate, learn about the history and culture, have fun and meet other people
My teacher, Isabelle, was excellent. She balanced giving me all the necessary grammatical theory, with practice and with insights into Ecuadorian life. She was strict but fun and friendly. The course book is also really good. I learnt as much as I had hoped for in the time I had, (particularly going from a zero base).
I really enjoyed my volunteering with the Laura Vicuna home for street kids. My first week was tough, as expected, as I struggled with speaking Spanish, and also the kids need some time to get to know you and trust you.
My 2nd week I went to the coast with the kids on their holiday, and it was a great time to get to know them (spending 24 hrs a day).
My 3rd and last week was even better, and I was really sad to leave.
I hope this helps. I hope to go back to Ecuador, and will definitely recommend the beautiful country and your program to others (in fact I already have!). Thank you so much for helping me to have this great experience.
Help meet the need for teachers on a spectacular island. Teach English and music, crafts, sports or foreign languages – whatever you feel comfortable with. A great way to contribute while learning about a new culture.
Make the most of your trip to Latin America by learning Spanish. Experienced teachers will set up role-plays and organise cultural visits and classes to make your stay as authentic and enjoyable as possible!
Brighten up the lives of children who are largely left to fend for themselves. Organise activities, encourage them to keep healthy and show them someone cares. You’ll also be supporting children who attend school.
Volunteer to help to rehabilitate injured and abused animals from all over Ecuador. This project is a fantastic opportunity to work with exotic wildlife and to safeguard the future of many endangered species.