Ecuador is a country synonymous with diversity. Although geographically small, Ecuador’s four regions are home to some of Earth’s greatest biodiversity. Ecuadoreans reflect this distinctive diversity within their regional cultures; however, values like friendliness and hospitality are to be found throughout the country. As a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV ) in Ecuador you will have the opportunity to collaborate with Ecuadorean communities while gaining experience living and working in this rich geographic and cultural tapestry.
The goal of the Peace Corps Ecuador TEFL program is to collaborate with Ecuadorian teachers to support students in public schools or universities to develop communication skills in English that will help them access further academic and/or professional opportunities that can contribute to the socioeconomic development of Ecuador.
The specific objectives of the program are:
1. Increase the capacity of teachers to use general and English teaching skills.
2. Increase the capacity of teachers to use gender-equitable practices in the classroom.
3. Increase English proficiency of English teachers.
4. Increase achievement of students in English.
5. Increase the ability of community members to support students’ access to learning.
Activities could include the following:
•Co-planning and co-teaching activities promoting communication and critical thinking.
•Training English teachers in new methodologies, subject content, resource development, and learning tools.
• Improving English language skills to increase access to academic and technical resources published in English in the Universities.
•Promoting language classes as a tool for improved quality of life and employment opportunities.
•Working with local teachers to design English teaching plans that are gender-equitable and relevant to students' lives.
•Creating opportunities for professional development via conversational language workshops.
•Developing extracurricular classes or clubs for youth focused on gender empowerment.
•Organizing and working with community groups to implement needs-based development projects.
•Offering English classes to community members.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with Secondary Education State Certification in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or Foreign Language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or Foreign Language with 6 months classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or Foreign Language Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English, Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Master of Arts in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Master of Arts in English as a Second Language (ESL), Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), Master of Arts in Teaching a Foreign Language, or Applied Linguistics
• Master of Education (M.Ed.) with graduate or undergraduate concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or Foreign Language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or Foreign Language
• Experience living and working overseas
• At least 3-6 months' experience teaching
Required Language Skills
Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below to be considered for this position.
A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish
Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).
While TEFL Volunteers in Ecuador are expected to use English in the classroom and with their co-teachers, Spanish will be necessary to interact with staff, parents, school officials, and other teachers and for other day-to-day activities in the community. To successfully swear-in as a Volunteer, Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate level of oral proficiency in Spanish at the end of the 10-week Pre-Service Training. Peace Corps Trainees receive a significant amount of training and support in the acquisition of Spanish.
Trainees who arrive in country with low levels of Spanish find reaching an intermediate level of oral proficiency more challenging. Peace Corps Ecuador highly encourages all applicants to begin working on their Spanish as early as possible prior to departing the U.S. for Ecuador.
Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV) will live with a host family during the 10 weeks of Pre-Service Training. Upon successful completion of training, PCVs will then live with a new host family in their community for the first four months of their two-year service. Peace Corps Ecuador carefully selects host families in the community prior to the arrival of the PCVs. Living with a host family increases PCV safety, acceptance, credibility, integration, and language acquisition. PCVs are encouraged to live with a host family throughout their entire service.
In Ecuador, living with family is the norm for most adults, including college-educated professionals. Generally, adult children live with their parents until they get married and start a family of their own.
PCVs live in urban, semi-urban, and rural communities across coastal, highland, and Amazon regions. Most houses have electricity, but outages are frequent. Many homes have indoor toilets, but latrines are common in rural areas.
Common foods include rice, potatoes, meats, seafood, and vegetables. Soup is very popular and fruit smoothies are common everywhere. It is possible to be vegetarian, but very difficult for vegans. It is impolite to refuse food, so flexibility is important.
PCVs travel on public buses between communities and cities. Travel by boat is common in the Amazon region and in some coastal areas, while biking is popular throughout the country.
The Ecuadorian climate is temperate year-round in the mountain valleys, a humid subtropical climate in coastal areas, and rainforest lowlands, with two seasons: rainy and dry. Traveling with layers is recommended.
Each job location and counterpart organization will have its unique benefits and challenges. It's up to each individual PCV to adapt into that reality and make it a positive experience.
Ecuadorians dress professionally for work in a style that translates to “business casual.” How one dresses is important for successful integration. It is important to keep hair neat and clean, and beards trimmed. Tattoos are traditionally perceived as unprofessional, but attitudes are slowly changing. In general, tattoos should be covered, and visible facial piercings removed in the workplace.
Phone service is reliable but calling the U.S. is expensive. Most towns and cities have internet cafes, and many shops/restaurants offer Wi-Fi.
PCVs have found that bringing a laptop or tablet, while not a requirement, makes it easier to complete assignments during training and to access and share technical resources during service. Volunteers may complete assignments and access resources with a PC-provided tablet or through a computer lab at the Training Center or the office.
CULTURE & DIVERSITY:
Ecuadorians are typically very social – it’s important for Volunteers to socialize and engage with family and neighbors. They are also very curious and likely to ask personal questions to better understand American culture and the Volunteer’s background.
Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. American concepts of politeness and appropriateness are not universal. LGBTQI+ Volunteers may find that local customs are very conservative and should be prepared for this challenge. Ecuadorians are generally tolerant but also conservative.
Volunteers should be mindful of cultural norms and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach diversity topics in their communities. We encourage Volunteers to also be open to Ecuadorian diversity, including approaching Ecuadorian cultural values and views with curiosity. The Peace Corps strives to support Volunteers throughout service by cultivating an inclusive, open, non-judgmental atmosphere that values diversity.
Serving in Ecuador
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ecuador: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
The Ecuador TEFL program is happy to receive couples for this program.
Couples should expect living conditions to be the same for them as for single Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs). Those serving together as a couple can expect to live apart from each other only during the 10 weeks of training as this provides the best conditions for integration and language learning. Couples will then live together with the same host family during the first four months in their community of service.
After the initial four months in your assigned community, PCVs are eligible to live independently if they can identify a living situation in the community that meets Peace Corps’ housing criteria. Some communities may not have a live-alone option and all PCVs, including couples, must be open to the possibility of living with a host family during their entire service.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities.
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Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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