Country info and advice - Ecuador
The following comments are from teachers who have taught, or are currently teaching, in Ecuador. If you are a teacher and have some advice to share, please add it here.
I was in Quito for 1 month December-January last. I was a volunteer teaching English and coaching soccer. I am returning to Quito next October - again as a volunteer. Quito is quite inexpensive. Transport is excellent and very cheap - 25c by bus anywhere in the city. Taxis are also cheap but you will be ripped off if you are not careful - particularly at night. Food is cheap but again you have to be careful. Basic rule - ask first - do not be shy - they won't. Quito is a beautiful city - not too hot - quite cool early mornings and evenings. Due to altitude sun block is a must. Check in advance precisely what you will be doing. Qualifications are not necessary but without them you may spend a lot of time watching. Some coaches quit after a few days due to boredom. I was amazed at the number of others who had spent many months in various countries in South America. Perhaps the fact that I am returning next October speaks for itself.
I don't recommend teaching in Ecuador. It is a great country, with beautiful mountains, beaches and the jungle, but opportunities are limited. First, you aren't going to get work visa, no matter what anyone tells you. Some places will set you up with a cultural exchange visa, but these schools are few and I've heard of teachers getting sacked just so their employers don't have to bother renewing the visa. Also salaries are low. And I mean low, like forget about going to Galapagos, it's hard enough to even afford to eat meat on what some places pay. I've had to work 3 jobs, 6 days a week from morning untill 10:30 at night to pay the bills. If I had known how hard it would be to get by here I wouldn't have gone, but then again my life has changed for the better because of the amazing people I have met :) Basically, if your heart is really set on Ecuador for some reason, and another Latin American country just won't do it, find a school or volunteer org with a very good reputation. (If they don't offer stellar references and spotless Google search results, no vale la pena.) And don't expect to stay more than 6 months. No matter what. The last time I checked, you can get your own business visa that's good for 6 months, but do not expect your employer to help you with anything else.
I taught in Quito for 5 months
in 2010 at a reputable school. I agree with Anonymous that employers don't
really help you with VISA or RUC paperwork, but don't worry - if they don't,
your colleagues will!! Also, don't stress about doing this beforehand, you will
have time to sort it out once you're there.
What really helps with living in Quito is to know a bit of Spanish before you go. Really. I can't stress this point enough. The language school my partner worked at advertised free Spanish lessons as a perk, but he rarely had time to take advantage of them as he was working 40hrs, 6 days/week! I, on the other hand, was only working an average 20hrs.
I was earning $10/hr having a CELTA certificate, my partner was earning $6/hr with the same qualification. So be aware, all schools are vastly different and it's worth getting some references before you accept a job (these are more credible than info given to you by the school itself).
Don't freak about the low wage, we found a studio apartment in Quito for $190/month. Both of us walked to worked and it was right near the Carolina Park. Yes, it was run-down, but we didn't want to share an apartment/house (which is a great way to split costs) in a more modern, larger place. However, on average you'd be looking at paying $400/month for a 2-bedder kinda near the commercial district.
Go! It's a gorgeous country, one of the most beautiful I've seen, if not the most... plus you'll make great friends, I can assure you!
I worked in Quito from 2005 -
2007. I got a student VISA (by studying Spanish) for two years and taught at one
of the Universities and Inlingua. I had to do all paperwork myself which was
incredibly difficult when you don't speak the language perfectly. Also I found
in general people never tell you the correct information directly.
I was being paid $10 USD an hour which I was told was amazing compared to what the locals earnt. I rented a room (in a hourse with other foreiners) from a family which was cheap. I took public transport everywhere, walked, and found my costs were low.
Teaching wise - I found little or no support from the institutions I worked for.
The students viewed anything English to be equal to Americanisation and taking over.
Gender divisions are wide and as a woman I really got over being hit on constantly, the coments, whistles and generally being a piece of meat, etc.
I was in Quito, and I got to see lots of other places and learn Spanish so it was all an interesting experience.
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