Is the course intensive?
The course is very intensive. During our course, the day starts at 11 in morning and runs until 8.30 in the evening, apart from a short lunch break. In addition, mornings and evenings are often spent completing assignments and preparing lessons. Weeks one and four are the “easier” weeks, as there are fewer deadlines and some mornings off. Weeks two and three are the most intensive weeks, since this is when the brunt of the work is completed, and the assessment criteria for passing classes becomes more demanding.
How can I prepare?
The best preparation is having some background knowledge of English grammar. Cambridge English Teacher (http://www.cambridgeenglishteacher.org/) has a free online grammar course. There is also a CELTA pre-course task (provided post-interview), which offers good preparation, alongside reading some of Michael Swan’s Practical English Usage. The course focuses on teaching methodology and therefore any grammar that you teach you will need to research yourself. Therefore some independent study before the course and more during the course is essential.
Can I sightsee/go on tours during the course?
Free time is scarce during the course. You may have time to visit the islands on the weekend and may have time to get around town or to the local beach during some less intensive days. If you are keen to fit in exercise or local sightseeing it would be possible if you wake up early and finish work quickly. Otherwise any free time during the course is for sleeping and/or errands.
When will I hear from CELTA Galapagos regarding my application?
We aim to get back to you regarding your application within 7-10 days.
How long after the successful completion of the course will I receive my Cambridge CELTA certificate?
It takes four to six weeks after completion of the CELTA Galapagos course for Cambridge University to post your certificate back to our centre in Galapagos. You will need to provide forwarding instructions during the course to receive your certificate. The centre can provide a temporary certification number until the certificate is received.
What does teaching practice (TP) entail?
As a CELTA Galapagos candidate, you will be practicing your teaching by providing hands-on lessons to volunteer classes of students from the local community. These classes allow local students the opportunity to practice their English and build the confidence they need to work in areas such as the tourism industry. With more qualified workers available locally, demand for foreign workers can weaken, thereby reducing the immigration of non-permanent residents to the delicate islands. In addition to this programme, we’ve partnered with the municipal government to offer optional extended volunteer opportunities to further your teaching career experience.
LIVING IN GALAPAGOS
What’s the accommodation like?
Our accommodation residence Carliza II, also known as Carliza Suites, is a 10 to 15 minute walk away from the main tourist promenade. The residence is about 10 blocks from the CELTA Galapagos classrooms. There are produce markets, bakeries and other convenience stores nearby. The accommodation itself is basic but clean and newly constructed. It is more or less a house with locked private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. There is a kitchen with a fridge, stove, toaster and coffee maker. There are balconies with a nice view of the town, as well as several living room areas. The downside is that there is a lot of busy town noise like roosters, barking dogs, loud cars and motorbikes, people doing mechanical work etc. It can be frustrating trying to study there, especially in the morning. For this reason, you may want to bring headphones or choose to study in the local library.
What is the cost of living in the Galapagos?
Prices are comparable to other regional destinations such as Quito, Santiago de Chile, or Bogota. A taxi ride anywhere in town costs $1; Bread rolls from the bakery are cheap (20 cents), milk is US$2, three apples cost US$1, a can of tuna is US$1.50, and beer is US$4.50 for a big 750ml bottle. A typical meal from a local restaurant costs $3.00 – $4.50 including soup, main course and drink. However, be careful to ask for our advice on where to go, since restaurants and shops that serve the high-end cruise ship industry can be pricey.
Do I need to know Spanish to get by?
It is helpful to know some conversational Spanish, or words in English that are similar to the Spanish translation. Most people on the island speak very little English if they aren’t working directly with tourists. If you don’t know Spanish or don’t have time to learn, it would helpful to have a phrasebook or dictionary handy. Functional language is far more useful than grammar. If you memorise a few key phrases (e.g. can I have, do you have, where is, this is broken etc.) you will get by.
Will I improve my Spanish if I do the course here?
During the course, it is hard to learn Spanish because the CELTA is done entirely in English and you aren’t allowed to use Spanish in your teaching practice classes. However, in your spare time, as well as during any optional volunteering after the course, you will have more chance to converse with locals and students in Spanish.
Is it safe?
The Galapagos Islands are very safe, far more so than any South American city or even some cities in your home countries. You can walk anywhere at any time of day and there is no crime visible on the streets. People are friendly and very welcoming; it is often acceptable to say ‘hello’ to strangers in the street.
Is there a discount if we are travelling as a couple and/or willing to share accommodation?
Yes, you can receive a discount on the accommodation but the CELTA course price will stay the same for each person. The accommodation price is normally US$89 a week per person for a single room with en-suite bathroom. For sharing a double room, the price will be US$59 a week per person. The price covers accommodation for the full course including one night before the course begins and the night that the course ends. It may be possible to arrange for two single beds in the double room if you want to reduce the cost and share with a friend. In this case, the accommodation price would be the same as for a couple.
Food on Avenida Charles Darwin is pricey but a nice break from chicken, rice and bread. The street behind Avenida Charles Darwin, Kioskos, has many small restaurants with meals for between US$2-$10. The Galapagos Deli is up the road from the library (where the input sessions take place) and has affordable decent sandwiches and pizzas. It also has great WiFi.
For groceries, there is a produce market next door to Carliza II, and small convenience-type stores everywhere. Prices tend to be the same across all shops.
For laundry, Amadito up the road is reliable and costs US$1/kg of clothes. Most laundrettes cost US$1.50-2/kg.
For the bank, the one with the most reliable ATMs and lowest withdrawal fees is Banco de Pichincha. This is the one with the big yellow sign five minutes up the main road away from Avenida Charles Darwin. The others charge US$5 withdrawal fees and often have faulty ATMs.
GALAPAGOS ACTIVITIES AND TOURS
If you enquire about day trips there are often places free the day before at cheaper prices. For Isla Isabela, a 2-day trip costs around US$200 and a 3-day trip is US$270. It’s best to shop around and ask a few places for prices. Most have everything included.
TIPS FOR TOURS
• Sometimes the snorkels were dirty or faulty. You would get more out of the trip if you had your own.
• It’s worth bringing a waterproof camera – the animals aren’t afraid of people and look great in pictures.
• Most of the boat trips trigger motion sickness, especially the ferry to Isla Isabela. We highly recommend taking motion sickness tablets, and preparing for a potentially very nauseous 2-3 hour boat trip.
• The sun is hot here, so bring a full set of bathers and ensure you keep your sunscreen topped up, especially just before snorkelling.
What volunteering options are available?
There are a broad variety of volunteer options available in Santa Cruz, so a lot depends on what you would like to do and what your time commitment is. We can be flexible regarding the various positions, so you don´t need to commit to the exact placement before you come to the islands. We can finalize the schedule and classes during your final few weeks in the CELTA course, once you have a better idea of what life is like on the islands. In February 2015, we ran a program that placed volunteers running their own tutorial classes three evenings per week (two hours each session) for the students that were falling behind with their regular classes. This was very successful and one of the volunteers commented that it was the perfect time-commitment for him given that he had a keen interest in scuba-diving and wanted to be out in the water during the day. Note also that a two-hour teaching session could take up to two hours to prepare in advance.
The CELTA Galapagos volunteering is self-orientated which means more self-discipline and higher accountability. Participants can choose between teaching adults or children aged 5-6 or 9-13. If the first option is chosen, the adult students would have already been introduced to the volunteer participant during the CELTA course teaching practice, thereby establishing a relationship for continued learning. In particular, the volunteer would be able to identify the current level and challenges of the student, as well as logistical information such as their availability and willingness to attend classes regularly.
If the candidate chooses to teach children, then they will attend the local elementary school for the morning session where they will participate in both group and individual teaching activities supervised by professional teachers. We ask our CELTA candidates to indicate their preferred option well in advance as well as any other particular interest or ideas they may have to augment their volunteer experience. We will try to accommodate any special requests wherever and whenever possible, and we will work with candidates to continue improving our volunteer outreach program.
We are here to help and committed to making this a fantastic experience for you in every way that we can. Please don’t hesitate to ask for information regarding anything that is unclear, or let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Our Cambridge course tutors are also available to answer any academic queries regarding the course and its content.
Time between successful course completion and receipt of certificate:
6 weeks from completion of course to Cambridge University posting the certificate. The centre can provide a temporary certification number until the certificate is received.
Our team consists of international CELTA trainers from the U.K, Australia and Canada, with experience in providing quality CELTA courses all over the world. Most people fall in love with the Galapagos Islands when they first visit, and we were no exception. This CELTA project provides the opportunity to live and work on the islands and allows our CELTA candidates the chance to join us while obtaining their certificates. As you can imagine, the Galapagos ecosystems are incredibly diverse but also very fragile, and we wanted to make sure that this CELTA project would help contribute to Ecuadorian environmental objectives and sustainable development. For this reason, we partnered with the Municipal Government of Santa Cruz Island which has 42 years of experience with environmental and educational programmes.
As a CELTA Galapagos candidate, you will be practicing your teaching by providing hands-on lessons to volunteer classes of students from the local community. These classes allow local students the opportunity to practice their English with native speakers, and build the confidence they need to work in areas such as the busy tourism industry. With more qualified workers available locally, demand for foreign workers can weaken, thereby reducing the immigration of non-permanent residents to the islands. Besides this programme, the municipal government also pursues a variety of environmental conservation projects. Should you choose to remain on the islands to volunteer or work, you will have the opportunity to help-out with these initiatives.
There is a broad variety of volunteer options in Santa Cruz, so a lot depends on what you would like to do and what your time commitment is. We can be flexible regarding the various positions, so you don´t need to commit to the exact placement before you come to the islands. We can finalize the schedule and classes during your final few weeks in the CELTA course, once you have a better idea of what life is like on the islands. In February, we ran a program that placed volunteers running their own tutorial classes three evenings per week, 2 hour each session, for the students that were falling behind with their regular classes. This was very successful and our volunteer said that it was the perfect time-commitment for him given that he had a keen interest in scuba-diving and wanted to be out on the water during the day. Note also that a two hour teaching session could take up to 2 hours to prepare in advance.
We are here to help and committed to making this experience fantastic for you in every way that we can. Please don’t hesitate to ask for information regarding anything that is unclear, or let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Our Cambridge course tutors are also always available to answer any academic queries regarding the course and its content.
Project Manager: Raul Garcia
Administrator: Katherine Monahan
Course Tutor: Nicola Berry
TEFL courses at CELTA Galapagos