Teaching English in Galapagos

Galapagos (G3) | View map
PRICE FROM
£323 p.w.

Price is based on 3 months
MINIMUM DURATION
1 month

Volunteer teaching English in the incredible Galapagos islands

  • Teach English to an enthusiastic and supportive set of children
  • A choice of volunteer teaching projects and islands
  • Ideal for volunteers wanting to teach, learn Spanish and see wildlife
  • Become part of island life and commune with nature on the incredible Galapagos Islands
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Project summary

The Galapagos have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. They offer some of the most interesting and most beautiful places in the world for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.

Yet the impression you get as a hosted tourist is deceptive. Most of the locals still live with very basic facilities and low income. The significant income generated from tourism does not trickle down to the majority of island residents. Despite the large numbers of English speaking tourists, most islanders still only speak Spanish.

All of the schools are keen to teach English to the children, to provide them with increased opportunity to access the tourist industry and higher earnings. Yet English teachers are hard to find and the ratio of teachers to students makes it less effective. Through extensive local relationships made through our island coordinators, Outreach International has the unique support of the local authorities to provide volunteer teaching assistants in all three main islands. This exclusively includes supporting an indigenous school on one of the islands – helping the community that transitioned to the islands from the Andes under a government programme and who now remain some of the poorest on the islands. The school not only provides education but also looks to maintain their heritage and language, Quichua.

Students are hugely enthusiastic to engage with volunteers and learn the language. Volunteers can support both primary and secondary schools, providing assistance to the existing teachers, and most importantly, giving students the opportunity to practice their pronunciation with a native English speaker.

Volunteering to teach English in Galapagos is perfect for those interested in teaching as a profession, gap year students wanting to learn Spanish, qualified teachers, and those volunteers with an interest in experiencing island life.

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

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Schools open very early in the morning and finish early afternoon so as to avoid the excessive heat. They all have numerous classes across the age groups and each class has a requirement for a set amount of English lessons each week. The English teacher and volunteer rotate among the classes delivering English lessons according to the timetable. The exact framework for this will be decided locally with the volunteer, appropriate to each school.

Volunteers will act as a teaching assistant. Where a volunteer is a qualified teacher, or well trained in teaching English, it may become practical that they lead some classes, although this is not to be assumed, as local regulations officially prohibit volunteers being engaged as the primary teaching resource.

Some schools may also have homework clubs, or volunteers may be supported in setting one up, such is the ambition to learn English.

How you can make a difference

All of the state schools are keen to teach English to the children, to provide them with increased opportunity to access the tourist industry and higher earnings. Being able to speak English really opens up opportunities to those children in some of the poorest families in Galapagos.

Volunteers help improve the ratios and quality of teaching, and provide the vital opportunity for enthusiastic students to practice their English with a native speaker.

What is distinctive about this project:

We have access to a number of primary and secondary schools across the islands, each with a separate nuance to suit your needs. We even have the possibility of a longer term volunteer to move between schools and islands to expand their experience.

Blue Tiger Features:

We have relationships with schools on all three main islands and which project is the right project for you will be based on a discussion about your experience and preferences, both the age of children and type of school, as well as accommodation and even island preferences.

A wonderful range of opportunity awaits, with children keen to engage with volunteers to improve their English speaking ability.

Season:

Most schools are closed in the hottest months of February, March and April.

Languages:

You are there to help teach English, but a reasonable grasp of Spanish is required, which can be boosted by the language lessons Outreach International provide.

Experience required:

You will not be leading classes, so direct teaching qualifications and experience is not necessary, although of course it would be very helpful. Some basic preparation on how to teach English would be appropriate for all volunteers and online TEFL courses are readily available. A higher level of teaching training/experience would be ideal for those wishing to teach in the secondary schools.

Good to know:

The Galapagos islands are renowned for their wildlife. What is less well known is the traditional, charming, courteous and laid back way of life of the small islands community. By volunteering you become part of that community and enjoy the same benefits of a slower pace of life, with a ‘Buenos dias’ never far away.

Price table

4 weeks6 weeks8 weeks10 weeks12 weeks
£2,450£2,885£3,240£3,592£3,880

Includes: Return flight from Quito to Galapagos. Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, food, airport transfer, travel to projects, in-country support, welcome meal. Two weeks of good quality 121 Spanish tuition.
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations. Galapagos visitor permit, payable locally on departure from Quito and/or arrival in Galapagos

Things to see and do

  • Island tours
  • Scuba diving & snorkelling
  • Beaches
  • Darwin Centre
Paulina Ratti

Country co-ordinator

Paulina Ratti

Paulina qualified as special needs teacher and language therapist from the University of Guayaquil. She has lived in San Cristobal on the Galapagos all her life and has been supporting our volunteers since 2006. She is a well known island character, recognised locally for her brightly painted wall murals. She lives with her husband in Baquerizo, the town on San Cristobal.

About Galapagos