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Cloud Forest Adventure

Teaching English in Remote Areas

Education Language Teaching

Help children and young people in a rural area of northern Ecuador get out of the poverty trap and follow the career of their choice.

The project

Intag is an exceptionally priveleged area in terms of bio-diversity, and exceptionally under-priveleged in terms of the opportunities available for young people to escape poverty and enjoy the basic level of well-being that all human beings need.  

Our program aims to address this situation, and to help residents to gain access to the career of their choice, and from there to begin to see their extraordinary natural surroundings as a privelege and joy rather than as an impediment.  The major social issues that we identify here are poverty, gender inequality, and the threat to the environment and human health posed by plans to develop enormous open-cast copper mines.

Volunteer work

As a teaching volunteer with cloudforestadventure, you will take your own class of children aged 5 to 12 years and teach english as a second language  in any one of 6 community schools that are found within our parish.  Hours are 7.30 am to 1.30 pm monday to Friday. You will work with the permanent school teacher of your chosen school.    

For accomodation, volunteers are placed with a suitable local host family, as a way of getting the best out of the cultural experience.  With very few exceptions, these families are small-scale farming families, and you are encouraged to take part in this interesting and varied way of life.   There's quite a lot of flexibility within the program:  volunteers can decide if they would like to work the same days and hours as the children, or if they would prefer a lighter teaching workload, and more emphasis on farmwork and conservation tasks. We ask for a minimum of 5 hours work per day, monday to Friday.   

It's also fine to teach other subjects in addition to english, for example mathematics, physical education, music, and if you have skills in these areas and wish to share them, it's great to work with the permanent teacher of your chosen school to incorporate these skills into your teaching routine. Your role is to improve the english language skills of the schoolchildren, and to build up the self-confidence of local people (children and adults) which in many cases occurs naturally,  simply by "being there", and remaining open and enthusiastic in your teaching tasks and in accompanying your chosen host family in their simple daily farming tasks.

This can be quite a "full-on" experience, in that contact with other people tends to be close to 100% with locals and teachers, who only speak spanish; and the location is fairly remote and rural.  Therefore our program is a good fit for individuals seeking to improve their spanish and knowledge of cultural options beyond the north american/european model.  On the other hand, it can be a poor fit for individuals who are not especially self-motivated, and/or would prefer to work with other people of their own cultural background and language.  

The location

The setting is spectacular in terms of the landscapes - volcanoes, cloudforest and a picuturesque patchwork of agricultural fruits and vegetables.  Finally, Intag is a very safe area in which to live and work.  There are no especial health issues for visitors, and instances of theft, assault etc are extremely low (no incidents in Intag over the last 10 years, 2 instances of theft in Quito, which is a major urban area, the capital city of Ecuador)

Who we are looking for

You do not need to bring special equipment, though some volunteers choose to bring teaching aids such as "flash cards" and games, and you do not need to have a TESOL qualification.  You do need to have a basic knowledge of spanish (which will inevitably improve rapidly), and the motivation and courage to jump in and give your time and energy to the very rewarding task of teaching english to under-priveleged children.

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

Typical day

typical hours of work are 8am to 1.30 pm monday to friday in a local school of your choice. 

Prior to work, you'll be served breakfast with your chosen host family, and then will walk to school, usually accompanied by the schoolkids, who will love having you there.   

Volunteers take their own classes, unsupervised (an exciting experience, and a confidence builder for the volunteer), since the children will love being taught by you, and you do not need to be a qualified teacher. Games, songs, "flash cards", music and dance, physical exercise, excursions to the beautiful surrounding countryside and nearby rivers, and lots of spoken word rather than excessive grammar/written word are a few of the techniques recommended by previous volunteers.  

There are breaks, with simple refreshments served, and around 1.30, it's time to return home to your host family for lunch. After lunch, there's time to relax, chat with your hosts, take part in domestic activities such as preparing grains and legumes for the kitchen, accompany on tasks further afield such as milking, harvesting crops; or go on excursions to the surrounding countryside, where there is cloud forest, waterfalls, views of volcanoes etc. 

 At weekends, volunteers sometimes choose to meet up and do activities together, such as a visit to the local geo-thermal baths; or they may choose to spend time with their host families with the endlessly varying tasks that go with being a small scale farmer.  Others plan a trip to the local town of Otavalo, a major touristic destination.

Details on Arrival

Long school vacation is usually during march and april, and the teaching project is closed  at this time.  With this exception, you can arrive whenever you wish.  

The usual starting point for cloudforestadventure volunteers arriving in Ecuador is Quito airport, and  we recommend our quito contacts Chari Agea and Felix Castaneda as an important part of the orientation process for enjoying Ecuador to the full and taking care of your needs as you arrive, probably tired, at quito airport.  Chari and Felix also give detailed information on the journey to Intag, and can accompany you to the bus station if you wish.  They are wonderful people, and we recommend them to get your Ecuador experience off to a great start...

Detailed travel information to Intag is given by Chari and Felix on arrival in quito, and an outline is provided here for your information:  2 hour bus journey from Quito to local town of Otavalo.  Optional overnight stay at this popular tourist destination, and then a 3 and one half hour journey by bus and taxi to our farm.  Minimum 1 day orientation stay (maximum 1 week) at our 160 acre cloudforest farm before choosing a school and host family and beginning your work as an english teaching volunteer.

Some volunteers choose to travel by taxi from Quito or Otavalo, and we can arrange this service. However, public transport in Ecuador is inexpensive and quite reliable.

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s). Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently) and Spanish (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
required
Education Requirements
at High school level
Required Documents
criminal background check
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
a knowledge of basic, conversational spanish is essential; and a willingness to be around children and to share your knowledge of english with them is also important.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:30 - 13:30

Any questions? Just ask. We at Cloud Forest Adventure are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator

Free-time activities

Lots of volunteers enjoy accompanying their host family - nearly all host families are farmers, and do a range of tasks in tending animals and crops in a climate that varies from temperate to sub-tropical. There are cattle, horses, pigs, poultry, guinea pigs and rabbits. There is corn, avocados, bananas, citrus, coffee, sweet potato, yucca. The farms are mainly mountainous, with fragments of cloud forest, and the backdrop is the cotacachi cayapas nature reserve, which is a huge reserve made up of cloud forest and altiplano. There are almost unlimited opportunities for hiking and exploring the forests, waterfalls, and highland lakes areas.  There is a daily bus to take visitors to the nearest town of Otavalo (3 hours), a major tourist destination (largest textile/crafts market in South America), and where there is a thriving indigenous culture and many touristic activities.  For sports, local people enjoy volleyball and football, and there is swimming in nearby rivers and bathing in local waterfalls.  Many volunteers find that their host families also invite them to family outings/activities, which is an important part of the latin american culture.  Finally, it is important to say that south american rural life does inevitably involve some "down time", so it's great to bring a book and favourite music, and to be understanding of the lack of the organised free time activities that are available in urban areas - many volunteers report that this unstructured aspect of free time in Intag is one of the things that makes the strongest impression on them since it contrasts with the "information overload" of western culture and leisure time.

Swimming
Climbing
Hiking
Sports
Riding
Contact & Reservation
$69
/week
$69
/week
4 - 50
weeks
4 - 50
weeks
18+
age
18+
age
Airport Pickup
Housing
Food
Internet
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Included Services

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Services by Cloud Forest Adventure

All meals and accomodation are included in the program fee.

All volunteers stay for at least one day at Ned and Patricia's farm, as part of the orientation process, and the fees here are the same as with other host families.  

Fees are paid directly to the family that is providing your meals and accomodation. The cloudforestadventure project is run on a not-for-profit basis - your money goes to make sure that you are well fed and looked after during your time here, without either placing a financial burden upon your chosen host family (most of which are poor), or allowing them to make a profit and turn the arrangement into a business!

Accommodation

Clean, simple private rooms, usually with shared bathroom, with a host family chosen by the volunteer.  Most host families do not have internet, though Ned and Patricia have wifi.  Internet is available (including wifi) at the nearest small town of Cuellaje, and most families go there on sundays, which is a great time to check your email and chat with friends and family back home. Volunteers  usually do their own laundry.  Some host families provide a hot shower, and some just warm showers.  Almost all of the host families are farmers, so this is a great program for people who like animals, nature, family life, traditional agriculture etc.  Those who prefer a bit more distance from nature, may prefer to base themselves with a family in the local small town of Cuellaje, where there are shops, internet, easy bus travel to the town of Otavalo etc.  Whatever your choice, please do remember to bring some cash with you, as there are no ATMs in this parish.

Guest Family Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

All host families provide boiled water, and three meals a day in return for the volunteer weekly contribution.  Vegetarian food available. Meals are usually simple, occasionally with meat, and typically consisting of rice, beans, eggs and local vegetables such as sweet potatoes and yucca, and are served with fruit juices from the garden.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
$276.00
8 weeks
$552.00
16 weeks
$1,104.00
50 weeks (max. stay)
$3,450.00
Average fees
$69.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in cotacachi/Ecuador between 4 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Cloud Forest Adventure will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Cloud Forest Adventure during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Ecuador

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Ecuador. Please check the visa regulations for Ecuador.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Ecuador and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Ecuador.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Ecuador.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Ecuador provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Ecuador you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Ecuador.
Free-time
What can you do in leisure-time in Ecuador while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Finca San Antonio, Cotacachi, cotacachi, Ecuador zoom="6"
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