Want to volunteer, but don’t want to pay high “voluntourism” fees? This week we uncover a great opportunity to volunteer in Chile, with a government-backed project to put native- and proficient-English speakers into Chilean classrooms. You can travel Chile in 2012, and you’ll only have to pay for the plane tickets (and beer).
English Opens Doors
La Programa Inglés Abre Puertas, or English Opens Doors is a government-run program in Chile, South America. It’s a mid-length volunteer program, with volunteers signing up for one or more school terms. Talking with Dave, and hearing his story, was an opportunity to see how well it fits for the Indie Travel Podcast Community.
You work as a classroom assistant in a Chilean classroom, and in return for your assistance in planning and in the classroom, you get:
- Health insurance
- A one week orientation
- Transport from Santiago de Chile to your placement
- A homestay family
- An online Spanish course
- 60,000 CHP a month stipend (about US$115 or UK£75)
After travelling Europe, Dave wondered what was next. Looking online for volunteer opportunities outside of the USA, he found English Opens Doors through Idealist.org. A few months later he was flying into Lima, then overlanding down to Santiago… And no idea what he was getting himself into.
Getting off that bus in Panguipulli was the start of something amazing. He made such connections in the small town of Panguipulli that he’s heading back for Christmas this year!
The work itself involved planning, then “a lot of conversation, a lot of singing, a lot of dancing, a lot of fun”. Working with a local teacher certainly helps with a lot of the classroom management issues faced by people teaching English abroad.