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Volunteering and Working in Ecuador

Volunteering, Work

Ecuador has seen an explosion in voluntourism recently. There is a huge choice of organizations, both in and out of Ecuador, which can set you up with voluntary work. Popular options are working with children (generally teaching English at a school or helping out at an orphanage) or ecology-based projects such as reforestation, research or conservation projects.

Some organizations offer free accommodation and food in return for your labor, while others charge a small fee. If you’re planning to stay for a while (generally a month or longer) the price goes down. If you are in Quito, check with the South American Explorers Club, which can give you up-to-date information on organizations that offer volunteer work.

There are also numerous possibilities for working in Ecuador, although this is more difficult to arrange from home. Your best bet is to turn up and see what you can find. There are vacancies year-round for English teachers in Quito and Guayaquil (less so in other cities) and most of the teachers we spoke to had no problems finding a job. The best way to find work is to print off a few copies of your résumé / CV and visit a few language schools in person.

Pay ranges from $3-8 per hour. Schools that teach business English pay the best, but tend to require certification such as CELTA or International TESOL. Some bilingual high schools require native English speakers (with the relevant experience and qualifications) to teach English as well as other subjects. Private schools generally hire in September and their pay is probably the best you will find as a foreign teacher in Ecuador.

Your second best bet is to get a job in the tourism industry, such as at a travel agency or hotel work. Pay is not as good as the top-end English schools but pay often includes accommodation and food so you can live rather cheaply. For these jobs you need a good level of Spanish. If you want to work in business, it may be worth checking out the notice boards in the Mariscal as there are often vacancies for jobs in the flower and oil industries. Again, your chances will be far better if you have a good level of Spanish and English.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Ecuador: Maquipucuna Foundation, International School Teaching Opportunities , British School , Colegio International SEK , Colegio Americano de Quito , Fulbright , Galápagos Work and Volunteer Opportunities, Teaching English in Quito and Academia Cotopaxi .

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