Volunteering opportunity

Wanted: native speakers to teach English in Chile in 2012

The state-run program connects participants with Chilean teachers at government-funded schools throughout the country.

Monday, November 14, 2011 Category: Education - Culture
Volunteers spend four to 25 hours a week in the classroom. (Photo: Thomas Favre-Bulle/Flickr) Volunteers spend four to 25 hours a week in the classroom. (Photo: Thomas Favre-Bulle/Flickr)

The Chilean government is seeking 400 native English speakers from across the globe who are interested in coming to the South American nation in 2012 to teach their mother tongue.

The volunteering opportunities have arisen through the English Opens Doors program, a joint initiative of Chile's Education Ministry and the UN Development Programme.

The program pairs up volunteers with Chilean teachers to work with children and teens at government-funded schools throughout the country.

Since it began in 2004, English Open Doors has recruited more than 1,300 volunteers from several countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

To be eligible for the program, volunteers must be between the ages of 21 and 35 and hold a university degree, but no prior teaching experience is necessary.

Flexible arrangements

Volunteers can select from a broad range of programs lasting from five to 11 months, with start dates from February through July.

Full-time volunteers are expected to spend 25 hours a week in the classroom with an additional 10 hours of activities - six hours for classroom planning and four hours participating in extracurricular activities such as public speaking and debating clubs. Part-time volunteers have a teaching load of four to 16 hours per week, perfect for exchange students at Chilean universities.

Support and training

On arrival in Santiago, participants are provided with a comprehensive orientation before moving in with a host family in the community where they will be staying.

As part of the program all volunteers are given free access to health insurance, transportation and teaching materials. They also receive a monthly living allowance of US$120 (CLP60,000).

Is Spanish a problem?

Long-term volunteers who want to brush up on their Spanish can enroll in a two-month Spanish course before undertaking their volunteer work. The course costs US$1,000 with classes catering to beginners, intermediate and upper intermediate students.

Want to find out more?

For more information, visit the National Volunteer Center's website or send an email to voluntarios@mineduc.cl.

Teaser photo: courtesy Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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