Teaching English Volunteer Program in Ecuador - Santa Elena
Excited to volunteer to Teach English in Ecuador - Santa Elena? International Volunteer HQ’s Teaching English project offers volunteers a variety of settings where they can share their language skills and knowledge with students. Volunteers can either assist local school teachers, lead a classroom independently or work with a group of adult students. All students are likely to be eager to learn as knowing English is considered a valuable skill in Ecuador and can open the door to many opportunities.
- Programs start every Monday
- Affordable fees from £337 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Share valuable English language skills with local children or adults
Explore Ecuador’s immense volcanoes and lush jungle
Stay in a volunteer house in the coastal region of Santa Elena
This program is ideal for:
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
Knowing how to speak English can make a big difference to a person’s prospects in employment and life in Santa Elena, especially for those in low-income communities. Volunteers can help remove barriers to learning, such as cost and accessibility.
As a volunteer English teacher you’ll contribute greatly by encouraging the correct usage and pronunciation of English in conversation, reading and writing. You can do this by assisting a local school teacher, running your own classes solo or by working with a group of adult students. Volunteers who choose to teach children can also provide supplementary tutoring and help teachers to supervise playtimes.
Duties vary but may include:
- Teaching English classes
- Assisting local teachers
- Teaching students with a range of ages and abilities
- Tutoring students
- Helping with pronunciation, reading and writing
- Setting up educational activities
Why do Teaching English volunteering in Santa Elena with IVHQ?
When you volunteer to teach in Santa Elena you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Improving access to English lessons
- Helping students practice their language skills
- Practicing your Spanish
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining teaching experience
- Immersing yourself fully in the Ecuadorian culture
- Discovering the range of wildlife under the sea in Santa Elena
- Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
- Volunteers aged 16-18 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or friend over the age of 18 to participate in this program
- All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
- All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
- All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Ecuador photo gallery
Academic course credit
Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!Learn about course credit
Recommended online TEFL course
We encourage volunteers on IVHQ’s Teaching and Childcare projects to come prepared by completing some relevant training, such as a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course. Although formal teaching qualifications are not required on these projects as volunteers are supported by local staff, taking a TEFL course enables you to gain more from the experience. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.Get TEFL certified online
Read reviews from Teaching English volunteers in Santa Elena
”I came to Ecuador to help teach English to kids and I had absolutely no teaching experience in a classroom. After completing this program with IVHQ, I have developed a better sense of self-confidence and gained a totally different perspective of the world. Prior to this trip, I had been out of the country a handful of times, but solely to go on vacation wit...h my family. I had never truly experienced a different culture, so going to Ecuador by myself was the first time I was able to leave the bubble of the US and see what life was like in another country. It was very interesting to compare and contrast the differences between Ecuador and the US. Many of us in the US live lavishly! This became quite evident to me after staying in Ecuador for a couple of weeks. There are a lot of things I realized I took for granted - simple things like hot water and air conditioning! One of the best parts of this trip was the people I was around. My two friends I made, made this trip even more amazing because we would explore Ecuador together. Also, seeing the genuine joy in all the kids at school and the locals we would pass on the streets would always be a highlight of my day. To anyone who is hesitant about joining this program - I would say please go for it! It was one of the best experiences of my life. I was very enthusiastic about leaving the US and volunteering to make a real difference in someone’s life. My parents, on the other hand, were a little skeptical and much more worried for me (more so for my safety in a foreign country). Fortunately, I settled in right away and was lucky to be surrounded by great volunteers in the volunteer house and the most friendly people in Santa Elena! If you happen to go to Ballenita, please say “hola” to everyone you pass... I can almost guarantee that they’ll have a smile for you in return!” read more
Read reviews from Teaching English volunteers in Santa Elena
The Ecuadorian coastal city of Santa Elena and surrounding areas are home to a wide range of IVHQ projects. On the Pacific coast, Santa Elena is in close proximity to some of Ecuador’s best beaches and archeological history. There is a great need for volunteers to assist with the development of this city and its communities, especially as tourism to the area grows.
Arrival and orientation
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive into José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (GYE) in Guayaquil.
You should arrive on the Sunday prior to your program start date and the airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a driver from the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation in Santa Elena, which can take up to 2 hours.
We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.
Orientation is hosted by our local team at their volunteer offices in Santa Elena. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program - an introduction to Ecuador, Ecuadorian customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Ecuador and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.
Volunteer schedule example
Please note that volunteering on the Ecuador program is held Tuesday through Friday (expect to participate for full days, unless you’re also taking Spanish language lessons, in which case you will volunteer for half days). Therefore the weekends on the program are Saturday through Monday.
A typical day might look like this:
|7:30 AM||Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.|
|8:00 AM||Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at. There is a break for lunch and volunteers are responsible for the purchase of this meal.|
|2:00 - 5:00 PM||Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel back to their accommodation, prepare for the next day, or do some shopping and sightseeing. If volunteers are taking Spanish language lessons, these will usually take place in the afternoons and last between 2 and 3 hours.|
|7:30 PM||Dinner at the volunteer house or homestay.|
Accommodation and WiFi
While in Santa Elena, you’ll stay in a volunteer house with other IVHQ participants. Bedrooms have single beds or bunk beds, in rooms shared with up to 5 other volunteers of the same gender. Living is comfortable and the volunteer house has electricity, running water and western bathrooms.
There is WiFi available but it can be very slow, and a great patio area with hammocks for volunteers to relax after volunteering is onsite.
WiFi is also available in the cafe across the road from the volunteer accommodation, or you can purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked phone when you arrive in Ecuador.
Volunteers are provided with breakfast and dinner every day on the Ecuador - Santa Elena program. Please note, portion sizes in Ecuador are traditionally smaller than what most western countries offer.
Breakfast is usually tea or coffee, milk, oatmeal, local breads, butter, jam and fruit.
Dinners will be a mixture of traditional Ecuadorian meals and western meals. These often include meat or vegetarian stews, rice or pasta, vegetables in the form of salads or hot or cold stews. Carbohydrates, such as potatoes, bananas, plantains, bread and rice are common ingredients for Ecuadorian dishes.
Lunches can be purchased locally for approximately £2 - £4.
We encourage you to try and embrace this way of living, but you are welcome to purchase additional snacks for personal consumption outside of what our program meals offer.
Please note that it is not possible for the local team to cater to dietary requirements on the Ecuador - Santa Elena program. IVHQ offers plenty of destinations which can cater to dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc.) so please get in touch if this presents an issue for you.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||£337 Equivalent to £48/day|
|2 weeks||£450 Equivalent to £32/day|
|3 weeks||£593 Equivalent to £28/day|
|4 weeks||£709 Equivalent to £25/day|
|5 weeks||£852 Equivalent to £24/day|
|6 weeks||£969 Equivalent to £23/day|
|8 weeks||£1194 Equivalent to £21/day|
|10 weeks||£1480 Equivalent to £21/day|
|12 weeks||£1671 Equivalent to £20/day|
- Breakfast and dinner
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Discounts on language lessons
- Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
- Certificate of International Volunteer Service
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £284) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in GBP.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, lunches, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Santa Elena generally find US$50 - US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as lunches, Spanish language lessons, and local tours and activities. Please note that if you wish to make any payment to the local team whilst on the program, this will need to be done via cash or bank transfer.
Salsa Dance Classes:
Learn the art of salsa dancing under the guidance of a professional choreographer alongside your fellow volunteers!
This activity costs US$26 (approximately £22) per person and the dance class will take 1 hour to complete. Please note, transportation is not included in this activity, but our local team will be happy to help you make these arrangements in Santa Elena.
Learn how to surf like the pros with a surf lesson from a qualified surf instructor on the beaches of Santa Elena. Swells from both the south and north provide optimal conditions year round for surfers of all ages and levels, so grab your fellow volunteers and hang ten, dude!
This activity costs US$55 (approximately £47) per person and includes your surfboard and qualified surf instructor with more than 10 years experience. The surf lesson will take 1.5 hours to complete. Please note, transportation is not included in this activity, but our local team will be happy to help you make these arrangements in Santa Elena.
Please contact us or your IVHQ Program Manager to sign up or to get more information about any of these activities.
Affordable Spanish Language Lessons
Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers regardless of their ability. IVHQ strongly recommends these for all volunteers unless they are fluent in Spanish. Volunteers with a basic level of Spanish should strongly consider these lessons to allow them to work and communicate more effectively during their program. These language lessons are offered as Add-ons, available to add to your itinerary via your MyIVHQ profile once you’ve registered for your program. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and must be paid for in Ecuador to our local staff. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.
- 12 hours/6 days = £129 (or 3 days intensive)
- 20 hours/10 days = £198 (or 5 days intensive)
- 30 hours/15 days = £284 (or 8 days intensive)
- 40 hours/10 days intensive = £371
- 60 hours/15 days intensive = £535
- 80 hours/20 days intensive = £700
Check what's required to visit Ecuador
Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Essential country information
|Currency||US Dollar (USD)|
Weather and climate: The climate of Ecuador has a number of microclimates that separate into four distinct zones. La Costa (Costal Lowlands) is tropical, La Sierra (Andean Mountains) is temperate; and El Oriente (Amazon Region) shares the jungle climate of the upper Amazon rain forest.