Ecuador is in South America, between Columbia and Peru, and it’s one of two countries that aren’t bordered with Brazil. Perhaps this is why they get away with eating guinea as a local delicacy; I’m sure Brazilians wouldn’t tolerate neighbours who ate household pets for lunch.
Joking aside, if you want to teach fun and lively students, learn some Spanish, and visit a country rich in natural wonders, then Ecuador is a great option. Over 20,000 British nationals visited Ecuador in 2010 (Source: Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism), so it must have something going for it.
Life outside the classroom
My first experience living abroad started with a bang when I almost got mugged on my first night in Quito. I escaped unharmed but severely shaken up. I was determined to find a job teaching and stick it out though. I was glad I did because in three months I worked for three different language academies and found my vocation in life.
I worked illegally, on a tourist visa, so it was all cash in hand. I got paid between $2 and $4 an hour. I wasn’t bothered by the low wages as I had some savings and was content teaching English and learning Spanish. I know people who still work illegally, but I’ve heard it’s a lot stricter now. To work legally you need to get a Work Visa 12-VI before you enter the country. It costs over $200. If you have any doubts then read this immigration article, I’m not an expert and wouldn’t want to get anyone in trouble. It seems possible though.
The Ecuadorian family I lived with treated me like a son. I found an advertisement in an internet cafe and moved in after a quick meeting with the landlady. I was there for Christmas and New Years and they made me feel very welcome, even if they were a bit nosey at times. Witnessing their festive celebrations was great, but I did miss my family and mates.
Living in Quito was great because there were a lot of places to visit at the weekends. I had trips away to Otavalo, Banos, and Ibarra. I also went to the beach with the Ecuadorian family, on New Year’s Day, which was a knackering 8-hour journey through the Andes, made worse with a hangover.
My favourite moment was the Fiestas of Quito, a crazy week festival involving lots of dancing in the streets, drinking, and climbing on the top of musical vans known as Chivas while darting round the city. It was a crazy week, made fun with fellow teachers and students. The mental party takes place at the end of November until 6th of December, when Quito was founded in 1534.
Here’s a quick rundown of activities you can do in Ecuador:
The one thing that put a downer on my time in Ecuador was crime. Apart from the attempted mugging on my first night, I also got held up at knife point right outside my flat. I was lucky, but I heard horror stories of travellers who weren’t. Don’t go out on your own at night, wear a traveller’s pouch, and don’t carry a lot of valuables. Check out this Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for the latest notifications. Like most countries in South America, there are problems, but it doesn’t mean you can’t go; just be careful.
If you’re thinking of going out to Ecuador or are already there then leave a comment to let us know how you’re getting on. Suerte.