Oh wasn’t I just a terrible post giver over the past three months? I am now back in the UK with far too much spare time on my hands (unemployment woopdedoo), so here’s a very very delayed update on what I got up to in the second month of my South American adventure – teaching English in northern Chile!
Just because you know English does not make you qualified to teach it.
Many volunteer programs involve teaching English in schools, but there is a difference between knowing a language and knowing how to teach it. Chucking some youngsters into a classroom with your fingers crossed will not result in able English speakers after 1 month. It’s not that you’re bad for trying, but really it is just a waste of time. Continue reading “OPINION: Teaching English as a Volunteer”
Voluntourism is an industry that I am certainly not innocent of being seduced by. Continue reading “OPINION: Voluntourism”
The short answer? Yes. I know it’s cliché, but how could it not? When you spend a month alone in a developing country, you learn a lot about yourself and your abilities. Apparently when I returned from Peru I was noticeably calmer and happier. Not that I was seriously anxious or sad before, but I hadn’t been feeling myself for quite sometime for a number of reasons. I just needed to do something for me, and in doing so I realised that, as much as I like to tell myself I am independent and I thrive on my own, the times when I was really alone were ironically the moments where I felt most unhappy. Not that I would say I’m evidently not independent, just that my understanding of what that means to me has developed. I like to organise things for myself, fund my own adventures, and go places I want go, but that doesn’t necessarily mean spending time totally by myself. I also like meeting new people and talk for hours about both nonsense and academic babble. Essentially I just like to be in control of myself, whether that means deciding where I’m going in the morning or whether I want to spend time with someone or not.
Picaflor turned out to be everything that I’d hoped it would be. Before even arriving in the country, Picaflor’s project manager kept in touch with me and did everything she could to put my nerves at ease before I travelled to the other side of the world. Upon arriving in Cusco I was met by the project’s manager and taken around Cusco for my Orientation; she showed me where to find everything I could ever need (ATMs, Laundrettes, banks, supermarkets, the tourist office, Spanish schools, and even the vegetarian hangouts) and attentively listened to and answered all my numerous questions. On my first day I was met again at my hotel and brought to the bus stop, and no time was I left to feel lost or unsure. The charity even give you a Peruvian mobile phone with all the staff’s numbers on there so if you ever need to contact them doing so is made easier and cheaper, which was very useful as there were a variety of occasions where I needed that efficient means of contact.
Picaflor House is a Community Project situated in the small village of Oropesa (approximately 1 hour south from the centre of Cusco), founded by the small British charity Globalteer, and acts as an “after-school” type club for the local children. The project hosts 3 lessons a day – English, Maths or Spanish, and Art – and once a week the children are free to run wild and play games on ‘Funday’. There are many, many, other projects just like Picaflor dotted all over Cusco and the Sacred Valley, and it took me a lot of time staring at charity webpages before I finally decided this is where I wanted to spend 3 and a half weeks.