Small in size, huge in stature, Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse and culturally rich countries of the world. The country straddles the equator (Ecuador actually means ‘Equator’ in Spanish), and is noticeably divided into three very distinct regions.; to the east of Ecuador you’ll discover the tropical rainforest, stretching down to the Amazon basin, the largest, wildest, rainforest on the planet, the central region is decorated by huge, picturesque mountain ranges, whilst the west of the country hold pristine stretches of Pacific coastline. Add to this the prize attraction of Ecuador, the exotic, highly volcanic region of the Galápagos Islands, home to some of the planet’s most striking plant, bird and mammal species.
Ecuador is one of the most authentic Latin-American experiences, with one foot still firmly in the past, with 14th-century Spanish architecture prominent in just about every major (and minor) inhabited location, existing alongside most modern cities and contemporary culture. Strong cultural traditions still manage to shine through modern Ecuador, kept alive by the thriving indigenous population, lead by the Quechua-speaking communities of the rural sierra, and Ecuador’s capital, Quito, a living monument to colonial periods, perhaps more so than any other city in the continent, dominated by traditional Spanish architecture, from the places of worship, and grand government buildings, to the homes locals live in.
Teaching English in Ecuador
Don’t head to Ecuador expecting to find a job on your first day of searching, or have hopes of building up any significant savings during your time here, this isn’t a country that can compete with the massive TEFL job markets of Asia and Europe or even the local booming economy of Brazil, but the demand for English teachers in Ecuador is steady, accessible and as long been so, with no signs of changing for the negative, and with many job vacancies found in state and private schools, and the universities of Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil.
A TEFL certificate is the bare minimum requirement for those wanting to teach in Ecuador, whilst a Bachelor’s degree will significantly enhance your chances of good employment, with the peak hiring season for TEFL teachers in Ecuador being around February/March and July/August. It can be difficult to secure teaching work from abroad, and harder still to find work with a school that will help with airfares or housing, so be expected to make your own travel and accommodation plans, and bring some money to cover your start-up costs. This isn’t noted to put potential teachers off, when done with good research and planning, a qualified TEFL teacher will not experience too many problems finding a good TEFL job.
Wages and Cost of Living
Teachers should expect to earn anything from $ 400 USD to $ 800 USD per month, which isn’t a huge amount, but the cost of living is low and you should earn enough to afford a modest but comfortable lifestyle. Teachers will most typically work 20 to 25 teaching hours per week, leaving you lots of time to party, explore and relax.
TEFL destinations in Ecuador
The following are without doubt the three most significant TEFL teaching hotspots in Ecuador, not only for the number of teaching jobs available but also for being amazing places to live:
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Latin America. There are lots of TEFL jobs to be found within the city, both with state schools and in privately run language institutes.
Guayaquil is Ecuador’s industrial and commercial centre and its most active port. Besides its busy commercial importance, it also has a stunning old town and riverside promenade, which lures in the tourists and travellers. The combo of business and tourism create a high demand for good TEFL teachers.
Cuenca is one of Ecuador’s most beautiful cities, set high up in the Sierra Mountains, popular with tourist hosting a high number of foreign visitors year-round. Such is the tourist industry here that the local demand for learning English is high, with jobs available almost year-round, to qualified TEFL teachers.
Some interesting facts about Ecuador
24 provinces make up Ecuador and each has a capital city. The largest city is Guayaquil with a population of about 3.7 million, whilst the capital city is Quito with a population of about 2.7 million.
Ecuador was colonized by the Spanish in 1563 and gained its independence in 1822 after defeating the Spanish Royalist forces, and after being colonized for a second, brief period shortly after, it again gained independence from Gran Colombia in 1830. As a result, Ecuador celebrates both independence days.
The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar, adopted in 2000 after suffering a financial crisis in 1999. The currency that was used before this was the Ecuadorian Sucre.
Famous Ecuadorians include Oswaldo Guayasamín (painter), Jorge Icaza Coronel (writer), Jefferson Leonardo Perez Quesada (Athlete), and Galo Plaza Lasso (former secretary of the Organization of American States (O.A.S.).
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