In August, Global Volunteers sent the first team of volunteers to serve our new community partner in Ecuador, Colegio Miguel Ángel Asturias, a K-12 school in Calderón. A team of four dedicated, multi-time alumni volunteers taught conversational English to students, staff, and teachers at Colegio Asturias, helping lay the foundation for what we hope will be a long-time partnership serving this school on the outskirts of Quito. Using their professional teaching experience and creativity, these volunteers engaged both youth and adult students in a plethora of activities. They played games, worked on vocabulary, and had conversations about culture. Here, 16-time Global Volunteer Judy Mammon describes being welcomed by our community partners, teaching at the school, participating in cultural events there, and more. Read on for a description of this experience in her own words.
by Judy Mammon, 16-time Global Volunteer
Can you imagine being welcomed on your first day of service at Colegio Miguel Angel Asturias by two rows of staff members lining the hallway and greeting us volunteers with hugs, handshakes, and bouquets of flowers? What an over-the-top warm welcome!
Can you imagine groups of veteran non-English teachers giggling and enthusiastically participating in the games that had them practicing various English skills? The Talking Cards activity and Hangman were two of their favorites.
Can you imagine about forty students giving up their last two weeks of summer vacation in order to attend 75-minute classes in conversational English? These sessions were not originally part of the project for our team, but were only added a few days before our arrival, after consulting with all the team members. So, though the students had little notice about these optional classes, their attendance was good, and they willingly entered into all the activities.
Can you imagine students who had already graduated from the Colegio voluntarily returning to attend the English sessions? To my knowledge, at least three alumni did—one, a young woman who has aspirations of becoming an architect, and whose mother is a teacher at the school, and two young men, both 27 years old. One is studying to become an attorney, and the other is the grandson of the principal. Such dedication!
Can you imagine taking part in the celebration of the principal’s 81st birthday at lunch one day? The festivities included two beautiful cakes, karaoke, and dancing. A happy event, to say the least, to honor this spry, dedicated educator.
Can you imagine the wonderful, surprise send-of the Colegio Asturias staff planned for us? As we were sitting on the auditorium stage ready to exchange farewells with our newly-made friends, more than a dozen staff members, colorfully-clad in folkloric dress, entered the room bearing the Ecuadorian flag and dancing to the lively, upbeat music of their country. A very emotional, touching scene. Afterwards, each of us received a small box of chocolates, a lovely rose, a little bread dough doll, and a large, artistically-crafted farewell card. An outstanding finale to our two-week stay.
Could I have ever imagined all these recent happenings? Not at all. From the warmest of welcomes on our first day of class to the most festive of farewells on our final day, my experience as a member of Team #185 in Quito was wonderfully enjoyable and fulfilling. I hope I have given you an idea of what serving with Global Volunteers at a school in Ecuador might be like. Maybe now you can imagine yourself on a future team there. I hope so.
You may also like: