Although Cora served on 10 previous volunteer programs with Global Volunteers, she proclaims her assignment teaching conversational English in Peru was her most rewarding volunteer experience to date! Never having taught conversational English classes before, she was moved to answer the urgent call of La Molina University, one of our community partners in Lima. She now urges other volunteers to teach conversational English in Peru and experience the reward of helping university students prepare for their futures. Her conversation with Daniel Salazar:
I facilitated English conversation with a group of students age 17-29, many of whom are working on their masters. To start, I created an assessment questionnaire called “getting to know you, ” to assess their interests and capabilities. I used that as a basis to teach, and then we studied pronunciation, idioms, and heteronyms. We sang songs, played games; anything to generate interest, anything didactic.
In order to develop and progress in their careers, the La Molina students must acquire not only reading comprehension skills, but be capable of communicating easily with English-speaking people. Practicing English conversation opens up many more opportunities for them.
Personally, teaching conversational English was totally out of my comfort zone. In all my Global Volunteers trips, I had never done it. And these were non-English speakers! I had definitely some apprehension about my role and their response. Our team leader, Maru, told me the best way to help them was to focus on conversation.
“Over the past two weeks I have grown to adore my students, who are very bright. They are polite and interested about English, me, and America. We have become a very close group, which I had not anticipated, and which has been totally rewarding.”
Even though I required them to mainly speak with each other, they gained a great deal of confidence in word choice and pronunciation. I also taught them idioms – hard to explain, but Americans use a lot of idioms, they’re important.
“I think that this is probably one of the most rewarding programs I have done in all my ten trips with Global Volunteers.”
I think this experience was so rewarding because the Hotel Torreblanca treated us like family. Our team leaders were always making sure we had what we needed. The food is abundant. While the traffic was horrible, our driver was safe and aware; I rarely felt threatened. It is a safe environment were we stay and where we are with the students. The people at La Molina have always attended to our needs, and the students have become family.
Teach conversational English in Peru
I highly recommend the program and would hope that more people would do it. My recommendation: Take the challenge. No experience needed. No excuses. If you speak English, you can teach conversational English in Peru!