I was placed in a public school in Quito, Ecuador teaching 3-5th grade English. I helped in a variety of classes one or two times throughout my stay to get a feel for the different levels of English in different grades. The best parts of my stay were teaching songs; getting involved with the cheerleading team at the school; and going on adventures with so many different people.
The host culture: Ecuadorians are the most accepting and welcoming people I have ever come across. My host family brought me to multiple family events making me feel like I belonged. I stayed with another teacher for a week to experience a different setting. I went on a hike with the gym teacher. I travelled to a cheer competition with the team and the girls’ families took care of me the whole time. Also the food! I liked everything I tried!
Practicing language skills:
Normally, exchange teachers get placed with the head English teacher at the school but there was already someone living with them so I was placed with a 5th grade teacher’s family. They spoke no English. I spoke VERY little Spanish. The first 4 days were rough, not going to lie. I knew I just needed to embrace it and take it as a learning opportunity. I swear I learned more Spanish in those 10 weeks living with my family then I did in the 4 years of Spanish I had taken throughout HS and college. I wouldn’t have traded this part of my experience for the world - it’s what made it so hard to leave.