It isn't often I'm at a loss for words. I can find a subject to write about easily. And I've no problem wading into a controversial issue. But when Sara in our office introduced me to Lawrence Mattingly's Blog about his trips with GeoVisions (yes, trips as in plural) I was speechless. You just have to see this.
First of all, let me just humbly say that when an organization provides a "big ticket item" we don't expect people to come back again and again. Most of our volnteers and teachers use GeoVisions as a spring board to help them reach goals. They do magnificently. We don't see them again.
Lawrence went to the Galapagos with us. And now he's in Chile with GeoVisions. When our volunteers and teachers choose GeoVisions, we listen. When someone like Lawrence goes twice and then writes the kind of Blog he's writing, we sit straight up.
I'm in Washington, DC right now on a business trip. And I'm meeting one of our volunteers today who will be leaving for China soon. We like to meet as many volunteers and teachers as possible. It helps us understand their goals, their needs, their drive. I'm going to learn a lot this afternoon from Martin, who is leaving soon for China for 6 months to be a volunteer teacher. Wow. So I could go on and on about the Martins and Lawrences of the world.
Instead, I'll head out to the station and provide a link to Lawrence's Blog. Hundreds of photos, an incredible job, I'm so envious of his Blogging ability and when you read some of his posts and find out more about Lawrence and also realize he's on his 2nd volunteer journey, you will be blown away. His Blog is not like others you have seen.
So, I'd like to introduce Lawrence Mattingly to you, and his blog Wandering Whim. Please click the link, sit back and enjoy.
Volunteer 15 hours each week in Ecuador in exchange for free room and half board. Weekends are normally free to experience the culture by traveling around Ecuador. Conversation Partners can be placed in the Quito area and Galapagos Islands, as well as a few placements in Guayaquil and Cuenca.
- Cultural Exchange Agencies. Ecuadorians are very interested in learning languages and participating in programs such as work and travel, au pair, academic year abroad, etc. A tutor is needed to prepare the participants with their English communication skills before the Ecuadorian goes abroad. The tutor can also assist the cultural exchange agency staff. (Location: Quito, Guayaquil or Cuenca)
- Travel Companies. Due to the growth of tourism in Ecuador, there are many travel companies, mostly based in Quito. These travel companies promote tourism packages in the country and abroad. English language skills of the sales staff is always an area of improvement. (Location: Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, and Galapagos Islands)
- Ecuadorian Import/Export Business.
- Flower companies. Ecuador is the third largest flower exporter in the world. The flower companies are based mostly in Quito and surrounding areas. The companies take care of exports; quality control, distribution and commercialization. A GeoVisions Conversation Partner will help staff members to improve their communication with their international clients. (Location: Quito)
- Government Organizations. Due to the increased number of visitors to the Galapagos Islands, staff members want to improve their English skills in order to help with the tourists, mainly at the airport. (Location: Galapagos Islands)
- Spanish Schools. Tourism in Ecuador has been increasing annually with people coming to Quito to learn Spanish. Spanish teachers want to improve their English conversation skills in oder to communicate better with students wanting to learn basic Spanish. (Location: Quito)
Conversation Partner tutors can request a specific agency and location. While every effort will be made to meet these requests, placements are based on need and availability.
This is a high-energy and really fun position. GeoVisions provides the materials; you provide the personality to liven up an informal conversation class! Find out first-hand how Ecuadorians live and work day-to-day. Sometimes there are opportunities to take part in activities. Plus, the locals can show you landmarks and hidden gems.
Conversation Partner volunteers must be native English speakers. You need to have earned a high school (secondary school) diploma or certificate, and be in good health. Placements are available year 'round and range in duration from one to three months.
What You Get For Your Program Fee:
- Personalized Volunteer Placement with a host family (or dorm, hotel, or guest house) through our Partner in Ecuador, based on your skills and interests, including all the coordination, in-person visits and communication necessary with the local organization.
- Your orientation in Quito with a half-day tour of Quito.
- A comfortable, safe place to live in Ecuador, your room, half board (Breakfast and Dinner), and transportation from the airport.
- An experienced U.S. based GeoVisions Program Manager (and former volunteer with GeoVisions) who will serve as your coordinator and liaison with our in-country staff in Ecuador.
- In-country basic language assistance and (optional) language classes.
- Professional, locally-based staff to provide orientation, supervision and guidance throughout your stay.
- Extensive medical, accident and dental insurance along with emergency evacuation insurance.
- Important documents, including in-depth pre-departure packs, orientation information, and all in-country informational materials.
- Country-based airport transportation.
- A toll-free 24-hour emergency hotline in the U.S.
- Our own text book plus Premium membership at the esl-lounge.
- Two-months membership at Pongo.
- The President's Volunteer Service Award including a lapel pen, letter from the President of The United States and certificate.