GeoVisions Blog

How Many Days Can I Volunteer Abroad In [Insert Country] For $1,000?

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Tue, Nov 26, 2013

currency chartI just read an article on The Expeditioner site entitled How Many Days Can I Travel In [Insert Country Here] With $1,000?  It was interesting.  The comments ran from "this is all a load of crap" written by someone who can obviously either spend MUCH more than that or is happy to sleep on a park bench ... to "this is the best thing I've ever seen."

So I do want to type in here that your mileage may vary.

But I used the list to test out pricing on our own programs.  So for example, if I look at the pricing of our programs in France, Italy and Spain, I get a huge savings by going with GeoVisions.  The Expeditioner site said it would take 22 days to blow through $1,000 in the Euro zone.  That's $45.45 per day.  In 22 days you'd have to leave.

On our Conversation Corps France program, you can stay a month for $1,549.  That's $52 a day.  But you can also stay 60-days for $27 a day and 90-days for $19 a day.  On Conversation Corps Spain it will cost only $38/day for 30-days.  Compare that to The Expeditioner's spending of $45 a day.  If you stay with us 60-days, it drops to $19 a day and 90-days will cost $13 a day.

Asia is a good deal for travelers also.  The Expeditioner spent $1,000 in 43 days.  So looking at Conversation Corps Thailand ... we cost $53 a days compared to The Expeditioner at $23 a day.  But when you stay in Thailand 90-days (why would you travel that far to stay only 43 days) the cost goes down to $18 per day.  Still less than The Expeditioner's findings.

Keep in mind also, as you read their article and look at the chart for your favorite country that they built their budget on a room in a hostel each night, street food and minimal transport.

As a member of the Conversation Corps, you have your own private bedroom, 3 home-cooked meals a day, an orientation, and insurance (not covered on the examples in The Expeditioner's findings).

If you're well traveled and you've done a great deal of travel on your own, let us know if you agree with the findings.  No matter how you cut it, if you choose a 90-day GeoVisions program, you're going to spend half as much as if you did it on your own.

Read more of their article and have a look at their chart here.

Tags: Conversation Corps-France, Conversation Corps-Spain, Conversation Corps Thailand, Conversation Corps-Italy, Conversation Corps

I Live With A Family In Spain And Teach Them English-Help Me Teach

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Tue, Sep 25, 2012

Each week, GeoVisions posts an actual email from a Conversation Corps tutor, a Conversation Partner or a full time teacher abroad on a GeoVisions program.  We call the series, Help Me Teach Abroad.

Our Help Me Teach desk is manned by Betsy Bruneau, a full time ESL teacher here.  She gives teaching assistance to GeoVisions' participants by phone, email and Skype.  It is a FREE service that GeoVisions provides to all of our participants and they can have access to Betsy before they depart and during the program.  If we can help you be an amazing teacher or tutor, you will be happy, your students or host family will be happy, you will tell people they should try this out and we will have a repeat family and school.  And that's how we want to roll.

Browse By Tag boxYou can find a lot of these posts by clicking on the Help Me Teach tag.  You can find that over on the right side of this screen.  The tag box looks like this one.  We will put all of our Help Me Teach posts right there.  And who knows...one of these days we'll have enough to make up our own E-Book, which of course we'll give away for FREE.

Betsy,
 
My name is Kaite and I will live with a family in Spain and teach them English, specifically in Madrid starting October 1st.  I work at a camp right now so will not really have much free time the end of August. The family I will be staying with have two children, 3 (girl) and a 5 year old boy. I checked out the ESL Lounge provided to me by GeoVisions and noticed a lot of it is for older children. I will be trying to log on quickly when I have some free time to see if they have more that I might have missed but thought I would check with you to see if you had any good hints for me to start planning. I know a lot of my time speaking with the children will be playing with them and I am checking into buying some games and having them sent directly to Madrid.
 
Any help you could offer would be great.
 
Thanks so much,

Kaite
Hi Kaite,
Teach in SpainI love the way you spell your name. Anyway, it looks like you have an exciting trip ahead of you and that you may be ahead of the game because you already work at a camp and are accustomed to being around children.

The children you will be charged with teaching are at such an ideal age and really language hungry. They are also at an age where they are probably really uninhibited about trying words and pronunciations and the like. I think that you have exactly the right idea; play with the kids. It's the best way for them to learn and they'll never even know they're doing it. I wouldn't spend too much time or money on games. I think playing games is an excellent idea.

Play games from your childhood, like Duck Duck Goose or Mother May I. Play simple card games like Concentration with fewer cards since the children are so young (actually any type of matching game is excellent). Play Hide and Seek and Tag. The whole time that you are playing with them you will be conversing which is the best way for them to learn. If I were to bring anything with me it would be Richard Scarry's Word Book. There are a few different ones. My own daughters read them far past the recommended ages because they have captivating illustrations and are very easy to understand. Another good author is Eric Carle, especially Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?

Take advantage of every interaction with the children to converse with them. So this would include when you are eating, shopping, playing, bathing, walking, etc. You are probably going to be seen as a big play mate and not a teacher, which is a nice way to be recognized. I would also go to the library with the kids and see to what books and topics they are drawn. Then try to focus your ideas and lessons on their interests. You are much more likely to keep their attention.

Also, sing with them. Basic silly songs, the alphabet song, whatever. We all learn more efficiently when we can sing it and are much more likely to remember the subject.

I can give you much more detailed and structured lessons, Kaite, but I think you have the right idea by keeping it informal. Let me know how it is going.

Betsy

Tags: Conversation Corps-Spain, Teach Abroad, Help Me Teach

Help Me Teach Abroad--Teaching In Spain

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Tue, Sep 04, 2012

Each week, GeoVisions will post an actual email from a Conversation Corps tutor, a Conversation Partner or a full time teacher abroad on a GeoVisions program.  We are going to call the series, Help Me Teach Abroad.

Our Help Me Teach desk is manned by Betsy Bruneau, a full time ESL teacher here.  She gives teaching assistance to GeoVisions' participants by phone, email and Skype.  It is a FREE service that GeoVisions provides to all of our participants and they can have access to Betsy before they depart and during the program.  If we can help you be an amazing teacher or tutor, you will be happy, your students or host family will be happy, you will tell people they should try this out and we will have a repeat family and school.  And that's how we want to roll.

Browse By Tag boxYou can find a lot of these posts by clicking on the Help Me Teach tag.  You can find that over on the right side of this screen.  The tag box looks like this one.  We will put all of our Help Me Teach posts right there.  And who knows...one of these days we'll have enough to make up our own E-Book, which of course we'll give away for FREE.

Hello,

I will be teaching 4 children from Spain. Two are 8 and 9. The other two are 14 and 15. I will be teaching them in different groups. I am getting my lesson plans from the ESL Lounge site that Geovisions has provides for free. My question is about the Teenagers. I'm not sure if I should pull from elementary, pre-intermediate, or intermediate for the teenagers. I have used the young learners lesson plan for the 8 and 9 year olds. This is my first time and could use any advice in preparing these accordingly to their ages.

Hi!

My name is Betsy Bruneau and I am an ESL teacher in Connecticut. I teach Social Studies at the high school level and have many English-language learners in my room. Your trip sounds very exciting and very involved. I hope that you can appreciate the ages of the children you will be working with. All of them probably have some level of English under their belts. It will be your job to figure out which level to use in terms of lessons.

tutor teaching her host mom EnglishThis will not be a difficult task. You'll discover early on how much of a grasp they have on the language. They may have been taught formal English but are not able to use it in conversation. This is what makes your job so much fun. Your task is not to teach them formal English, but to have them concentrate on their conversational ability. Be aware of things like their use of idioms and their understanding of nuances in the language. This should give you a better understanding.

I would begin by introducing yourself. Bring pictures of your family and friends. Bring postcards or photos from your hometown. Share with the children what children, who are their ages, and from your home base do for fun. What is school like, activities, family life, etc. They will be interested. Share with them information about yourself. What do you like to do? Bring a cookbook from your home area. Show them some of your favorites. You can use the cookbook during your stay.Bring teen magazines with you.

Stay focused on the kids' interests. This allows for much more involvement from them. Try to base some of your activities on these interests. For your teenagers, think about things they might need to know if they were to visit an English-speaking nation. Have them role play different scenarios. Have them bring you into town and give you a tour in English. Have them order from a menu or shop in local stores. They can begin by doing it in Spanish but have them ease into English eventually.

As a whole group, you can prepare meals. Have them take turns choosing what they would like to make. Go to the market together, cook together and serve and clean up together. Let them teach you a few Spanish meals and vice versa. Take walks together and have them point things out to you. Tell them about schools in your area and then visit theirs. They can do comparison charts. They can do comparison charts for many things like the average day of a Spanish teenager vs. one from where you are from, foods, geography, sports, music, fashion, etc.

So, wait to see what level the kids are on before you start worrying about from where you should get your lesson. The ESL lounge has excellent ideas but be sure to move outside of formal lessons. I have a lot more ideas if you are interested. Please let me know how everything is going.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Betsy

Hi Betsy,

Well, it is very nice to meet you. I was an AmeriCorps VISTA and received all sorts of experience through running different programs through the Office of Civic Engagement for the University of Maine at Augusta. Not exactly teaching English, but it sure taught me a lot.

I think all those sound like great ideas. I have been working on a list of games, songs, and conversation pieces. I'm just confused now. So I shouldn't lesson plan at all until I get there and meet the kids? I will be there for two months and want to make sure they have the best time. Thank you so much for your help so far. And yes, the more help the better off I am. I do know that the Mother and father wishes the kids to be in seperate groups though too.

Hi again,

I wouldn't plan anything concrete until you know what they can do. Some ideas for any level are:

1. Writing prompts. There are a million of them on line. They can be high interest and personal. Most teenagers like to talk about themselves so they would probably enjoy this. You can also do this everyday.

Language entry in dictionary2. One of my favorite activities is to have the kids plan a fictional trip to the United States based on their own interests. So you set up the parameters and let them figure out the rest. For instance, if one of the teenagers is interested in sports, specifically skiing, you could tell them that they have to plan a three-week trip to the states. Where would they land? What resorts would they like to visit? What states would they travel through? How would they get from one place to another? How long would each leg of the journey be? How would they pack? etc, etc, etc. You get the idea. This is a research intensive project and can take several days. However, it can be modified according to ability and interest and so you could do it with all of the kids, even if you split them into two groups.

3. Make lists of idioms. Have the kids share idioms from their language with you and then you do the same. See how many you can come up with and have them add to it as your stay goes on. A true grasp of a second language means understanding the idioms.

If I were you, I would have a "bag of tricks" available to use if you are stuck. But, I think that you will be able to be much more affective if you can see what all of the kids like. Don't forget, you can do things like "movie night" with or without subtitles and you can read novels and short stories. But again, it all depends on ability.

I love Maine. Is that where you are from? I used to beg my daughters to apply to the University of Maine so that we had someplace cool to visit. And AmeriCorps is even cooler. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Betsy

If you have comments for this tutor on Conversation Corps-Spain, feel free to use the Comments section below.  This is an open community and we're all eager to learn.

Tags: Conversation Corps-Spain, Help Me Teach

Another Volunteer Blog In Spain

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Mon, Mar 12, 2012
Kayla and her two new studentsKayla Walnock arrived recently in Madrid on Conversation Corps-Spain.  As a member of the GeoVisions Community Pages, she is writing a great travel journal about her experiences.  If you're thinking about Conversation Corps (or Spain--or both) give this travel journal a good read.

Kayla is having a great time.  You absolutely have to look at the photos of the two girls Kayla is tutoring (sample on the left).  When you open the most recent journal entry, look over on the right under the map.  As I write this, there are 6 photos.  As you look through the photos, you can see Kayla is having a great time and she has some great students in those two young girls.  Very precocious, I think!

We love to share travel Blogs and travel journals from our volunteers and teachers.  Just click here.  We have a lot of them to share with you!

We hope you will have a look, maybe subscribe to Kayla's pages and find out if Conversation Corps is for you!  We hope so.

Tags: Conversation Corps-Spain, Conversation Corps, Volunteer Blogs

Featured Participant Journal: Conversation Corps Spain

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Mon, Jan 09, 2012
Photo from Conversation Corps Spain

Scott has just arrived in Spain for GeoVisions' Conversation Corps Spain program.  He'll be in Spain for 2 months tutoring children and living with a host family.

As you can see from Scott's journal entry this past weekend, he has fallen in love.  Well, like everyone else, he has fallen in love with the food in Spain.

We are thrilled Scott is already writing his online journal with GeoVisions' Community Pages, and he's only been in Spain 3 days!  We can't wait for him to write more when he actually starts his lessons with the children...which in fact happens today.  "The kids go back to school tomorrow, which means I also start teaching my classes! I'm pretty excited to do this. I looked through their English books today, and its basically the same as my Spanish books have been, just in English."

Until then, Scott says, "So yeah, thats what I have been up to. Eating, drinking wine, playing soccer, and playing video games. Life is great."

If you're interested in reaching out to Scott, here in the link to his online journal.  Even if you're not a member of the Community Pages, you can still "shout out" to him.  And we'll stay in touch with Scott because we're eager to know how it goes when the kids come home from school.

Tags: Conversation Corps-Spain, Conversation Corps, Volunteer Blogs, Volunteering Abroad

Teach English In Spain And Live With A Family

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Thu, Dec 29, 2011

From Lauren's travel journal on spainWe're here at the end of the year and I'm going through a lot of travel journals from our volunteers in 2011. There are a lot of great journals in our Community Pages.

One of my favs was by Lauren Linares. Her journal, Vino,Besos y Mas, was joy to read. I am linking to her final entry entitled Ciao for Now. But if you check it out, take a look at her other posts and photos as well. But Ciao For Now provides a great list of "I will miss" sentences.

For example, Lauren will miss the olives, the kisses goodnight from the children she tutored on our program, "Live With A Family In Spain And Teach Them English."

If you plan to go to Spain with GeoVisions, this travel journal is a great place to start. Even if you're going elsewhere, try starting here and then browse through the subgroups where we have more journals from other countries.

Live With A Family In Spain And Teach Them English is a great opportunity to teach English in Spain but have the security of a host family and 3 meals each day. It's a great way to travel to Spain or teach in Spain.

Did you know this program is one of the very few with a "low season" price?

Try to beat 1 month is Spain, living with a family and teaching them English, 3 meals each day and your own room for $895. Yep. Under $900 for the month. And if you can stay for 3 months the fee is $970…less than $100 more for 60 more days. At 3 months, you're spending $11 per day. Try to live and eat in your apartment for that!

Seriously. Check out Lauren's journal and then the program and maybe I'll see you in Spain real soon!

In the meantime, here are some interesting Blogs and posts about living and teaching in Spain I came across and recommend:

Teaching English in Spain: An Interview with Cat Gaa (Part 2)

The Truth About Teaching English In Spain And Beyond

Tags: Conversation Corps-Spain, Teach Abroad, Conversation Corps, Volunteer Blogs, Volunteering Abroad

Our New Conversation Corps Program Has A Name

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Wed, Nov 16, 2011

Walk and Talk!

We almost went with Half and Half...the new program is half family tutor and some child care duties.  Plus, participants are paid €40 each week ($55 US).  Half and Half seemed exactly right and that name was suggestion by Amanda who wrote a convincing comment on yesterday's Blog post when we asked for name suggestions.

The Conversation Corps logoLater in the day someone suggested Walk and Talk (Tutor and Childcare in Spain).  The name put a little step (pun intended) in the program and so we settled on it.  Many thanks to Amanda who had a really great idea.

This program is a response to so many people who are struggling to go abroad and make a difference and to help people.  Not only does the continuing down economy make it more and more difficult to afford international travel, but it has become harder to take 1, 2 or even 3 months and go away.

With Conversation Corps Spain, we have lowered the fee from now through April by $370 if you go 3 months.  3 months in Spain for under $1,000.  Can you believe it?  Still, it is hard for people to find that money and that time.

Walk and Talk goes one step further.  Participants will earn €40 each week ($55 US) to help with spending money or to help offset airfare.  Over 12 weeks, if you stay 3 months, you can earn $660. Plus you have a private room and 3 meals a day.

How much childcare is there, besides the tutoring?  You are asked to babysit 2 nights per month while the parents go out and take a breather.  And you are asked to be home when the children get home from school, or perhaps walk them home from school, make them a snack, etc.  We have made certain no domestic chores are allowed, other than the usual helping to set and clear the table, keep your room tidy...the typical chores you would assist with in any family.

We hope you enjoy the new program.  Thanks also for the name ideas we received on our Facebook Page.  Some of you are very creative.

So what do you think?  Is Walk and Talk a good program idea?  Does earning a little spending money each week make sense?  Does it make a difference?

Tags: Conversation Corps-Spain, Walk and Talk, Conversation Corps

Conversation Corps-Spain. A New Blog From A Tutor

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Mon, Nov 29, 2010
The logo for Stanley's Conversation Corps BlogIf you are headed to Spain as a member of the Conversation Corps, you are going to want to spend time on Stanley Langford Lloyd's Blog.  He did a fantastic job chronicling his journey before heading to Spain and while he was there as a tutor on the program Conversation Corps-Spain.

Stanley is a recent graduate of the University of Utah with degrees in Political Science and Speech Communications.

The post Moving In & The First Two Weeks is a fantastic look into moving in with a family, and getting set up to tutor the family in Conversational English.  The photos in that post are fantastic, since Stanley the entire house, the area of Madrid where is was living, and setting up the classes.  If you are going on any of the Conversation Corps projects, this Blog Post is a must for you.

There are many more posts in the Blog about just how much of Spain Stanley was able to see and all he experienced.  His last post, The Host Family, is really great.  He talks about the family and includes a ton of photos.

From time to time, GeoVisions posts Blogs from former tutors and so we want to thank Stanley for allowing us to post his Blog.  The entire Blog is fascinating and the two posts we mention here are certainly for anyone headed to Spain as a member of the Conversation Corps but even if you're headed elsewhere, we think these two posts in particular will be very helpful in setting the tone of why you are going and really...the best way to go about the program.

If you have comments, we have a section below for you.  If you're interested in becoming a member of the Corps, we have links for you above and we are happy to talk to you about the many opportunities as a Conversation Corps tutor.  You can email us and someone will contact you within 24 hours.

Would you like to become a member of the Corps?

Tags: Conversation Corps-Spain, Conversation Corps, Volunteer Blogs

A New Blog From A Volunteer In Spain

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Tue, Mar 30, 2010

Madrid metroOne of GeoVisions' volunteers on Conversation Corps-Spain published a new Blog and is updating her posts regularly.  It is really worth a read.

Brandi is updating about her host family, her tutoring the family and her outings in and out of Madrid. In one post, What A Life, she writes about what it is like to tutor a family and how some people can earn quite a bit of extra cash tutoring others around Madrid.  She includes a great photo of Puerto del Sol.

In her most recent post, Time Flies When You're Having Fun, she writes about her experiences around the famous El Rastro market and how she celebrates her one-month anniversary on Conversation Corps-Spain.

Here is an excerpt from Adventures of Curly Girlie: One Girl's Quest to Conquer the World:

The tutoring is going great. I am tutoring the whole family throughout the day, when I am home, as well as my scheduled time of 7-10 p.m. It is very informal. We traditionally just have a casual conversation and then I correct them when they say the incorrect words or help them when they are struggling with what to say in English. I help the mother, Maria, translate some of her work documents in English and because I am great with Powerpoint I help her jazz up her presentations. She is extremely grateful.

Madrid at night.Maria was telling me even if she learns English she is unsure if she will ever understand American English because we have so many sayings that do not make sense to her. She wants me to teach her these sayings. I tend to say A LOT of these American sayings or idioms,  For example,

  • right off the bat
  • off her rocker
  • that´s the way the cookie crumbles
  • would not be caught dead, and so on.

For this reason, I have been compiling a notebook full of all the idioms I use and can possibly think of. I write out the idiom, explain what it means, then provide an example of how one could use the idiom in a sentence. When I leave I am going to present it to the family. In the meantime, I just read the family a few of them a day. They find the sayings very entertaining!

Check out the "Volunteer Blogs" tag on the right and read what others write about this amazing program.

Are you headed to Spain with the Conversation Corps?

If you can take away something useful from this post, please consider leaving a comment (below) or subscribing to the feed (above) to have future posts delivered to your feed reader. You can also subscribe via email (in the upper right corner).  Over on the right we have made it easy for you to become a Fan of GeoVisions on Facebook and to Follow Us on Twitter.

Tags: Conversation Corps-Spain, Conversation Corps, Volunteer Blogs, Volunteering Abroad

Out Of The Shell, Into The Light: Volunteer Abroad in Spain

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Tue, Dec 22, 2009

Conversation Corps LogoBrandi Garrigus is excited and she has a Blog to prove it.  She joined the Conversation Corps and in March 2010 she will be headed to Spain to live with a family and tutor them in conversational English.  She will be on the Conversation Corps-Spain program for 2 months.

Brandi isn't waiting to arrive in Spain to start her Blog.  She has it going already.  If you're interested in the "process" when you join the Corps, subscribing to Out Of The Shell, Into The Light will give you a view into how it all plays out.

When Can I Join The Corps?
Conversation Corps runs all year long.

Do I Need To Know A Second Language?
It is always helpful to have at least the basics. After all, you are tutoring 15 hours a week.  One great aspect of the Corps is that you have free time to volunteer locally, attend language classes, cooking classes and become a part of the community. While a second language is not required, it helps.

Do I Need Teaching Experience?
No. As a member of the Conversation Corps you will be required to help your host family with their conversational English for a maximum of 15 hours per week. As part of our program fee, we provide each Conversation Corps member with an excellent text should you need more ideas for conversation. The goal for your family is to practice their conversational English. This is not about teaching them reading, writing and grammar. This program is about conversation.  We also provide a 24-hour hot line in case you need quick help and you receive premium membership at the ESL Lounge, to download as many ideas, worksheets and flash cards as you like.

If you can take away something useful from this post, please consider leaving a comment (below) or subscribing to the feed (above) to have future posts delivered to your feed reader. You can also subscribe via email (over on the right).  You can also follow us on Twitter.


 

Tags: Conversation Corps-Spain, Conversation Corps, Volunteer Blogs