Posts Tagged ‘volunteering abroad’

Happy Mexicans = My Goal

Once upon a time…

It’s now been almost a year and a half since I cut ties with the homeland and boarded a plane headed for Mexico City.  Much has befallen me since then, from the spine tinglingly good to the though provoking to the black and ‘orrible, but I wouldn’t change any of it for all the tea in Blighty.

However, I have to be thankful for the first few shaky steps I made on arrival; getting indispensible training to teach English, making my first real assault on the Spanish language and slowly but surely finding my place and being accepted into a little Mexican community.  I’ve had the benefit of a year of hindsight and I have to say that it was about as good a start as I could have hoped for.

The thing was, this course was bloody hard to find.  I spent months scouring the internet and getting very confused by all manner of TEFL training courses and job options, all of which came to precisely bugger all.  My breakthrough came via my Bristolian Spanish teacher’s friend (!) who was teaching at the Dunham Institute in the small town of Chiapa de Corzo, the very place I ended up training to teach English and working.  A shining testimonial from her and a look at the Institute’s website was all I needed to pick my point of entry into Latin America and book my flights!

Meanwhile, back in the present day…

A couple of months ago the Director of the institute, who I’d been helping to redesign their slightly scatty website, (much better now) dropped me an email saying that for reasons unfathomable the number of TEFL students studying at Dunham had dropped off dramatically; the lovely little language institute that had welcomed me into Mexico was going unused.  Out of ideas, she asked me to help drum up some business and given my experiences training and living in Chiapa de Corzo I had no problems obliging.

Searching hard to find a hidden treat is good up to a certain point, but I know that there are  people out there looking for places like the Institute, missing out on what is on offer.  So, I’m asking you to get the message to the right people about the Dunham Institute!

I don’t want this to be one of those “send this on to 10 of your friends” efforts; this isn’t about trying to email-blast as many people as possible, but thinking about who would really benefit from knowing about the Dunham Institute, and telling them!  With this in mind, are you in any of the following situations?  It’s a great chance to play matchmaker and make your mate and a bunch of Mexican schoolkids very happy!

1) You know someone who wants to travel abroad

Are they considering Latin America as an option?  Would they be interested in using English teaching to earn and work as they travel?  Send ’em to the Dunham Institute website to have a look!

2) Someone you know wants to volunteer abroad

Are they interested in teaching English on a voluntary basis?  The Institute runs an 8 week program to train volunteers to TEFL standard before placing them in state school classes to teach local kids.  If getting trained in a skill and using it as a volunteer sounds good…yup, send ’em to the Dunham Institute website!

3) Someone you know works with a TEFL student recruitment company, or manages volunteers

I’d love to speak to them about working with Dunham; get them to send me an email.

4)  You have a website or knows someone with a website that would like to link to the Institute

Great stuff!  Pop the link up and drop me an email to let me know, or get your contact to send me an email.

5)  You’d like to help promoting the Institute’s website by clicking on things…

I’ve posted a few entries on Yahoo Answers about TEFL and volunteering, which I’d be most grateful to receive votes on.  If you have a spare minute and are a “level 2” on the YahooAnswers system (i.e. you’ve already been using it), click on any of the links below to cast your vote on your favourite answer to the questions that don’t have any votes yet.  In case you aren’t sure, its teacherjon” that needs your clicks…do it soon, because the voting closes on the questions within a few hours in some cases!  Please note that if you aren’t level 2, the system doesn’t give you enough privileges to vote, boooo

Can I volunteer abroad for cheap?

Where can I find free or cheap study abroad or volunteer programs…

Are there any volunteering abroad things on this summer?

Should I take TEFL or TESOL?

What’s a good ESL or TESOL certification course that I could take?

6) You have some wisdom to impart about how to get more students to the Institute

I’m not pretending to be a big cigar smoking expert about all of this; I’ve got a few plates spinning in my marketing mix, but you’re all a bunch of very intelligent, free-thinking and beautiful people.  If you’ve got an idea about how I could boost those numbers based on your experience, connections or tea leaf readings, send me an email; I love advice!  This list needs more than 7 numbers…

7) Just putting it out there, but…maybe you want to be a TEFL teacher!

I can’t recommend the course highly enough, and if you want a good introduction to Latin America I’d be happy to help you get set up at the Institute.  Find out more about the programs that Joanna runs here.

I hope there’s something above that fits the bill for you so that someone out there can get organised, kick starting their TEFL teaching or getting stuck into some volunteering and getting the best out of the community in Chiapa de Corzo.


Read Full Post »