Enjoy the following blog post from Jena Doyle, a current WorldTeach volunteer, about her experience in Quito, Ecuador. Read more on her blog.
Watch the WorldTeach Ecuador 2018 Webinar here.
Two Weeks in Quito
By Jena Doyle
It’s hard to believe that 14 days ago, I left home to begin this new chapter as a member of World Teach Ecuador, where I will be serving as an ESL teacher for 10 months in Quito. It almost feels like a lifetime ago that I was awaiting my departure, putting off packing, and pushing away all the emotions that seemed to come with making a huge life change like this. Ever since my semester abroad in Santiago, Chile, I knew that returning to South America was something I would most definitely do, but I tend to think that the future is farther off than it actually is. That’s probably why it seemed as if my departure to Quito completely crept up on me (in addition to my need to constantly feel under pressure in order to get things done and not fully comprehend what exactly is happening LOL). Though I have only been here a short period of time, I have come to better understand the commitment I have made while becoming comfortable in my new routines and experiences, and remaining aware of the roller-coaster of emotions this new chapter brings.
These first weeks in Quito have been filled with orientation lessons lead by our fearless World Teach field staff that have ranged from topics such as Ecuadorian culture, lessons on teaching in an ESL classroom, adjusting to life in a new country, and group excursions throughout the city. It has been overwhelming at its most stressful times, but eye-opening, encouraging, and insightful, on its best days. As someone whose teaching experience is solely tutoring young elementary aged students in reading and writing, teaching a class full of high school students or university students is incredibly daunting. At the start of this all, I couldn’t even think about it, as if I simply came to Quito to live and not do anything else but travel and speak Spanish. But I am actually here to do something quite substantial, and the idea of having the opportunity to impact a student’s life with the English language has begun to thrill me in the best way possible.
While I am beginning to get excited about my new teaching position, I have slowly begun to adjust to daily life in Quito. As a World Teach Volunteer, we are placed with Ecuadorian families, where we are able to fully immerse ourselves in the culture and language. So far, it has been a great experience, with only a few days where I am swallowed by my emotions that come with moving to a new country. Though I’m not sure I will ever fully get used to having rice at every meal and a cold shower in the morning, I have happily accepted the incredible weather and daily views that come with living in a city fully immersed in the Andes Mountains. But, when the severely crowded, smelly, awfully driven bus in the morning reminds me of self-doubt, I am forced to remain strong and confident in my ability to succeed in such challenging situations, because if it’s not hard, then it’s not worth it. Ecuador has so much to offer any visitor, and I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to call it home for the next 10 months, but for now, I call the days in which I don’t get lost on the way to school, or get pickpocketed on the streets, or feel claustrophobic in a city of over a million people, wins.
Though these two weeks have been tough, they have given me the opportunity to see beauty in the hardships, to except victory in the little things, and to be open to the challenges that lie ahead, knowing that it will be that much worth it in the end. This is only the beginning, and I look forward to what lies ahead!