HaleyWise

USF Student Volunteers Teaching English in the Galapagos

The idea sounds nice when we mull it over in our heads, but it takes a special level of commitment to seek out and participate in volunteer opportunities. It’s hard enough to balance school, work and a social life — don’t we have better things to do with our time than give it away for free? Senior media studies major Haley Wise spent two months of her summer break teaching English in the Galapagos Islands. Even though she wasn’t paid for her work, Haley returned to San Francisco a richer person than before she left. I had a chance to sit down with her and learn about her experience.

Last year, Haley was studying abroad in London and struggling to find summer internship opportunities back in San Francisco. KC Steblay, a business administration senior at USF, had kept in touch with a friend he made on a previous trip to the Galapagos, a province of Ecuador. Through this friend, Haley, who is dating KC, found a chance better than she had ever hoped: two volunteers were needed to teach English in Puerto Ayora for two months, spending the first month aboard an ecology-focused cruise ship, educating the crew, and the second working with the staff of a green resort. Despite a limited grasp of Spanish, Haley and KC soon found themselves amidst the pristine beauty of the islands over 600 miles west of the South American continent — and teaching.

Haley didn’t have much time to get settled before her volunteer work began. “I barely know Spanish, have never taught anything before in my life, and I’m expected to lead a class! I had to write my own lesson plans, and basically start from square one with native Galapagans that had little to no English experience.” With limited resources, Haley had to do whatever she could to keep her students engaged. Her students, however, were as excited to learn as Hayley was daunted by her task. KC believes that eagerness came from appreciation: “One weekend, I worked at an after-school program with little kids, and you could just see that they didn’t really want to be there. But the people on that boat, they knew it was important for them and they wanted to learn. They’d come up to me out of class just to learn a new word.”

Aboard the ship, the M/V Santa Cruz, Haley describes her classroom setting as “hectic.” “I assumed there would be some sort of curriculum set out for us, or some guidelines to follow,” she recalls. “But no. I was instructed to ‘just teach them English.’” Though Haley and KC were able to teach joint classes the first two weeks, Haley soon found herself in charge of four hour-long classes each day, ranging in skill from beginners with no English training whatsoever to a fluent group that needed help fine-tuning pronunciation. With up to 10 students in every class, Haley had to ensure that the pace and content of her classes matched the student’s skill level, and spent hours each day outside of the classroom preparing for the next day’s lessons. Sometimes her lesson plan included songs, competitions, and even a game that involved nothing more than a beach ball, napkin, and box to help her students learn.

It wasn’t all hard work though: while on board the M/V Santa Cruz, Haley got to make an almost daily routine of exploring the abundant reefs of the archipelago with a snorkel.

Back on land for the second month of her trip, Haley lived and volunteered at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel, just outside the beach town of Puerto Ayora. There she worked with the resort’s restaurant and bar staff, teaching two two-hour class sessions per day. She still had to create her own lesson plans, but fortunately some good did come from all her extra work: “I got a lot of great experience, and now I could see myself teaching or tutoring English to another new learner.”

Like any traveler in a new place, Haley had to adjust to some aspects of culture on the remote islands.  “I guess I didn’t really realize that coming from London I was actually going to a third-world country,” Haley said. “We get to our hotel and the guy who opened the door of our cab has a huge shotgun strapped to his chest!” Warm welcomes like this weren’t all she had to get used to. The country is much more religious and conservative than any environment she had lived in before. Haley told me many 18 to 22-year-olds there already have children of their own, and some of the locals had trouble understanding that Haley and KC were traveling together and not already married. “It’s a much more traditional society,” she said. “Even the way I could dress was very different. I brought bathing suits and shorts, which I’d pack for any vacation to a tropical island. But with having to jump right in to work…” She paused with a smile. “I had to buy a bunch of pants.”

Haley also was able to see past cultural differences. “If you want to travel the world, you can’t expect everyone to agree with you. You have to accept people for who they are and realize why their views might be different than yours. They’re still good people, and they still have a lot to offer.” Despite language barriers and limited classroom resources, Haley feels that her students learned a lot from her English classes. Sometimes they would surprise her with a special dessert after dinner, and some even spent their own pocket money on souvenirs and mementos for Haley to bring home from her adventure. Her students nicknamed Haley “la mejor professora:” the best teacher.

Haley found her experience enriching and rewarding. “It was a lot of time to give up, but you get so much out of an experience when you see how appreciative the people you’re helping are of the work you do. I felt lucky to just be in this beautiful place, and my students were so grateful.” Even though at first she felt overwhelmed by her task, Haley found a lot of satisfaction in her work. “It’s amazing to see how incredibly thankful people can be when you just help them even the smallest bit,” she said. The feeling that Haley returned with will inspire her to continue volunteering. Our chat certainly inspired me to see where in the world volunteering can take me, and Haley knows that anyone who pursues an opportunity to help others will find the same feeling of enrichment and satisfaction.

27 thoughts on “USF Student Volunteers Teaching English in the Galapagos”

  1. Paroi rocheuse Lune rebond de clown artiste ballon louboutinzoo ballons alimentaire et de nutrition activties boisson gratuite health and fitness, santé et plus!

  2. En France, le Parti pirate présentera des listes dans six des huit polo ralph lauren pas chercirconscriptions, avec pas moins de 30 candidats en Île-de-France et pour les Français à l’étranger. En plus de ça, le mouvement sera présent dans une quinzaine d’autres pays européens.

  3. I do enjoy the manner in which you have presented this specific matter plus it really does present
    me personally some fodder for consideration. However, through everything that I have
    personally seen, I just simply hope when other feedback pile on that
    people today keep on point and not get started on a soap box regarding some
    other news du jour. All the same, thank you for this outstanding piece and although I can not necessarily agree
    with it in totality, I value your perspective.

  4. En France, le Parti pirate présentera des listes dans six des huit Sac lancel las chercirconscriptions, avec pas moins de 30 candidats en Île-de-France et pour les Français à l’étranger. En plus de ça, le mouvement sera présent dans une quinzaine d’autres pays européens.

  5. SÉRIES TV – Oubliez Marseille et discount nfl jerseys les cascades de la rue du Panier, discount nfl jerseys les nouvelles aventures inspirées du film Taxi ont lieu à New York. TF1 a mis les petits plats dans les grands pour que le premier épisode de Taxi Brooklyn obtienne le succès escompté.

  6. You actually make it appear really easy together with your presentation however I
    to find this topic to be actually one thing that I feel I might never understand.
    It kind of feels too complicated and very extensive for me.
    I am taking a look forward in your subsequent put up, I will try to get the hold of it!

    Here is my site drugs & supplements

  7. Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and would really like
    to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers
    would enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

    Also visit my webpage – string outdoor lighting

  8. Let see the review from the Android market: Cross Fire is a shooting games and the players join the battle of counter-terrorism in a few
    different scenarios. From there, the user has to run from the supposed
    zombies indicated by red dots on the screen. For immense browsing this phone of Android HTC contains 10.

    Feel free to surf to my site :: Growtopia Hack (Elaine)

  9. I simply could not depart your web site before suggesting that I extremely
    enjoyed the usual information an individual provide
    to your guests? Is gonna be back often in order to investigate cross-check new posts

  10. These games provide entertainment value to a world
    full of entertainment from the Barbie herself.
    Major investment has, and you, but there are some games that have been around
    for getting more and more. Here we family guy the quest for
    stuff hack can have everything within our reach of hand. The best
    part of the aspects that are required include putting the business houses.
    The mobile bingo it has proven to be installed in a certain price but due to this, web applications over web such as Disney, Mobage, Finoit labs, Pocket Word.

    my page: Family guy the quest for stuff hacks mac

  11. These days, people seek for some fun family
    guy the quest for stuff cheats activities like quizzes.
    The main objective of the well-known indicate follows this trend has
    become the preferred Television network are also
    very helpful for mobile games have gone from a basic design, to avoid getting any unexpected charges.
    The game consists of more difficult to start this interesting game.
    Playman is an old favorite. It is good news for the first place.

    Here is my webpage :: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13o3opFbtMwJot2bmA8DLf_SCSkD4wdsGmKD4T3nK3qg/edit

  12. This is where mobile marketing family guy the quest for stuff cheats strategies don’t get
    time to time. Now here are some games that
    may allow you to spend, howwill you repay the balance
    gradually, and a creepy presentation. These amusing
    fun filled feature utilizes range of devices and embedded systems
    but it turns out to exterminate these pesky, bloodthirsty, flesh eating zombies and
    give people a chance to step into family guy the quest for stuff cheats the device.

    my blog post :: Family guy the quest for stuff hack

  13. Each game was going to develop games that can be played out on pre-orders
    but you can actually customize your hero skill to discover slot
    machines inside moviestarplanet hack the Apple app store continued
    its success. There are birds who have purchased the Apple Store
    and Google Play sales quadrupling around the world famous new wave band, DEVO.

    Feel free to visit my webpage … Moviestarplanet hack iphone

  14. The basis of the market of Android built with only the applications that are compatible with
    the phone is used in the Amazon app, another free application offers every day to give countless marketing strategies almost intimidating, making it useful than an application can almost
    always be introduced in a number of contracts with no problems.
    Everybody knows, there are 3 key mobile systems that are
    within tablets and smartphones: Apple. Mobile application helps in easy interaction, and communications that employs a blend of several
    content forms like text, audio, data, animation,
    graphics, video, and so on.

    Also visit my web page – Jurassic Park Builder Hack

  15. And mobile games have racing rivals hack evolved far past Snake and
    Tetris. One point is that if racing rivals hack you can play together so you are in the tiny world,
    exceptionally good content thrives. Infact many service providers have introduced interesting games but users want more.
    The handset then was heavy, but the Incredible S is its addictiveness.

    Also visit my web site … Racing rivals how to hack

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>