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November 2007 issue

Contents
News
Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Direction1
Direction2
Special Report
Market Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
City Focus
Status


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Volunteering
in Latin America

Motivated by a desire to go beyond tourism and make a difference to their host country, language travel students are increasingly choosing to combine their language course in Latin America with a volunteer placement.

Travellers are no longer satisfied with studying abroad and doing [tourist activities],” asserts Rafaela Rolim at World Study, which offers volunteer projects in Brazil. “They want to get closer to the community visited and ‘make a difference’ as individuals,” she relates.

Inge Weiser Carvalho, Marketing Director at Idioma – Escola de Português in Brazil, agrees with Romil. She says, “I think it is important for a serious language school to give its students a realistic view of Brazilian life, to show them a Brazil that they can’t experience [by] being a normal tourist, and allowing them to be in contact with local people without the borders of social classes.”

Linguistically, too, volunteer placements can be invaluable as they enable students to put into practice in very real situations what they have learnt in the classroom. As Ken Ingraham from Latin Immersion, which organises programmes in Argentina and Chile, says, “[Volunteer placements are] a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and also to leave Latin America having given more than you’ve taken.”

Volunteer programmes in Latin America generally fall into one of two categories: they are either social programmes that help the people of the country, for example, working in an orphanage, with street children, or in a care home or school; or they centre on environmental and conservation work. Most schools and placement agencies offer a wide variety of projects. For example, Quito Spanish Institute in Ecuador, which launched its first volunteer programme last year, organises placements in schools, hospitals or with plant conservation and agro forestry organisations in the Amazon Rainforest, Andes Mountain region, coastal lowlands and the Galapagos Islands.

Such projects certainly appeal to the adventurous, with most volunteer placement organisations reporting strong demand from Northern Europe, the USA and Canada. Tabitha Symonds, UK Director of Global Vision International, says that the UK and USA are their biggest markets, followed by Europe and Australasia. “Both the UK and North American markets have grown a lot over the last five years,” she adds.
While volunteer programmes have traditionally been the preserve of university and college gap year students, there is a fanning out of demand to older students. Enrique Torres at Ordex Cultural Exchange in Ecuador notes, “Originally – and even now – the biggest group is young people in their gap year from 18-to-24 [years old] but recently there has been an increase in people [aged] 45-plus taking part [in] these trips.”

Not all schools require volunteer participants to take a language course prior to their placement but most do stipulate a certain level of proficiency in the host country’s language. At Global Vision International, volunteers already proficient in Spanish can go straight into their volunteer placement, while those who are not take a basic Spanish course. At Idioma, meanwhile, language course attendance is compulsory. Students there either take a general language course of at least two weeks until their language competence reaches intermediate level, or if their language skills are sufficient, they can undertake a placement in the afternoons, while attending language classes in the mornings.

At other schools like Nueva Lengua in Colombia, the Spanish language component is an integrated part of the whole volunteering package, as Juan David Medina at the school explains. “Spanish and volunteering is a Spanish course plus a volunteer job at an orphanage, hospital, charity or at the university. The course includes 15 hours of Spanish lessons, 12 hours of volunteer work at a recognised charity and five hours of cultural activities.”

At Ordex, however, there is more emphasis put upon the volunteer placement. “[Volunteer placements are] definitely not a niche market for language learning but a sector on [their] own as almost all our participants take one or two weeks of Spanish and an average of six weeks’ placement on a project.”

Academia Latino Americana de Español has schools in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia and started offering volunteer programmes 14 years ago. It was part of their vision to have social programmes where students could interact with local people and Diego Del Coral at the school is keen to stress their good relationship with organisations eager for volunteers. “The social needs are so deep [here],” he says, “that many volunteer organisations come to us to request help, and we support them in every way.”

Demand for volunteer programmes is certainly growing. According to Symonds, Global Vision sent 500 volunteers overseas in 2003, and this has skyrocketed to 2,000 today. Meanwhile, Medina at Nueva Lengua says their volunteer programme is one of their most popular.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


AGENTS
Boa Lingua

ASSOCIATIONS / GROUPS
Acpet
Capls Canada
CLC Canada
Eaquals
English Australia
International House
      World Organisation
MEI-Relsa
Perth Education City
Quality English

EXPOS / WORKSHOPS
Alphe Conferences

INSURANCE
InterGlobal Ltd
Student Guard
      Insurance

TELECOM SERVICES
Business Telecom
      Systems
GSM International

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority

WORK EXPERIENCE
ETCI
Kaplan Aspect
      Opus Programme
Twin Group

ARGENTINA
BASP (Buenos Aires
      Spanish School)

AUSTRALIA
Acpet
English Australia
Milner International
      College of English
      (Australia, England)

BELGIUM
Ceran Lingua
      International
      (Belgium, England,
      France, Ireland,
      Japan, Netherlands,
      Spain)

BRAZIL
Open English

CANADA
Academie
      Linguistique
      Internationale
Bodwell College
Bouchereau
      International
      Language Centre
Capls Canada
CLC Canada
Centre Linguista
      Canada
College of New
      Caledonia
East Coast School of
      Languages (ECSL)
ELS Language
      Centres
English Bay College
English Language
      Training College
      ELTC
English School of
      Canada
Eurocentres,
      Vancouver
Focus International
Global Village
      (Australia, Canada,
      USA)
IH Whistler
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
      of Canada
ILSC
Intrax English
      Institute
ITTTI
Language Studies
      Canada
Lethbridge College
National School of
      Languages
Omnicom School of
      Languages
PLI - Pacific
      Language Institute
Quest Language
      Studies
Saint Mary’s
      University
Stewart College of
      Languages
Tamwood
      International College
University Canada
      West
University of Calgary
Vancouver
      Community
      College International
      Education
Vancouver English
      Centre
Vanwest College
YMCA Greater
      Montreal
      International
      Language School
Zoni Language
      Centers
      (Canada, USA)

CHILE
Escuela de Idiomas
      Violeta Parra-
      Tandem Santiago

CHINA
Mandarin House

COSTA RICA
Academia Centro-
      americana de
      Español
Academia Latino-
      americana de
      Español
Centro
      Panamericano
      de Idiomas (CPI)
Wayra Spanish
      School

ECUADOR
Quito S.I. Spanish
      Institute

ENGLAND
Bell International -
      Camp Beaumont
Eaquals
Exsportise
ILS English Ltd
International House
      World Organisation
Kaplan Aspect
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      Leisure
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Language in London
Liverpool
      International
      Language Academy
Malvern House
      College London
Oxford Intensive
      School of English
      (Australia, England,
      France, Germany,
      Spain, USA)
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga’s
      College
Saint George
      International
St Giles Colleges
      (Canada, UK, USA)
St Mary’s Hall
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
      USA)
Twin Group
University of Essex -
      International
      Academy

FRANCE
Cipel
France Langue
Institut de Touraine
Institut International
      de Rambouillet
Langues Sans
      Frontieres
SILC - Séjours
      Linguistiques
      (England, France,
      Spain)

GERMANY
BWS Germanlingua
Carl Duisberg
      Centren
      (England, Germany)
inlingua Berlin
International House
      Berlin - Prolog

IRELAND
Alpha College of
      English
Centre of English
      Studies
      (England, Ireland)
Dublin City University
      Language Services
EFL-Ireland
Galway Cultural
      Institute
ISI- International
      Study Institute
      Ireland
Liffey Linguistics
MEI-Relsa
Swan Training
      Institute

ITALY
ALCE
Dilit -
      International House

LATVIA
Durbe Ture

MALTA
EC - English
      Language Centres
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
English Language
      Academy
Malta Tourism
      Authority
NSTS

MEXICO
Acalli Intensive
     Spanish Program
International House -
      Riviera Maya

NEW ZEALAND
Christchurch College
      of English Language
Wellington High
      School

PERU
Acupari
Rocio Language
     Classes

RUSSIA
Derzhavin Institute

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
      Centres and Activity
      Camps
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)

SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Town School of
      English
Language Teaching
      Centre

SPAIN
Escuela de Español
      la Brisa S.L.
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispánico SL
Pamplona Learning
      Spanish Institute

SWITZERLAND
Boa Lingua
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta,
      New Zealand, Russia,
      Scotland, Spain,
      USA)
Eurocentres
      International
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Japan, New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)

USA
ALCC - American
      Language
      Communication
      Center
Kaplan Aspect
      Educational Centers
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
Saint Timothy’s
      School
University of
      California Riverside
University of
      California
      Santa Barbara
University of
      California Santa Cruz
University of Illinois
      at Urbana-
      Champaign
Zoni Language
      Centers
      (Canada, USA)

WALES
Cardiff Language
      School Ltd
      (CELTIC School)