IMPORTANT NOTICE: Temporary Programme Suspension
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has required all of us to adapt and rethink how we conduct business. We have decided to consolidate programming for 2021 and reduce our offerings to the destination countries where Lattitude is able to send a greater number of volunteers. This will allow us to work efficiently with reduced staffing while maintaining the high level of support to our volunteers that we pride ourselves in. For this reason, we are temporarily suspending our programmes in Argentina, Ecuador, Japan, and Vietnam. We do hope and expect that we will be able to offer these wonderful programmes again in the future. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Gap Year Ecuador! Ecuador is a country that has it all. From Andean peaks, Amazon Rainforest, indigenous markets, colonial towns, beaches and a chain of volcanic islands full of fascinating wildlife it really does have something for everyone.
The colonial Spanish influences are evident throughout the country, particularly in the stunning cities of Quito and Cuenca where our placements are based, but once you step out of the cities and into the villages you will get to experience the Native American cultures that still flourish in the Amazon basin.
Gap Year Ecuador volunteering placements provide a real opportunity to make a difference to the lives of children and communities in Ecuador, and assisting people’s English skills will really transform lives.
Please note: a basic knowledge of Spanish (or a willingness to learn!) is required for Gap Year Ecuador placements.
Ecuador offers the opportunity to either work in a primary or secondary school. Many of the schools only have basic facilities, but some better equipped private schools are also included in the programme. Volunteers will assist teachers in the classroom, teach their own subjects and help to organise extra-curricular activities, such as sports, music and art.
We work with a number of NGOs in Ecuador. These non-profit organisations are devoted to helping children and their families overcome poverty and improve their quality of life through education, job training, nutrition programmes, health and social services, psychological help and recreation. These organisations originated to help deal with the many children working and sleeping on the streets of Ecuador’s major cities and suffering as a consequence.
Our Community / Schools Activity Assistant placements involve working with children in care who have physical or learning difficulties and street children. Volunteers could be based in a school for children with disabilities and will help with teaching, caring, gym, dance, art and anything else the children want them to do! If volunteers are working with street children, they will be involved with teaching, helping with homework, art and writing a newsletter.
In Quito there is also the opportunity to volunteer at a social NGO providing rehabilitation therapies and special education for children, young people and adults with cerebral palsy and other associated disabilities (intellectual, visual, auditory, multi-challenges) and in need of general support.
We also offer a unique placement that mixes Community Volunteering and Language Coaching, in the Andean cloud forest. This is an isolated but beautiful organic farming community home to about 40 families.This community, which has united to form an association to protect their environment, produce local products and promote eco-tourism, welcomes volunteers to help with a range of activities, from teaching English to sowing, harvesting, reforestation and even herding cows! This is a fascinating, demanding and very rewarding project. You’ll have the opportunity to have a home stay in Quito one weekend per month.
We have one exciting opportunity to teach music in Cuenca. Volunteers will have their own students and will also be able to sing in the Conservatoire choir and audition for the Symphony Orchestra. There is another placement in Quito to work with children who have musical talent but no financial means to learn to play an instrument. This placement has been rated very highly by our previous volunteers and they have gained a huge amount from their time there.
What to expect:
Volunteering in Ecuador is a unique gap year experience in that it offers volunteers the opportunity to complete two placements; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. English teaching, conservation and caring placements are available in Quito, Cuenca and Yunguilla and volunteers in the past have enjoyed the diversity of experience that the two placements give them.
An example of a teaching and caring placement could be working in a women and children’s centre in Cuenca. Established in response to increasing violence towards women and children in Ecuador, this centre provides psychological and emotional support to individuals who have gone through difficult times. Volunteers duties would include helping children with homework, feeding the younger children, leading activities with children and helping to organise games for the centre’s monthly birthday party. At this placement, volunteers work either 8am-12pm or 2pm-4pm.
Other volunteers may be placed in an outreach centre in Quito. The centre aims to help improve the quality of life of working children through education, job training, nutritional programmes, psychological support and recreation. Volunteers can get involved in literacy classes, teaching English, jewellery and leathercraft classes and helping in the clinic. Typically, working hours are 1.30pm-5pm but some morning placements are also available.
All volunteers will live with a host family whose son or daughter is volunteering in the UK. You will therefore be included in all family activities and it is an excellent opportunity to be part of the Ecuadorean way of life. Living with a family is also the best way to learn Spanish and when you leave you will have gained a second mum, dad, and brothers and sisters who you will never forget.
Need to know
If you are up to the challenge of helping out in a wide range of workplaces, whilst learning a new language and becoming immersed in a completely different culture, then Ecuador is the overseas placement for you! It is necessary to have at least a basic knowledge of Spanish before you depart, and volunteers will attend a one or two week language course in Quito before starting their placements.
- Pre departure briefing – all volunteers are invited to a group briefing prior to departure.
- Volunteers need to be able to speak (basic) Spanish. If available in-person, those who need to will attend a one or two week immersion course on arrival in Ecuador prior to the orientation (there is a fee for this). If you are concerned about your level of Spanish, get in touch!
- If available in-person, volunteers will arrive in Quito for a week long orientation and Teaching Skills course.
Free Time & Travel:
Ecuador is far from being the largest country in Latin America but it is arguably the most biologically and geographically diverse. A combination of cheap transport and relatively short travelling distances make Ecuador the perfect country to explore, inch by inch over various weekends.
If you are based in Quito, you are perfectly located for discovering a whole variety of cultural gems. Discover the life and colour of the Otavalo market, nestled between the volcano peaks of Imbabura, Cotacachi and Mojanda or relax in the lush greenery of Mindo’s cloud forest. Quito, the world’s highest capital, is a traveller’s delight in itself. Ride the city’s iconic trolleybuses to the Mitad del Mundo (centre of the world) or scale the top of El Panecillo in a yellow taxi for some stunning 360° views of the capital.
If you are based in Cuenca, you will also get your fair share of natural beauty. Not only is this beautiful colonial town the country’s cultural capital, but it is also just a stone’s throw away from Cajas national park, Baños natural springs and lively towns such as Gualaceo and Chordeleg, famous for their lively markets and beautiful silver jewellery. Volunteers in Cuenca are also closer to the southern province of Loja and the small but unforgettable Vilcabamba. The seven hour bus journey is definitely worth it to experience a sun-drenched horse trek down this captivating valley.
Aside from travel, the open and friendly disposition of Ecuadorian hosts often mean that volunteers are kept busy with family events and gatherings. Past Lattitude volunteers have formed close friendships with hosts and colleagues and have grown fond of dancing salsa late into the night with their new “siblings”.
As a global organisation, we list our pricing in US dollars. To convert to your own currency, you can use xe.com
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lattitude has had to restructure, creating considerable cost savings for the organisation. One positive outcome of this is that we are able to pass on these savings to our volunteers, resulting in significantly reduced fees for departures from April 2021.
Lattitude Application Fee – $50 (USD)
The application fee covers the cost of processing applications and conducting interviews.
All applicants are guaranteed an interview. This fee is non-refundable.
Lattitude Placement Fee: $1900 (USD)
This fee is broken into three payments:
Once you have been interviewed and accepted into the programme, you will be required to pay a $500 USD deposit to secure your position. The deposit covers our costs for identifying, assessing and matching you to a suitable placement.
Under normal circumstances, this is a non-refundable deposit. However, due to the uncertain timeframe of COVID-19 travel restrictions etc, we have adopted a more flexible approach to ensure there is no financial risk to our volunteers proceeding with their Lattitude travel plans.
Your deposit will be refundable if: You have paid your deposit after 11 March 2020 (the date WHO declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic) and if nearing your scheduled departure, as a result of COVID 19, you are still unable to travel, or if, following government advice, your destination is deemed unsafe to do so.
If you are still unable to travel to your first-choice destination, we can work with you to look at alternative destinations at short notice. In the unprecedented scenario of no appropriate departures being available, we will look to reschedule, offer you the opportunity of deferring, or refunds will be made available.
Lattitude will refund deposit payments in the event that Lattitude needs to cancel a specific programme departure due to COVID 19 or if international/government COVID 19 advice is to avoid travel to that destination. Lattitude will always encourage volunteers to consider an alternative destination or to defer travel.
You will be required to pay an interim payment of $700 USD no more than 6 months before departure. This payment covers Lattitude costs involved in the pre-departure stage of your placement.
The remainder of the Lattitude fee of $700 USD will be due 60 days prior to your scheduled departure.
- In-depth matching process to align your skills and interests with a placement that really suits you
- Assigned Volunteer Coordinator to help with all your pre-departure advice and guidance
- Links with returned volunteers
- Relevant DBS/police check fees
- Advice on obtaining a Visa
- Pre-departure information and briefing session
- Airport pickup on arrival
- Accommodation with a host family for the duration of stay in Ecuador
- Food provided by host family
- Day to day support from your placement host and a member of staff as your mentor
- 24/7 support from Lattitude, including in-country support from local reps and the Lattitude Country Manager
- Focus on your personal volunteer learning and development
- Returned Volunteer follow up and Debrief Event
- Opportunity to join the Lattitude Alumni Association
- Certificate of completion and references (on request)
- International Flights
- Optional 2 week language course in Quito prior to orientation (£328 – includes accommodation and food)
- In-country Orientation & Teaching Skills Course Fee (when delivered in-person)
- Onward travel to placement (if applicable)
- Travel insurance
- Inoculations (if applicable)
- Pocket Money for weekends/holidays/post-placement travel
As a charity we always recommend our volunteers fundraise to help meet the costs involved in volunteering overseas. In many ways it is part of the whole experience. For more information and fundraising ideas please click here
“I felt so involved in community life that, at times, I couldn’t remember what it was like to live anywhere else.”Ezim, Teacher and Community Worker