Volunteer To Teach English At The Beach Of Las Peñitas, Outside Of León, Nicaragua
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on May 29, 2018.
Allison’s experience teaching English to children at the beach in Nicaragua:
My name is Allison and I’m currently an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and recent graduate of ITA Nicaragua’s 4 week TEFL class. My decision to take a gap year from my studies to travel abroad and teach English has been the best choice of my life! After completing the 4-week program, I was hired by the academy as a Volunteer Coordinator. Living at the beach and providing education to the locals was both a rewarding and fun adventure. While giving classes to the kids at the beach, I not only built a connection with the students but also with their families and other members of the community. These connections will always hold a special place in my heart. As fulfilling as this experience was for me, I want to talk about how beneficial teaching English is to the children.
In developing countries, the English language is one of the most important aspects of growth on individual and national levels. The volunteer program in Las Piñatas works with kids that don’t have access to high-quality English education. Various developing countries, like Nicaragua, haven’t provided English education until the last decade or so, which means most of the teachers were not taught English in their schooling.
Being a native English speaker can make a huge impact on enhancing the education the students obtain. English education also provides kids the opportunities for more advanced jobs in the future. As Nicaragua continues to grow, there are more job opportunities in the tourism industry which often require knowledge of the English language. These opportunities were once only available to the social elite, who have access to a better standard of teaching. Volunteers in this program will ensure all children are given equal opportunities for their futures.
From personal experience, I believe the most important aspect of teaching abroad is the cultural exchange. When students are provided with education from teachers of another country, they gain knowledge not only of the language but also knowledge of the culture. This knowledge plants the seed of understanding and tolerance.
Many natives of Nicaragua do not have the funds to travel internationally, so bringing travel to them is very valuable in order to bridge the gap between cultures. My experience in Nicaragua has changed my perspective in learning how abundantly kind and loving the people are despite not having the luxuries I was once accustomed to. In just seven months of living there, I became close to families that I will stay connected with for life.
Read Stephanie’s story about her Hybrid/Volunteer experience, and why she almost didn’t leave Nicaragua.
Requirements to participate in the program:
- Volunteers must complete an ITA Nicaragua TEFL Certification Course in Nicaragua; either the 4 week TEFL class or complete the Hybrid course option (one-week practicum in Nicaragua after completing an online or other onsite courses).
- The cost of the volunteer project is only $50 after you have completed your ITA Nicaragua TEFL or Hybrid course.
- Volunteers must commit to all dates included. Due to the nature of the opportunity, it is important to provide consistency to the children/adults participating as EFL learners. There are no refunds.
- Willingness, flexibility, and mental ability to be able to handle working with, and teaching children from difficult backgrounds.
- It is recommended that all volunteers purchase Medical Insurance for the duration of the program before arrival. If your current medical insurance has coverage in Nicaragua, you must provide a copy of the paperwork. If your current medical insurance does not have coverage in Nicaragua, possible providers where you can purchase insurance are: STA Travel, Atlas, HTH Worldwide
- Signed volunteer agreement
- State or local background check
Deadline to apply
- As soon as possible. The 4 week TEFL and hybrid classes fill 2-3 months in advance. The housing also fills months in advance as well. Volunteers will be taken on a first come, first serve basis.
Benefits of the Volunteer Teaching Program
- Pre-enrollment advice and assistance from our advisory staff who have lived and worked in Nicaragua since 2012.
- Make friends fast with our huge community of students and graduates.
- You will impact the lives of children in Nicaragua by providing the English language skills that can lead to better opportunities. (Speaking English is largely a luxury here.)
- You will be helping people who really need to learn English to better their lives and careers.
- You will receive first-hand experience teaching overseas, which is something that will set you apart from your peers the next time you are looking for a job.
- It will help you acclimate to living and teaching in Nicaragua or Latin America.
- How I was introduced to volunteering by my TEFL training
- 5 Tips for making friends while teaching English abroad in Nicaragua
- Information on our 4 week TEFL class
- Information on our Hybrid class
2018 volunteer program dates
July 16 – August 3
August 20 – September 7
September 24 – October 12
October 29 – November 16
Not included, and is the responsibility of the volunteer teacher:
- Accommodations – Housing will be available at many locations throughout Las Penitas, as well as onsite at International TEFL Academy Nicaragua. Rooms and bathrooms may or may not be shared with other TEFL students or volunteers. All housing fill fast, so please contact us for availability. For more details on accommodations, check out ITA Nicaragua’s housing page.
- Cost of living comparison between US, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Get an idea what common items cost in Nicaragua.
- Airfare to the Managua, Nicaragua airport and to wherever you are going after the program.
- Medical Insurance
- State or local background check
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Entry fee into Nicaragua ($10)
- Additional fun or travel money
- Fees for textbooks if you are taking the 4 week TEFL course in Nicaragua
- Onsite/online/hybrid TEFL course completed