Picturesque market of Saquisilí - Ecuador
Attractions of South America e-Book

Work and Study in Ecuador

There's plenty of scope for spending fruitful time in Ecuador other than traveling around. Finding volunteer work is easy, as many organizations rely on outside help to keep running. It is even easier to enroll at one of the country's many language schools. Indeed, Ecuador is one of the top choices on the continent for learning Spanish: lessons are good value, and the language spoken in the sierra is clear and crisp.


Many opportunities exist for volunteers, though most require you to pay your own way for food and accommodation and to stay for at least a month, with a donation of around $200 going towards food and lodging. Reasonable Spanish skills will usually be needed for any kind of volunteer work with communities, and a background in science for research work. Someone without these skills should still be able to find places quite easily, especially in conservation work demanding a degree of hard toil, such as reforestation or trail clearing in a reserve. You can arrange to volunteer either from home or on arrival in Ecuador; we've listed a number of organizations, but it is also worth checking with SAE.

Language schools

One-to-one Spanish lessons arranged in Ecuador cost no more than $5 an hour, offering tremendous value for money to prospective learners. Most language schools are based in Quito, with a few in other smaller tourist centers. You'll normally have lessons for the whole morning or afternoon (sometimes both), and there are often social activities arranged in the evenings. To immerse yourself totally in the language, homestays arranged through the language school are a good idea, sometimes costing as little as $10 a day for accommodation and meals. You can arrange Spanish courses in Ecuador from home, but it is unlikely to be as cheap as doing it when you get there.


Being an English speaker, the only type of job you can expect to get with relative ease in Ecuador is as an English-language teacher. It is usually stipulated that English should be your native tongue for these posts, but completely fluent non-native speakers shouldn't have much difficulty. Don't expect to be paid very much, unless you have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or similar qualification, which will give you greater bargaining power. It is best to find work before arrival, as you'll have to have a work visa which costs $200 - enough to put most people off in the first place.

Source: TravelNow Destination Guides

© Copyright Rough Guides Ltd as trustee for its authors. Published by Rough Guides. All rights reserved.
The Rough Guides name is a trademark of Rough Guides Ltd.