Arrival to Chile:
Volunteers are asked to arrive to Santiago on the Saturday before their volunteer service begins. For those who do so, the National Volunteer Center will provide a shuttle transfer from the airport to the designated accommodations. Specific information about the transfer, including the company and reservation code, as well as information regarding accommodations for the week of orientation will be provided via e-mail, exactly one week before the start date of orientation. Accommodations will be available for volunteers starting on the night of their arrival, provided that they arrive within the suggested period. Volunteers arriving in Chile more than two days before orientation will be responsible for all aspects of their arrival and stay in Chile until the Saturday before orientation, at which time their Program-sponsored accommodations will be available to them. It is discouraged to arrive more than a week before the start date of a given volunteer service begins, as this will risk complications in their visa registration process. Please consult with the National Volunteer Center regarding questions about arrival in Chile.
Once in Santiago, volunteers will participate in a mandatory 3 day orientation before traveling to their placement regions to participate in a 1 day training in their region’s capital city with their Regional Representative and Head Teacher.
Volunteer Orientation Week:
Volunteers with the English Opens Doors Program come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have extensive teaching experience, some have never taught before, and others fall somewhere in between. The National Volunteer Center has found that regardless of a volunteer’s background, the most successful volunteers are those who come to Chile ready to dedicate themselves to their students, and who arrive open to learning about what it takes to be a successful volunteer in the Chilean classroom.
To prepare volunteers for their service, the National Volunteer Center sends preliminary online orientation modules to volunteers to read through and complete within a month before their volunteer service. Once volunteers arrive to Santiago, the National Volunteer Center staff team conducts a 3 day orientation for each group. The Orientation concludes in the respective regions with a 1 day orientation, facilitated by the Regional Representative and includes sessions in which the volunteer will communicate with their Head Teacher about a variety of prompted topics such as school culture, student population profile, and the volunteer’s specific class schedule. All training and accommodation expenses are covered by the program. During the three orientations (online modules, the orientation in Santiago, and the regional orientation), volunteers learn about the Chilean education system, TEFL theory, Chilean culture, lesson planning, classroom management, and more!
Travel to Placements:
The English Opens Doors Program provides volunteers with round-trip transportation to their placement location from Santiago. Volunteers will travel either by plane, bus, or shuttle, depending on the distance involved in getting to their placement. After orientation in Santiago has concluded, volunteers will travel to their placement locations. Volunteers traveling by plane will receive a transfer directly from the hotel to the airport. Volunteers traveling by bus will be accompanied to the bus terminal by a National Volunteer Center staff member to ensure a smooth departure. Once arriving to their placement, their host family, head teacher, Regional Representative, or a combination of all of parties mentioned, will be waiting to meet them at their destination.
After the regional orientation, Volunteers are allotted one week (5 business days) to observe the different groups of students with whom they will work during their service in their English classes, before starting to work with them independently.
Throughout the first month that volunteers are in their placement locations, they will be asked to complete a series of surveys in order to ensure that all necessary guidelines and protocols are being followed, and that volunteers are getting the support necessary to integrate into their new families, schools, and communities.