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Camp English

Teaching ESL Certificate Program with Ecuador Immersion

A volunteer English teaching opportunity in Otavalo, Ecuador

View of Ecuador

Teachers who have already completed the Teaching ESL certificate have the opportunity to return to Ecuador in the summer as volunteer teachers to offer English instruction to local children of the high Andean village of San Clemente. Camp English is embedded within a wider culture-and-arts program working toward the goals of honoring indigenous cultural ways and maintaining the vitality of the Kichwa language in this mountain community. Camp English relies on the fundraising efforts of past ESL certificate program participants and donated teaching materials. It allows children from families with limited economic resources to learn English. The program is funded by contributions from persons who are aware of the obstacles that people in other countries face to participate in the global community without English language skills. Penn State supports the program through indirect contributions of materials and logistical support.

Operating since 2003, the program now includes 60 to 70 learners aged 9 through 17 from the bilingual Kichwa-speaking community of San Clemente, which is located high on the flanks of the Imbabura volcano. Much of the English learning takes place at the community school, but the program also organizes excursions into the surrounding region. These young students will have the rare opportunity to learn in the context of actually exploring their own cultures and surroundings.

To make a contribution to this valuable project that will provide funds directly to young Ecuadorian students, write to Elizabeth Smolcic at

Below you will find a YouTube video from the 2008 Camp English program, created by Grace Braxton, 11th grade student, Huntingdon Area School District.