You do not need to be able to speak Spanish to apply for Teach and Travel Chile, but you do need to have a genuine interest in learning the language as it is an integral part of the programme. Learning to speak at least basic conversational Spanish is vital when living in Chile as English is not widely spoken.
The programme includes a 15 hour intensive Spanish course as part of your cultural orientation in Santiago, and you also will be able to take an online Spanish course during your programme to build upon your language skills. However, it is advisable to brush up on your Spanish before you travel, particularly as you will be required to write an introductory letter to your host family as part of the application process.
At BUNAC we believe that each volunteer should be treated as an individual. All participants will have a one-to-one orientation interview by phone. It is not a formal interview, but a chance for us to get to know more about you and your reasons for volunteering. We’ll explain how the programme works and what you can expect, as well as going over issues such as health and security to help prepare you for your time away. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask us any questions you might have. It may be that you are required to have a short follow-up Skype interview with the staff at English Open Doors in Chile as they select applicants at random for this. They will ask a few questions just to check you have a good knowledge of the programme.
If BUNAC rejects your application at any stage you’ll receive a full refund of your programme deposit.
We have a 7 day cooling off period, so if you feel that you’re not suited to the programme and you contact us within 7 days of attending the orientation interview you can cancel and receive a full refund (less £50 administration fee).
More information regarding cancellation refunds is included within the Terms and Conditions which form part of the online application.
Our partner, English Open Doors requires that volunteers are between the ages of 21-35. While it is recognised and appreciated that more mature volunteers may make excellent teachers, it is important to note that they work with their head teachers in an apprentice type role, and assume a son/daughter relationship in their host families. The programme is therefore geared towards younger participants and our partner will not allow us to deviate from these eligibility criteria.
It is also a requirement that volunteers have completed a minimum 3 year university degree and if you do have not done so, unfortunately you are not able to apply.
As part of our 'Responsible Approach', each participant must provide a police background check before they travel. For this programme the required check is called an ACPO Police Certificate. Information on how to apply for this can be found on the ACPO Police Certificates page. The check costs £45 for a 10 day process. Once received you should send a scan of the document to BUNAC as you will need the original for your Chilean visa application.
BUNAC is pleased to partner with Interhealth, a charity which specialises in providing health advice for overseas workers. Your programme cost includes membership to Interhealth and as part of your application process you will complete an on-line medical screening to ensure that you are suitable for the challenge of volunteering. Following the screening you will receive comprehensive medical advice regarding inoculations specific to your destination along with some general travel health advice. Your programme cost also includes a post-trip clean bill of health screening and on going remote health care advice through Interhealth.
The inoculations you may require will vary depending on your destination and also your personal medical history so it is very difficult to provide a guide to the typical cost. However, please be aware that whilst some injections are relatively cheap others (specifically anti malarials) can be very expensive. Interhealth will provide you with further information following your screening.
All volunteers are invited to take an e-learning Spanish Course. This interactive course, available online and through CD, has been specially designed with the needs of volunteers partipating in this programme in mind. The course is available at beginner and intermediate/advanced levels.
BUNAC’s preferred travel agent is STA Travel and they will be able to help you book your flights to and from South America.
Give them a call on the BUNAC dedicated phone number 0871 468 0666 or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d prefer to make alternative plans then you’re more than welcome to as long as you arrive in Chile for the start of the orientation. Please make sure you provide BUNAC with proof of your return trip so that we can arrange your airport pick up.
Yes, you need to apply for a Temporary Residence visa before you travel to Chile. As part of this you must have an appointment at the Chilean Consulate in London and provide supporting documents such as an ACPO police check (please see ‘what is a police check?’ question above) and health form completed by a medical practitioner. BUNAC will provide full instructions once you have been accepted onto the programme. During your training with EOD in Chile, they will assist you in registering your visa and obtaining a Chilean ID card.
Yes, it is a programme requirement that all BUNAC volunteers take the specifically designed BUNAC/Endsleigh insurance policy. This will cover you throughout your time in Chile and for any travels that you plan either before or after your teaching. BUNAC’s fully comprehensive insurance policy has been arranged with Endsleigh, one of the UK’s leading insurance companies. You can find out more about the insurance here.
The English Opens Doors Programme was created in 2003 by the Chilean Ministry of Education. English Opens Doors works to improve English-language education throughout the Chilean public school system by providing teacher training, instructional materials, language competitions, English immersion camps, and study abroad scholarships for university students. English Opens Doors seeks to foster a new generation of Chilean students equipped with the tools and abilities they will need to succeed in an increasingly globalized world.
Since 2004, English Opens Doors’ flagship initiative has been its Volunteer Program, which recruits native and near-native English speakers to come to Chile and work as teaching assistants in Chilean classrooms. Volunteers teach and encourage the study of English while living with Chilean host families and interacting with members of the local community.
BUNAC works as an approved partner of English Opens Doors; we promote the programme and recruit, screen and prepare applicants for their Chilean experience. We offer additional resources through our cultural partner Experiment Chile and on going support throughout the trip.
In order to provide a full Cultural Orientation to life in Chile and 24/7 support throughout the programme, BUNAC also partners with local non profit organisation Experiment Chile.
The cultural orientation is has been added to the programme to enhance your overall experience. It is run by our local partner Experiment Chile and is a great opportunity for you to be introduced to the country and its culture. It will include information sessions on volunteering, health and safety issues, a school visit, outdoor cultural assignments, an intensive Spanish course and a day trip excursion out of Santiago city. For the duration of the cultural orientation you stay with a local host family in Santiago.
On completion of the cultural orientation you will be transferred to a local hostel in Santiago where you will stay during your programme training. The training will take place at an English Opens Doors venue nearby. You will learn the skills required to be confident and successful as a Teaching Assistant, including microteaching, learning about the Chilean education system, lesson planning, classroom methods and administration procedures. At the end of the week you will be transferred to your placement location, either by bus or internal flight.
You will teach alongside a Chilean head teacher in either municipal (public) or particular subvencionado (semi-private) schools and work with students ranging from quinto básico (5th grade, approximately 10-11 years) to cuarto medio (12th grade, approximately 17-18 years). Your main responsibilities would be:
To focus on improving the students’ speaking and listening skills
To motivate the students to take an interest in learning English.
To share your culture with the students, thus broadening their worldview
You should expect to spend 25 hours a week in the classroom and another 10 hours each week on things such as lesson planning, extra curricular activities and initiatives like spelling bees, public speaking competitions or debates.
Placements can be all over Chile, from Arica to Punta Arenas. Every year, different schools apply to host volunteers, so we don’t know in advance exactly which areas will be available.
You will have the opportunity to nominate a region of Chile you would prefer. We will do all we can to match your preference but regret that we cannot guarantee a specific area. The priority is to place a volunteer into a school where he or she is needed. Santiago, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and La Serena are the most commonly requested placements, so the likelihood that you are placed in these location is fairly low. Additionally, these cities are heavily visited by foreigners, so the students are more likely to be exposed to English. We encourage you to research all parts of Chile, to be familiar with the weather in the areas that you are requesting.
We will be able to provide your placement region approximately a week before you leave the UK. This means you will know what the climate will be like and what sorts of clothing to pack. You will find out specific information about the town, school, co-teacher and host family during your programme training with EOD.
You should budget for the cost of the international airfare, insurance and personal expenses in Chile. You will receive an allowance whilst working of 60,000 CLP per month (approx £75). All food and accommodation is included in the programme so the allowance will contribute towards basic costs such as transport to your school, additional classroom supplies etc. This payment should not be considered a salary and should not be relied upon for other spending.
It’s expected that participants will require additional savings (approximately £250 per month) to cover the costs of social activities, weekend excursions and post programme travel. The amount will depend on your own ability to budget and your individual spending habits.