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We are a small school in a big town in rural Casanare, Colombia.
Every Friday afternoon one of our tutors and a group of students go to a small village 1 hour away from the town where they teach a few children eager to learn languages. This activity is meant to give farmers' children the opportunity to learn no matter where they live. You could join us on this weekly adventure.
Since our town is in the middle of a migrant route, several Venezuelan families usually bring their children to us for food, housing, and education. Although this was first thought of as a temporary home, some children have stayed for more than a year. Our goal now is to help them to get accepted to and graduate from university in 10-15 years, and in that way change their future.
This ecological project is led by one of the tutors and a group of students. They have planted over 1000 trees in the last two years. Every Saturday morning they go together either to clean parks and rivers or to take care of the trees already planted.
The staff consists of 10 people in total, including the 4 founding teachers who are all members of the same family (a couple and their children, who both learned English to a C1 level here in Casanare). There is 1 secretary and there are currently 4 full-time teachers at the school, all of whom were trained here at the school.
If you're interested in learning about llanero (plains) culture while teaching a foreign language, you found the right place!
Our school is focused on providing high-quality education to students in all subjects, with a special focus on foreign language education. For over 5 years, we've been hosting foreign teachers and travelers for informal exchanges.
All of our classes have a maximum of 7 students per teacher, and we have about 60 students in total.
The school is organized by a group of parents, with one family in particular leading the school. It is a type of informal education, with most students supplementing their learning at home with their parents.
You'll be teaching in a small school in a quiet neighborhood of the town, with classes spread out across several homes on the same street. Classes can also be held around the neighborhood (in a nearby park, walking to a nearby overlook) if you'd like a more conversational class or just to get outside for a bit.
There is also a rural campus, 7km away from the campus in the town, where the primary school is located, which has about 25 students as of October 2020. If you'd like, you can teach on this campus as well, and we can organize transportation to the school for you.
The area of the school is about 2 hectares, on which we've planted over 30 different types of plants, primary Eucalyptus trees, "Flor Amarillo" trees, yucca, corn, lime trees, and a wide variety of fruit plants such as mango, jackfruit, plantain, rose apple, avocado, achiote, passion fruit, guava, and many other varieties of plants, most of which are still only 1-2 years old and not yet producing. We have planted over a thousand trees in the past 2 years, both on the rural campus and in some areas of the town as well. There are also 2 baby goats as of October 2020, a chicken coop with about 30 chickens, and 2 farm dogs.
Most students pay a fee to participate in this school, but students who are unable to afford the fee are not required to pay it. 50% of our students have some sort of scholarship.
We're ready to accept you into our tight-knit community with open arms!
COVID UPDATE FEBRUARY 18 2021
The government of Colombia currently requires a negative PCR test for COVID 19 to enter the country, taken less than 96 hours (4 days) before arrival in Colombia. Without a PCR test, you can quarantine in a hotel of your choice for up to 2 weeks or until your negative result comes back. (You may be able to stay outside a hotel in a private residence (e.g. a friend's or family member's place, but you are legally required to quarantine and not be in contact with anyone until your test comes back.)
Help with Eco Projects
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Travelers will get to know a small town in the Eastern Plains region of Colombia, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. Flora and fauna here are similar to the Amazon region, especially near rivers and streams. There is a large river 5 minutes from the school, and once a week we go to a location in the countryside with our students to teach them in another atmosphere.
Note that on the weekends, you may be more or less on your own. Sometimes you may be invited to have lunch with students' families or to visit their farms, but we can't guarantee this.
As a foreigner, you will be welcomed with open arms and lots of interest from locals. You can also get to know Llanero (plains) culture, like the typical music, dance and food of the region. This is a big town (around 40,000 people) so there's a lot to do here if you like to explore, and there are other places nearby that you can travel to cheaply by bus.
Mandarin Chinese teachers, English teachers, Maths, and Science teachers are all in need for this school. We need someone who will teach around 23 hours of classes per week. We're flexible with scheduling, but if you could teach in the morning that would be ideal.
Any foreigner is welcome in our school. You don't need to have any teaching experience - in fact, we're most interested in the stories and the opportunities for cultural exchange you'll provide.
Chinese (Mandarin): Beginner
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
There is 1 bedroom with a bathroom inside the school that can be shared by 2 volunteers. If you are travelling alone and uncomfortable staying with the other volunteer, we can talk about that. We want all volunteers to be comfortable, safe, and feel at home. There is a kitchen in the school as well (gas stove, large fridge with a freezer) and wifi internet (10mbps connection).
If the room in the school is full, we can find you another bedroom elsewhere in the town. We can't guarantee what that will be like, or if that will have internet, but you can always come to the school at any time if you'd like the use the internet, kitchen, or any other amenities there.
Lunch is provided during the week by the school, and we will pay a food stipend so you can buy groceries at other times. The local grocery store has a free delivery service and there is a small store 5 blocks away that sells essentials (fruits and vegetables, milk, butter, rice, spices, etc).
In your time off, we can provide you with a bicycle if you request it, and there are several exercise groups nearby that you can participate in. On the weekends there are some clubs you can go to if you're interested in nightlife, including a dance bar with a beautiful view overlooking a small river valley, located just 2 minutes away from the school on foot.
There are a lot of beautiful trails near rivers and wide open spaces that you can walk or bike on.
One fun thing that you can do in April/May is to hunt for ants - in this season, baby queen ants from a species here leave their nests to try to establish new colonies, with hundreds of new ants coming from each nest. People from this region of Colombia pick up these ants and then later fry or grill them to eat.
If you like meat, this area is known in the country for its cattle and beef production. We're also super vegetarian friendly, having hosted vegetarians and a vegan in the past.
2021 transportation update:
There are 2 main bus routes from Bogota to Villanueva: one goes north through Guateque (small town in Boyaca) and one goes south through Villavicencio. The one through Guateque is usually faster right now due to construction - about 6-7 hours. The bus through Villavicencio is taking up to 10 hours from Bogotá to Villanueva due to construction on the route from Villavicencio to Villanueva.
May 2021 update:
COVID is in a 3rd peak, the highest of the pandemic, but life in Villanueva has continued with few restrictions. Mask wearing is widespread (but enforcement is lax and many people improperly wear masks), and there is currently a 9pm-5am curfew, the strictest measure in Villanueva since last September.
The protest movement has resulted in a more complicated transportation situation from Bogota to Villanueva between around May 5th and today (May 13th), but we expect the situation to improve in the next week or two. It is still possible to take a bus from Bogota to Villanueva through Guateque at the moment but it is possible that protestors will close that road at any time.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
The school has a 10mbps fiber optic internet connection. In the past, we've upgraded up to a 50mbps connection for a digital nomad, which costed over 100 USD per month (which the digital nomad paid for - we have no need for such a high bandwidth). You also may need to use mobile data as a fallback, as power outages occasionally happen (1-2 hours per week on average in 2020, and there are planned power outages for a day three or four times a year, with several days notice before the outage). Mobile data is relatively cheap (in 2020, it is about 4 dollars for 1gb of mobile data on a prepaid Claro plan).
You can park on our rural campus' property, or we can find another place to park if you need to be closer to the town (for teaching the older kids).
We'll need to discuss this, but we're open to accepting people with pets.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week (only weekdays)
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