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I want your life!!! A bit extreme - just that your experiences sound so good! Are you in Ecuador now? Spain is the first destination and then I plan to move my way around South America. Any advice getting started?
Keep me posted on your travels!
Ecuador is probably one of the safest countries in South America. The people are great but they will tell you what they think you want to hear rather than the truth (yes, this is the right bus station for Tena... when it isn't). In south Quito you do need to be careful, but only like anywhere else. Do not walk about with a big camera around your neck, flashing money. Don't even leave it in the hotel. Don't walk up the steps to the Virgin Of Quito, the big statue in the city, take a taxi. If you feel someone throw water over you, do not look down and wipe it away, put your hand quickly over your wallet and get out of the crowd. DO NOT leave your bags unattended anywhere - my sister once had a video recorder taken from inder the bus seat she was sitting on, after she'd lugged it all the way from the UK as hand luggage for my dad to watch his old British films.
When you've been there for only a short while and get to know people it will be different. The rest of the country is nothing like south Quito - I shouldn't put you off, I love Quito to bits, especially the south - the north is a modern city. You only have to be sensible, it's easy. Keep your main money stash in a holster under your arm and get it out secretly when you need it. If you want to carry a good camera, just keep it low profile, keep it insured and don't fight for it. I've spent time there and had no trouble at all.
There are some photos on my page if you want to look. I've just had an offer from a school there and will have an interview later, so, hope to meet you there! This school is in Loja, in the south.
Thank you for your info on travel experiences. I added you as my friend. I don't know how soon you plan on going to Ecuador but the New York classroom session seems to be the closest to Boston and that is next week the 27th and 28th. If New York is too far from you, then you might want to call I-to-I to see what areas they will have their classroom sessions in the future.
I have a friend that teaches in Quito, Ecuador. And let me tell you...State Dept is definitely exaggerating. I don't know why they exaggerate this badly. My friend lives in one of the highest crime rate cities. And Quito's crime rate is nothing like New York or Compton (I'm not a fan of the city so you won't see me there). All that is required is common sense as "honor" has told you in the previous comment.
I lived in Philadelphia almost my whole life so far (and I'm tired of it). So, you would probably find me at Machala, Loja, or any city that has more of a "suburbish" setting.
Another thing to note: there are 4 places that you can live in Ecuador: Galapagos Islands, Pacific Coast, Andes Mountains, or the Amazon (that is what I love about Ecuador). However, in the Amazon and most parts of the Andes, a yellow fever vaccination or proof of a previous yellow fever vaccination may be required.
I'm sure you'll be fine - you'll be way ahead a lot of other TEFL teachers what with being fluent in Spanish! I've just had a chat with our ops guys here about safety in Ecuador and the message I'm getting is that it's generally very safe, but as with anywhere you need to keep your wits about you. The most common crimes are opportunistic thefts, so things like people leaving their bags unattended and them being stolen or people getting pickpocketed.
Advice we'd give is to don't look like you've got a lot of cash (so no expensive watches etc) as it could attract muggers and to split your money around - so don't carry a lot of cash and always keep some in a bag and some in your pocket, so if you do get pick-pocketed you'll have back-up. You're best off not walking around alone at night also, but that's the same with any big city and you'll quickly get a good feel for what's safe and what's not once you arrive.
It looks like you've done a lot of travelling, so I think you should be pretty savvy and absolutely fine.
Anything else I can help with just let me know!
Wow - all your adventures around Spain sound amazing!
That's great that you're going to be doing your TEFL cert and heading to Ecuador - you'll have an amazing time I'm sure - have you been to South America before or will it be your first time there?
Best of luck with it all and if you need any advice about TEFL courses etc drop me a line!
Where in the United States are you from? I am from Philadelphia. Congratulations on deciding to take the TEFL couse. Go with the 120 hour course (that includes the teaching practicum, Young Learners & Business English specializations).
Getting ready and excited to start my T.E.F.L. course and travel to Ecuador!
I'll tell you what I know until I get down there to tell you more. Drinking tap water is not advisable. Bottled water is available in most areas. They do sell water purification filters which would be great for your shower and kitchen. Some of the best medical care you can find are in Quito and Guayaquil (however crime rates are the highest there too).
Drive with a higher level of caution. Traffic laws are rarely enforced (so it is not uncommon to see drivers speed through stop signs). A significant number of accidents are caused due to poor road conditions (some of their roads are in fair condition at best). In regards to crimes, rape and robberies are the most common.
Hope this helps! Touch base with me again in a few months (I should be down there by then).
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