Chris L., June 2016

Some of the strengths of the CEDEI program are its helpful staff, a good amount of freedom in the classroom, workshops, computer labs, printers (a rare find in Ecuadorian teaching in my experience), and strong curriculum. The students are wonderful. Teenage students are pleasantly respectful, college students are very intelligent and dedicated, and adult students become excellent friends. Of course I would recommend working with CEDEI, but with a warning regarding the low pay. I was given the same warning before I took the job. The school is awesome, but the low pay should continue to be mentioned clearly to potential teachers. It didn't hurt me any, but that's because Elisabeth was completely honest about the pay before I moved to Ecuador--so, I planned accordingly.

Cuenca is great, with many great restaurants, low rent, markets, hornado, canelazo, beer, potatoes, affordable doctors (much cheaper than the coast), no high electric bill from air conditioner, excellent bus system (if you disagree, try the bus in Guayaquil), safe and abundant taxis, cafes, tons of nice parks, safety, rivers, the zoo, breads, tiendas, cool climate, thermal pools in Baños-Cuenca, Turi, the churches, the buildings, ice cream… I would rate my experience at CEDEI a 5/5!

 

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Tara Jessop, June 2016

I enjoyed working with the very motivated students in my classes and learning about Ecuador from them. It was also great to interact on a daily basis with the friendly and helpful staff members as well as the diverse group of teachers, all with interesting life stories. I particularly enjoyed teaching the writing component of the program and seeing the students progress in their skills. The Spanish lessons available to the teachers were first rate and I appreciated our teacher's emphasis on pronunciation.

 

The program is very well-organized and all the different aspects of it are thoroughly explained during orientation. The accompanying texts are well laid-out and include relevant and interesting activities for listening, speaking, reading, and writing. There are lots of available resources to help teachers prepare for their lessons, as well as help available from the staff and other teachers. There are also numerous opportunities to attend professional development seminars. The program has an excellent reputation in Cuenca.

 

I would definitely recommend teaching at CEDEI. It took some effort in the beginning to get the hang of the quick pacing, especially for the intensive courses, but it soon became a lot easier and there are all sorts of planning templates available to help you. The relatively low salary may be an issue for some teachers, depending on your lifestyle, and the number of courses you teach (and therefore your salary) can change from term to term. However, the director was very up front about this from the start of the hiring process. I also had some reservations about the marking system for the program, but in the end, concluded that it works well for the school's objectives. Generally, I just found CEDEI a really fun place to work and Cuenca a great city to live in.

 

Cuenca is a really interesting place and there's something for everyone ... history, architecture, bars, concerts, art galleries, sports, museums, colourful mercados, as well as easy access to hiking in the beautiful Cajas National Park and day trips to nearby towns with various attractions of their own. The thing I liked best was the fun way all the holidays were celebrated - loads of interesting customs. They made Canada seem a little tame in comparison! :) The weather was really great too. I generally felt safe in Cuenca and found the local people to be very friendly.

 

I had retired from teaching elementary school (Grade 7) in Ontario, Canada, but found I still wanted to teach in some capacity. I applied for a teaching position after seeing an ad on Dave's ESL Cafe site, figuring it was a great way to travel and learn about the Ecuadorian culture....and it was!

I would rank my experience with CEDEI a five out of five!

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Michelle, June 2016

I loved the environment at CEDEI. The other teachers, staff and especially the students were amazing! It didn't feel like a job teaching at CEDEI! The CEDEI English program was well organized and there was an abundance of support from everyone. Of course I would recommend working here! I decided to work at CEDEI because I had just graduated from college with a Spanish teaching degree and wanted to travel and experience a new place before beginning my career in the States. I enjoyed the small town feel and the safety of the city. There were lot of weekend and day trips from Cuenca, too! I would rate my experience in Cuenca a 5 out of 5!

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Cynthia Thompson, September 2015

Before I started working at CEDEI, I was concerned about how the students would accept me as an African-American teacher. I noticed that there weren't many black teachers working at CEDEI so I didn't know that I would be welcomed. My concerns were diminished after my first few classes. The parents and students welcomed me and some students returned to my class to take additional classes. As with any place you go to in the world, not all people will welcome you with open arms but most of them will.  I felt at home at CEDEI.

The one thing I liked most about CEDEI was the work schedule. The schedule was flexible and the administrators were professional about scheduling classes around your personal life. I had a choice to work during the evening or early morning. There were weekend class available as well. The locations of the classes were also convenient so if you lived downtown or in a residential area, there was a bus line to take you to work or you could walk.

There are several advantages to teaching and living in Cuenca but the two that had the most impact were cultural experience and learning new teaching strategies. When I arrived in Cuenca, I spoke very little Spanish. CEDEI offered free Spanish classes to the teachers so this helped me to get accustomed to my new environment. The CEDEI students appreciated my efforts to speak their language and communicating in Spanish at the local markets on the weekends was welcomed by the locals. Living in Cuenca exposed me to great food, free cultural events, and very kind humble people who have little income but appear to be content.  

As a certified teacher of English as a Second Language, I learned how to use more teaching strategies that would help the students to understand the English language. Lecturing is not what makes the most impact but visuals and hands on activities is how ESL students learn the best. The small classes were a plus at CEDEI. During the regular semester, I had a maximum of about 6 to 8 students sometimes less. I also worked during the summer break so we did many outdoor activities. 

I would recommend CEDEI as a place to teach and I would return to teach there if I lived in Cuenca. The staff is friendly and professional. Before I left Texas, I had all of the necessary paper work sent to me by mail and through email. All of my questions were answered and my emails were replied to promptly. The travel agency contracted with CEDEI contacted me via email and made hotel recommendations and CEDEI had a list of apartments and a representative to guide new teachers around the city to view the apartments. 

CEDEI has a curriculum in place for you to follow so this made lesson planning simple. You have a choice to teach adults, students, or a mixed age class. Most of the day classes were small but the evening classes were a little larger as adults took classes after work. 

If you decide to teach aboard, go with an open mind. Teaching aboard can be a cultural shock for some so it will take time to get use to your environment, people, and language. If you don't know the language, take language classes and live among the people and get to know their traditions.

If I knew a teacher who was hesitant about teaching at CEDEI or any other country, I would tell them to take that leap of faith. The one thing that keeps most of us from exploring new places is fear of the unknown. Don't allow fear to keep you from exploring the world and life. You don't want to later be asking yourself "What if..." or "I should have ..." ten years down the road. I am proud to tell people that I had the opportunity to live in Cuenca and work at CEDEI. It was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

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Marc Setzpfand, September 2015

My name is Marc Setzpfand and I'm from the Netherlands. I taught English at CEDEI from January until June 2011.

Before I started working at CEDEI I didn't have the time and means to arrange housing so I flew in on a one-way ticket. But during the first week of teaching one of my fellow teachers helped me out by pointing me to an advertised room just around the corner. By living so close to CEDEI and in the beautiful Cuenca old town I was able to appreciate most of my time here. As I didn't have much English teaching experience before, it was an exciting time for me to start teaching at CEDEI. The English Program is set up in flexible and modular way, offering courses to all ages. Classes are very diverse so you can have multiple teaching experiences. The atmosphere in the teacher’s group was very good and we spent a lot of time together. I still consider some of them as very good friends.

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Molly Montagna, June 2016

I enjoyed most about CEDEI my coworkers (both administration and staff) and how well things were organized, even down to the welcome packet. All the workshops were really helpful. Being shown the video sets were also helpful for extra practice. The CEDEI DropBox was extremely helpful!! I had heard many good things about the school and decided to apply and I would of course recommend working here! I enjoyed Cuenca because of the access to art, music, theater and people from all over the world. I would rate my experience at CEDEI a 5/5.

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Scotty Regester, September 2015

My experience at CEDEI was positive in every way. I had some concerns before I started because it was my first ESL job overseas. I had tutored one-on-one before, but had never been in front of a class or followed a curriculum. My fears were totally unfounded. The other teachers and the staff are very supportive and always available to help or offer advice. CEDEI has great resources in the library, resource room and on DropBox, where teachers share their worksheets, games and tests.

One of the things I really enjoyed about working at CEDEI is that the teachers have a break at the end of each 10-week cycle. There is usually work available for teachers who want extra hours, but if you like to travel, it’s a great opportunity to see more of Ecuador and other countries in South America. Because you are sometimes assigned different levels than you taught the previous cycle, you have a chance to broaden your experience as an English teacher.  

I found living in Cuenca to be very easy to adjust to. People are friendly, kind and helpful. The city is easy to navigate by bus or taxi, but you can walk to most places. The architecture, the physical beauty and the high indigenous population make living in Cuenca feel like you’re in a living museum. You never know what you might see in the street from one day to the next, from a man milking his goats and selling the milk, to a saint’s day procession from one of Cuenca’s many churches. Even though Cuenca is an old, historic city, it is also has every modern convenience.

I highly recommend CEDEI. When I first started teaching there in 2007, I committed for 6 months and stayed 3 years. I left twice, but went back and taught there until 2014. For me it was an experience I will always treasure and never forget.

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Roz Reyburn, September 2015

I first taught at CEDEI, quite on the off chance, in the spring of 2007.  It was an unforgettable experience which involved teaching adults in the early morning and children, after school in the afternoon, who enjoyed learning English through creative activities. This variety was very stimulating. I quickly fell in love with Cuenca which is one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Latin America and well deserves its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The markets, the churches, the parks, the rivers, the lovely houses and warm, generous people all made a memorable impact. I also worked alongside some gifted and charming teachers, some of whom have become lifelong friends.

In January 2012 my partner and I returned to CEDEI confident that we would have another wonderful experience - and we did! This time we rented a beautiful apartment in the lovely historic section near the city centre. It was great to be back in beautiful Cuenca. It was also very inspiring to get involved in teaching English through creative projects which Elizabeth Rodas was pioneering. The children loved it and were so proud of what they achieved. We worked with yet more wonderful teachers who we are still in touch with.

In conclusion, I would recommend CEDEI to any English teacher who is looking for adventure, stimulation and a truly memorable, enriching experience.

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Anonymous, June 2016

I enjoyed the CEDEI community, specifically the relationships I built with some of the other CEDEI teachers. The program provided us with curriculum that made it easy to lesson plan and teach well. The class schedules also afforded us with ample free time during the day and the breaks between cycles gave us chances to explore other parts of the country.

I was planning on going to teach English abroad alone and wanted to go somewhere where I would enter into a community in which I could find friends and support when I needed it. I definitely had that with the other teachers at CEDEI. I would recommend working at CEDEI because it's a great, laid back job to have while you experience another city, country, and culture. Though teachers aren't able to save much money while there, the compensation is enough to live on with some extra for trips and adventures.

The city is beautiful - the architecture, rivers, mountains, cobblestone streets... I enjoyed the low-cost of living as well as living car-free. The size of the city was perfect for me too. There are restaurants and bars and city things, but it's easy to navigate. Even living in the city center, I was close to city parks and El Cajas (the national park) was only a bus ride away.

I would rank my experience with CEDEI a 4 out of 5!

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Anonymous, June 2016

I enjoyed building relationships with my students and watching them grow the most about teaching at CEDEI. The CEDEI program is well organized and supported. If you're looking to develop skills as an ESL teacher, CEDEI is a great place to start. I decided to teach at CEDEI because of the other positive experiences of friends. Cuenca is a big little city, so as my first experience abroad I found everything accessible and the community very welcoming. I would rank my experience with CEDEI a 4/5!

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Anonymous, June 2016

I enjoyed the community of teachers and support staff the most about CEDEI. One of the strengths of the CEDEI program is giving a broad range of class offerings for teachings to expand their knowledge and experience with different levels of ESL students. I would absolutely recommend working for CEDEI. I earned my TEFL certificate with CEDEI, and I knew I wanted to teach with the organization because of its credible programs and variety of class offerings. I enjoyed everything about Cuenca; the culture, the food, the people, the night life, the nature, the friends. I would rate my experience with CEDEI a 5 out of 5! 

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Anonymous, June 2016

What I enjoyed most about CEDEI were the students. They were, for the most part, friendly and hardworking. The CEDEI English program is well-run and has a lot of heart. Yes, I would recommend working here, with the knowledge that it is not a money -making endeavor. I decided to work at CEDEI because it had a great reputation and I liked the Centro building. I enjoyed Cuenca because it is walkable with nice people, mild weather and low cost of living.­­­­ I would rank my time at CEDEI a 4/5.

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Anonymous, June 2016

Yes, I would recommend working at CEDEI.  I enjoyed the fantastic, motivated students and the support provided by management, senior teacher and colleagues. I looked at various places in Ecuador and through testimonials on the Internet, I decided that CEDEI would be the best bet. Cuenca is a beautiful town, small enough to walk around, but big enough to keep me entertained. I would rank my CEDEI experience a 4/5.