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Grade 1 Tutor/Primary School Assistant

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Organized Nonprofit

One of the best parts of La Esperanza is how quickly they respond to your emails and your interest in serving. The office is very eager to provide information and to make sure volunteers are continually able to serve in the program.

Another great part is the range of places that volunteers come from. I worked with volunteers from North America, Europe, Asia. It was a very fulfilling part of the experience to meet and enjoy time with people of all different ages and backgrounds.

Granada is a colorful, colonial city with lots of restaurant choices and opportunities to enjoy local flavors from street food vendors to fruits and vegetables in the busy outdoor mercado.

My recommendations would be to stay as long as possible because the children in the schools connect to the volunteers and you will find that you are able to make a bigger impact if you can dedicate more time. It also takes a few weeks to really understand the schedule, lesson planning etc so the more time you have, the better and you can effect some real change. The volunteers around me that werent able to dedicate more than the 4 weeks minimum usually felt like they were leaving right as they were getting their bearings and forming an understanding of the children´s behaviors and learning styles. The other thing I would recommend is learning as much Spanish as possible before you arrive and also taking the offer for the Spanish lessons that La Esperanza offers. They have the best rate in town for only 2.50 per hour which goes right back to the nonprofit.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

3 months in Nicaragua

I was a volunteer for 3 months in La Esperanza and it was one of the best experiences in my life. First of all I was not supposed to volunteer there but in another organization in Léon that didn't go so well. Looking for another organization in Nicaragua, I found La Esperanza and after a couple emails they accepted to take me in on such short notice! The administration was very welcoming, all the volunteers in the office, in my house and in the other houses were so nice that I felt automatically part of the team. It was such a relief after the unsuccessful experience in Léon.

For some reason I didn't get the chance so see all the schools but once I got to mine (Pablo Antonio Cuadra) I started to work in Kindergarten but as I found that repetitive I got to be transferred to first grade which was a-ma-zing. Of course it's Nicaragua, so the ressources are not always present but the relationship you develop with the kids, the ayudentes, the teachers and the other volunteers makes up for it. The one thing that I think makes La Esperanza special is that volunteers don't "steal" jobs from the locals, they only assist teachers who have overcrowded classrooms and in my opinion, that is crucial when it comes to volunteer work.

I would recommend staying at least 1 1/2-2 months because below that, it's sort of really short and you will wish you had stayed longer. What I would also recommend is to get involved! Me and other volunteers sort of came up with an art class 1-2 times a week which gave a break to the teachers and got the students to explore their creative side which is not developed so much there. (Lack of time and resources)

The housing is good overall, it is also very cheap (92$ for a dorm) and sharing a house/bedroom with other volunteers is what I missed the most when I came back to Canada.

Overall, I would totally recommend that experience to anyone. Nicaragua and especially Granada is pretty safe, the worst that could happen to you is getting robbed but you can prevent that by walking with other people at night, not carrying a lot of money or expensive stuff on you. I think volunteering is the best way to travel and to really get to know the culture of a country.