At a glance
- Join our Social Work Internship in Ecuador. You’ll work with disadvantaged local children in a kindergarten and your work will focus on children with special needs.
- Throughout your internships, you will have the guidance and supports od professional staff. This is a very good opportunity to gain practical experience.
- You’ll work and live on the island of San Cristobal, which is a part of the Galapagos archipelago. You will stay with a local family or shared accommodation with other interns.
16 or over
You need to speak intermediate Spanish and should be studying social work or a related subject.
What will I do at my Social Work placement in Ecuador?
You can use the knowledge and training you learned during your studies at university to help local staff. During your internship, you will:
- Provide stimulation for the children through basic educational activities such as singing, and arts and crafts
- Assist the local staff with the day-to-day care of the children
- Play with the children and observe their behavior in and outside the play area
- Give special attention to the children with special needs who are learning alongside the other children
- Assess each child and identify their strengths
Your work will focus on the following areas:
Provide stimulation through educational activities
It has been shown that a lack of stimulation in early years, particularly in situations of poverty or neglect, can lead to delayed development later in life. As a Social Work intern in Ecuador, you’ll help increase the general stimulation of children in the kindergarten. You will do this by introducing fun educational activities, such as games, songs and crafts.
Assist local staff with the day-to-day care of children
In Ecuador, kindergartens are often overcrowded and understaffed. Because of this, teachers struggle to provide equal care and attention to children. You will support them by providing a very welcome pair of extra helping hands during the day.
Play with children and observe their behaviour
Watching the way children play on their own and with others is a great way of identifying any behavioural difficulties that might need to be addressed. You can observe and discuss what you see with your supervisor.
Give special attention to children with special needs
In the centres where we work, the children’s basic needs are met. However, a lack of staff limits the amount of stimulation offered to each child.
This is particularly problematic for children who have special needs, such as autism. Sending them to a special needs school is expensive and most parents in these communities can’t afford it. Because of this, many children with special needs attend regular kindergartens. As a Social Work intern, you can help us give them educational support and the special attention they require.
Assess each child and identify their strengths
One of the ways in which we keep track of the children’s development and the specific needs of placements, is through specially designed checklists. We will train you how to use these checklists and input your findings into our Global Impact Database. We use this database to keep track of progress at our placements.
You will assess the status of each child on a daily basis in areas related to:
- Fine motor skills
- Emotional abilities
- Social skills
Where in Ecuador will I work?
You’ll be based on the main island of San Cristobal. It forms part of the Galapagos archipelago located about 1,000km from mainland Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. It’s home to several pristine white beaches, but only two are for people. The others are all devoted to the protection of the local sea lion population.
The Galapagos Islands are hugely popular for anyone with an interest in biology, science, and wildlife. These volcanic islands are home to a vast number of species that occur nowhere else in the world. A few examples include the Giant tortoise, marine iguanas, Galapagos fur seals, and Galapagos penguins.
You will be working at a local kindergarten. Many kindergartens are overcrowded and understaffed. As a Social Work intern, you will lend a much needed helping hand, as well as a measure of expertise in your field.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Leisure activities and free time
Our projects in Ecuador are based in the Galapagos Islands. This region is famed for the research Charles Darwin did here with its many unique animal species. It’s the ideal location to explore the natural beauty of Ecuador.
While you’re volunteering here, it’s worth checking out the beautiful beaches where seabirds circle above and sea lions laze about on the sand. You can also go snorkelling or scuba diving along the coast.
Hiking around the base of one of the many volcanoes that make up the Galapagos is spectacular and thrilling! You can also follow the Darwin trail or trek through the Punta Pitt.
There are plenty of museums and art galleries for you to learn more about the culture and history. You can also chat to locals and buy souvenirs at bustling markets.
What’s great about joining our projects is the chance to connect with other volunteers. So you can choose to explore the Galapagos independently or you can travel with the new friends you make along the way.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Ecuador
Not quite what you’re looking for?
Take a look at the following pages where you'll find collections of similar projects: