January 9th marked one week since our WorldTeach Colombia 2014 group met and moved into Finca Santa Cruz. We have made two bus rides into the city to cover legal matters and hear more about the program as well as our role as volunteers within the country.
The first visit took us to Imigracíon, where we applied for a cédula extranjería (foreign identification card) and completed lengthy applications to establish bank accounts. Of course, our Field Directors managed to squeeze in a session during one of our two days in Bogotá, splitting the groups demographically into Costeños and Cachocos to learn about using Visual Aids in the Classroom.
On our second visit to Bogotá, WorldTeach Colombia 2014 was welcomed at the US Embassy to hear more about living in South America and how to protect ourselves from crime, as well as all the progressive work being done to increase English learning throughout the country.
After a break of coffee and empanadas, volunteers were referred to the website for English America, as well as briefed on the opportunities open to Colombian teachers wanting to study in the US on grants and scholarships.
The rest of our second week passed quickly and included guest lecturer Katie Bain, an English Language Fellow based in Barranquilla. Katie’s engaging and interesting sessions included incorporating games and writing in our lessons, applying the Color Vowel Chart and it’s yoga exercises, and several references to pizza as an easy subject in the classroom.
As the week have progressed, several volunteers appear to have bonded more closely with others, some by location and placement, others by sharing common opinions or sports teams. For many, this clique-based community works, while for others it seems awkward, since we are required to share activities and ideas.
I’m surprised that inexperienced volunteers aren’t trying to benefit more from the help of experienced teachers, but my hope right now is that everyone will understand we have a common goal of volunteering, even if we are all on our own journey in life.
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
As another week of Teacher Camp 2014 comes to an end, it appears nearly everyone is adjusting to the busy work schedule, and remaining motivated to learn as much as possible before being sent to our placement cities. More than anything right now, I am looking forward to some free time, including a few evening hours in Cota, plus a rare full “free” day sightseeing tomorrow in Cadelaria. Gracias a Díos por mi vida nueva aqui, y especialmente por mis campeñeros fantasticos de WorldTeach 2014. ¡Viva Colombia!