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Escuela Atahualpa
Quito, Ecuador

from the students

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City guide of Quito


How do I get from the airport to my accommodation?
We pick our students up from the airport and bring them to their accommodation

I want to volunteer but don’t speak Spanish
Without any knowledge of Spanish working as a volunteer is impossible. Therefore, it is necessary to take Spanish lessons at the Spanish School Atahualpa before starting your volunteer work

Which currency is used in Ecuador?
Ecuador uses the US- Dollar ($)

How old are the students?
We have students between the age of 18 and 65 years, but the majority are between 18 and 30 years old.

Where are the students from?
Most of them are European, mainly from Germany and Switzerland. However, we do have students from a variety of other countries.

How many students are usually part of the program?
That depends on the season. Sometimes there are 3 but at times there are up to 10 students taking lessons at the same time. A lot of the time students are volunteering in and around Quito or are on excursion as part of our learn&travel program

How long can I volunteer for?
Without a special visa up to three month. If you want to work more, you will have to apply for a visa at the Ecuadorian Embassy in Bern. This is possible without much hassle and you will only have to hand in a form stating that you will indeed volunteer. Another possibility is to apply for a student visa.

I already speak Spanish and would like to volunteer without a Spanish language course accompanying my work.
We offer Spanish courses for all levels. However, volunteering without a Spanish course is not possible.

How many hours of Spanish lessons are recommended?
That depends entirely upon what you want and your abilities. Usually students opt for courses taking three to six or more weeks, this is mostly accompanied by volunteer work, which further helps your Spanish language skills. Our learn&travel program is a further well liked opportunity to learn the language while getting to know the locals and their culture

When do the courses start?
You can start any day of the week, any week of the year.

How do I access my money while in Ecuador?
Most ATMs allow cash withdrawals but charge from $3- $10 on withdrawals with Cash, Credit or Debit Cards. Travellercheques are accepted as well.
$50 and $100 bills are very difficult to get change for and are often not accepted at all. It is therefore recommended to take no higher notes than $20 on your trip. (ATMs will not give out higher notes in Ecuador).

How safe is Quito?
Quito is a very big city and that is represented in the dangers faced within it. Special caution is required due to the pickpockets that are encountered in Busses, Malls and everywhere else where tourists are likely to be found. When riding a taxi make sure that the driver is using his taximeter and if this isn’t the case, request him to do so.

What is the weather in Quito like?
The weather in Quito is nice all year round with temperatures around 20-24°C during the day and as low as 7°C during the night. In the Jungle the climate is tropically hot and at the seaside it depends on the season whether the weather is hot or mild.
Rainy season is between November an March, even though the last years have shown that that is not always the case.

Phone calls and Internet
nternet- Cafes and phone cells can be found everywhere. Most of them allow international phone-calls. In Quito an international phone call can be as cheap as 6 cents per minute (calle Juan Leon Mera y Rio Amazonas). Internet access is around 48 cents per hour.

With how much anticipation do I have to apply for voluntary work?
Most of the time we are able to find you a volunteer position on very short notice. However it would be best to allow us a fortnight to organise you a space, in order to plan and coordinate your stay.

Do the teacher, host families and contact personnel in the volunteer work places speak English?
Usually they don’t and therefore it is important that you use your Spanish.

Where do I leave the rest of my luggage when I go on a learn&travel program?
If you live in a host family, you will be able to leave your luggage in your room. The same applies with volunteer accommodation in Quito and the Fundacion Aliñambi. Your will not be charged for your room during that time.

What means DELE?
DELE (Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language) is the official accreditation of the degree of fluency of the Spanish Language, issued and recognised by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain.

The DELEs are divided into three levels depending on the language level:
  • Diploma de Español A1
    This accredits the sufficient linguistic competence to understand and use daily expressions frequently used in any part of the Spanish-speaking world, aimed at satisfying immediate needs; asking and giving basic personal information about yourself and daily life and interacting on a basic level with speakers, whenever they are speaking slowly and clearly and are willing to cooperate.
  • Diploma de Español A2
    This accredits that the candidate is capable of understanding daily phrases and expressions frequently used related to areas of experience which are particularly relevant to them (basic information about yourself and your family, shopping, places of interest, occupations, etc.).
  • Diploma de Español (Nivel Inicial - B1)
    Intermediate-mid/threshold level 
    This accredits sufficient knowledge of the language to allow control in situations which require an elementary use of the language.
  • Diploma de Español (Nivel Intermedio - B2)
    High-intermediate level
    This accredits the necessary knowledge of the language to allow communication in everyday situations which do not require specialized terms.
  • Diploma de Español C1
    This accredits the sufficient linguistic competence to cope in common situations of daily life which require a specialized use of the language. (November 2010).
  • Diploma de Español (Nivel Superior - C2)
    Superior level
    This accredits an advanced knowledge of the language allowing communicaton in all situations requiring advanced use of the language and a knowledge of cultural background. 
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Exam dates 2015

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20. & 21. May 2016
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