9/22/11

25 Years & Going Strong: What makes the WorldTeach model work?


Since its inception in 1986, WorldTeach has placed thousands of volunteer educators in communities throughout Asia, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Pacific. Now in our 25th year, WorldTeach continues to promote and address the growing interest among people in the U.S. and elsewhere to serve, teach and learn as volunteers overseas. Read on for Nell Wollner’s thoughts on what makes the WorldTeach model work, and how it will manifest itself in our newest program in Georgia. Nell was a WorldTeach volunteer in the inaugural American Samoa Year program, a Field Director in Thailand, and is currently a Program Assistant at WorldTeach’s headquarters.


WorldTeach partners with Ministries of Education and local agencies: 
Part of what makes the WorldTeach model so special, is the partnership it builds with local governments and agencies. In Georgia, WorldTeach volunteers will be working with the Teach and Learn with Georgia program. The goal of this program is to help Georgian public school students learn English. This is a fully funded program. The Georgia Ministry of Education and Science will provide housing, medical insurance, flights, and a volunteer stipend of approximately 300 USD per month, of which volunteers will contribute 100 Lari to their host families. Finally, year-long volunteers who depart by September are offered an additional round trip ticket for a flight back to their hometowns. This is a true partnership, where both WorldTeach volunteers and Teach and Learn with Georgia make the program possible. 
WorldTeach goes only where we’re asked to go:
WorldTeach prides itself on building partnerships with local governments and non-profits. Because of this, we never start a program in a country where we haven’t been explicitly invited. Our partners identify local needs then call on WorldTeach to provide qualified teachers. The Republic of Georgia government is actively recruiting native English speakers to teach English in Georgia. They have asked WorldTeach to partner in this endeavor. Check out this YouTube video of the Minister of Education and Science in Georgia describing the importance of the Live and Teach with Georgia program:
Host families:
Many of our volunteers live with host families and I speak from personal experience when I say that homestays are a wonderful way to integrate into a community. My host family in American Samoa was one of the richest aspects of my WorldTeach experience. My Samoan mother helped me feel loved and welcomed into a new land and culture, helping to keep the homesickness at bay. Truly, her care and guidance proved indispensible. I do not stand alone in this opinion. Many volunteers will tell you the same. Host families are truly a boon to a cross-cultural experience.
WorldTeach teachers who volunteer for Learn and Teach with Georgia will live with host families. The Georgia Ministry of Education’s purpose in this is to “ensure maximum integration of different cultures.” I believe this will prove to be a great strength of the Georgia program.
The first WorldTeach Georgia volunteers will depart soon. I look forward to reading their blog posts, and learning about their unique and exciting experience teaching in the Republic of Georgia.

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