Led by Associate Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies May Farnsworth, nine students studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador this summer. Students in the program also gained Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) experience as they complemented their studies by volunteering at a bilingual school.
As part of the program, Farnsworth led a course on “Language Teaching: Theory and Practice” with students as they prepared “teaching portfolios, which [included] statements of teaching philosophy, reflections on culturally-responsive education and a series of original lesson plans.”
In addition, students took Spanish classes through the Andean Center for Latin American Studies while living with Ecuadorian families and participating in both “culturally-rich and ecologically-minded excursions,” says Farnsworth, who came to the program through Assistant Professor of Education Audrey Roberson, who designed and organized the off-campus TEFL practicum.
“Students have enjoyed the cultural exchanges, language learning and language teaching,” says Farnsworth. The group worked at the bilingual school called Academia USA. They also visited the Cloud Forest in Mindo, stood on the Equator and explored craft markets in Otavalo.
“Working with Ecuadorian students and teachers, both at the primary and secondary level, was definitely the highlight of my study abroad trip in Quito,” says Nick McKenny ’20, MAT ’21, a mathematics and cognitive linguistics double major. “The similar yet distinct school climates helped me better understand the variety of teaching pedagogies and the diversity of the human experience in general, which has undoubtedly reshaped my development as a future educator.”
The other students who studied in Quito were Susan Hurwitz ’21, Victoria Kata ’21, Jessica Lietz ’20, Colleen McGowan ’20, Canieshia Phillips ’19, Brandi Taylor ’19, Annie Wertheimer ’22 and Philip Yoo ’19.
Since 2017, Hobart and William Smith have offered a TEFL certificate, which is an entry-level requirement for many jobs teaching English abroad. Students of any major or minor can apply to the program on campus.
The Ecuador program is one of four short-term study abroad experiences led by faculty through the Center for Global Education this summer. Other programs are being held in India, Germany and Wales.