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The English and Community Eco-tourism project is a unique volunteer opportunity to live within one of the local communities in Nicaragua and teach English and develop other projects. In 2006 the project with UCA Miraflor was nominated in Responsible Travel's 'Best Volunteering Organisation' category.

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english classe with uca mirafloraThe English and Community Eco-tourism project – with The NEST Trust, Nicaragua

This is an entirely voluntary programme teaching English for guiding and eco-tourism. The communities are small agricultural co-operatives Their aim: sustainable livelihoods. Their main crops are coffee, organic and shade grown vegetables, milk production and cattle. There are homestays, cabanas for groups, walking or riding tours and the opportunity to learn about local life. Guides, host families and community members want to learn some English. The teaching programme began with the UCA Miraflor, near Esteli in January 2002. Guides there now speak English and the programme offers similar opportunities to other communities such as UCA San Ramon, near Matagalpa and UCA Soppexcca in Jinotega.

'The English classes and your role
Your main classes are with young people (late teens – thirties) who are or hope to be guides. Others come because it is a chance to learn, access to secondary education is very limited in rural areas and a key aim is to broaden their educational opportunities and develop their learning skills. Groups are generally small. There is a students‚ and teacher's manual specific to English for eco-tourism, produced by the NEST Trust and you teach from this. You may go out on trips with the guides and most volunteers become involved with other community -led projects. You contribute to the NEST Trust's quarterly newsletter.

"In the 14 years of my teaching career I have to say that these 3 months have been the most rewarding."
(E.O'R, April 2003)

Up for it?
Teaching: You speak some Spanish – no one will speak English. Preferably you have teaching experience and a TEFL qualification. Essentially you are flexible, creative and independent. You have a zest for life and can live simply; you are a good communicator, willing to learn and hopefully can stay at least 4 to 6 months. (There may be opportunities for shorter stays.)
     Most summers we run intensive courses to help students speak more confidently, and have fun in English. We welcome all English speakers on these.

miraflora nature reserveExplore the region
Where you live there will be amazing scenery, birds, orchids, waterfalls with pools for swimming, and horse-riding opportunities. For a weekend try the delightful colonial cities of Leon and Granada, or climb one of the many volcanoes. Long stay volunteers can hop over the border to Costa Rica and renew their visas. Take a holiday at the end and visit English speaking Bluefields and the Corn Islands or float down the San Juan river.

Text © The NEST Trust and travel-quest 2006

Contact details
Check out:
The NEST (Nicaragua English and Sustainable Tourism) Trust website has more details and past newsletters with volunteer reports.
Contact details, complete the application form on the website or email the co-ordinator:
maggiejo[AT] (replace [AT] with the @ symbol!)
Tel: 0121 454 7767

• We like volunteers to overlap for at least a week so you can be introduced to the students and shown around.
• Your major expense is the international airfare (seasonal, £700 + from the UK).
• Allow ~£20/week for accommodation and food and the same for extras.
• There is safe, filtered water for drinking and adequate supplies for washing from local springs but but often no electricity where you live.
• These are not malaria areas but there is dengue.
• There are daily bus services to the nearby towns with banking, internet cafes, markets, cafes, restaurants, bars and discos.