Teaching and Learning in Ethiopia

For the past 2 weeks I’ve been based in a small village in Ethiopia, East Africa. Volunteering abroad has always been on my agenda however up until now I have never found the right program for me. This particular program appealed to me as it was delivering teaching in a school, contributing to community development through providing educational opportunities.

As well as this, my program included a few days of “immersion” at the beginning to ensure I settled into the region relatively quickly and immersed myself in the vibrant culture from the off.

“An insight into the most exhilarating 2 weeks of my life. From volunteering, to travelling, to making friends.....this jam-packed experience was one of the greatest of my life!”

Two weeks in Ethiopia

After a long journey, which was a little nerve-wracking having never travelled solo before, I arrived in Ethiopia. Here I was met by project coordinators who escorted me to my transfer vehicle and made the whole experience hassle-free. On route to the accommodation, I was able to chat to the other participants who had also just arrived and find out where they were from and what were their motivations for being here.

When we arrived at the accommodation, I was relieved to see how clean and comfortable it was. Although basic, it had everything I needed to feel at home and the staff here were wonderfully attentive. My roommate provided me with a great buddy throughout my time here, we would also bounce ideas off one another as to how we were going to make our lessons interactive and stimulating.

The food at the centre was delicious too, it was typical East African cuisine which I wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to try. The food showcased the flavours of the local area and used local produce ensuring freshness and maximum flavour.

“It has been an amazing stay in this project. Since the first day, I felt like this beautiful region is my home. The other volunteers, co-ordinators, school staff and pupils were all very friendly and I straight away felt part of the local community.”

On Monday, we went to the school. I was nervous at first but when I met the children my nerves soon dispersed. The children were so enthusiastic to learn and although receiving lessons in English was a challenge for them, not once did they complain. It was rewarding to see the progress of the children’s English language skills throughout my time there and the children showed their gratitude for my time with lots of cuddles!

We divided the children into three smaller classes so we could provide the children with a more one-to-one learning experience. We practised vocabulary, grammar and speaking in the class. All the children were charming and their behaviour was impeccable. They were very grateful for our teaching because they knew that it was a great opportunity for them. I came away from my time at the school with transferable teaching skills and invaluable classroom experience, my confidence has grown significantly from my time here.

The coordinator taught me some words in Amharic, so that made easier for me to communicate with the locals. We also went to the city centre to see the market, the church and the lake. I loved the market; it was full of local delicacies for us to try and crafts from local artisans for us to buy. In the afternoon, we went to the lake and took a walk.

On the weekends, we went on trips to the Blue Nile Waterfalls and to Lalibela, which are the main attractions in this country. They were both amazing days out where we were able to recharge our batteries ready for another busy week at the school. I valued my weekends here as they were an opportunity to get to know the other participants and explore this beautiful country.

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