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CULTURAL WORKSHOP WELCOME TO NEW TEACHERS
Welcome to Ecuador and to Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito. My name is Nena Gabela Communications & Image Coordinator.
Part of travelling abroad may be dealing with Culture Shock. It affects everyone in different ways. It may last for a while or may be brief, for a short period of time.
Culture Shock means basically dealing with change, in a different country and culture than yours. You need to relearn many basic things, like how to greet people (we kiss when we say hi), what to say to them, how to purchase things, how to tip, how to ride a bus, etc…
This relearning will affect you and you may experience discomfort, irritability, homesickness, etc.. Even though you know that you are coming to a different culture you may expect things to be like they are at home but they are not.
So we suggest the following: -- Expect change and difference • Remind your self to always keep an open mind • Avoid overreacting to things that may be different • Understand that tasks that may be simple at home, will make you feel frustrated sometimes in this new country • Learn from these experiences • Keep your sense of humor at all times • Be aware of your health, eat properly and safe • You will have good and bad days like at home
Remember that you will not learn Spanish and Ecuadorian Culture in a couple of weeks, it may take a while. Take advantage of the opportunity that Colegio Menor gives foreign teachers to take Spanish classes after school. Please talk to Rubén Armijos about this.
Try not to spend all your time with your group (Americans) you need to get involved with our culture, its peoples and life. Relate with your Ecuadorian co-workers, go out with them, socialize, listen to our music, eat our food.
Break out of the mold; leave your “gringo” environment as much as possible. Remind yourself of the reasons you come to Ecuador, work opportunity, experience, learning, change, travelling, new friends, new language, etc…
Be patient. You will understand how things work with time. Try not to compare Ecuador with your home country, it may lead to a negative comparison and in reality we are just different not better or worse.
Ecuador is basically Catholic; you will find churches all around the city. Nevertheless, other religions are respected and can be worshiped as you please. You will find churches and temples from different beliefs around the city.
Colegio Menor is a private school, you will be working in a high social class community; your students come from wealthy families, well known families, respectable community members.
Health: Your health is very important. You need to take care of it in a responsible manner. The first months take care of what you eat; always cooked fresh meals, boiled and bottled water, fruits and vegetables that have been disinfected previously, do not eat food that is sold in the streets, go to restaurants. Remember tap water in Ecuador is not considered safe.
Please talk to our nurses Lucía Relaño and Victoria Taco for advice, always carry their cellular numbers with you and if you feel sick please feel free to visit the school´s infirmary at any time.
IMPORTANT FACTS Ecuador has a population of 13.000.000 Located in the Andes Cordillera, bounded by Colombia at the north, Peru at the south & east, Pacific Ocean at the west. Latitude “0” middle of the world. Ecuador is divided into four geographic regions; the coast, sierra or central highlands, orient or eastern jungle and the Galápagos Islands.
Capital: Quito Provinces: 24 Language: Official Spanish and Quichua spoken basically by Indians
Quito is a cosmopolitan city with a population of 1.500.000. Our population is a mixture of white, mestizos, Indians (40%), and afro Ecuadorians. It’s a longitudinal city of 45 kilometers from north to south. Surrounded by high mountains and snowcapped volcanoes like Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Antizana, Cayambe.
Ecuador has the highest active volcano – Cotopaxi - located in the province with the same name. The highest snowcapped mountainof the worldmeasured from the center of the earth – Chimborazo - located in the province with the same name. We also have the Tungurahua volcano which is in permanent activity since a few years ago. You may see ash fall and smoke constantly. Located in the province with the same name.
Climate: Although Ecuador lies on the equator, the country has a wide range of climates because of the varying elevations. Quito has a spring weather all year long, with temperatures from 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 8 -25 degrees centigrade.
Our climate changes during the day, its cold early in the morning (9 degrees C), spring time along the morning (18 degrees C), summer at midday (22 degrees C) and winter at night (7-8 degrees C). That’s way everybody says that Quito has 4 seasons during the day.
Our coast is generally hot and humid (26 degrees C / 78 F). The orient is warmer and more humid than the coast and rains very much.
Earthquakes or tremors are frequent but we have not had a disastrous one in many years.
Elections: Sunday, April 26th, 2009. Ecuadorians are going to vote for president, vice president, members of parliament, mayors, city councilors and coucelors. This means that you will probably see or experience campaigns and concentrations around the city. They are usually not violent but always be aware. Its against the law to drink for 48 hours before elections, this means that night activities, bars, discotheques, will not sell alcohol starting Friday, April 24th noon to Monday, April 27th at noon.
Security: We still live in a safe community, with nice people around, but as any big city; Quito is subject to insecurities of any sort. You need to take precautions and be aware at all times. Please take note of the following:
Do not walk by yourself at night. Go out at night in groups. • Be careful when you cross the street, pedestrian crossings and bus stops are not well defined. • When you go partying take a taxi to and from the bar o disco. Do not walk in the streets looking for one. Carry with you a cell number of a friendly taxi driver that can help you at any time or ask the manager of the place were you are at, to call one for you.
When you travel to other cities or provinces please plan your trip accordingly, use travel agencies, with safe transportation, hotel reservations, tour guides, travel with people you know. If possible do not travel at night. • Always check by email the Warning Massages sent by the American Embassy • Carry with you at all times cellular numbers of Luis Granda, CMSFQ Security Chief 099016069.
Do not receive drinks or objects from people you do not know • When you travel by bus take good care of your belongings • Always carry with you a color copy of your documents (passport, censo, school ID) Leave the originals in a safe place at home.