You should arrive first days of August. While this may seem early, you need time to make living arrangements, set up housekeeping and complete a variety of tasks before school begins.
Cotopaxi also conducts a multi-day orientation program to the school and the country before the all-faculty orientation program begins.
Taxis are readily available and fairly inexpensive. There is public bus system that tends to be crowded. For travel outside of Quito, one can hire a taxi or take a long distance bus. There is domestic plane service to a number of Ecuadorian cities. Used cars are available.
Academia Cotopaxi offers the following types of professional development activities: In-service days scheduled into the academic calendar; Teachers Teaching Teachers programs offered throughout the school year; Visiting Consultants; University Offerings on site through the SUNY University or various on-line courses; summer study possibilities. There are limited options to attend the regional teachers’ conferences and AASSA. Cotopaxi’s professional development activities focus on the improvement of student learning and in particular developing and building on teacher’s skills to provide differentiated instruction.
New teachers are expected to arrive on August 10 -12. The initial contract is for two years. The contract can be extended with a re-signing payment. Subsequent contracts are normally yearly. A local contract is required as well to comply with Ecuadorian Law.
Your first pay check will be on August 31.
Ecuador has all the conveniences of modern banking. There is a wide range of banking services including electronic transfers, automatic teller cards, etc. We highly recommend that you maintain your offshore bank accounts, and check whether your bank is able to do any transactions with an establishment in Ecuador. A number of faculty use “on-line” banking with their home country banks. If you anticipate using this option, you need to obtain all appropriate information from your home country bank prior to your departure.
Major U.S. banks in Ecuador include Citibank and Lloyds Bank. It is possible to send money back to the U.S. US checks are not normally accepted. Cost to cash traveler checks is 1% to 5%. Therefore, you can use your American checking account, traveler’s checks and cash. American Express and Diner’s Club are widely accepted. ATM machines, (Banred, Cirrus, Maestro, Plus) are available.
There is a daily cash withdrawal limit depending on the bank you use. More information regarding this matter will be given during the Orientation for New Teachers once you arrive in Ecuador.
Like any large city, crime exists. Petty crimes such as snatch and grab are increasing but are most often non-violent. A few violent crimes against foreigners have occurred but they are not classified as terrorist in nature. By being ‘street smart’ and pro-active, most individuals can avoid being a victim.
Terrorist activities that exist are most often confined to the Ecuadorian-Colombian border. The US Embassy advises US citizens not to travel in that area of the country.
Volcanoes surround Ecuador and since August 1999 there have been two explosions one from Guagua Pichincha and the other from Volcano Reventador.
There is a variety of housing options but most teachers rent apartments that are a 15-20 minutes’ walk, or a five-minute taxi ride, from school. Some apartments are fully furnished while others only have the bare necessities. The Director of Human Resources assists you in finding appropriate and safe housing. In the past many new teachers have made these arrangements before the current school year ends by communicating with outgoing teachers and digitally viewing potential living quarters.
If you do not decide on housing before you arrive, you are housed for four days in a short term apartment or a hotel while you make housing arrangements. Cotopaxi does not pay expenses such as phone calls or laundry.
Cotopaxi provides a settling-in allowance outlined in the contract and this is paid in cash upon arrival. The cost of setting up your apartment will vary depending upon your needs and tastes. Ecuadorian income tax applies to this and any cash amount.
For single teachers, the school does not require that you share housing, although you may find that doing so is cost effective.
You are paid monthly in US dollars. During certain months of the year, up to half of your salary can be wired to your Canadian or American account at no extra charge. Annual salary includes all benefits required under applicable law and these are subject to Ecuadorian taxes.
You need a 12-VIII visa to work at AC. Once you have signed a contract with Academia Cotopaxi, you will receive detailed information concerning the process and the documentation that is necessary to secure a visa through either the Ecuadorian Embassy in your country or country of residence or through an Ecuadorian Consular Office.