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Laura

 
My name is Laura Justin.  I graduated from University of MN, Morris in 2005 with a double major in Spanish and Elementary Education.  Currently I am a Spanish teacher in St. Michael, MN. This past summer, I had the opportunity to volunteer with fantastic English Institute in Buenos Aires called the Buenos Aires English House.  I would like to recommend this institute to the university for the ELTAP program or at least as possible supplement to a study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina  This school does not charge its volunteers a fee and it really took care of its volunteers and provided us with a lot of unique opportunities to experience the Argentine culture first hand.
 
In addition to living with a supportive host family which B.A. English House supplied for me, I also received a lot of support from the school itself.  They helped answer any questions I had and connected me with any people and services that I needed.  Arriving in Argentina knowing no one, it was very reassuring having a group of people who helped me out with all the little things that aren’t natural to a foreigner such as how to get around downtown, getting a ride from the airport, and what places I should visit. 
In addition to traveling with my host family, the Buenos Aires English house also organized free trips to points of interest around Buenos Aires for the students and volunteers.  We traveled with students from the English school that would describe the cultural significance of what we were seeing to us in English. This way, the students could practice their English and we could learn about the city at the same time.  The students also arranged special games and mateadas (a gathering where we drank mate, the traditional beverage of Argentina) where they taught us more about the culture of Argentina.  Finally, in addition to volunteering in the daily English classes, the volunteers were able to participate in conversation exchanges.  We would speak in English for half an hour with them, and they would then speak to us for half an hour in Spanish.  The conversation exchanges were a great opportunity to get to know more people from Buenos Aires and were mutually beneficial as we both got to practice our second language.  
Finally, and most importantly, I would recommend the Buenos Aires English House because they are truly passionate about language learning.  The teaching techniques and philosophies that they employed in the classroom matched up with what I have learned in my methodology classes in Morris on the best and latest research on language acquisition.  As a language instructor myself, I was impressed to see how the students were not just learning about English grammar, but utilizing it in real and meaningful ways.  Language classes were relevant, contextualized, age appropriate, engaging and interesting.  The students were challenged, had fun and were able to really use the language in real situations.  
If you have any questions about the Buenos Aires English House Volunteer Program, feel free to contact me at laura_a_justin@hotmail.com or contact Stella Maris Palavecino at palavecinostella@ciudad.com.ar. You can also consult the website at  www.baenglishhouse.com.ar.  Thank you.


Sincerely,
 
Laura Justin
UMM class of '05

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Garrett Wright186 Orchard St Apt 3RNNew York,
NY 10002 Stella Palavecino Bs.As. English House
Av. F.F. De La Cruz 6408CABA - Argentina

To Whom it May Concern,

For 2 months this Summer I had the distinct pleasure of volunteering at The Buenos Aires English House. Each Tuesday for 8 weeks I would take Buenos Aires' underground out of the tourist filled streets of the city center to Villa Lugano where local students of all ages would gather after school or work at the English House to learn English from a group of dedicated and skilled teachers. I remember arriving to the English House on my first day with apprehension. I was in Buenos Aires primarily to study Spanish, but as a relative beginner and no teaching experience I was not sure what I could really do to help. However, after meeting Stella, Pat, and the rest of the fabulous teachers I was reassured that as a volunteer I would be a help just by speaking my native language... que suerte! Over the course of my time at The English House I worked with school children of all ages reading stories, playing games, and answering questions about my favorite color or how many siblings I have. I was also able to get involved in a series of conversation exchanges between local university students, working professionals, and other visiting volunteers. These exchanges were a perfect opportunity to not only practice my Spanish and help the others with English, but also learn about Argentine culture from local people who otherwise I would have never had the opportunity to meet. I even had the chance to be a judge at the school's talent show! My experience at the English House is one that I will never forget. It was an opportunity to help others learn English, but more than that, it was a cultural experience where I got the chance to meet and interact with a fantastic group of local Argentines. I would recommend volunteering at The Buenos Aires English House to anyone who is looking for a deeper traveling experience in Buenos Aires.Sincerely.

Garrett Wright

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Future English House Volunteers/Interns,
 
Congratulations on choosing one of the best places to volunteer in Buenos Aires! As a former volunteer, I can assure you that you will love working at the English House.
 
I came to Buenos Aires knowing I wanted to volunteer but opposed to paying for the privilege; as a result my stay was halfway over before I heard about the English House through a friend, but it was worth the wait. The teachers and students really appreciate their volunteers for the help we can provide in the classroom. Sometimes demonstrating things we don’t even think about—like on which words the stress falls in English—can be very instructive to the students, and of course, some expressions can only be explained by a native speaker! As a volunteer, you can rest assured that your contributions are helpful.
 
In addition, volunteering at the English House offers you a great opportunity to interact with Argentines and learn more about each other’s cultures. If you speak any Spanish at all, students will participate in conversation exchanges with you so that you can practice each other’s languages. And if you can think of any fun cultural experiences that Argentines are missing out on, suggest them! I will never forget the day we taught sixty kids to make s’mores on a fondue maker in the auditorium—I may have been the only person in the barrio who even know what a s’more was, but the staff was incredibly helpful and flexible and the kids loved it.
 
But it’s not all work—volunteering is a great opportunity to make local friends and hang out with people you would ordinarily never run into. I know I will miss the people I met at the English House and hope to visit again someday.
 

Best of luck and enjoy your Buenos Aires experience!
 
Emma Smiley

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Aprenda Inglés en B.A.E.H. | Teach English in Argentina | Excursions | Agreements | Spanish Immersion Programs | What English Native Speakers say About Us | Contact Us
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