Comments: Comments: The
Inter*American Academy is a pre-K through 12th grade international
school teaching an American curriculum. The students are easy
going and semi-motivated. Overall, the school has a very positive
feel to it and you always get the feeling that things are moving
forward; which they are. Students like the atmosphere of the
school and tend to hang around after school to socialize and
enjoy the many after-school activities being offered. Many
positive comments are heard from parents.
Dr. Maureen O'Shaughnessy is the executive director. She has the ability to empower
her teachers to work to their potential and exercise their creative abilities.
She is open to new ideas and is not threatened by teachers that know more about
a particular topic than she does. Instead she puts that teachers knowledge to
good use. Yes, no micro managing goes on at this school. Instead, you find support,
encouragement and a very positive attitude. I also must add that Dr. O'Shaughnessy
is one of the moret fair people I have had the pleasure to know. The teachers
are a good group to work with. You don’t find little groups here with their
own agenda and I would say the faculty is very much a unified group that enjoys
each other’s company.
The school owns a building with a number of spacious, and not so spacious, apartments
in it. The building is located in the same exclusive housing development as the
school. Teachers can make the fifteen-minute walk to school in the morning and
enjoy the tranquility. The apartment building has a pool and just down the way,
a few hundred feet, is a small yacht club. From the upper floor of the apartment
building you can see the water and the sunset. If given the choice to rent your
own place and receive a housing allowance, or move into the teacher's condo,
you should consider that in Guayaquil utilities are calculated based on the neighborhood
you live in, and since the teachers condo is in one of the best areas of town
you can end up paying 3 times the cost for utilities as compared to other parts
of town. I'll tell you more about this later.
Guayaquil is a large city but it completely lacks anything in the way of ethnicity.
There are modern malls and movie theaters and here are plenty of restaurants
serving everything from gourmet food to Taco Bell. The malls have food courts
and you can find just about everything there at a good price. Supermarkets are
modern and some resemble Wall Mart. Guayaquil is a US wannabe. The music scene
seems to be practically non existent as do other cultural events. What cultural
events there are seem to be lacking in one way or another and never quite right.
These events are also expensive to attend. There is also little in the way of
interesting architecture, traffic can be very bad and for the most part the roads
are not in good shape and full of large busses with rude and aggressive drivers.
The Ecuadorians are not
a particularly friendly group. Most are uneducated - including
those with money. Line cutting, pushing and refusal to make
way as you push your shopping cart down the isle, is common.
In general the people lack any sense of manners and this
is demonstrated in most aspects of daily life. It seems the
more money they have the ruder they are! A trip to Mexico
City or Panama will quickly remind you how humans being should
act towards each other. It will also point out the complete
lack of any culture in Guayaquil. If you like malls you'll
love it here.
Not much English is spoken outside of school. But a little Spanish will go
a very long way here. If you want to learn and practice Spanish this is the
place to do it. There are plenty of taxis and busses and it’s easy to
get around any time of the day or night. A ride across town or to the airport
is between $6 and $8 dollars. A bicycle would serve you well for getting around
the complex where the teachers condo and school are located. The area hosts
a gym (free to teachers but very hot to work out in), a few small stores, hair
salons and a sidewalk café.
Naturally, the pay is not on par with Asia and if money is a concern you should
calculate your financial responsibilities carefully. You will pay social security
each month at approximately 5% of your paycheck. Electricity and water are
high and you can figure on at least $50 - $60 per month for these two items.
Internet is about $56 a month for the bottom of the line DSL connection and
cable TV weighs in at about $40 per month. In Guayaquil, food prices in restaurants
is on par with the U.S. A couple has a much better saving potential than a
single teacher that may end up spending their entire paycheck each month.
Travel within the country
is cheap and other cities such as Montenita (at the beach)
Cuenca and Quito are much less expensive and offer a far
more ethnic flavor. A one or two hour drive from the school
will put you at a tropical beach where you can surf, boogie
board or book a dive trip. The mountains are also nearby.
A one hour flight to Quito only cost $100 round trip. The
airport is very modern and a breeze to get through. Customs
is very relaxed and it’s easy to bring in electronics
and other personal items with out any hassle.
If you are looking for
a culturally rich experience and motivated students, Guayaquil
is not the place. On the other hand, two years here may be
just fine for perfecting your Spanish and getting some international