Teach English in Colombia, Where Life is Bonita
Colombia has undergone drastic changes since the 1980s, and it certainly should not be written off when considering a South American adventure. Its economy continues to blossom and grow, and its cultural and geographical allure remains on par with its Latin neighbors. Friendly people, a relaxed way of life, and the potential for a comprehensive benefits package make Colombia a great place for your next English teaching job abroad.
The Colombian TESOL job market allows teachers to be very selective. Some companies and schools offer a comprehensive package that is typically only found in Saudi Arabia and South Korea: round-trip airfare, accommodation allowance, health insurance, paid holiday time, and bonuses at the completion of a contract. Now, don’t get your hopes up, as this isn’t the case with all jobs. If you’re TESOL certified, have at least two years of relevant experience, and are open to sticking around for two years, sweet deals like this are definitely available to you. Check out well-reputed language institutes and international schools in Bogota, Medellin, Bogota, Santiago de Cali Bucaramanga, and other bigger cities.
If you don’t fit the above criteria, don’t be discouraged. The TESOL job market in Colombia is solid, even for less-experienced teachers. However, a job will be difficult to secure from your home country. Across South America, showing up in person and using your networking skills is the preferred method of job hunting. This is particularly true if you want to get in on the business English game. Larger companies and global firms now have a strong need for specialized English classes and, if you can show up and sell yourself on this front, you’ll have no problem securing regular work with them. Plus, it’ll guarantee you at least a few clients for private lessons on the side. Although it might seem risky, it’s a leap you’ll have to take if you can’t secure an international school or university position from home.
Teaching in Colombia typically gives teachers the opportunity for flexibility in their schedule, something that is not commonplace around the world. Most schools will allow you to opt for full or part-time work, though working part-time will not afford a very lucrative lifestyle. Additionally, teachers might be required to contribute to or completely supply their own materials, especially in less-wealthy schools. This is another reason why having a TESOL certificate is beneficial, as new teachers might not have a clue how to prepare a lesson plan from scratch.
All You Need to Teach English in Colombia is a University Degree and an Accredited TESOL Certificate!
While it isn’t always necessary to have a TESOL certificate or other advanced teaching certificate in Colombia, having one will increase your chances of getting a better job. This is true for every country in the world. Higher-end private language academies will require one, but smaller schools and independent clients might be more open-minded. Being a native speaker is also a highly desired quality. To be on the safe side, it’s advisable to carry a copy of your University degree, as well. Universities and upper-tier international schools often require a Masters degree, so keep that in mind during your search.
Working in Colombia is quite similar to other South American countries in that having a legitimate working visa falls into a gray area. Most teachers enter the country on a 90 day tourist visa and extend it by another 90 days to total six months in the country. After these six months are up, you can exit the country and re-enter on another tourist visa, or attempt to get your school or company to sponsor a proper work visa. Unlike a lot of other South American countries, this isn’t terribly difficult to accomplish. All you’ll need to do is visit the immigration office with a few legal documents and a work contract from your employer. However, if you’re not confident in your Spanish-speaking ability, it’s best to bring along a co-worker, boss, or friend who can help with the lines of communication.