Teach English in Charming Nicaragua
Colonial charm, rich rainforests, and beautiful beaches are just some of the qualities that make Nicaragua an amazing place to teach and travel. Fondly referred to as “the country of lakes and volcanoes”, its physical geography is anything but one-sided. Add this to the vibrant street life experienced in cities and the flavorful food at every turn and you won’t be finding yourself needing much more. The Nicaraguan economy is highly reliant upon commerce with other nations, a fact that puts learning to communicate in English at the top of the priority list. With one of the fastest growing ESL markets in Central America, teachers are certainly in demand. The Nicaraguan people are known to be friendly and welcoming to foreign ESL teachers, as well, especially since they recognize and appreciate their growing need for English instruction. Although you certainly will not get rich teaching here, experiencing one of Central America’s best hidden gems makes up for this.
Job Hunting In Nicaragua
English teachers can be hired in Nicaragua throughout the year, except over the month of Christmas holiday. Although there are recruitment agencies online that can assist you in finding a job, those who do an internet search on their own are unlikely to find a job that will interview any way other than face-to-face. The opportunities are limited, but not non-existent. Most language institutes, though, will recruit and hire from within the country. This is a theme that is present throughout Central and South America, so it’s best to just accept it and move forward or choose another direction if a process like this is not what you’re looking to get involved in.
Most English teaching opportunities can be found at language schools in the larger cities like Managua, Granada, Leon, and Chinandega. While rural positions do exist, they are far more likely to be on a volunteer basis. However, because Nicaragua is not yet an ESL teaching hub, teachers who do venture here typically have an easier time finding a job.
Get Your TEFL Certificate Online Before You Go Abroad to Teach English in Nicaragua
First and foremost, if you don’t know any Spanish, you should probably take an intensive course to learn how to get by. Very few people in the general public can speak English, and you can quickly feel overwhelmed if you can’t ask for directions. Teachers needn’t have a Bachelor’s degree in order to teach in Nicaragua, but it definitely doesn’t hurt if you do have one. Higher-end schools in Granada and Managua will prefer a Masters degree in TESOL, so if you’re in possession of one, start your search there. A TEFL certificate is valuable here, but it’s not essential for getting a position at regular language schools. Some universities only require a TEFL, as opposed to Masters degrees, so be thorough in your search. More qualifications and experience typically equates to higher pay. It’s very rare (practically non-existent) to be offered a position and given a flight into the country, making it standard for teachers to enter and work on a 90 day tourist visa. Like other Central and South American countries, the norm is then to do a “visa run”, whereby you exit to a bordering country (like Costa Rica) at the end of your 90 days only to re-enter on another tourist visa. While this is definitely bending the rules, it is a standard practice in Nicaragua. Working legally will require you to obtain a residency permit, which can be done by your employer. The application has a number of elements to it, such as a criminal background check, so if you’re going to head down this route, make sure you have the assistance of someone who can aid you with the Spanish guidelines.
Having the ability to adapt will be another huge requirement for teachers that employers will probably not address. Few schools (aside from the very high end ones) will be modern with internet and other materials. Teachers aiming to move here will need to be resourceful, highly motivated, and capable of dealing with the high heat and humidity. Nicaragua also remains one of the area’s poorest countries. However, safety is generally not a concern in Nicaragua, as it is considered to be one of the safest countries in the region.