When thinking about the opportunity to teach English in Colombia, a lot of questions probably come to your mind. Colombia is an extremely diverse country, with ample opportunities to either start your continue your teaching career.
This article is designed to be the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about teaching English in Colombia, covering different cities and towns across this gorgeous country. n Bogota
Different opportunities to teach English in Colombia
When starting to look at the different opportunities to teach in Colombia, it’s important to understand that in general, there are three main areas where English teachers can work. These divisions can help give you a good idea to start researching the job market, and get a better idea where you might best fit.
Teach English at a University
By far one of the most prestigious jobs that an English teacher can get is at a University. There is a wide range of positions available, from small independent universities all the way to world class education institutes. University positions often require a masters degree, a TEFL or CELTA certification, and several years of progressive experience.
Teach English in Colombia at a Language Institute
Language institutes often focus on English for Work, and usually have a list of corporate clients. Reputable language institutes will require a University Education and a teaching certificate, yet aren’t nearly as strict on professional experience in order to get a job. Language institutes are a great stepping stone to get your feet in the door, and often lead to better opportunities in the future.
Teach English as a Private Tutor
Teaching English as a private tutor can often result in higher wages and more flexibility, but will lack in the stability and legal support. People who teach privately often do so in their free time, and can often early up to $20 USD per hour. In order to be successful at teaching privately, you must have a legal visa status that allows you to work in country.
BogotaColombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet, with major cities to small towns.
Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet, with major cities to small towns, from scaling mountains to coastal regions. Let’s take a look at some of the main options on where you can teach English in Colombia.
Teach English in Bogotá, Colombia
Bogota is Colombia’s capital Bogota and has a population of over 8 million people (potentially over 10 million including undocumented individuals). This high altitude city (around 2,500 meters above sea level) and Colombia in general have had a troublesome past, but the country and city are moving away from their pasts and creating a new future for all. Bogota covers an area of around 1,775 kilometres squared and is located in pretty much the centre of Colombia.
Bogota is divided into a large number of neighbourhoods and these neighbourhood’s are divided into separate estratos which determine the prices of apartments and utilities. For example estrato 1 is the lowest class with subsidised utility bills and low cost housing, whereas estrato 6 pays the highest utility bills to cover the costs of the lower estratos and housing and accommodation prices in these areas tend to be the highest in the city. Chico is considered to be estrato 6 and is the neighbourhood containing Park Virrey and Park 93. Keep this in mind when searching for accommodation.
Be warned that Bogota is full of English institutions and many don’t pay teachers what they deserve and have long working hours. The best advice is to do a quick Google or Facebook search of the institution and talk to other teachers who work/have worked within the institution to discover the best place for you to work. If you want more information on the rewards of working with adults, check out Teaching English to Adults in Colombia and 9 Q&A’s about Teaching English in Bogotá.
Teach English on the coast of Colombia
Teaching English on the coast of Colombia is a completely different experience than teaching in the capital. The cultural is more more laid back, with a huge part of the population working in tourism. In addition tourism, you will find international companies that often have to deal with international logistics, as well as oil and mineral companies.
The main cities that will offer employment are Cartagena and Barranquilla. Both cities are hot and humid, and go in and out of rainy and dry season. One of the best parts about teaching English on the coast allows you to explore one of the most gorgeous regions of Colombia. For a more detailed look at teaching English on the coast, check out this information.
How to get a job to teach English in Colombia
Now that you have made it this far, it’s important to take the first step in applying to several different places in order to understand what is currently being offered. Remember that this is not just them interviewing you, rather you interviewing your future employer! Be sure to ask questions and understand what types of contracts are being offered, but do remember that very rarely will companies hire you if you aren’t in country. You might receive a tentative offer, but often times no formal contracts will be sent until you show up for your training.
When you are looking for places of employment, be sure to check out what is being said on social media and try to connect with other teachers who are already in Colombia, and don’t forget to properly prepare for your interview.
How to get a work visa in Colombia
When working teaching English in Colombia schools and a number of English institutions will provide the teacher with the relevant paperwork to begin teaching. While barely any companies physically pay for an employee’s visa (potentially private schools but depends on the school), so a year long working visa in Colombia and ID card costs around US$360 or £280. It is definitely worth paying for as you have the ability to receive that money and more in salary in your first month working. A more detailed and constantly updated analysis of getting a work visa in Colombia can be found here, and you can also check the official Foreign ministry page.
Finding accommodation in Bogota, Colombia can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a large number of accommodation options in the city from single rooms to apartments depending on budget. Accommodation in Bogota can range from US$170 (£130) in a medium estrato area to US$400 (£310) in a high estrato area. A good place to search for accommodation is on various Facebook groups where people advertise rooms they have available to rent. It is advised to always visit an apartment and meet the people before handing over any money.
While Bogota is a big city and has a reputation which makes people believe it’s extremely dangerous, in actual fact it is safer than a large number of other cities around the world including many US cities such as Baltimore, Detroit and Mexico City. While caution is advised when traveling around Bogotá, this is same caution that should be present in London or New York. As long as individuals don’t attraction attention to themselves or do anything illegal there is no reason for them to have a problem.
Outside of the major cities, the majority of Colombia is safe.
Colombia is a great place to live and travel around. The country has seen a dramatic increase in tourism in the last five years with many people arriving in the country to discover the mega diverse locations and environments. When teaching English in Bogota, Colombia a large number of travel destinations can be reached easily by either bus, car or airplan. Bogota is situated close to a large number of great weekend destinations in every direction including colonial towns, warm climate locations, adventure activity destinations, chilled out mountain villas, and desert plains.
Are you interested to teach English in Colombia? We’d love to chat with you to see if you’re a fit. Get in contact now.