When thinking about teaching English abroad Colombia, specifically Bogota, isn’t the first thing which comes into people’s minds. This being said teaching English in Bogota, Colombia can be a unique and wonderful opportunity for teachers.
This article is designed to be the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about teaching English in Bogota, 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.
Teaching English in Bogota, Colombia
When considering teaching English in Bogota, Colombia there are a number of opportunities to choose from depending on which qualification an individual holds. With a masters degree in teaching, and a fair amount of work experience, an individual could apply to work in one of the private international schools in Bogota: Anglo Colombian, Nueva Grande and The British Schools are some of the options available. With a teaching degree or a CELTA qualification an individual can apply to work in one of Bogota’s universities: Universidad Externado, Los Andes, and Universidad Rosario are just some of the many universities in Bogota. With a CELTA or TEFL qualification an individual can apply to work within a English Institution some of which are the British Council, Bogota Business English and International House. 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.
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.
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 travelling around Bogota, 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.
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 aeroplane. 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.
Written by: Anny Wooldridge