How long have you been teaching English in Colombia?
Almost one year.
Please tell us about your job?
I work for an institute at the high end of the English industry here in Colombia. The institute charges companies top dollar and sends us to busy professionals’ offices for classes early in the morning or after their workday. Most classes are at multinationals you’d know. My hours are very irregular, rarely keeping the same schedule from one month to the next. But it pays well and I never teach more than 20 hours a week.
How did you find your first teaching job?
I found my institute through a referral from a gringa at the same hostel. I didn’t have an English-teaching job before arriving.
How easy is it to find English teaching positions?
If you’re a native speaker, it will be difficult NOT teaching English. In other words, very easy.
Is it necessary to have teaching certificates or training to find employment?
I imagine it depends on the country and the institute. I was TESOL-certified and that helped me get on where I am, but you can teach English with no training if you’re a native speaker.
How did you get your first work visa?
My institute sponsored mine.
Is it possible for teachers to arrive without a work visa and look for a job?
That’s what I did. Tourist visas in Colombia are limited to six months per calendar year.
What is the cost of living in Bogota?
I pay $300 / month in rent, average restaurant meal costs $3, going out can run the gamut depending on your scene. The most expensive beer in town is $3.
How much money can the average teacher expect to save?
Save? Teaching English? HAHA!
Are there many opportunities to earn income on the side?
I offer web development and e-marketing services, I have an import deal from Peru, I do freelance writing, and I actually launched my own English language business.
Do you recommend Colombia for other English teachers?
Students are friendly, life is great. Crime may be higher than many are willing to tolerate. The catch-22 is that I highly recommend Colombia but I don’t want it to be flooded with gringos.
What advice would you offer for others thinking of teaching English Abroad?
Pull the trigger.
How long do you plan on staying in Colombia?
At least another few years, maybe my whole life.
Expat-Chronicles Colin’s blog about life in Colombia