As promised, we’re back with the next part of our worldwide TEFL adventure. In the past few months, we’ve covered Europe, Africa and Asia. So, what’s next on our list? Latin America! A place where I have actually taught and can vouch for.
Latin America stretches from Mexico in the north all the way to the most southern tip of South America in Chile. This part of the world is almost 20 million square kilometers, consisting of 20 sovereign states and territories. You’ll hear mostly romance languages in Latin America, including Spanish, Portuguese and French. Latin America is a very popular place to teach TEFL, some countries becoming more popular than others.
Let’s dive in and discuss some of the hottest cities and countries to teach TEFL right now.
As the largest country in the region and with one of the largest TEFL job markets in Latin America, Brazil is our #1 country to work. A country with just about everything – big cities, the Amazon rainforest, festivals and futebol…what else could you ask for?
With the World Cup being hosted there in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, Brazil became a widely recognized country internationally. Since then, it hasn’t slowed down. English language classes have become more and more popular over the years and today, are at an all-time peak. So, the market for TEFL teachers is incredible there.
Most schools in Brasil will require you to have a Bachelors Degree along with a TESOL or TEFL certificate. Without a Bachelor’s Degree, the job search will be much harder for you, but you may still be able to find work. Additionally, most language institutions will hire teachers with tourist visas, so getting a work visa isn’t absolutely necessary. However, please note, that with a tourist visa, you will most likely get paid under the table.
So, what are the best cities to teach in?
Located in the Southeast region of the country, Sao Paolo is the financial epicenter of Brazil. The vibrant city boasts a large population making traffic inside the city pretty bad. However, the market for TEFL teachers here is on the rise. As many businesses want their employees to know the English language, English teachers are frequently hired to help employees learn how to speak the language. You’ll also be able to find jobs with students of all ages through private tutoring. You can expect to break even in terms of salary here.
Rio de Janeiro
One of the largest and most bustling cities in Brasil, and in all of Latin America, Rio is quite a place to teach! A very cosmopolitan city, located on the beach, with a nightlife as well as a well-respected business district, you’ll never get bored in Rio. You can find jobs teaching adults through their business, private tutoring and for very well-seasoned teachers, in private Elementary schools.
Chile is number 2 on our list of Latin American countries to teach TEFL. With over 6,000 kilometers of Pacific ocean coastline, Chile offers some of the most beautiful beaches on the continent. Not only will you find beaches in Chile, but you’ll find the Andes, the Atacama Desert, as well as the breathtaking Chilean Patagonia in the south of the country. If you’re looking for an adventurous teaching adventure where you can travel around and earn some money at the same time, I think Chile could be the place for you.
You can expect around 20-25 hours a week of teaching time in Chile, giving you plenty of time to explore the diverse terrain of the country and it’s surrounding. You can apply and arrange phone or Skype interviews with some institutions before arriving in Chile, but for the most part, interviews are done in-person once you arrive there. A TEFL or TESOL certificate is required by the majority of schools and a Bachelor’s degree is preferred by most. Additionally, many hiring institutions will sponsor you for a work visa.
Santiago, the Chilean capital, is the most popular place to teach TEFL. It is also one of the most advanced cities, both technologically, economically and politically, in Latin America. Furthermore, Chile and the US signed a free trade agreement in the early 2000’s which enhances the need for English teachers in the capital. This makes English language acquisition a huge industry there. Many businesses hire English teachers to help their employees learn the language. Its outstanding transportation system makes it very accessible for people to get from one part of the city to another. You’ll find quaint cafès, delicious restaurants and tons of museums scattered throughout the city.
Our staffer, Stephanie, lives and teaches in Santiago. Hear what she has to say about it in this TEFL Nomads article.
Located at the Northern tip of South America you’ll find the country of Colombia. Here you’ll find dense rainforest, tall mountain peaks from the Andes and a whole lot of coffee. With coasts on both the Caribbean and the Pacific oceans, you’ll find a diverse terrain throughout the country.
The TEFL industry has recently emerged and expanded in Colombia. As tourism begin to grow in the country and violence diminishes, a need for English teachers has arisen. As English becomes more prevalent, tourism will gain speed and will become a bigger part of the economy. Teachers will need a TESOL/TEFL certificate and a Bachelor’s Degree is preferred but not required. Most teachers find work at public schools and English language schools, and age of students ranges from children to adults.
Bogota is the vibrant capital city of Colombia, where you’ll find the majority of the TEFL teaching opportunities. Although it has a troubling history, today, Bogota is a bustling city with loads of businesses and technology. With a population of over 8 million people, you’ll find plenty of English teaching jobs. If you possess a Master Degree in teaching, you can apply to work at the international language schools there, very prestigious institutes. With a TEFL/TESOL certificate, you’re qualified to work at one of the many English language schools in the city – the most popular of which is British Council. It’s important to note that some of the language schools can be scams and it’s important to do your homework before committing to just any school.