Many people would argue that English drives the world today. From businessmen in the Middle East to hoteliers in Asia, (and let’s not forget beach bums from around the world who want to use English to flirt with tourists!) everyone wants to learn this international language of currency. And you know what that means? This desire to learn the lingo has given rise to huge demand for English teachers worldwide!
But that doesn’t mean you have to be a woolly jumpered, spectacled professor with 20 years of school-teaching behind him. Not at all. You can be a young traveller or individual looking for a career break keen to live, work, and get paid in an exotic location! All you really need is a TEFL certificate, so following on with our guide to teaching in Asia, this week we’ll be focusing on the vast continent of South America (and throwing in Mexico as well!)
TEFL abroad or at home
Much like Asia, most schools in South American countries do not advertise placements internationally. So your best bet of bagging a job is to get out there yourself! And again, like Asia, many schools will want to see a TEFL certificate of some sort. You have two options when thinking of this: you can either take the month-long course at home, or in your chosen destination itself.
And just think of all the fun if you decide to take it in a place like Buenos Aires! With its happening night life and European culture, you could have an unforgettable experience! And of course, a South American TEFL will be geared towards the continent’s classrooms, dialect, and cultural differences. They cost about £1000 each and normally include 120 hours of training and 5-6 hours of supervised teaching time.
The beautiful, cosmopolitan and European styled-city of Buenos Aires is as manic as it is vibrant. A great place for any person to rest for a while (or a year!), the wide streets are home to cafe culture, top-notch shopping, and dangerous traffic! While Cordoba and Rosario have good TEFL opportunities, the grand capital city Buenos Aires has the most developed market for teachers. Expect to earn around £300 a month. Although it doesn’t sound like much, just remember this is not Europe. And although South America is not as cheap as you think, sharing an apartment and cooking meals together can save a bit of cash. TEFL International hold monthly courses in a former presidential mansion in the city, near the prestigious Teatro Colon theatre and the grand 220ft tall Obelisco.
Because of the upcoming World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016, the Brazilian government are making English teaching a priority. This is good news for those wanting to live in this vibrant country. Its growing economy means many students are taking English lessons in public and private schools, but the visa situation is a bit tricky. As the government sees teacher recruitment as expensive, you may have to work illegally on your six-month holiday visa, and conduct a visa run when it runs out! Expect around £500 a month, but the employment could be unstable due to the tenuous visa situation. However, if your heart is really set on this spirited land, an exchange programme has been set up by the Student Travel Information in Belo Horizonte. Designed for university graduates, you will be placed in a school anywhere in the country for 12 months. You get paid too!
The bustling yet laid-back county just over the Californian border is a cultural jewel. Boasting thousand-year-old Mayan relics, delicious food, and friendly smiling locals, tourists descend on its varied landscapes in their hordes each year. So get into the rhythm of daily life as you squeeze through the crowds of people and live here for yourself! As it borders the USA, there is a high demand for teachers. Employment mainly comes from schools and businesses, the latter of which employ in house-language trainers for workers (and pay very well!). Although it is possible to find work in remote communities, prospects are higher in Mexico City and Guadalajara, where you can expect to earn around £600 a month. Cost of living is low and will only eat around 40% of your wages. Even though a working visa can take a few months to process, many employers will take you on as long as you have applied.
Although the smallest country in South America, nowhere on earth will you find such a diverse array of landscapes. Boasting lush Amazonian jungle, snow-capped volcanoes, Pacific sandy beaches, and bustling cities, this country is a shock to the senses. Although it’s possible to find paid work here, wages are very low. And as South American TEFL teaching is mainly focused in cities, why not help out a local community by volunteering in rural Ecuador? GVI offers 2 week to 3 month voluntary programmes starting from £795. Living with families in the Andean town of Otavalo, bear witness to cloud capped mountains and vast grassy plains as you teach English and numeracy to children aged 8 and upwards. In your free time hike into the Andes or see Ecuadorian small time life come and go...
Next week: Teaching guide to Africa and the Middle East!