Teach English in Colombia

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How to Begin Teaching in Colombia

Scenery is Stunning and the Pace of Life is Slow

Colombia has become one of the newest tourist destinations in the last couple of years.

For every TEFL teacher considering living and working in Colombia, there is one extremely important word that comes to mind: safety. Colombia has been known as one of the most violent and unsafe areas to live and work in the world, due to civil war, drug wars and open armed conflict in the streets of Bogota. The UK Foreign Office still has some recommendations in place about where residents of the UK should and should not travel. This is mainly in rural areas, particularly bordering Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador, where armed groups are still active. Therefore, if you are considering Colombia, it is important that you regularly keep up with the UK Foreign Office’s advice.

On a good note, the same Foreign Office states that the cities, particularly Bogota, are much safer and people usually experience no difficulties there. The past violence has disappeared from the city, making it an interesting place to visit. Tourism is also on the rise, which means that Colombia has become one of the newest tourist destinations in the last couple of years. 

Colombia, acting as a bridge between Central and South America, experiences extremely different climates. Bogota is cold in the north, but Colombia also has beautiful warm Caribbean beaches, where the scenery is stunning and the pace of life is slow. The people of Colombia are warm and friendly. They enjoy socialising and drinking, and are generally laid-back in their attitude to life. Culturally, Colombia also boasts the award-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is known all over the world. The language of Colombia is Spanish.

Columbia is the 2nd most biodiverse country in the world, and can be referred to as “megadiverse”. For any one area in the world, it has the highest amount of species by area in the world, including butterflies, orchids, amphibians and endless species of bird. A truly unique feature of nature is to be found in Colombia by the name of Cano Cristales (the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow”. You can find this delight in the Serrania de la Macarena province of Meta. The wonder in the river lies in the fact that it changes color between yellow, green, blue, black and red starting at the end of July til November.

The Colombia that we know today was once inhabited by the indigenous tribes of Tairona, Muisca and Quimbaya. In 1499 the Spanish colony of New Granada was created.

Tejo, a sport which involves throwing projectiles at a target is the national game of Columbia, however as is common across much of South America the most popular sport in the country is football. The Colombian national team is a consistently strong side in the landscape of international football and won the Copa América (South American Championship) in 2001. Some other sports that Colombian people enjoy include roller-skating, weightlifting, baseball, boxing, motorsport and cycling.

Teaching Opportunities

With the country’s tourism industry opening to the outside world, there are more and more opportunities for native English teachers. Although, there are private institutions employing teachers, one popular option is the bilingual high schools found in the capital. Often rich families send their children to these schools. Medellin, famous for fashion and architecture, is also becoming a popular TEFL destination. Teachers are generally required to have a degree, but for better positions a 120 hour TEFL certificate is highly recommended. 

The working week in Colombia generally consists of 6 days, from Monday to Sunday. The cost of living is low, so working in Colombia will provide you with a comfortable lifestyle, but no major savings to take back home to your country. To boost their income, many teachers in Colombia give private lessons. Finding job opportunities in online forums is possible, but the better positions can be found by looking from within the country. The best times to look for jobs are from November for the new academic term.

Teaching Requirements

Degree Requirement Typical Contract Length Peak Hiring Seasons Visa Info Typical Students Average Monthly Cost of Living in £ GBP & Local Currency Average Monthly Salary in £ GBP & Local Currency
Not required 6 - 12 months March - August Work visa Business professionals, children 958,962 - 1,342,550 COP (310 - 435 GBP) 1,342,550 - 1,917,000 COP (435 - 620 GBP)
March - August
Work visa
Business professionals, children
958,962 - 1,342,550 COP (310 - 435 GBP)
1,342,550 - 1,917,000 COP (435 - 620 GBP)

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