TEFL in Colombia is an experience unlike any other.
TEFL teachers are in fairly high demand across the entire country but are hard to come by for students not attending private schools in the major cities. However, as Colombia makes strides into the 21st century, it has expressed a renewed interest in teaching all of its citizens English (instead of only the wealthy elite). That’s why the work you do here will be incredibly meaningful, rewarding, and impactful. You will be giving students an experience that they frankly may never have gotten—and might not get again.
Everyone wants to learn English in Colombia—for personal development, improved academic standing, or more (and better) professional opportunities. You will be working in larger cities, and your students could be children, teenagers, or adults. Skill levels will vary from beginner to intermediate. You may be placed in a public school, and your curriculum will be provided!
Work conditions are favorable for TEFL interns in Colombia—full accommodation support, all public holidays off, ongoing in-country support, and a healthy allowance of USD$520 monthly are all part of the package. Wahoo!
While you’ll be supported on the curriculum to follow during your teaching semester, here are some teaching resources to add to your classroom toolkit.
- Warmers, Fillers & Coolers activity book (download me free)
- 4 fail-safe activities for when it all goes wrong
- 1000s of free lessons plans at BusyTeacher.org
- English teaching games & activity ideas
Cost of living
With your housing costs covered and the readily available (and fresh!) street food, you’re set for low-expense living in Colombia.
However, don’t come with an empty piggy bank! Having some savings in your account prior to starting your multi-month session of TEFL in Colombia will cut out unnecessary stress, AND allow you to travel around the country and region… a lot. Our goal is for you to maintain a comfortable standard of living, while also having the resources to check of heaps of adventures when you’re not working.
Tip #1: Dining out is so affordable and delicious that you’ll probably avoid preparing your own food, but for those who love kicking back in the kitchen, fresh ingredients and produce from the local markets is incredibly cheap.
It won’t take you long to learn that a little goes a long way, and savvy savers will be able to manage their finances with ease for the duration of their stay.
Day-to-day living expenses for ESL teachers in Colombia are very manageable, not to mention travel across Colombia is affordable. You can find regular long-distance bus services to connect you to other parts of the country/region, or connect more quickly via local budget airlines like LAN, TAME, and Avianca.
Tip #2: Be prepared to ask the question—How much is it? Cuánto cuesta
Colombia offers international teachers the awe-inspiring rainforest, kilometers of incredible beaches, pleasant year-round temperatures, strong coffee, and an easy-going way of life—and that’s before we even get to dollars and cents. With delicious and affordable food, budget flats, and cheap transportation, it’s possible to have a great standard of living on a small salary while you teach in Colombia.
The local currency in Colombia is the New Colombia dollar; from most countries and other currencies, the exchange rate is very favorable.
Initially, your wages might seem comparatively low to your earning power in your own country, but it’s important to keep in mind that the cost of living is still much cheaper in Colombia. Being a TEFL teacher in Colombia is about more than just a job, it’s about experiencing a new culture, and your wages will enable you to do just that.
Tip #3: GREAT NEWS! Colombia is a country with one of the highest number of public holidays, 16.
Typically, term times in Colombia are similar to those in many other Latin American countries; however, Colombia has two separate term times, known as Calendar A and Calendar B.
Calendar A is generally used by public schools (where you will be teaching). It starts at the end of January and ends in November. There are breaks for Easter and later in June, July, and October, not to mention the six-seven week break between school years. Calendar B, typically employed by private schools, begin in September and finish in June with holidays in October, December, and at Easter.
Tip #4: Love the side hustle? TEFL teachers can earn a lot of extra income by offering private one-to-one lessons with students.
Colombian culture tends to be polite and respectful toward teachers, so it is important to look the part—remember to dress conservatively (no shoulders or shorts/skirts above the knee).
Expect the number of your students to vary depending on which type of educational institution you’re placed at, as well as where in Colombia your school is located. You will have six-eight classes weekly comprised of 25-35 students and will have 15 hours weekly to conduct lesson planning.
In general, your classes should emphasize spoken and conversational English, but you will also need to work on students’ listening and speaking skills. Don’t forget to create a fun, active, and engaging learning environment, too!
What are you waiting for? Get qualified today and see for yourself how amazing it is to TEFL in Colombia!