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Just Turning up in Colombia

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Wet Towel, May 30, 2011.

  1. Hi, I used to be an ESL teacher and then I did a BEd. I know from my own experience that if you just turn up in a country it is often easy to find work as the school is happy not to have to pay all the extra benefits (flights, accom. etc.) that a teacher recruited from abroad is afforded. Being relatively inexperienced and having just come out of a disastrous relationship, I'm planning on turning up in Colombia next month and finding a job. After my nightmare relationship I am happy to have my sanity and don't really mind what school I work for.

    My questions are: is it a good time to go? I heard schools/language institutes are reluctant to pay for visas, is that true? I don't want to work illegal. I'm also planning to work in a city with a nice climate (not Bogota), any suggestions?

  2. Thanks Arepa, that's a comprehensive and incredibly useful reply. I just have one more question though, I finished my degree last year and haven't taught since and after an awful and messy break-up I really am not sure if I'm ready for lots of work and responsibility just yet; I don't think I could give 100% yet. If I was to work six months without a work permit at a language school and then seek work in Colombia or one of it's neighbours in a first or second-tier school, how much damage would I have done to my CV? Considering also I haven't taught since I completed my degree last year?

    Thanks so much for your help!
  3. cdmoore28

    cdmoore28 New commenter

    Arepa gives sounds advice :) May I ask where you live Arepa?
    Jus to give some extra insight, not that I can add much to Arepa´s knowledge, you should try applying for a job at EAFIT university in Medellín. Their language centre is expanding and they´re trying their hardest to be seen as the elite of the region. I happened to work there for a year in 2009 and 2010 and I was extremely lucky to land a job as part of their programme SISLENGUAS, which is funded by the government. They send a team of teachers, employed by EAFIT to local state schools. It was a year that changed my life completely, Colombia is an amazing country and EAFIT really looked after me. Another language institute in Medellín that is legit is the centro colombo americano. As far as I was aware when I was living there, working illegally is becoming more and more risky as the government attempts to crack down.
    And yes, learn salsa, it´s great :)
  4. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    Don Whale. I totally concur with your language institute recommendations as both EAFIT and Colombo Americano have good reputations, as does the British Council. You are also correct in pointing out that It is getting more difficult to work without the appropriate visa. Indeed, on arrival with a tourist visa it is often required that visitors show a ticket out of Colombia and sufficient funds to support themselves while in the country (Wet Towel should note this).
    I am glad to learn that you enjoyed yourself while in Colombia. Many other contributors to this website, like the indomitable Don Dude, also have positive feelings about the country (although he does not share my passion for arepas). I spent twelve years in Bogota and served as the Head of two schools during that period. I have since retired to the states, but still retain contacts with international schools, offering what is probably unneeded and unnecessary advice, to my spouse who is the Head of one and to my former colleagues still in Colombia.
  5. johnnersco

    johnnersco New commenter

    Have you made a decision yet, Wet Towel. I know it is difficult...I came out to Colombia on the collapse of a relationship and have never regretted it. (Mind you; I had employment before arriving here. eventually married a local, which is not uncommon for single expats). I concur with what the other posters say. What do you mean by nice climate? There are hot, but wet cities on the coast which are cooled by the sea breezes (eg Barranquilla, Cartagena). There are hot inland cities which have no cooling breezes (eg Cali, Bucaramanga) or there are cities which have climates like a good UK spring day (eg Medellin). I appreciate that Bogota can feel cold and there is a lot of rain, but there are lots of language schools, bilingual schools (the second tier that Arepa refered to) and international style schools (first tier) here.
  6. Well if it's anything like Mexico, the chances are not so remote. It is fairly common there. I was offered jobs in three schools - one of them in one of the two best in the city - just by being there and sending in my CV. I knew others with similar stories. The down side was that we were local hires. We still got the same salary as our foreign hire colleagues but did not get flights or accommodation suplements. It was still far from being a local salary.
  7. Actually, a couple of days ago I bought a one-way ticket to Mexico as I had read the chances of getting a job are far better and I won't have trouble acquiring a work visa. My heart was set on Colombia though, maybe later. My only option is to go to Mexico City I think, a city I've never really been interested in.
  8. Is it a good time to be turning up in Mexico, Sidinz? I would think not..
  9. I haven't been there for a couple of years, but I personally wouldn't hesitate.
  10. Twiga

    Twiga New commenter

    I spent 2 very happy years in Mexico, and only left a year ago. There's no doubt the violence in Mexico is escalating, but only in the northern states. Mexico City is largely unaffected as it is not a disputed territory among the drug cartels. I have only briefly passed through Bogota and it was cold and rainy. From what I've been told, it quite often is. Mexico city has a great climate. Generally an average of 24 degrees in the day time year round, although Jan/Feb is a lot cooler and in the summer it can reach the mid 30's. It's a great country and well worth spending some time there!

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