If you are looking for fun and adventure as part of your teaching English abroad experience, you might want to consider Latin America. This region has a wide range of job options spread across many different and fascinating countries. Finding the right job for you should not be a problem as long as you conduct plenty of research and follow a few simple guidelines.
What do I need to teach English in Latin America?
The good news is that Latin America typically has less restrictions on who can teach English than any other region. College degrees and previous teaching experience are not usually a requirement which makes it a great choice for newly qualified TEFL teachers in particular. The one thing that most employers expect of their job applicants is that they have completed a TEFL certification course with a reputable company. An online TEFL certificate is generally accepted by most schools and language centers, although you will be at an advantage in the job market if you have also completed a teaching practice component with your training.
How do I apply for TEFL jobs in Latin America?
As only a relatively small number of employers advertise their vacancies online, most teachers secure a job in Latin America by interviewing in person on the school premises. The most common approach is to simply fly to the destination you have chosen and then start applying for as many jobs as you can find in the local area. If you are not familiar with overseas travel this method can seem quite daunting, however, it is the most effective approach in this region and most teachers secure a good position soon after arrival.
When should I apply for TEFL jobs in Latin America?
To give yourself as many job options as possible you should try to time your arrival to suit the main recruiting periods in your chosen country. Throughout much of South America the peak time is during February and March, although July and August are also good in some cases. In contrast, the peak time for recruitment in Central America is during January in many countries. These periods generally refer to public schools and universities as they are governed by a fixed term time. However, jobs in private language schools, business English employers, and private tutoring are all typically available at any time of the year throughout the region.
What about visas for TEFL jobs in Latin America?
The country you choose as your teaching destination will determine the type of visa you will need for your time in Latin America. In order to get the most up to date information you should check the embassy website of your host country well in advance of your planned departure date. In many cases you will need to get a standard tourist visa on arrival at a local airport and then apply for a work permit once you have secured employment. It is also common practice in some countries for teachers to work on nothing more than a tourist visa which they renew every few months by crossing over a border into another country and then return to get a new one. While this method is technically illegal in most countries, it is often standard practice as official documentation can be difficult or even impossible to acquire. Teachers who choose to go down this route rarely have any problems with the authorities.
What are the start up costs for teaching English in Latin America?
Wherever you choose to teach in Latin America, you will need to have access to enough funds to see you through to your first pay day. In most cases schools pay on a monthly basis, which means a budget for six weeks should be enough if you get right on with your job search as soon as you arrive. If you want to take your time finding the best job or want to do a bit of exploring before starting work, you will obviously need to adjust your budget accordingly. The cost of living in most countries in the region will be substantially lower than what you are used to back home, but you will need to cover everything from accommodation and meals, to transport costs and cell phone credit. A typical budget for this region should be in the region of $1,000 to $2,000 for the six week period.
Where will I find TEFL jobs in Latin America?
Your choice of destination in Latin America will have a big impact on the amount of job options you will find on arrival. For many people the overseas teaching dream involves hammocks, palm trees, and miles of sandy beaches. However, while this can be a reality for some people, jobs in these areas will typically be few in number and the competition for each one is likely to be fierce. In contrast, big cities in the region such as Santiago in Chile, São Paulo in Brazil, and San Jose in Costa Rica, will all have plenty of vacant jobs at any time of the year. The best approach to job hunting is to make a list of all the potential employers in your area and then hand deliver your CV to each one. When making your deliveries you should try to speak to a member of the management team as this can often be the best way to get to the front of the queue.