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Personal Growth International

 
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bluenight



Joined: 11 Aug 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:17 pm    Post subject: Personal Growth International Reply with quote

Anyone know about this organization?

-bluenight
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bluenight



Joined: 11 Aug 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...
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bluenight



Joined: 11 Aug 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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CountBassD



Joined: 08 Feb 2010
Posts: 33
Location: Bogota, Colombia

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked for them for a little while. Sigfried is a nice guy, and he does actually sponsor your visa, but it is totally up to you to leave the country and handle all the costs. It is good work if your top priority is a visa, but one of the lowest paying institutes in Bogota. When I was last there, around November of 2010, he was paying 15,000 an hour, which is borderline insulting.
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littlelauren86



Joined: 20 Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I interviewed with them as well, and they were offering 22,900 (something like that) per class. So the pay's pretty low with them being a charity and all, but if you're only looking for the visa, it's an option.
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G22



Joined: 25 Oct 2010
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know someone currently working there and he told me they pay 15.000 an hour, although you can get a visa through them if you pay for the expenses yourself.
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jmc6161234



Joined: 12 Jun 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:23 pm    Post subject: 2013 update on 'Personal Growth' - you're gonna get scr**ed Reply with quote

I have taught ESL in Bogotà for more than 4 years. Just spent a little more than a month working for Sigfried and I can tell with total certainty that he is one of the biggest con-artists I have met in, well anywhere (and I owned my own small ESL Institute there @ 10 years ago so I know how the 'sharks' swim).

Yes, they might sponsor your visa AFTER you've arrived in country but all costs associated (including r/t air to home country, etc.) come out of your pocket and it normally add up to about 2 months pay. Speaking of pay ...

Although he will swear to you that you'll get paid on the 10th of the (next) month "without fail" I NEVER got paid on time - sometimes for weeks / months on end - and he could not give a sh*te about your situation. "Que se jode gringo", bite it!

The "bilingual" school that he contracts with, Colegio Pio XII, is a 60 - 90 minute commute from center of Bogotà - far beyond the airport - and once you're there (bus leaves from his office in neighborhood "Las Galerias" at 6:30am) you won't get back to the office until 6:30 - 7:00pm. Ergo, need to run an errand?, go to a doctor?, do all of the run-around for your visa / cedula / find a suitable living arrangement? - good luck doing it all on weekends. Again, "tough sh*te gringo". Speaking of the school ...

To call this abomination a 'school' is ludicrous. The lunatics run the asylum = the 'students' (aka -the lunatics) are the worst bunch of cheating, crying, lying little sh**s I've taught anywhere in the world (and I have taught in Colombia for over 4 years). They say that the school has videotaping in every classroom (supposedly to protect the students +/or teachers from untrue accusations) and the admin will constantly state, "well, we'll just have to look at the videotape..." - but NEVER do. In fact, most, if not all video cameras in classrooms are not functional.

Ergo, catch students cheating (I mean a cheat sheet right under their test paper!) and good luck getting anyone to believe you. Students get the last word (heck, every word for that matter) and good luck trying to fail anyone - the school just changes their grades in their computer system = there goes any semblance of your teaching integrity / authority out the window. Now try "teaching" to 30 lazy-arse, lying, cheating, lunatics when they KNOW that they'll never fail (even "modest" grades are pumped up by admin w/o your knowledge).

Sigfried will cry poverty at every turn (supposedly owing to the 'non-profit' status) and he's a complete liar. I knew what he was getting paid for each foreign teacher at the school and by my calculations he was pocketing more than COP10.000.000 - per month! Just in his pocket. How else could he afford to live in both the Cayman Islands AND Bogotà? - yes, it's true. He lives in Estrata 6 (highest income level in Bogotà) and flies back and forth to/from the Cayman's almost every weekend.

I hope this is enough said because believe me there is more. Again, I've been around the LA and especially Colombian teaching block quite a bit - the only 'personal growth' going on with this clown is in his pocket.
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adamthenerd



Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:58 am    Post subject: Truth Reply with quote

All these things are so true about the school and Sigfried. The school only cares about the money coming from the parents and Sigfried only cares about the money from the school nothing else. The bottom line is the bottom line for these animals!!


Here is a post about my experience
http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=103529
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becsummer



Joined: 08 Oct 2014
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:07 pm    Post subject: WARNING! Personal Growth is a fraud!!! Reply with quote

THIS COMPANY IS A FRAUD!!! I want to warn you about working for Personal Growth, I’ll tell you about my (short lasting) experience with them. If you’re thinking about working for them, it’s worth reading!

I worked briefly for this company from July to August 2014. Similarly to what I’ve read in other posts, the interview with Sigfried was very short and he said whatever he needed to say to quickly “sell” a position. I did not sign a contract and I did not get a visa (even though I had cancelled my existing visa to get one with them), Mr. Sigfried was too busy to get me working right away.

I started at the school only a few days after the interview, in the middle of the academic year, and in the middle of the week, without any sort of introduction.

I had been told that my salary would be 2.000.000 Colombian pesos per month, but that the school paid the company (Personal Growth) 2.300.000 per month. Sigfried had told me that the additional 300.000 would cover my transportation to and from the school in the northern outskirts of Bogotá, as well as administration costs “since we (PG) are also a company and have to make an income”.

However, the school did not offer staff transportation, nor did Personal Growth cover my travel expenses (which added up to 6 daily busses and 200.000 pesos per month). In addition, when consulting the school, it turns out that they were paying Personal Growth a monthly 2.450.000 per teacher, and not 2.300.000 as Sigfried had claimed. This money, however, went straight to the company and not to its teachers nor to their transportations. I quit within three weeks.

Nevertheless, I decided to give Personal Growth another try at a language school close to where I live. I was accompanied to the interview at the language school by Sigfried’s secretary who insisted on sitting in during the interview. However, my interviewer refused to have her join. Guess why? The language school wanted to offer me a position that would include travelling (super awesome) and wanted to discuss the matter with me in private since they didn’t buy into Personal Growth’s reasoning for not allowing it… Sigfried had told the language school in advance that I could NOT TRAVEL UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES because “She (I) has an extremely jealous boyfriend who would NEVER let her travel, don’t even ask her – it’s impossible!” I couldn’t believe it! I have no idea why they don’t allow travelling, but if they have to make up lies about it, their reason is not good enough. Sigfried knows nothing about my private life and has no right to make up stories like that. That was it for me with this company, I had had it!

When pay day came along: did I get paid? Not a penny!
It took me 22 days, 6 e-mails to three different staff members, numerous whatsapp conversations with the poor secretary, and, of course, daily phone calls of which less than half were answered, for them to pay me about 65% of the salary I had earned! I was told that Sigfried had been on vacation in the Cayman Islands and that the company therefor couldn’t pay me.
When confronting them with that the salary they had paid me didn’t add up to what I had earned, there was no response whatsoever, and to this day there still hasn’t been.

By now I’ve simply decided it’s not worth all the effort it would take to get paid the money they owe me, and I’ve decided that the best thing I can do now is to share my experience with others, instead. Hopefully, somewhere, someone will be warned by this and similar posts about Personal Growth, and decide to go work for someone else, like I did, before it’s too late. There are plenty of options for teaching English in Bogotá, don’t be fooled by this one.
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becsummer



Joined: 08 Oct 2014
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:09 pm    Post subject: Re: WARNING! Personal Growth is a fraud!!! Reply with quote

[quote="becsummer"]THIS COMPANY IS A FRAUD!!! I want to warn you about working for Personal Growth, I’ll tell you about my (short lasting) experience with them. If you’re thinking about working for them, it’s worth reading!

I worked briefly for this company from July to August 2014. Similarly to what I’ve read in other posts, the interview with Sigfried was very short and he said whatever he needed to say to quickly “sell” a position. I did not sign a contract and I did not get a visa (even though I had cancelled my existing visa to get one with them), Mr. Sigfried was too busy to get me working right away.

I started at the school only a few days after the interview, in the middle of the academic year, and in the middle of the week, without any sort of introduction.

I had been told that my salary would be 2.000.000 Colombian pesos per month, but that the school paid the company (Personal Growth) 2.300.000 per month. Sigfried had told me that the additional 300.000 would cover my transportation to and from the school in the northern outskirts of Bogotá, as well as administration costs “since we (PG) are also a company and have to make an income”.

However, the school did not offer staff transportation, nor did Personal Growth cover my travel expenses (which added up to 6 daily busses and 200.000 pesos per month). In addition, when consulting the school, it turns out that they were paying Personal Growth a monthly 2.450.000 per teacher, and not 2.300.000 as Sigfried had claimed. This money, however, went straight to the company and not to its teachers nor to their transportations. I quit within three weeks.

Nevertheless, I decided to give Personal Growth another try at a language school close to where I live. I was accompanied to the interview at the language school by Sigfried’s secretary who insisted on sitting in during the interview. However, my interviewer refused to have her join. Guess why? The language school wanted to offer me a position that would include travelling (super awesome) and wanted to discuss the matter with me in private since they didn’t buy into Personal Growth’s reasoning for not allowing it… Sigfried had told the language school in advance that I could NOT TRAVEL UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES because “She (I) has an extremely jealous boyfriend who would NEVER let her travel, don’t even ask her – it’s impossible!” I couldn’t believe it! I have no idea why they don’t allow travelling, but if they have to make up lies about it, their reason is not good enough. Sigfried knows nothing about my private life and has no right to make up stories like that. That was it for me with this company, I had had it!

When pay day came along: did I get paid? Not a penny!
It took me 22 days, 6 e-mails to three different staff members, numerous whatsapp conversations with the poor secretary, and, of course, daily phone calls of which less than half were answered, for them to pay me about 65% of the salary I had earned! I was told that Sigfried had been on vacation in the Cayman Islands and that the company therefor couldn’t pay me.
When confronting them with that the salary they had paid me didn’t add up to what I had earned, there was no response whatsoever, and to this day there still hasn’t been.

By now I’ve simply decided it’s not worth all the effort it would take to get paid the money they owe me, and I’ve decided that the best thing I can do now is to share my experience with others, instead. Hopefully, somewhere, someone will be warned by this and similar posts about Personal Growth, and decide to go work for someone else, like I did, before it’s too late. There are plenty of options for teaching English in Bogotá, don’t be fooled by this one.[/quote]


After receiving an e-mail from Mr. Sigfried Castell about this post, as expected, claiming that this is all a lie. I would like him to know that this is a discussion forum and that it shouldn't be necessary to point out that the purpose of it is for teachers around the globe to share experiences, give advice, and post opinions. With that said, and without the need to clarify any further, the previous post is solely MY OPINION on what happened. If anyone would still decide to go work for Personal Growth, I am sure that he or she will have an opinion of their own to share with the rest of us. But who knows? I could be wrong. Laughing
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LaLaDivina



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 12
Location: Colombia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:23 pm    Post subject: Thanks for posting your experience Reply with quote

While I'm not currently looking for work in Bogota, this is really helpful. I'll be sure to stay away from that place in the future if I ever move to Bogota since obviously this "school" is a complete sham.
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becsummer



Joined: 08 Oct 2014
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:15 am    Post subject: reply Reply with quote

PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS WHEN CONSIDERING WHERE TO TEACH IN BOGOTÁ!
This is what Sigfried Castell had to say about my late and not complete salary (quoting his email):
"I think you had luck, because atlease you received your money."
Wait, what? I was LUCKY??!
So, when you decide to quit (which you most likely will sooner rather than later), be prepared for something along these lines, still Sigfried's words from the same email:
"In many schools out there they dont pay you if you abandon a job."
And tadaa! He said it himself, chances are big you won't get paid.
However, and still quoting Sigfried, he still tries to make me/us believe he's being honest:
"But our honesty made us pay you what you worked for!"
As we all know, a company that's known to be honest would never have to say this.
That's all for me folks, please use your judgements.
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