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Considering Making my Move to Colombia, Insights?
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alexandracathlin



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 16
Location: San Pedro, Costa Rica

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:39 pm    Post subject: Considering Making my Move to Colombia, Insights? Reply with quote

I've been preparing for the last year or so to move to Latin America and I am in the application stage. I have yet to land a job, but I have begun to consider just purchasing a destination ticket and look for a job in person. I think I am most interested in a coastal location and Colombia has caught my interest again and again. Should I wait to land a job or should I just choose a city and go for it?

I have a bachelor's degree in journalism and I am TESOL certified to teach advanced, children, and business. I have my passport ready and I have gotten my immunizations, police background check, and started saving money to make the move. What else should I be doing right now?

When is the best time to move and find a job? I have seen a lot of posts stating that the best time in December/January. Any input would be much appreciated, thanks!
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The Internationalist



Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your not gonna find a job from abroad without the proper qualifications, which you do not have.

What is your goals / aims in you move to Colombia.

ie

- 1-2 year "experience" to learn about Latin / Colombian culture & have fun living on the cheap

- Wanting to relocate to Colombia for an extended period of time 4+ years

Need a lot more info for you to get sound advice....

As far as hiring goes Language Institutes hire year round. Schools have 2 hiring periods which begin in Nov/Dec and June/July if my memory serves me right.
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alexandracathlin



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 16
Location: San Pedro, Costa Rica

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What else is needed? I was under the impression - from reading forums and other various websites and blogs - that many have moved to Latin America with just a high school degree and certification and have been able to locate a job. I want to try a different career path for a time and teaching English abroad seems like quite an interesting path.

My family is from different parts of Latin America and I want to immerse myself in the culture for 1 to 2 years, while also learning/improving my Spanish.
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The Internationalist



Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can find a job teaching English. You just wont find it from abroad. You will have to come to Colombia first to land one.

Since you only want to stay 1-2 years for the "experience" id recommend coming to Colombia in June/July and try to get a job at a bilingual colegio.

Or you can come anytime to Bogota and get a job at an Institute.
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windowlicker



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 183
Location: Bogotá, Colombia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May-July is one hiring period. The other is Nov-January. The Nov-January hiring period is tricky, because if you get here in November you won't start working until January, which is a long time to be without a paycheck, but if you come in January there's a decent chance you'll miss out on a lot of the good jobs.

From your qualifications, you should be able to find something. I've said this many times before on this forum, but I don't recommend anyone come to Colombia thinking that they will immediately move to the coast...especially if you're a woman.
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alexandracathlin



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 16
Location: San Pedro, Costa Rica

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Windowlicker, do you care to elaborate, is it too dangerous or what? I've read there are plenty of jobs in Bogota, but I have also read that it is very dangerous there as well. What areas are worth further looking into?

Thank-you, Internationalist. I really appreciate the insight. I am just really trying to figure out the best way to go about doing something like this. Most people tell me this whole idea is crazy and I need to stay away from Latin America. It can't be as bad as mainstream media makes it out to be, nothing is. Smile
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windowlicker



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 183
Location: Bogotá, Colombia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless you've spent a lot of time around Caribbean culture, it's difficult to describe to you what coastal Colombia is like. Most foreigners run screaming. I spent two years there in a small city and liked it, but it was really tough and there's no way I could have done it without acclimating to Colombian culture in Bogotá first.

If you're thinking of Cartagena or Santa Marta, they are more dangerous than Bogotá. Personally, that's not much of a problem for me and it's not the reason I don't recommend the coast. I don't recommend the coast for someone who has never been to Colombia before because you would have no idea what you're getting yourself into culturally and socially, and there's a high chance you won't last long there. While it might be okay for some people, I can't tell to anyone over an internet forum that there's a high chance you'll like it, so if you're coming to Colombia specifically looking for an experience living on the beach with nice weather, etc., etc., you're taking a huge risk when you buy that plane ticket. Chances are you'll go home or be in Bogotá within a couple months.
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The Internationalist



Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Colombian experience is primarily on the coast and it was awesome. Had no issues what so ever.

Certainly helps a ton if you know some spanish though, but this is true for most of Latin America.

Costenos are a lot of fun and very hospitable.

The only downside to the coast (besides the heat) is that there is simply not many ESL jobs to be had and the pay is lower than Bogota.

Not sure what exactly the last poster is eluding to in regards to "Caribbean Culture" that would be an issue.
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windowlicker



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 183
Location: Bogotá, Colombia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Internationalist wrote:

Not sure what exactly the last poster is eluding to in regards to "Caribbean Culture" that would be an issue.


How long were you there and where were you? I know three girls who were harassed big time in Valledupar. Everything from random dudes they'd never met before getting their numbers and constantly harassing them (happened to all three), to people riding by on bikes grabbing their butts (happened to two), to having stones thrown at them while sunbathing in their neighborhood pool (happened to one).

Beyond that, everyone knows your business. As a woman, god forbid you go out with anyone at work, because you're instantly labelled a s--t.

I could go on. If the OP wants more info, I know a girl currently living in Cartagena I can get in touch with. PM me for more info.
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windowlicker



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 183
Location: Bogotá, Colombia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, no matter how big the city on the coast, there's something about costeño society that no one else can penetrate. Most non-costeño Colombians I've met find the coast unlivable. You can offer them three times what they can make in Bogota and they still refuse to stay. I say this as someone who genuinely likes costeño culture and feels fairly comfortable there. Still, in pretty much every city on the coast, good housing is difficult to come by, as are good friends. Not a particularly pleasant experience, unless you're coming with things set up for you to some extent.

If anyone else on this forum has had a different experience as someone just recently arriving in Colombia and going straight to the coast knowing no one before arriving, and has stayed on the coast for several years, I'd be interested to hear about it.

By all means come to Colombia. Just don't come here expecting that if you immediately move to the coast you will a) find work or b) even like the coast enough that you'll stay more than 6 months.
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The Internationalist



Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a dude you have ZERO to worry about. Hard to make good friends?!? Thats rubbsh. Have a local help you with housing.

Finding work is def hard on the coast.

Now as a female yes you will get ALOT of attention, attention you will prob not want and that will make you somewhat uncomfortable at times, but this is true in most of Latin America. You need to have a very thick skin and be pretty easy going.

I missed that the OP was female so the above is def something to take into consideration, dont go just thinking that is only a "coastal" or Colombian thing.
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 583
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colombians from Bogota and other parts of the country would back up windowlicker's assessment, as would I.
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windowlicker



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 183
Location: Bogotá, Colombia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Internationalist wrote:
As a dude you have ZERO to worry about. Hard to make good friends?!? Thats rubbsh. Have a local help you with housing.


I'm interested to hear where you were, how you ended up there, and how long you stayed.
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shebab



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Also, no matter how big the city on the coast, there's something about costeño society that no one else can penetrate. Most non-costeño Colombians I've met find the coast unlivable. You can offer them three times what they can make in Bogota and they still refuse to stay.


This is absolutely true. The Colombian coast is a nice place to visit, but not to live. There is nothing in Colombia that compares with the green mountains of the interior with its clean, organized, beautiful towns, meandering highways and cultured people.
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DebMer



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 211
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I dunno about impenetrable. I'm a female and lived in Cartagena about a year and a half in my mid-twenties and would have gladly stayed longer. Maybe my experience was different because I had a Colombian roommate in a neighborhood of houses, and was plugged into a local church. I came away with lifelong friends.
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