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Couple looking for teaching jobs in Colombia?

 
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nicksnare



Joined: 06 Jul 2015
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:56 pm    Post subject: Couple looking for teaching jobs in Colombia? Reply with quote

Hi there!

I recently finished a year teaching ESL in South Korea, and now my girlfriend and I are looking to teach in Colombia!

I am somewhat coming undone with the job search though. Before people tell me that 'google is my friend' or something similar, I have been googling, relentlessly. I also have used the search on this particular forum, without much concrete advice.

So my question is, where do I start? How do I find institutions to approach? Is it better to just arrive the country and try hunting then? Will there be big problems as we're looking as a couple?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. We both have 1 years teaching experience, I have a TESOL and my girlfriend has an online TEFL certificate.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 828

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The work is almost all through face-to-face contact, word of mouth, recommendations and so on.. When you are in Colombia you can put out your CV and network. Both of the interviews that I had when I was there came through recommendations from someone I knew.

I think there is quite a lot of work to be had (talking specifically Cali and Bogota). Bogota has more options, though. I found it difficult to find opportunities in Cali and there is a great deal of competition even for the bottom level jobs (many recent graduates/backpackers searching for work). The teachers I knew in Bogota were also commuting a lot around the city to teach which I didn't care for..

Medellin and Cartagena might be nicer places to base yourself.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11451
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Should I just go to the institutes with my resume?"
http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=109215
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nicksnare



Joined: 06 Jul 2015
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="currentaffairs"]The work is almost all through face-to-face contact, word of mouth, recommendations and so on.. When you are in Colombia you can put out your CV and network. Both of the interviews that I had when I was there came through recommendations from someone I knew.

This might sound stupid but who do I network with? Other expats? I've never been to Colombia before so just turning up would be quite the challenge for sure.
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AGoodStory



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 738

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="nicksnare"]
currentaffairs wrote:
The work is almost all through face-to-face contact, word of mouth, recommendations and so on.. When you are in Colombia you can put out your CV and network. Both of the interviews that I had when I was there came through recommendations from someone I knew.

This might sound stupid but who do I network with? Other expats? I've never been to Colombia before so just turning up would be quite the challenge for sure.


You might want to consider the SENA or the MEN programs. Both are volunteer English teaching programs in Colombia, the MEN program through the Ministry of Education (9-12 grade.) The SENA teaching program is through another government agency attempting to create a "public university" for traiining disadvantaged young adults. One program is 4 months, and one 6 months--I forget which is which. Both pay a stipend of around $600/month, and provide an orientation to the country and the specific location, and, I think, a month of housing.

It could be one way to land in Colombia with support in place, and have a few months to develop personal contacts. Smile

.
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LaLaDivina



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 33
Location: Colombia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AGoodStory wrote:


You might want to consider the SENA or the MEN programs. Both are volunteer English teaching programs in Colombia, the MEN program through the Ministry of Education (9-12 grade.) The SENA teaching program is through another government agency attempting to create a "public university" for traiining disadvantaged young adults. One program is 4 months, and one 6 months--I forget which is which. Both pay a stipend of around $600/month, and provide an orientation to the country and the specific location, and, I think, a month of housing.

It could be one way to land in Colombia with support in place, and have a few months to develop personal contacts. Smile

.


What AGoodStory said.... I did the SENA program and it's a great way to secure a job from overseas because otherwise you absolutely have to be on the ground in Colombia to get a job here. The SENA/MEN programs are a half year to one year long. You usually have a choice. You receive a complimentary volunteer visa, a cedula de extranjeria, and a monthly stipend of $1,500,000 pesos per month plus a couple of weeks of orientation. Depending on the recruiter, they'll allow you to submit a preference for the city you want to live in but there is no guarantee that a spot will be available for that city.

I should note that the classes, whether at SENA or at the high schools, are pretty large. Usually between 25-40 students per class and can be difficult to work with. There are a bunch of recruiters for these programs, I suggest contacting one of the recruiters such as Heart for Change, Internships Colombia or Greenheart and get more information from them.
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
"Should I just go to the institutes with my resume?"
http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=109215


This.

You've got an amazing memory, Nomad!!! Smile

With few exceptions, nicksnare, you need to be on the ground to find work in Colombia or pretty much anywhere else in Latin America. Before you go, however, you can do some Googling (or, alternatively, networking on forums like Dave's or more general expat Colombia forums) to find out who some of the key schools are that you might want to approach once you arrive.

Some good places to start include:

http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/E-USIA/education/engteaching/eal-elp1.htm#Col

Or

http://www.tefl-tips.com/2014/09/the-best-tefl-jobs-in-colombia.html

You might also try contacting the folks at Colombia TESOL. Though, as with so many things in Latin America, you'll likely have better luck in person after you arrive rather than via e-mail from abroad. Once you do connect, however, they'll likely be a great source of information.

http://www.tesol-colombia.org/index.php/tesol/index

If you and your girlfriend are U.S. citizens, the U.S. Peace Corps and the Fulbright Teaching Assistant Program are also good ways to get started in Latin America. And, as others have already pointed out, the SENA/MEN programs also seem to be good options.

Should you decide to just head on down and look for work in person, be sure that you have enough savings to cover your living expenses while, initially, looking for work and, subsequently, waiting for your first paycheck. Also, don't forget about start-up funds for rent deposits and stuff like that. And, finally, ALWAYS have enough cash in reserve to pay onward passage (either back home or another "safe" country) should things not work out for you wherever you end up. For a solo teacher, I'd say $5,000 in reserve for start-up/bail out expenses is a good amount. For two of you, perhaps another $3,000 or so to play it safe.

Good luck, and please keep us posted on how things work out! Sharing your story makes it easier for those who follow in your footsteps later.
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nicksnare wrote:
This might sound stupid but who do I network with? Other expats? I've never been to Colombia before so just turning up would be quite the challenge for sure.


Other than folks who you find on message boards like this, you're probably limited to mostly cold calls. Using the information above, identify schools that look promising, show up, ask if there are any openings available for English teachers and, if so, offer them a copy of your resume. If they're interested, they'll either talk to you on the spot, ask you to come back at a time that's convenient for them, or call you later after the director has had a chance to look over your resume.

Also, once your on the ground in Colombia, ask everyone you meet, expats and locals alike, which schools they recommend. Folks who've been there for awhile (or are from there), will be able to tell you whose reputable, who isn't and, most importantly, who tends to hire foreigners like yourself.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 828

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, in Latin America making contacts and meeting people is very important. They like to see and talk to you or for you to be recommended by someone. Funnily enough, both of my job opportunities came through people I knew in the salsa scene in Cali. One girl knew a headmistress at a local school and a guy I met recommended me to a local institute. If you keep your eyes open, smile, talk about your credentials when prompted then there are lots of opportunities.. My private student came through a recommendation from a friend, too. In the cafés, there are always people looking for English teachers as well!

You need some money behind you, though. It may take time to get full-time work and the months can pass by quickly.
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 742
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ditto what others have said regarding informal networking and applying in-person. esl_prof has wise words on necessary startup funds and the like.

With your level of qualifications, I would expect you to find a position paying 1.2-2 million pesos/month, and possibly to struggle finding visa sponsorship. Keep in mind you almost certainly will not be able to cover your airfare and other life costs (ie a new laptop) with this salary - at least in the first couple of years - so going to Colombia will likely be a net loss. Colombia is a surprisingly mature market and an unrelated degree and online TEFL cert will only put you in the running for very entry-level and, in many cases, informal positions. A CELTA or Trinity will make a big difference over the long haul in terms of quality of jobs you can find; ditto an MA TESOL or home country teaching certification.

Being a couple could work to your advantage as some schools might like the perceived stability of that arrangement vs. the much more common single male foreigner applicant.
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