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Some questions about teaching in Mexico
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lovelatinamerica



Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 17
Location: California

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:24 pm    Post subject: Some questions about teaching in Mexico Reply with quote

Hello. I am a 26 year old male with a BA in English and a 130 hour TEFL certificate with in class experience from a university. I do not have a teaching credential. I am working on a masters in education right now and want to move to Mexico to teach for a while. The most popular place to teach seems to be in Asia because they pay very well, but I really do not want to live and work there if I can make enough in Mexico. I know I will not be rich working in Mexico, but I want to make enough to pay rent, food, some bills, and save a little to go visit back home and/or travel a little. My Spanish is at an intermediate level and I hope to improve it while there. Here are my questions:

1.) Where are the best cities to work in Mexico? Are there cities that pay better than others?

2.) What types of schools/places pay better?

3.) Can someone explain how the work visa process works? I have looked into it but it gets confusing. How much should I have saved up in my bank account?

4.) Those who have experience in other Latin American countries, where did you work and what was the pay like?

Thank you!
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1411
Location: 17°48'N 97°46'W

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Some questions about teaching in Mexico Reply with quote

1.) Where are the best cities to work in Mexico? Are there cities that pay better than others?

There's a lot of variety, so it depends on what you are looking for. Giant urban metropolis such as Mexico City? Or a small town? Or something in between? Climates vary a lot too, as to distance from the beach/mountains. Definitely more jobs in Mexico City and the industrial cities of the North and North/Central areas.

2.) What types of schools/places pay better?
The best pay is at top tier international schools. But they also require K-12 certification plus experience. With your qualifications you could get work at some universities, teaching English to non-majors (US universities generally use TAs for this type of classes). Language school work is pretty hit or miss in terms of pay and other conditions, some good, some decent, quite a few no so much.

3.) Can someone explain how the work visa process works? I have looked into it but it gets confusing. How much should I have saved up in my bank account?
The visa process is dependent on having a job lined up as you start the process outside of the country. So you either have to find a job first, or have enough savings to leave the country, submit your paperwork and then come back. The visa its self with cost a couple hundred US, plus the travel expenses.

4.) Those who have experience in other Latin American countries, where did you work and what was the pay like?

I have experience in other Latin American countries, but way to long ago for my comments to be relevant.

I sent you a pm, but you will need to make something like five posts before they give you the privileges required to read it.
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lovelatinamerica



Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 17
Location: California

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:37 am    Post subject: Re: Some questions about teaching in Mexico Reply with quote

Thank you MotherF. I am not picky about the town really. I would prefer not to be in a small rural town though. I'm okay with Mexico City and anything bigger than a small rural town. I have looked into some of the cities north of Mexico City as well. I've heard that Guadalajara, Puebla, and Monterrey are other places to look. What do you know about them?

How much do rents usually cost? I am guessing it depends on what city/town it is?

The link you sent me worked great and I was able to read it. Thanks!
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1411
Location: 17°48'N 97°46'W

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rents vary a lot. There is also the whole problem of retired expats paying riduculous rents (for some very nice places ) it drives up rent in some areas, but the bigger issue is that some Mexicans then think ALL foreigners can pay 10,000 pesos a month in rent and are looking for a flash villa to live in. In smaller cities rents can be quite cheap, less than 2000 pesos for a house with a yard for example.

I have visited Monterrey, Puebla and Guadalajara, but my area of expertise is Southern Mexico. Of the three I think I'd prefer Puebla for cultural reasons. But the other two are nice as well. There seems to be a lot of work in Guadalajara. Guy know about that area. But as you may notice the hay day of this forum is well in the past.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 1178
Location: 24.18105,-103.25185

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hands down Mexico City for tons of work. You might find a job at a school and then sublement with a few private classes, that way you would have a base of pay guaranteed (as well as a legal visa).

In terms of rent. You mentioned that you want to improve your Spanish so my answer will dovetail nicely with that goal. To have a reasonable rent you would need to forget about finding a place using Craig´s List or in a trendy area and live in a typical Mexican area where expats don´t usually live (at least not Americans, in my old neighborhood in Mexico City, just on my street there was Cubans, Guatemalans and a Spaniard). Rents will be more in line with what Mexicans pay and generally the area will be safer for you since you will get to know people and not just be a lone wolf.

Second, don´t buy most things at the supermarkets, but rather go to the traditional markets - every neighborhood has one - things will be cheaper and usually fresher. If you can´t live without feta cheese, OK, go to the store and get that, but run out and buy your cucumbers and tomatoes somewhere else.

Another benefit of living in a ¨typical¨ neighborhood will be that you will have tons of relatively inexpensive food options. There are ¨fondas¨all over that offer a comida corrida for 40-60 pesos, roughly half what you would pay for insipid food at a place like VIP´s, Sanborns or El Porton.

One last option that has not been mentioned, you could get a job working online and just live in Mexico on a tourist visa, you get 180 days, I believe. If you want to stay longer you can leave and come back with another 180 days.
Internet in Mexico City is pretty stable.

There is also a lot of work in Guadalajara but there are two downsides. First, public transportation is no where near as convenient as in DF, and I personally think it is a lot more expensive to live there than DF. I haven´t lived there myself in a number of years but my parents live in Zapopan so I have been there and that has always been my impression.

I would not recommend Monterrey right now for security reasons.

Puebla is a beautiful city, actually my favorite city in Mexico, but have never worked or lived there, but if you could find something there it would be a great place to explore the south of Mexico and even Mexico City is not a bad day trip.
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Jultime



Joined: 25 Jun 2014
Posts: 110
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been teaching business English in Queretaro for almost 2 years. Queretaro is a city of about 2 million 3 hours north of Mexico City.

There are many English teaching jobs here since the city is at the heart of the automotive triangle. Demand exists for English teachers in primary schools, high schools, universities and language schools.

I live in a traditional Mexican neighborhood, I have to speak Spanish. Rent is affordable as is food.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 1178
Location: 24.18105,-103.25185

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jultime wrote:
}


I live in a traditional Mexican neighborhood, I have to speak Spanish. Rent is affordable as is food.


This is the difference, I think, for people who are able to make it in Mexico, and those who aren´t.
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lovelatinamerica



Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 17
Location: California

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MotherF - Thank you!

BadBeagleBad - What are the names of the Mexico City neighborhoods you are talking about that I should look in? Also, if I don't use craigslist do I use Facebook groups? Do I just cruise around looking for rent signs in these neighborhoods? If you don't want to post the names of the neighborhoods here you can send me a message.

Also, I am not sure how I get side work privately tutoring students. Do I just post an ad on Craigslist? What is the starting rate?

I have heard about the public transit in Guadalajara. Too bad about Monterrey. I thought things were looking better there.

I have been to Oaxaca City but I understand that outside of universities there isn't a lot of work in Oaxaca.

Jultime: - I have been looking at that area as well. Thank you!
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 1178
Location: 24.18105,-103.25185

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lovelatinamerica wrote:
MotherF - Thank you!

BadBeagleBad - What are the names of the Mexico City neighborhoods you are talking about that I should look in? Also, if I don't use craigslist do I use Facebook groups? Do I just cruise around looking for rent signs in these neighborhoods? If you don't want to post the names of the neighborhoods here you can send me a message.

Also, I am not sure how I get side work privately tutoring students. Do I just post an ad on Craigslist? What is the starting rate?

I have heard about the public transit in Guadalajara. Too bad about Monterrey. I thought things were looking better there.

I have been to Oaxaca City but I understand that outside of universities there isn't a lot of work in Oaxaca.

Jultime: - I have been looking at that area as well. Thank you!


There are tons of nice neighborhoods. Ideally, you would be close to the Metro, which makes it easier for you to get around. I prefer the area along Calzada de Tlalpan, colonias like Villa de Cortes, Nativitas, Portales. Another area you might like is Colonia Noche Buena, close to trendy areas but lower rent. You can post on Craig´s list, but you can also look on Craig´s List for small schools or institutes that people run out of their homes, typically, or sometimes a small office. When I left Mexico City almost 4 years ago, I was making upwards of 200 pesos an hour. But 180 isn´t too bad, especially if it isn´t too far to travel, or they give you two classes back to back to make it worthwhile. You can look for places to rent in papers like Segunda Mano, or if you find an area you like you can ask in stores if they know of something for rent, I mean the little mom and pop type of stores, a lot of times they will know of something. Or, you might rent a room for a month or so till you get settled and have a chance to explore areas to see where you might want to live. Another idea would be to find a place along a Metrobus line. I actually adore the Metrobus, haha, when I was in Mexico City last week I only used that to get around, so that might be another way to find a good place to live.
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srs3829



Joined: 09 Sep 2014
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, I'm no expert (I'm not even in Mexico yet) but if I were you I'd look into getting a US teaching certification if your MEd program doesn't happen to include one. There may be some states where it's pretty easy for you to get certified because your major is in a content area. Florida, Texas, Massachusetts come to mind as possibilities. There's lots of info about it on reddit in r/TEFL. If you can find a state where you can do this with a minimum of time/expense, it may be a useful piece of paper to have. From what I've read it wouldn't get you into the highest-tier international schools because they want experience in a US classroom, but perhaps it could help with other opportunities. (I myself have not yet done it bc my major was not in a content area.)
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Jultime



Joined: 25 Jun 2014
Posts: 110
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got a private student by posting an ad on vivanuncios and classificadoscontacto

I refuse to teach privately for less than 150 pesos an hour and I demand payment in advance. I was fortunate to find a super student whom I teach by Skype.

Ohhh and I've been living and teaching in Queretaro for almost 2 years...big thanks for the encouragement from the helpful members on this forum.
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lovelatinamerica



Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 17
Location: California

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for the information. I appreciate the neighborhood suggestions and the other advice BadBeagleBad!

I've heard mixed reviews about the safety of Mexico City. I tend to notice that people who have never actually gone to Mexico City or stepped out of the airport during a layover there are quick to paint the city as lawless with people constantly under attack and murder everywhere. These people include people of Mexican heritage who live in the U.S. who wouldn't have a problem speaking the language or blend in culturally.

The positive reviews I have seen and heard are usually from people who have actually visited or taught English there. They say it is just like any other city in the World. Just use common sense and stay out of sketchy neighborhoods and situations.

What do you think about it?
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9623
Location: Guadalajara

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
They say it is just like any other city in the World.


My opinion is that this is untrue. It's much BETTER than any other city in the world. Very Happy Of course, I love the city having lived there for 14 years.

Quote:
Just use common sense and stay out of sketchy neighborhoods and situations.


Yes.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 1178
Location: 24.18105,-103.25185

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lovelatinamerica wrote:

The positive reviews I have seen and heard are usually from people who have actually visited or taught English there. They say it is just like any other city in the World. Just use common sense and stay out of sketchy neighborhoods and situations.

What do you think about it?


I lived in Mexico City for over 20 years and rarely had any issues. I lived in Chicago for a few years and was burglarized twice, had a bicycle stolen while I was in a store for an hour, was pick pocketed twice, had my car broken into twice. That is not to say that Mexico City doesn't have some issues, and crime can happen anywhere at any time, but I feel safer in Mexico City than in most large cities in the world. Ironically, I now live in an area where they has been a recent rise in narco related violence, with the town I live in fairly heavily affected, yet people here are terrified of Mexico City, haha. None of them have ever actually BEEN there, so yeah, I think a lot of the horror stories come from people who have never been and not so much from people who have actually lived there.
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lovelatinamerica



Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 17
Location: California

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, I am back. Thank you for all your insight and advice.

How has learning Spanish been for any of you teachers? I know in the classroom English is the main language obviously. Have you been able to practice a lot outside the classroom? I want to avoid hanging out with English speakers as much as possible and really try to immerse myself.
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