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Supporting a wife and baby on a Chilean ESL salary?

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Joined: 20 Jan 2008
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:45 pm    Post subject: Supporting a wife and baby on a Chilean ESL salary? Reply with quote

Can it be done? Is it a good idea? Anybody tried it? My wife and I would like to travel, and Chile has been recommended to us by a number of Latin American friends of ours in South Korea, where we currently live. My wife is not a native English speaker and doesn't soeak Spanish, so she and our infant child would ideally survive on whatever I make as an ESL teacher. We have savings---probably enough to live for a year without working at all in Chile---- but would prefer not to dip into them unless there's an emergency, or unless we're just starting out in Chile, in case I have to move out there in order to properly find work.

The questions currently running through my head:

1) How much would it cost per month to support a wife and infant in Chile?

2) What's the health care like, as far as quality an cost?

3) How much would it cost per month to rent a two-bedroom apartment?

4) What's the cost of groceries like?

There are probably other questions I should be asking, but I'm just starting to research Chile as an option. If anyone's willing to weigh in, I thank you profusely.
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Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 27
Location: Santiago

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Living in Chile/Santiago can be a bit expensive, especially when you have a young child, but everything is relative.
Air quality can be a problem, especially in winter. With a young child, it is usually better to live in an area where the air is a bit cleaner, which usually also makes rent a tad pricier. Depending on where you would like to live, an unfurnished 2 bedroom apartment can cost anywhere between 150,000 pesos-300,000 pesos. You then have to add on the common levy (gastos comunes) which can be anywhere from 25,000 - 120,000 (depending on what the apartment block offers), plus water, electricity, gas, telephone etc.
Health care varies. For private medical aid, you can get a family plan for around 120,000/month, but if your baby is under the age of 2, you will need to add another 50,000 onto that. Having said that, the clinics here are generally very good, so its money well spent.
If you shop at the fresh fruit and veg markets every weekend, you can save on food. Obviously you have high and low end supermarkets, but for the 3 of you (including disposable diapers), I guess you would probably need around 200,000 a month for groceries.
Taking everything into consideration, for a family of 3, I would say you would need AT LEAST 600,000 pesos a month just to make ends meet. As an ESL teacher, its possible to make that, but you must bare in mind that you will need to work long hours and quite a bit of travel might be involved. If you can get some private students, you could probably make more than that, but it takes time to procure those students and they are not always reliable - so what might look good in theory, doesn´t always span out at the end of the month.
I hope this doesn´t sound too discouraging because as I mentioned at the beginning, everything is relative, but its a big responsibility to move a wife and child to a foreign country - I should know as I have experienced it!
Good luck whatever your decision.
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Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to live like a foreigner you should not work as an English teacher unless you have a foreign line of credit to use. But if you use transportation and shop and live like an average Chilean I would say that $500,000 to 700,000 is about right. (That's working a lot if you are going to earn that teaching).

You will earn more in Santiago but it will cost you more.
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