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Chile Success Stories?

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Joined: 15 Dec 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:06 am    Post subject: Chile Success Stories? Reply with quote

I have a bachelor's degree, am a US citizen, and I'm planning on taking a tefl course and then to start teaching ESL in the next couple months, but after about a month of research I haven't been able to decide where to go to do it. I am drawn to Latin America because I already speak a good deal of Spanish and want to gain fluency, but from most of what I've read it's very difficult to make enough money as an ESL teacher to accrue any kind of savings. From what I've read, Chile seems like a safer bet than the other countries, but I have yet to find any solid cases of anyone who has been able to live and make enough extra cash to put into savings. Has anyone been able to do this? Any advice for making this happen in Chile?

My other consideration was to go to South East Asia, get my certification, teach in Taiwan or South Korea for a year, and then with that experience and savings under my belt, try to get a higher paying job in Latin America. This seems like the smarter thing to do, but I also feel like I'll be selling out if i don't go to Latin America first. You know, follow my dreams and all that.

Any advice is more than welcome.

Thanks a bunch,
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Joined: 09 Apr 2008
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sometimes i feel uncomfortable answering people's questions on this forum because they all tend to be pretty similar and equally answerable by the same vague statements that its possible but there's no real key or guarantee...

yes, once i found a good job, I have been making enough money to put a small amount into savings. so its possible.

however in the long run i'm way poorer now than i was before i came to chile because for a few years my living costs were much more than my salary, not to mention throwing in the cost of a TEFL course and a trip or two home to visit my parents. this isn't uncommon either, the majority of people i know that teach arent really making any excess money.

i feel bad giving false hope, being unnecessarily negative, and giving ambiguous advice that doesn't really say anything in the end...but just answering the question seems to always hit at least two of those

nobody can guess when you will have the luck of getting a job that will allow you to save. they're out there, though. it could be the first resume you send, or it could happen after you teach through institutes for a few years making good connections and building up your resume. if this is what you want to do, sooner or later, you'll just have to dive in and test your luck. so...

be persistent. thats my best advice.
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Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Posts: 67
Location: Santiago, Chile

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that it's pretty safe to say that as a complete newbie, starting your ESL career in Chile, right after finishing your TEFL, you are most likely going to lose money for at least a year. I don't think that this is an unnecessarily negative outlook....but statistically speaking this is what will happen.

I haven't lived in Chile for a few years now, but virtually everyone I knew there was losing money. There are some good jobs in Chile, but these are mostly for those with better qualifications....for the most part you're only going to make decent money if you're teaching group privates, which you'll need to arrange on your own.

I made decent money in Santiago, but only after 5 months of losing money...I got lucky and scored a couple big corporate clients, and I also had a student help me get my Visa overall, after a year and a half, I left with around $5,000 more than I arrived with, plus paid for about 7 weeks of travel around South America.

My girlfriend did OK, but she worked for a government program that I don't believe exists anymore, and even that job wasn't great, it just worked out OK because she got 2 months paid vacation plus a Christmas bonus and a severance bonus....we left right before summer vacation, so she received 2 months pay plus those two bonuses in one check and then we left the she ended up with about the same, 5 grand more than she came with.

If you want a safe bet financially, there is just nowhere that compares to South can do OK in Vietnam, but it's harder to score jobs there ahead of time....the money is awful in the rest of SE Asia unless you have qualifications and experience. The market in Japan is pretty tight as a lot of people want to live there, so most starter jobs are pretty crappy. I know some people who worked in Taiwan and they said it was pretty decent as well.

I would recommend that you spend a year in Korea first if money is at all an issue....if you want to go straight to Chile and actually enjoy yourself, meaning not living like a student and being able to travel a bit, you'll need around $5,000 in savings that you can afford to finish the year without.

All that being said....your experience will vary wildly depending on you....someone who simply applies for jobs, waits for interviews, and works at a language institute is probably not going to make a lot of money in Chile....whereas someone who pounds the pavement and FINDS a way to make money will....but this is the same in any field in any country, including your home country. One accountant just makes enough to live on, while another accountant brings home 6 figures and amasses great wealth.

There are opportunities everywhere, it all depends on how creative you are and how badly you want to make money.....but safe, easy money in Chile, teaching English, isn't going to happen.
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Joined: 17 Sep 2010
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is interesting to me, I'm going to santiago in february and have been wondering about how my pay will compare to cost of living.

I've already got a job. My salary will be $1300 per month (pre-tax), witih accomodation paid for.

I had a lot of fun in Venice on a similar salary, should i be ok in santiago? I've heard its one of the more expensive places in s.america.

I should say I'm early 20's so not really interested in expensive things like restaurants, theatre, etc.
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Don Alan

Joined: 11 Dec 2004
Posts: 150
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you will be okay on that kind of salary - actually count yourself lucky, most efl teachers don't manage to earn very much in Chile. I lived in Chile for 4 years. I came back a couple of years ago to UK with my Chilean wife. In general, if anyone is expecting to go to Chile and actually be able to save money, I would say forget it. I lived very modestly, worked in top paying private school and a university there and managed to save nothing.
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