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MA TESOL & Colombia
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kona



Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 142
Location: Busan, South Korea

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:44 pm    Post subject: MA TESOL & Colombia Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster, wanted to say thank you everyone for your informative posts, it really helps to get a feel for the lay of the land.

I know this has been talked about on other posts but I thought I would touch on it again to get a more current idea of the what the ESL landscape is like in Colombia.

I am currently working on getting my MA TESOL stateside (not online) and wanted to see if its possible to get a Colombian visa stateside for a university position. From what I've read its possible to do this for International Schools but a lot of Universities want you to have a visa already and apply in person. Is this true for all Universities? I'm interested in pretty much all parts of Colombia (Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, or wherever else).

As far as experience goes I have only 6 months ESL experience in Mexico (got a TEFL cert there, although it seems like Colombia prefers the CELTA), one year as a non-certified teacher in the states (tricky how I worked that one out), and one year as a intermediate school counselor.

Also, I'm also applying for a Fulbright ETA in Colombia that would begin fall 2012, so with that in mind, I've thought of four different ways to line up legal work in Colombia:

A. Get the Fulbright and see if I'm able to do some networking with universities and try and line line up a visa stateside.

B. Don't get the Fulbright and try and line up a visa through a university stateside after I complete my MA TESOL

C. Fly to Colombia and try and get a work visa through a university (might have to wait a while to get that going), OR

D. Fly to Colombia and use a language institute/bilingual school/international school to get the visa and then apply to a university.

What do you guys think?

Thanks again for all the informative posts!
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windowlicker



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

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, you qualify to get a legal, decent paying job in Colombia. No, you probably won't be able to line it up from the states, unless you do Fulbright (definitely won't be able to do it for unis, don't even bother trying).

With your experience, you'll make more money and have more freedom if you don't go through Fulbright. As long as your Spanish is good, suck it up and just buy a ticket and try to work it out when you get there.
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 580
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with windowlicker, but I'd recommend making Fulbright your top priority and only flying down here with nothing lined up if that doesn't work out. Fulbright is prestifious and will look good on your resume later. How much money would Fulbright give you to live on?

Contact Los Andes and Externado (good, private unis that hire foreigners and will get you a work visa).
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reddevil79



Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Posts: 199
Location: Up in them Mixteca Mountains

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spanglish, do you know anything about Uninorte in Barranquilla or anyone who has worked for them?
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 580
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes to both! They seem to only take on folks with masters degrees in something ESL related plus experience. From what I hear, it's a great university with a great reputation and treats its employees well. It's possibly the best employer on the coast, though they pay a fair bit less than some of the universities in Bogota and you would be able to make more money working at a high school if you're certified to teach in public schools in your home country.
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kona



Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 142
Location: Busan, South Korea

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I'm definitely going to try and do the fulbright! I think there stipend is something like $700 but not too sure (this is just hearsay actually, but supposedly they give you enough to live off of). I think it will be a great way to get an idea of what the country is like, as I've traveled a little in Latin America and loved it (Mexico, Guatemala and Belize only). Everyone I have met that has traveled to Colombia though loved it!

From previous posts I've heard good things about Uninorte, Externado and Los Andes. Given my experience, what could I hope to make salary wise with them? I'm guessing 2-3 mil?...
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 580
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mean 2-3 million pesos/month, right? That's about right, but you'd probably be able to do a bit better than that. Best of luck. Let us know if you end up in Colombia.
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kona



Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 142
Location: Busan, South Korea

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, 2-3 million Colombian Pesos a month, sorry for not clarifying. Its great to hear that that's the low end. I'm guessing that might be the pay for UniNorte in Barranquilla, so Externado and Los Andes pay how much? 4,000,000+ COP a month? What about Medéllin, does anyone know how available and competitive positions are there, or have any experience in the university system there that they would care to comment about?
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 580
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing very good in Medellin that I know of. Last I heard the private university that hires foreigners (EAFIT) was paying at the level of an institute and hiring fairly low qualified foreign teachers. Medellin tends to be considered the toughest market in Colombia for an English teacher.

Probably a bit less than 4 million (assuming you were lucky enough to get hired on at an almost or full time contract). Keep in mind that we're talking the best jobs in the country. For every decent paying job with a decent work environment there are 100-200 absolutely terrible or mediocre jobs. You could also look into La Sabana in Bogota. With a masters in ESL, you might be able to get a good paying full time job there.
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kona



Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 142
Location: Busan, South Korea

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spanglish wrote:
Nothing very good in Medellin that I know of. Last I heard the private university that hires foreigners (EAFIT) was paying at the level of an institute and hiring fairly low qualified foreign teachers. Medellin tends to be considered the toughest market in Colombia for an English teacher.

Probably a bit less than 4 million (assuming you were lucky enough to get hired on at an almost or full time contract). Keep in mind that we're talking the best jobs in the country. For every decent paying job with a decent work environment there are 100-200 absolutely terrible or mediocre jobs. You could also look into La Sabana in Bogota. With a masters in ESL, you might be able to get a good paying full time job there.


Very good to know, and I think you are right that I need to be realistic about the competition for said positions. I think I'll give both Bogotá and UniNorte a shot when the time comes. Thanks again for all the info Spanglish, you give a very clear idea of what I can expect when I hit the pavement!
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 580
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't get too discouraged either - a native speaker with an M.A. in TESOL is a pretty rare commodity down here.
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MNguy



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

don`t expect anywhere near four million. Two million is a good salary here.
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windowlicker



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

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MNguy wrote:
don`t expect anywhere near four million. Two million is a good salary here.


The OP will have an MA in TESOL by the time they arrive in Colombia. If they just come here and hit the pavement looking for a job, they should definitely be able to get somewhere in the range of 3-4 million/month job at a high school, as long as they have the Spanish skills to navigate the job market. As Spanglish said, 4 million would also be the the approximate full-time salary for Externado or Los Andes, which they're qualified for but might have a tougher time getting into.

2 million isn't a good salary. It's an average full-time salary for someone with a CELTA and no experience. There's no reason why the OP can't do significantly better.
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chromium



Joined: 06 Jun 2007
Posts: 69
Location: Dalian, China

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like from what you all have said, it should be quite easy for me to get a good job at with one of the better unis in the 4 million range with having a Delta, 7 years' experience, being a DoS, being a Cambridge Oral Examiner, and having an MBA?

Spanglish and Windowlicker, you will probably be hearing from me directly, if you don't mind.
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 580
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pay and benefits have gone down somewhat on the university end, so count on a full time contract at a top uni paying closer to 3.5 million/month with extra time for classes at a different uni or privates.

Your quals sound perfect for the British Council and pay would be much better there.
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