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Where do I want to go?
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9002
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the general latin American board, hence general info about Latin America Smile. If you want info about specific countries, you can usually find it on those specific country boards. And even then you'll have to generalise since employers are different. No matter where you go int he world you'll find employers that will hire people illegally and you'll find employers who will stick to the law.

Where exactly are you looking at going Irish lad? Can't really help you if we don't know where you're going. Weren't you interested in Europe and Asia? What countries in LA are you now looking at?
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Irish Lad



Joined: 06 Sep 2011
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:
This is the general latin American board, hence general info about Latin America Smile. If you want info about specific countries, you can usually find it on those specific country boards. And even then you'll have to generalise since employers are different. No matter where you go int he world you'll find employers that will hire people illegally and you'll find employers who will stick to the law.

Where exactly are you looking at going Irish lad? Can't really help you if we don't know where you're going. Weren't you interested in Europe and Asia? What countries in LA are you now looking at?


Afraid we're just going to have to differ about this, naturegirl321. While I have only recently joined this forum, I have been reading it for several years, and I am well aware of what type of information people ask for and provide in the "General Latin America Forum." Claiming that "This is the general Latin America board, hence general info. . . " is a pretty absurd argument. You might want to read some of the GLA threads if you seriously believe that to be true. "EIL vs InLingua," "Has anybody worked in Colombia?" "Water in Quito, Ecuador," to name just a few. And, of course, it is also the only forum for questions about the countries that do not have a forum of their own--Uruguay, Honduras, Guatemala, etc. Chock full of specific questions and responses. Rather surprised you haven't noticed.

But that was a diversion from my original point. Several posters on this thread offered useful, specific information--read posts by HLJHLJ, lydia.bainbridge, MotherF, for example. You, yourself, offered some helpful info in an earlier post. Again, if you have useful info about the countries the OP is asking about, please contribute. I've noticed that you often do make very useful contributions. But muddled generalizations that amount to "It depends," are not really much of a help to anyone.

Hope this helps!
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9002
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lydia.bainbridge wrote:
Have you looked at the information on the boards for each country you are interested in? I think your question is pretty broad for people to want to tackle. Make sure you've done your homework and then come back with specific questions.

I agree, it's hard.

Irish Lad wrote:
Hope this helps!

Not really. But I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree as you say. Wink Anyways, we're degressing.

Which Latin American countries have you worked in and what advice do you have for the OP?
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just_a_mirage



Joined: 11 Nov 2008
Posts: 160
Location: ecuador

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as Ecuador goes, you cannot border hop. The country allows only one 90 day tourist stamp per 12 month period. You cannot legally work on this visa stamp. The extended, 6 month, 12-IX tourist visa does allow you to work legally, but again, you can only get one in a 12 month period. You cannot renew it. A few employers such as EIL in Quito and CEDEI in Cuenca offer cultural exchange visas, but these typically pay less. A very few employers will offer work visas, but these may become more scarce as new regulations are makig them very costly for employers.
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labomba



Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Irishlad, it would be better for people reading this board for you to offer some useful information on a post rather than deciding your a moderator of them because your not. I don't see the point of being critical of another persons contribution in such a petty way.
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labomba



Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Where do I want to go? Reply with quote

I understand you completely, latin america is the best, but don't underestimate the cost of living and the need for money to enjoy yourself so be realistic about salaries.

IMHO your best plan would be to go to Colombia, do a CELTA, work for one year and THEN go onto another latin american country or a better job in Colombia.

Colombia is the number one country for many people who visit latin america, and those working there usually feel the same. Personally I think this is because many people don't know what exists in the enormity that is Brazil and less people speak Portuguese. However, Brazil is difficult with costs and legalities. Colombia is a great place for music, culture and the people. I even love the food! Sancocho, ajiaco, sobre barriga...

But for one year doing a CELTA may be considered a big investment. You can work without this in Colombia but it is worth doing, depends on how you feel.

If not Colombia, which is despite what I'm saying about the CELTA my first choice for you, I would try Mexico and in particular the city of Guadalajara. Its the second city of Mexico, a very, very interesting place and has a big TEFL market. You will like it and there is a lot of information on it in the Mexico board.

Good luck.


Unodostres wrote:
Hello! I could really use some help in deciding which Latina American country I want to teach in, there are just too many enticing choices for me to choose by myself!

I am 26 with some college and no certification. I am in contact with a local adult learning center that also does ESL and I will start volunteering with them soon. I would like to get certified in the country that I would be teaching in. After paying for the certification and flight, I would have about $2000 saved up and I won't be ready to start until January 2012.

Here is what I'm looking for in my TEFL experience: I'm only looking to teach for one year, my primary objective is to improve my Spanish, I'd like to work about 15-20 hours per week, I'd like to take about 10 hours of Spanish per week and I'd like to volunteer about 4-5 hours per week.

So far, I'm torn between Southern Mexico (I've heard good things about Cuernavaca as well as Chiapas), Costa Rica (I've been looking at Intesol CR) and Ecuador (EIL Ecuador).

Mexico would be the least in terms of culture shock and probably the best match food wise but it doesn't feel as "exotic" as the other two choices. Costa Rica would be perfect for me but 90% of the teaching jobs are in the central valley and I'd like to have more options in terms of location. Ecuador seems like a decent choice as well, the Spanish is clear, the weather is nice and there are several cities to teach in (I want a medium city like Cuenca or Loja).

So, where should I go? Is there anything that I haven't considered? How is the job outlook in those areas? Any input would be appreciated!
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AGoodStory



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 473

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Where do I want to go? Reply with quote

Isla Guapa wrote:
naturegirl321 wrote:
Isla Guapa wrote:
I wouldn't say that getting a work visa is a "sticky issue" in Mexico. If you have the right pieces of paper, getting one is fairly simple. Just to clarify some Mexican geography: Chiapas is in southern Mexico, but Cuernavaca is in the center, about an hour and a half from Mexico City. Neither of them would considered a prime location for finding work.


I think Mexico is the one exception in latin America. Maybe Ecuador as well, other places seem to have a more laid back attitude about work visas .)


I'm confused, naturegirl. How can getting a work visa be both a "sticky issue" and unproblematic, i.e., the government has a "laid-back attitude" about the whole thing?


I, too, was confused by this. (And slightly more confused by the explanation.) But I appreciated Isla Guapa's current info about visas in Mexico, and just_a_mirage's extremely useful post concerning visas in Ecuador.

@ labomba
I'm not so sure that a concern for accuracy is petty, and I, myself, would not want to be quite so dismissive of it. Many of us here have a long-standing concern that newbies have to sort through a lot of misleading information when posters over-generalize, rather than giving advice based upon their own experience.

New members have to sort through conflicting advice and information, and if someone is going to give advice about a country he has never lived in, it helps to simply alert them to that fact. For example, I'm not going to give advice about Mexico's visa process, because I have no first hand knowledge of it, and there are plenty of people who do. Even so, it would be fair enough to give my opinion as long as I clearly identify it as such--opinion not based on personal experience in the country under discussion.

@ unodostres
Ditto the suggestions of others to post in the country-specific forums, at least for Mexico and Costa Rica. Mexico, in particular, has a number of very helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable members. This (GLA forum) is the right place for further questions about Ecuador.

Of your three countries of interest, my limited experience is with Ecuador. A few years back I wanted to work in Ecuador, and I visited, interviewed, researched the visa question, etc. In the end, I didn't accept a position because working legally was more complicated than I wanted to deal with. However, I was interested in long-term employment, and my situation was different from yours. I did not want to work on a cultural visa, and the 12-IX allowed only 6 months. Had I been able to sort out the visa, I would love to have stayed. (or, rather, returned!) Anyway, my point is that since you are looking for a shorter experience, these concerns may not apply to your situation. And I can recommend EIL from my limited experience with them. I think they are a great organization.

Good luck, and sorry you became embroiled in a process discussion!
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Irish Lad



Joined: 06 Sep 2011
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@AGS

Not to worry--I can cheerfully consider reasonable and well-intentioned criticism, such as labomba's. He makes a valid point, and I'm perfectly willing to acknowledge it as such. Hasn't quite changed my mind, but I do get his point. Also haven't quite sorted why he thinks his own criticism of a poster is acceptable, but mine is not--still trying to work that part out! However, as naturegirl321 says, we "degress."

@unodostres

Mexico is the only one of the three countries you asked about where I have any substantial experience. I can tell you that the visa process was very straightforward, and compared to many countries, neither time-consuming, nor difficult. However, that was the better part of a decade ago, and both laws and enforcement practices change. I urge you to get more specific and up-to-date information on the Mexico forum. By the way, Cuernavaca and Chiapas are very different, curious about how you picked those two locations.

Both, by the way, have a TEFL cert program--IH in Cuernavaca offers a CELTA, and Dunham Institute in Chiapa de Corzo has a well-regarded TEFL cert, as well as an extended volunteer teaching program and a language exchange program. If small town life appeals to you, their program might suit your particular needs very well. It seems to be highly regarded, and there are a number of people familiar with the program on the Mexico forum.

While I have neither lived nor worked in Ecuador, I have had some interaction with EIL in Quito in the past. It wasn't clear to me whether you were considering EIL for their TESOL program, or as a possible organization to volunteer/study Spanish with. As you may already know, they offer the SIT cert TESOL. SIT is actually my favorite of the three "brand name" certification programs, although it is somewhat less well known that the other two, particularly in Europe. Since this doesn't seem to be a factor for you, it would be very difficult to find a better certification program in my opinion.

I have had occasion to interview and assess grads of EIL's program, and can recommend it as top-notch. (However, keep in mind that this was several years ago while Justin Trullinger was running the shop, and I don't really know what's gone on at EIL since he moved on, or who their trainers are now.) If you do decide on Ecuador as your destination, you could do your training, then volunteer, and study Spanish with them. I know they also hire teachers, but it would be quite serendipitous for that particular timing to work out for you as well!

Given you particular requirements, I would suggest that you continue to focus on EIL, and also take a look at Dunham Institute to see how much of what you want could be done with them. It looks to me as if you could design a program at DI that is pretty close to what you described in your OP.

Best of luck to you!
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Unodostres



Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 7
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for the helpful information! I'm still reviewing everything and deciding what I want to do. As of right now, I'm leaning towards a school I recently came across in Guatemala that allows native English speakers to exchange teaching English for Spanish classes and the school also offers volunteer opportunities.

I wasn't originally considering Guatemala but the school offers basically everything that I was looking for (and doesn't require a TEFL certificate but they provide all the materials it seems so it's just a matter of following their syllabus).

I will check out the DI program in Chiapas as that was one of the programs I was looking at for Mexico.

I still have a while before I have to make a final decision but I will keep you updated!
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unodostres wrote:

I wasn't originally considering Guatemala but the school offers basically everything that I was looking for (and doesn't require a TEFL certificate but they provide all the materials it seems so it's just a matter of following their syllabus).



Keep in mind that there's a lot more to effective teaching than just following a syllabus. I hope this school will provide more guidance than just handing you their syllabus and providing the materials you'll need.
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Unodostres



Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 7
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isla Guapa wrote:
Unodostres wrote:

I wasn't originally considering Guatemala but the school offers basically everything that I was looking for (and doesn't require a TEFL certificate but they provide all the materials it seems so it's just a matter of following their syllabus).



Keep in mind that there's a lot more to effective teaching than just following a syllabus. I hope this school will provide more guidance than just handing you their syllabus and providing the materials you'll need.


I hope so too! Laughing For the student's sake. I haven't committed to anything yet, still gathering information. I'm definitely going to make sure it's something that I would feel comfortable doing before making any final decision.
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unodostres wrote:
Isla Guapa wrote:

Keep in mind that there's a lot more to effective teaching than just following a syllabus. I hope this school will provide more guidance than just handing you their syllabus and providing the materials you'll need.


I hope so too! Laughing For the student's sake. I haven't committed to anything yet, still gathering information. I'm definitely going to make sure it's something that I would feel comfortable doing before making any final decision.


Glad to hear it. Sometimes in the rush to find work overseas, newbies forget about the most important thing - the students they'll be teaching Wink .
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