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International House CELTA
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littlelauren86



Joined: 20 Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CarolinaTHeels wrote:
I am agonizing over this friking CELTA thing.

With only staying for 1 year I think im better off just getting an online TEFL to get me familiar with teaching ESL to go along with my University degree.

I cant justify dropping OVER 2k on a CELTA.

That will pay for almost a YEARS worth of rent in Colombia!!

Looking to have about 5k saved by July/August then head on down to Colombia. Use 2k for rent, and the other 3k for emergencies and side trips.


I've seen you weigh so many different options that it looks like you're not too sure of what you want to do.

Basically, where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 10 years? That could be a way to see where you want to go, then do what it takes to get there. If you're trying to do an alternative cert program or get a master's, then why are you agonizing over getting a CELTA?

As for me, I've already decided that I'm doing an alternative cert program, so I'm not getting a CELTA, no matter how much it's preferred. If I end up doing the program in Colombia, it would make living there pretty rough for the first year. But that's okay because the reward will come later after I'm certified.
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

littlelauren86 wrote:
CarolinaTHeels wrote:
I am agonizing over this friking CELTA thing.

With only staying for 1 year I think im better off just getting an online TEFL to get me familiar with teaching ESL to go along with my University degree.

I cant justify dropping OVER 2k on a CELTA.

That will pay for almost a YEARS worth of rent in Colombia!!

Looking to have about 5k saved by July/August then head on down to Colombia. Use 2k for rent, and the other 3k for emergencies and side trips.


I've seen you weigh so many different options that it looks like you're not too sure of what you want to do.

Basically, where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 10 years? That could be a way to see where you want to go, then do what it takes to get there. If you're trying to do an alternative cert program or get a master's, then why are you agonizing over getting a CELTA?

As for me, I've already decided that I'm doing an alternative cert program, so I'm not getting a CELTA, no matter how much it's preferred. If I end up doing the program in Colombia, it would make living there pretty rough for the first year. But that's okay because the reward will come later after I'm certified.


I know what I want to do, live in Colombia for 8-12 months. Then either take out a loan for grad school or go back to korea for one year to get the money. I will also do the online cert program as well to have double the options. Masters in Guidance Counseling and certified to teach in Fla. Look for jobs abroad and in Fla and NC for either position.

I wouldnt say you will have to ROUGH it without a CELTA if you have a degree and are in Bogota. Esp with your experience in Korea. Still should be able to find a job for 1.8 - 2 mil pesos imo.
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Gregorio



Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would plan on the whole 5K for rent in Bogota, unless you are just planning on renting a room. 2k wouldn't go very far for even a small one bedroom or studio in a nice neighborhood.
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I def plan on renting a room for 300-500k pesos.

im thinking the best thing is to stay for 6 months. Bring down 6-8k.

should be able to have a blast with that budget and time frame.
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 584
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree - that's plenty of money to live on and have a good time for 6 months. I'd recommend you not spend much time in Bogota and do a fair bit of traveling.
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Def plan on traveling. Will be looking to hit up Feria de Cali and Carnaval en Quilla and any other big fun festivals I can find.

Bogota will be a few spots down on my list for the job search.

1) Quilla
2) Cali
3) Medellin
4) Pereira
5) Bogota

After 6 months I feel like I will have to be pried out of the country! lol But I need to get on with grad school and the likes as im not getting any younger!
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Rainingsteel



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey CarolinaTHeels,

So did you decide against paying for the celta?

I'm in the same boat as you. I can't decide whether the celta is worth it or not. I just finished undergrad in December, and I'm taking a year and a half off before I start law school in Aug, 2013. I want to spend the entire year and a half travelling/teaching/volunteering/learning Spanish & Salsa etc. I already have my ticket and Iíll arrive in Bogota in the beginning of April. Iím thinking of taking either the April or May celta course at IH Bogota.

So my question is: Whatís the consensus on this board? (from experts like Spanglish, etc.) Is it worth it to pay $1,700 USD for the celta in Bogota? Iíll only be using it for the next year and half because I donít plan on teaching ESL forever; I just think it will be a great life experience to teach for awhile. The main justification I have for paying for the IH course is that I have absolutely NO EXPERIENCE teaching ESL. I have a bachelorís in political science from a top American university, but thatís about it. Also, if a celta isnít necessary, is there a book or something that I could order that would enable me to teach myself the basics for teaching ESL so I could get by?

Like CarolinaTHeels, Iíll be arriving with $5k-7k USD saved and Iíll also be receiving about $600 a month in income from the US indefinitely. Iíve read that Bogota is very expensive relative to other S. American cities, so how feasible is my plan to rent a private room or stay at a hostel for the duration of the IH course? After I finish the course, would the $600 a month in extra income (and a percentage of my savings) be enough to support me while teaching English part time? I hope to only teach part time to supplement my income so I have time to take Spanish courses and travel.

Lastly, if the consensus is that I DONíT need a celta to find work in Colombia, what are the cheaper Colombian cities where I should look for employment? Cities where my savings would stretch more and allow me to do/see more in Colombia and S. America.

Sorry if the post was long, but I just want to be prepared before I get on the plane in a month.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
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windowlicker



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

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainingsteel wrote:
Whatís the consensus on this board? (from experts like Spanglish, etc.) Is it worth it to pay $1,700 USD for the celta in Bogota?


As we've said many times, it's definitely worth it to get the CELTA if you plan on staying in Colombia and/or teaching long term. You say you want to want to spend the entire year and a half "travelling/teaching/volunteering/learning Spanish & Salsa etc". The CELTA won't really be much good for a plan like that. CELTA would be for people looking for a legal job in Colombia, looking to stay in one place for a more extended period of time, and who want a certification that will open up more career opportunities in ESL. CELTA ends up being a great investment if that's what you want...but none of those things seem like what you are describing.

Regarding your financial questions, the lifestyle you seem to be describing (maintaining a Bogota apartment, frequent travel and Spanish classes) would probably put you somewhere in the vicinity of a $2.5 million peso/month budget.

How much do you plan on traveling? If you're thinking of teaching at an institute part-time to supplement your income, how do you expect your employer and students will react to canceling classes when you travel?
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windowlicker



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

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding books - "Learning Teaching" by Jim Scrivener, and "How to Teach English" by Jeremy Harmer are two of my favorites.
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RainingSteel

Def DONT get the CELTA if that is your plan and with you having 5-7K saved to go along with 600 a month.

You really dont even need to teach imo with 7K and 600 extra each month.

But regarding learning how to teach, id just get a respected online TEFOL cert.

That with your degree will be sufficient imo
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Rainingsteel



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Windowlicker and N Carolina,

Thanks for the quick response.


I just spoke with a friend who taught English overseas and he convinced me that moving from place to place isn't such a good idea. He said it would be better to stay in one location and experience one country to the fullest extent, rather than constantly moving and being a perpetual tourist. So I've decided to do the IH course in Bogota. I just have two questions:

1. Where should I stay during the month long course? I'm not sure if Bogota is the city I wish to live in for a year and half, so I donít want to enter into a long lease agreement right after I get off the plane. I can't find any listings for apartments with less than a 3 month minimum rental period, and I realllly don't want to spend $30 USD + a night for a private room in a hostel for an entire month. Any suggestions?

2. What cities in Bogota have the LEAST amount of gringos? I've read that Medellin and Bogota have the most. I want a city with a low gringo population where I can easily find a job (post-CELTA) and preferably with a lower cost of living relative to Bogota. Cali? Bucaramanga?

Thanks!
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 584
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your friend is absolutely right. Any 'job' that would allow you to move on after 3 months with or without a CELTA wouldn't be worth your while.

I'm not sure that I agree with your friend, though that'd you'd be better off staying in one country for an entire year in order to 'fully experience' it. Working an entry level ESL job isn't really the best way to 'experience' a country, but instead means lots of work for 1.5-2 million pesos/month. If I were you, I'd just work a little longer in the US and then come down and travel South America for your whole time, particularly as you don't see ESL in your future and are definitely going to law school. Your original plan is great, provided you have savings and won't be working - stay 3 months in each country, travel around by bus, take salsa and Spanish classes, make friends.

If you do decide you want the teaching experience and to do the CELTA, you can check out compartoapto.com for room rentals in Colombia. I'd also suggest writing to IH and seeing if any of their current teachers have a room to rent or know somebody who does.

Bogota has by far the most jobs. In your first year, I wouldn't count on finding anything in another city paying 2 million+.
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RainingSteel,

Save your money. It would be stupid to drop 2k+ on a CELTA if you only plan on teaching / doing ESL for roughly a year.

A degree and TEFOL cert will be just fine considering all the money you will have in Colombia.

Do like me and look for a job in the 1 - 1.5 mil range not working many hours and use the other time to travel, learn spanish, makes friends, learn to dance, and party!

And regarding your questions about gringos in Colombia.

Cartagena will have by far the most gringos. Followed by Bogota and Medellin. Next would be Cali.

For a place off the beaten path with little to no gringos look into Bucaramanga, Barranquilla. Ibague, Cucuta, and Pereira.
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windowlicker



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

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainingsteel wrote:
1. Where should I stay during the month long course? I'm not sure if Bogota is the city I wish to live in for a year and half, so I donít want to enter into a long lease agreement right after I get off the plane. I can't find any listings for apartments with less than a 3 month minimum rental period, and I realllly don't want to spend $30 USD + a night for a private room in a hostel for an entire month. Any suggestions?

2. What cities in Bogota have the LEAST amount of gringos? I've read that Medellin and Bogota have the most. I want a city with a low gringo population where I can easily find a job (post-CELTA) and preferably with a lower cost of living relative to Bogota. Cali? Bucaramanga?


Spanglish has some good advice. Whatever city you choose, getting a job is a good way to ensure you don't leave it much.

There are no cities with a low gringo population where you can easily find a job - that's the reason they don't have many gringos (it's also the reason almost anyone from these cities that you would want to hang out with will be in BogotŠ, Medellin, Barranquilla, or CalŪ...not in the city they're from). The jobs you're likely to find in these cities will pay low wages, won't care if you have a CELTA or not, and won't provide you with a visa (I would change this statement slightly if you were staying in Colombia longer, in order to make contacts and figure out how the country and ESL market really works). What's more, there will be no place in these other cities to provide you with the salsa and spanish classes (and likely the cultural experiences) you're looking for. Even further, these places will have nowhere to live that you'll find appealing, unless you like the idea of living with a family who are likely strict about the time you come home and who you have over. Without any of this, you're likely to find these cities isolating and intimidating. Places like BogotŠ, MedellŪn, CalŪ, and Barranquilla (despite how unappealing I find Barranquilla) are more likely to provide you with the "bridges" needed to make friends (whether that be with Colombians or other foreigners).

CarolinaTHeels - have you ever been to Cķcuta? Sorry if this comes across as being a jerk, be it's just irresponsible to recommend someone who knows little about Colombia to consider living there.

Essentially, I would say the bottom line is that to stay here legally for as long as you're saying, you'll need a visa. While there are ways around the work visa (I don't support this and won't provide advice on it), if end you up getting a job that does get you a visa, you'll be expected to work, not just travel whenever you feel like it. Furthermore, you're only likely to find this type of job in the major cities. Take that for what it's worth and make your own decisions on what that means for what you should do.


Last edited by windowlicker on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:47 pm; edited 2 times in total
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 584
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you just want to do casual English teaching, I'd say save your money on the online course and buy Learning Teaching by Scrivener and Practical English Usage by Swan.

For Spanish classes I can personally recommend La Universidad Nacional in Bogota (I had an absolutely fantastic experience there) and La Universidad Externado in Bogota. La Nacional wins on price and overall experience (you get to experience a real, big-city Latin American campus with some of the smartest, most vibrant students in the whole country) while Externado wins on small (tiny) class size, catering to your schedule, convenience and providing a comfortable, safe and relatively modern, urban campus.


Last edited by spanglish on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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