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Savings and Socializing?
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RJLatrans



Joined: 19 Jan 2012
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:13 am    Post subject: Savings and Socializing? Reply with quote

Hello everyone! I have some questions that fall into two different categories, so any help would be wonderful.

First off, the basic info; I am a 23 year old girl with a BA in English and six months experience volunteering as a teacher's aid in a TEFL class (where I sometimes teach the classes myself). I currently work two part-time jobs- one as a Page at a Library, the other as a Kennel Tech at the local SPCA. That's right, around 40 hours a week and I'm making about about 1k a month in the US of A. I plan to have a year of experience in teaching and roughly 2500 saved before I head out (maybe more, depending on how long I can juggle both jobs without them crashing into each other). The places I am currently looking at to teach in are Chile, Colombia, and Peru. However I am open to any suggestions!

Now, onto the questions. I have read a lot about what you get paid in different countries, but that doesn't concern me too much. I am looking at how much I can save. As a cheapskate, I am pretty good at not spending money. I usually spend about 300 dollars per month on things (gas, car insurance, food, etc), and save the rest as I currently live with my parents and don't pay rent. I don't go out drinking that often, which saves a lot. Which areas would I be able to rent a one bedroom apartment in a decent area of town and still save some? (Decent meaning that even if gunshots could be heard at night, it's fairly safe. What? I live southside in a high-crime city. I can handle stuff.) Mind, I will be taking public transport or walking, so I won't be spending money on the Car front.

I am not looking to save gobs of money, just enough where I could possibly travel a small bit once or twice a year, and maybe save for a CELTA or a MA (after a couple of years, as I am looking long-term).

The SECOND question is a bit more complicated. See, I have high-functioning autism. I can adapt great to new circumstances, but social situations have always been difficult for me. I'm nice, cheerful, and all that... I just tend to ramble on way to long and show my nerdy facts often. (I used to be a lot worse, but have improved over time thanks to family and practicing reading people.) So my question is which areas are fairly kind socially? I can handle blunt statements (in fact, I love these because my good gravy it's great to know what people actually think), and I am a very laid-back person about differing views, so I am mostly looking for a place that won't put a black mark on me if I am not quite on-the-ball in most social situations as long as I'm polite and nice. To use a USA equivalent of what didn't work for me- Huntsville, Alabama was hell as I could not play the social games and because I didn't fit in was constantly butted out of the circle when people were standing around talking. In other places, not nearly as bad and I can often gather groups of friends.

Thank you for your time!
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People that are "worried" or "concerned" with saving money prob need to head to Asia.

ESL in Latin America is more for the experience. You will get paid enough to live, eat, and go out a few times a week. But that is about it.

I guess you could save ALITTLE/SOME money if you lived liked a hermit and ate cheap food 24/7. But what fun would that be?
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 835

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CarolinaTHeels wrote:
People that are "worried" or "concerned" with saving money prob need to head to Asia.

ESL in Latin America is more for the experience. You will get paid enough to live, eat, and go out a few times a week. But that is about it.

I guess you could save ALITTLE/SOME money if you lived liked a hermit and ate cheap food 24/7. But what fun would that be?


I disagree that ESL in Latin America can't be able money. No, maybe not major money like in Asia or the Middle East. And your first year can be tough, but once you settle into a job and make friends, learn to spend like a local, not a tourist, you can have a middle class lifestyle, and with perks you likely would NOT have in your home country like household help. I find that most people with this opinion fall into one of two camps - people who want to travel from place to place every 6 months or so and expect to find a fantastic job in each new place right off the bat, or, people who really don't have any qualifications to actually teach, but think that because they speak English schools should be honored to have them.

From what I understand of Asian cultures they are very rejecting of people that are in any way different. However, the way you explained your level of Autism, many people might just chalk it up to cultural differences.

I do have to say that people in Mexico, at least, just seem to be more accepting of people who are different, and just take it into stride. I have a neighbor with a mentally disabled son, and he is far more included in everyone's lives, parties, neighborhood outings, etc. then I saw similar people being accepted in the US. Everyone just accepts that he is what he is and moves on. He is a neighbor and so is invited to whatever parties, baptisms, soccer games everyone else in the neighborhood is invited too.
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EFLeducator



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 595
Location: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CarolinaTHeels wrote:
People that are "worried" or "concerned" with saving money prob need to head to Asia.


I second that.

CarolinaTHeels wrote:
ESL in Latin America is more for the experience. You will get paid enough to live, eat, and go out a few times a week. But that is about it.


That was my experience.

CarolinaTHeels wrote:
I guess you could save ALITTLE/SOME money if you lived liked a hermit and ate cheap food 24/7. But what fun would that be?


Thanks for the insight, CarolinaTHeels.
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RJLatrans



Joined: 19 Jan 2012
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CarolinaTHeels wrote:
People that are "worried" or "concerned" with saving money prob need to head to Asia.

ESL in Latin America is more for the experience. You will get paid enough to live, eat, and go out a few times a week. But that is about it.

I guess you could save ALITTLE/SOME money if you lived liked a hermit and ate cheap food 24/7. But what fun would that be?


Well, right now I only go out once a week and I am a very thrifty shopper. I grew up budgeting, which is why I included how much I spend a month here in the USA (because in general things are more expensive here). And although I do spend up to 300 here, that includes gas and car insurance which I won't have down there, and I do plan to live in a fairly local residence (AKA- not a westernized community which from my understanding costs more rent).

And I'm not so much worried about savings, because if in two years I still am grinding teeth trying to make ends meet, then I will probably head to Asia for a year or two and save there. As I said, in this for the long haul! (With emergency money in case things don't work out.) But I definitely want the Latin American experience first, thanks to some of my Spanish teachers and the way they described the world.

BadBeagleBad wrote:
I disagree that ESL in Latin America can't be able money. No, maybe not major money like in Asia or the Middle East. And your first year can be tough, but once you settle into a job and make friends, learn to spend like a local, not a tourist, you can have a middle class lifestyle, and with perks you likely would NOT have in your home country like household help. I find that most people with this opinion fall into one of two camps - people who want to travel from place to place every 6 months or so and expect to find a fantastic job in each new place right off the bat, or, people who really don't have any qualifications to actually teach, but think that because they speak English schools should be honored to have them.

From what I understand of Asian cultures they are very rejecting of people that are in any way different. However, the way you explained your level of Autism, many people might just chalk it up to cultural differences.

I do have to say that people in Mexico, at least, just seem to be more accepting of people who are different, and just take it into stride. I have a neighbor with a mentally disabled son, and he is far more included in everyone's lives, parties, neighborhood outings, etc. then I saw similar people being accepted in the US. Everyone just accepts that he is what he is and moves on. He is a neighbor and so is invited to whatever parties, baptisms, soccer games everyone else in the neighborhood is invited too.


Yeah, I definitely don't plan to get a housekeeper! (Not that I think ill of people who do, but I can barely go to get a pedicure without my sensibilities squirming.) My current plan is to stay one place at least a year, and only that short a time if I end up despising the place. I am incredibly flexible and have lived here in the USA in places I have hated for five or more years, so I know how to muscle through for the purpose of money!

And that definitely sounds great. What cities would you recommend in Mexico that have a good ESL market?
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Isla Guapa



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

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RJLatrans wrote:
What cities would you recommend in Mexico that have a good ESL market?


For starters, Mexico City.
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EFLeducator



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 595
Location: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RJLatrans wrote:
What cities would you recommend in Mexico that have a good ESL market?


Mexico City. Hands down.
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RJLatrans



Joined: 19 Jan 2012
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad you all told me about Mexico City! I was originally nixing Mexico because I believed the heat would be too much for me and my cat (I didn't want to leave the air conditioner running 24/7 while I was away), but looking into it more it looks lovely and doable.

Also, looking at some CELTA courses there makes me consider saving enough for cushion + taking a course before I start working there. With a BA in English and experience, would having a CELTA over a online TEFL certificate make much difference in payment? (I know that many people don't suggest the online courses as they don't make much difference, but I figured for 265 I could get some more knowledge on tips and tricks to teach, and I imagine it couldn't hurt to have it on a resume!)
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Isla Guapa



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

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RJLatrans wrote:
I'm glad you all told me about Mexico City! I was originally nixing Mexico because I believed the heat would be too much for me and my cat (I didn't want to leave the air conditioner running 24/7 while I was away), but looking into it more it looks lovely and doable.



In Mexico, you have to look at altitude to understand the climate. Along the coasts, at sea level, it's hot and humid all year round, and it's particularly brutal in the summer. As you travel inland, at least in the central area of the country, you'll be ascending into the highlands. The higher you go, the cooler and drier the weather will be. One thing I love about Mexico City is the weather, never very hot, never very cold, and without humidity. Even during the rainy summer season, when the rain stops falling, it's pleasant and dry.
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spanglish



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

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RJL - I think you'll do great in Latin America with your attitude and if you truly are very frugal I think you'll even be able to save money in your first year (if you discount the cost of your CELTA, of course). Why don't you check out Colombia as a place to cut your teeth? With an English undergrad, a CELTA (please don't get some online course, just do the CELTA) and Spanish skills you'd have a decent chance of getting on at a second-tier high school anywhere in the country right off the bat. Or you could check out International House in Bogota, which I think is a very decent place to get your first year of experience.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 835

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RJLatrans wrote:


Yeah, I definitely don't plan to get a housekeeper! (Not that I think ill of people who do, but I can barely go to get a pedicure without my sensibilities squirming.) My current plan is to stay one place at least a year, and only that short a time if I end up despising the place. I am incredibly flexible and have lived here in the USA in places I have hated for five or more years, so I know how to muscle through for the purpose of money!

And that definitely sounds great. What cities would you recommend in Mexico that have a good ESL market?


You might change your mind if you fill your schedule and housework starts to pile up Evil or Very Mad Or not a housekeeper, but rather someone to come in and clean a couple of times a week. I understand how you feel, it took some getting used to, but thank of it this way, there aren't a lot of jobs for people with little education, and you can pay them more than a local would, so you'd be doing two good things.

Probably the best markers for teachers are in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Queretaro, Puebla and a few others. In terms of safety I would recommend, in this order Puebla, Queretaro, Mexico City and Guadalajara. They have have their charm, so you might want to research them all a little. The cost of living is highest in Guadalajara, followed by Mexico City, then Puebla and Queretaro. But wages are different in all those places too. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions about Mexico City and/or Guadalajara as I have lived in both. But Puebla is my favorite city in all of Mexico, even though it is the 4th largest city, it is clean and safe and beautiful.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 835

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RJLatrans wrote:
I'm glad you all told me about Mexico City! I was originally nixing Mexico because I believed the heat would be too much for me and my cat (I didn't want to leave the air conditioner running 24/7 while I was away), but looking into it more it looks lovely and doable.

)


Most people don't have A/C anyway, especially if you rent. But in Mexico City you rarely need it because of the altitude. A window fan, or a ceiling fan is usually all you need. It can get hot in the afternoon, but it's usually just for a few hours, and it gets cooler once the sun goes down. Not like the unrelenting heat in the Midwest in the summer, where it only goes down a few degrees at night.
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RJLatrans



Joined: 19 Jan 2012
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spanglish wrote:
RJL - I think you'll do great in Latin America with your attitude and if you truly are very frugal I think you'll even be able to save money in your first year (if you discount the cost of your CELTA, of course). Why don't you check out Colombia as a place to cut your teeth? With an English undergrad, a CELTA (please don't get some online course, just do the CELTA) and Spanish skills you'd have a decent chance of getting on at a second-tier high school anywhere in the country right off the bat. Or you could check out International House in Bogota, which I think is a very decent place to get your first year of experience.


Thanks Spanglish! I must admit, I have been eying Colombia as a prime target to go to for various reasons (My Spanish Professor who was a poet was from there, the need for English Teachers, and something about the culture that caught my eye in Anothony Bourdain's take on it; just to name a few!). I imagine it would take some soothing the parents though, as they seem convinced there is still a drug cartel on every corner!

My main concern with Colombia after crunching numbers is that if I do take the CELTA, I would likely have only 1k in cushion (subtracting living fees and potential small emergencies, as well as the emergency back-home ticket), or I would have to put off my leave date for at least another 3 months to save, and possibly 6 months should I want to leave to be ready for the height of hiring season. Would my chances of being hired be much lower during the off-times, so would putting it off be fine? Or, if I lived in hostels and was crazy frugal and hermit-like until I got a job, would 1k + emergency ticket be a good enough bet? (As a quick point, I am a extremely good interviewer. At my last interview, when it was done, the interviewer put down her papers and said "Now, we don't normally do this, but-" and hired me on the spot. Every time I can get into the door and interview at a place, I have gotten the job. Here in the US, it's just getting in the door in the first place which is the problem right now!)

Thank you for your time!
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RJLatrans



Joined: 19 Jan 2012
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BadBeagleBad wrote:


You might change your mind if you fill your schedule and housework starts to pile up Evil or Very Mad Or not a housekeeper, but rather someone to come in and clean a couple of times a week. I understand how you feel, it took some getting used to, but thank of it this way, there aren't a lot of jobs for people with little education, and you can pay them more than a local would, so you'd be doing two good things.

Probably the best markers for teachers are in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Queretaro, Puebla and a few others. In terms of safety I would recommend, in this order Puebla, Queretaro, Mexico City and Guadalajara. They have have their charm, so you might want to research them all a little. The cost of living is highest in Guadalajara, followed by Mexico City, then Puebla and Queretaro. But wages are different in all those places too. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions about Mexico City and/or Guadalajara as I have lived in both. But Puebla is my favorite city in all of Mexico, even though it is the 4th largest city, it is clean and safe and beautiful.


Hah! Well, I can understand that. Depending on how much money I end up saving, I might have to consider it!

And thank you for all the great suggestions! I will start researching those cities and will be sure to remember to send you a PM when I have any specific questions. Very Happy Puebla DOES look gorgeous, from a couple of the images I have seen so far. Plus the beautiful old buildings~ <is such a history geek.
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spanglish



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

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No question - definitely wait a few extra months and show up with a few grand in cushion, plus air fare, plus CELTA money. If you get on at IH, there's really no peak anyway, only exception being that December and beginning of January are completely dead in the whole country.
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