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Bridge Linguatec????

 
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pullsofyarn



Joined: 16 Apr 2004
Posts: 6
Location: MPLS, MN USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 5:10 pm    Post subject: Bridge Linguatec???? Reply with quote

About 9 months ago I began planning to head to Latin America to teach. I knew nothing about how to do this. I got some books and began looking around the TEFL websites. In the course of my research, I fell in love with Chile, or at least my conception of Chile -
Neruda, Allende, Mistral. I plan to leave at the end of Jan 04 or Feb 05.

Now, I've decided to take a TEFL course. I'm looking at two schools in particular. This first is a CELTA school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The second is the Bridge Linguatec TEFL course in Santiago. What sort of reputation does this school have? They claim that one may be hired to teach for the school upon completion of the course. How likely is this? Does a certificate from this school carry much wieght with other language institues in Chile?

I have a few other rather basic questions. I've read that the months Jan. and Feb. are bad months to look for a job. Is this a bad time to find work in Chile? (If I didn't currently live in the cold heart of Minnesota, it would be easier to wait until, say, March.) How long is an average teaching contract? And lastly, I'm more of a small city sort of fellow, can ya'll recommend some places in Chile besides Santiago that might be good for work?

I appreciate your advice!!!
Scott Sell
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Weona



Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Posts: 166
Location: Chile

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard negative things about Bridge Linguatec TEFL cources. Mainly the cost and the effectiveness of the certification. Also - I heard that you are not gauranteed a job after completion of the course, or at least one that pays (!!). I would get certified in the states before heading down there, personally.

Chile.... good choice. Beautiful country.
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kimchikowboy



Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were to set up an institute, I would try Puerto Natales. When I was there, I was told the nearest institute was in Punta Arenas. P. Natales has a high demand for tourism in English because of the ferry to Puerto Montt and also Torres del Paine national park. If you have some cash, go down in Jan. or Feb. It's summer there, and you can make some contacts. I was in Chile for over a year, and I miss it every day. But avoid Santiago if you have any sort of breathing problem. The pollution is horrible.
You might also want to check out Valparaiso, a nice old port city.
I liked the area around El Quisco. There's a pretty nice town near there, but I forgot the name.
Suerte.
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pullsofyarn



Joined: 16 Apr 2004
Posts: 6
Location: MPLS, MN USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:31 pm    Post subject: CELTA vs Bridge Linguatec? plus a question about money! Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses! I've been snooping around the web looking for info on Punta Arenas. This seems like the sort of place I'm looking for.

Does anyone else have an opinion of Bridge Linguatec? BL is attractive to me because it would not require that I travel to somewhere such as Halifax to get a certificate before leaving for Chile. However, the CELTA is attractive for its universality. Does the CELTA live up to its hype?

I also have a question about money. My plan at the moment is to arrive in Chile either with a CELTA or to attend the BL course. Then, I want to travel around the country a bit and look at some places I might want to live. Would 3,000 US be an appropriate sum to finance my in-county travels and to support myself until I have a steady income?

Thanks again,
Scott
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Weona



Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Posts: 166
Location: Chile

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I previously mentioned, it's probably best to arrive in Chile with the certificate. If you have you mind set on BL, then you should go for it but only if you can afford it. $3,000 will NOT be enough for both the course and to live off of. $3,000 is, however, enough to sustain in-country travels for a little while but it all depends on how long you plan to travel? If you travel by bus (best way to go in my opinion), then you should be ok for a few weeks. Other modes of transportation might be different. I'd personally settle in to the city/town of your choice (researching beforehand, of course) and once you have a steady income, then the traveling should perhaps begin. I think the $3,000 is just enough to help get you started as far as where you're going to live but if you use it both on travel and on living expenses, then that might change things a little.
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bdbarnett1



Joined: 27 Apr 2003
Posts: 96
Location: Guatemala City

PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iīm currently in Chile as an exchange student. I donīt know much about Bridge-Linguatec (except where it is, Iīll give you the bus numbers lol, itīs in Providencia on Los Leones Blvd), but I can give you some real-time info on the prices of things. I am currently living in a "pensión" for 75,000 pesos a month, about 130 USD, roughly. This includes breakfast (a roll-thing and jelly) hot lunch (or supper) and onces, which is a sandwich or two. Good for the active worker, because if you donīt eat lunch, sheīll serve the hot meal at night. I suspect other pensions will do the same. I share a room with some guys that work here in Chile, and there are other students. This is not a hostel.

This is one of the lower-priced places. In general, in Santiago Centro, you can find this type of thing for about 100,000-120,000 pesos a month, about 170-200 USD, a little more if you get into the wealthier parts of town, i.e. Providencia, Las Condes.

You can get apartments in the Centro or the University section of town (near Republica or Barrio Brasil) for about 80,000-100000 pesos a month, I donīt think utilities are that expensive. You could live pretty comfortable on about 700 dollars a month, and thatīs if you donīt really watch your spending.

I took a trip down to the south (Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales) in february...I spent 900 USD travelling relatively frugally for three weeks...I would exchange the pesos, if possible, in santiago, because the exchange rates are horrible in the south.

Any more info you need...email bdbarnett1@yahoo.com

Iīll send you Sunday paper or something lol
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eileen



Joined: 15 May 2004
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2004 5:17 am    Post subject: Answers to some of your questions Reply with quote

If you come in January or February, you will not get many hours teaching, because that is when everyone is on vacation, as it's the summer, kids are off school, etc. For people that I know that came in March, it took a while for their schedules to fill up.

Bridge-Linguatec will hire you after you finish their course if they have positions available. Right now, it is the middle of May, and every school I've heard of is scrambling for teachers. That means the people that finished the course at the beginning of May were able to work at Bridge, because they're looking, too. There were five people in the course. One for sure is working there, one is travelling, one is thinking, one is taking a job at another school and I don't know about the last.

I believe they pay about 4,400 per hour (xchange rate is about 600 pesos to $1 US), but consider that they'll take off about 10% for taxes (which you theoretically get back). This is pretty average, but not great pay. They also generally require you to have their training, which, as far as I know, Burford, Fischer (or Fisher) and other schools do not. That said, you'll enjoy teaching much more if you know what you're doing. For schools that don't require experience or training, expect to get around 4k per hour, and figure it's pretty likely you'll work only 20-25 hours per week and spend the rest of the time running between classes. The fanciest institute in town is Norteamericano (Instituto Chileno Norteamericano de Cultura I think is the full name). They pay for your "leisure", i.e. travel time, and also for xportation (figure about 800 rt for peak hours on the metro, 600 for the bus). But they require education and experience, a methodology and grammar test.

These rates are all for Santiago. I'm sure you could work as an English teacher elsewhere, but don't know for sure. I've heard Valpo. (Valparaiso) is possible, but I don't know. It's a really picturesque place, but I personally would get very bored there. However, if you're a small city person, you're wise to avoid Santiago, it's huge.

Maybe you could travel for a month or two when you first get here and see what appeals to you, settling there just in time to start teaching in March, April or May.

In terms of settling yourself, etc. Is US 3k enough? Most definitely, but not if you include the price of your course in that. It's possible to find shares for $200 a month, but I know several people who pay more. You could get one for less, certainly, outside of Santiago, or in more downtown places, or in Nunoa or La Reina. But that's all in Santiago. It all depends on where you're thinking of living how much the setting-up costs will be.

This is horrendously long, but I wish I'd had some advice like it before I came (6 weeks ago).

gl!
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Weona



Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Posts: 166
Location: Chile

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2004 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eileen -

So I imagine you have experience with Bridge-Linguatec. Just out of curiosity... what did/do you think about it and was it worth the money? I've heard horrible stories about Bridge but not actually from someone who went there... so getting a first hand experience is kind of important before placing your own judgements if you know what I mean! Anyway, thanks!

P.S. Valparaiso? Boring?! I call Valpo my home and I don't think I will ever run out of exciting things to do here. Smile

Que te vaya bien...
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eileen



Joined: 15 May 2004
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2004 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weona (hueona?),

Just to be clear, I don't think that Valpo is boring. Anyway, I only spent a weekend there, Easter weekend to be exact. It's just that what I like best about a city is bicycling around, and although Santiago is deadly for the smog and traco, the hills in Valparaiso would kill me! Not to mention the stairs...No, it's not a boring place. Very peaceful and colorful at the same time. It's got alot of nightlife, too, from what I could see.

I personally did not take a class at Bridge. I got my TESOL certificate from a university at home, which is essentially 1/2 of a Master's in ESOL, and had about 2 years experience before I came here. I knew someone who was taking the Bridge class, and as they're a tight-knit group, I got to know the lot of them. I know a bunch of Chileans but very few gringos, so I've kept in touch with them somewhat. I don't know about the quality of the education. The person I know best was a science teacher and outdoor educator in Australia. I got the impression that the training was very intense, and hands-on, but I never discussed pedagogy or methodology with them. I think it was more practical than theoretical.

So I can't speak to the quality of the schooling, but the trainees seemed pretty overwhelmed and excited at the same time. Good signs, perhaps? I'll ask, the next time I see someone, since they've pretty much all started teaching now. To be honest, I don't see how 20 days of training could prepare you the way a two-year program could, but hopefully some people who take the course are just natural teachers!

Tell me one of your favorite places in Chile! I'm making a list.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8972
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2004 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you make ends meet in CHile? It's top of my list and I don't want to go to Santiago. Will I be able to pay for all my expenses without having to dip into my savings?
Any good cities out there for work besides Santiago? How are Concepcion? Puerto Montt? Valdivia? Vina del Mar?
Suggestions?
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Weona



Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Posts: 166
Location: Chile

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2004 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eileen -

Ok, so you're not in Santiago studying with Bridge-Linguatec, then what are you doing and how long do you think you'll be staying? How are you liking Chile?! Since you already have your certificate and experience, I will just assume you have a teaching job, but with whom and how did you go about getting it? I was lucky enough to have a friend whose mother worked for one of the schools in Viņa del Mar and got me a job that way. Otherwise, I don't know how I would have found one... especially with the limited experience that I have... as well as my age.

eileen wrote:
Tell me one of your favorite places in Chile! I'm making a list.


I must say that my all-time favorite place is right at home in Valparaiso. I definitely know what you mean about the hills, although I must say, they've done wonders with my calves! Also, there's just something about being near the ocean that keeps me content. I'm also fond of the pretty beaches nearby like in Zapallar, Concon, and Reņaca. There are also beautiful parks and lots of concerts.

Aside from Valpo, I really liked Puerto Montt. Valdivia wasn't as great as I was hoping for but mainly because I went in the winter and things are pretty dead there in the winter time. Puerto Montt reminded me a lot of my home town back in the states so I really enjoyed my time there. Also - the Atacama desert is awesome. I'm more of a southern Chile girl, but you have to go there at least once to enjoy its natural beauty and lack of tourists (which I just LOVE).

Santiago is another favorite but the deathly smog that you mentioned is the single reason why I could never live there. It does, however, hold lots of old architecture and el cerro San Cristobal... wow, can't get much better than that.

Ok I better stop now before I begin to bore you. What are your favorite places to go? I know you've been here more than a month... have you gotten a chance to do a little traveling other than Valpo?

-Weona (huevona if you want to be exact)
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eileen



Joined: 15 May 2004
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2004 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Making ends meet in Chile...

The jury's still out on that one. I think the answer is yes, but you'd certainly have to dip into savings to get an apt and get settled. And plus the airfare and the one time $100 reciprocity you have to pay to get into the country. You can live on the very cheap if you want, but it depends why you're coming to Chile. I can live a very boring life at home. I want something more here.

Weona...

I started teaching at one institute whose methodology wasn't really working for me (got the job from the U.S., they're not a bad place to work, just not for me), so I shopped my resume around, and found a job with Norteamericano, which is the Instituto Chileno Norteamericano de Cultura. It's big, reputable, etc. It's been around for 65 years. I walked in with my resume and had an interview on the spot and a grammar and methodology test. They called me about two days later. Like anywhere, I started off slowly, with just a few hours. Now I have more, but there are lags. This place does a visa, gives 3 weeks paid vacation and some other benefits. I haven't heard of any other place that does that, but I haven't looked that much.

I've only been here about a month. I went to Valparaiso my first weekend, and to Isla Negra (by bike, about 130 km with some Chilean friends) last weekend. Some of the cyclists are going to Valpo. again for the batalla celebration, but I'm not sure I'll go. Since it's a 3-day weekend, I was thinking of going to La Serena and the nearby observatories. I've mostly been exploring Santiago, which I feel like I know pretty well now. The bike really helps.

I'm hoping to explore quite a bit in my down time, but as of yet, I haven't had a huge amount of downtime!

Hope all's well. Let me know if you're coming to Santiago.

eileen
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8972
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2004 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eileen wrote:
You can live on the very cheap if you want, but it depends why you're coming to Chile. I can live a very boring life at home. I want something more here.

so I shopped my resume around, and found a job with Norteamericano, which is the Instituto Chileno Norteamericano de Cultura. It's big, reputable, etc.


Mainly I'm going to learn Spanish. Hoping to be fluent within a year, studied in for years and lived in Spain, so I think it's possible.

What qualifications do you need to work at norteamericano?
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eileen



Joined: 15 May 2004
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2004 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chileans need a bachelorīs in Education. I donīt know precisely what they require for foreigners, but an acquaintance of mine had taught in Korea for a year and they didnīt offer him a job on the basis of his experience. He hasnīt had formal training.

The more education you have, the more you get paid. I have a BA in Linguistics and the TESOL cert. (not TEFL cert), whic h is 15 credits of a Masterīs. I had to supply proof of my credentials (photocopies of diplomas or letters from the schools). Iīve got about 2 yrs. exp. at home They seemed pretty interested in me on that basis, but I donīt know exactly what they require. It probably depends partially on the time of year. At the time my friend applied, business was slow. Now thereīs a pretty major hiring campaign going on, so maybe they would require less.

Iīm not saying theyīre the best place in Chile to teach. There are lots of schools, and each has their own benefits and drawbacks. If you ask around, you should be able to find out more info. At an English bookstore or other semi-gringo hangout. Or here, I guess.

hth!
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bdbarnett1



Joined: 27 Apr 2003
Posts: 96
Location: Guatemala City

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of semi-gringo hangouts..

I just found this English bookstore the other day in Providencia, they say theyīve been there for seven months, and I donīt how I missed it, since I rode the bus by it every day!

Anyway, they have an English-Spanish exchange twice a week, 45 minutes English, 45 minutes Spanish starting at about 7:15 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays. And they have coffee, latteīs, all that good stuff...

Address:

The English Reader
Los Leones 116
Providencia

www.englishreader.cl
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