Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Best country in L.A. to TEFL?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> General Latin America Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  

Best country in L.A. to TEFL?
Chile
10%
 10%  [ 1 ]
Colombia
10%
 10%  [ 1 ]
Costa Rica
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Ecuador
10%
 10%  [ 1 ]
Mexico
60%
 60%  [ 6 ]
Panama
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Peru
10%
 10%  [ 1 ]
Uruguay
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Other
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 10

Author Message
JonathanRossWC



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:53 am    Post subject: Best country in L.A. to TEFL? Reply with quote

Hello, wonderful Latin America forum!

I posted a thread in the General Discussion forum a few days ago trying to come to a shortlist of countries to teach English in. After doing more research and looking hard at Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Colombia, etc., I think that I would be happiest teaching EFL in a nice Latin American city. My Spanish is decent and I can get it up to a near-fluent level by the time I land abroad.

I will be heading into the TEFL industry with an American Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Finance, and will be gaining a CELTA certification. I do not have any experience teaching English, and will not have any before getting this first job abroad.

Optimally, I am looking for a country/city to go teach English where I could earn a decent wage, live comfortably, not have legal issues regarding visas/immigration, and build up a career over time. I do not expect/need to land in a country and start raking in bundles of cash; I just need enough of an income to live comfortably and work my way up the pay ladder over the years.

I would like to TEFL as a career, not just as a short one-year stint filled with partying. I will continue to develop my skills and network, to seek out better positions as time goes on. I budget my finances well and will not be drinking or indulging in any expensive things.

So, Latin American TEFLers, what country would be best for me, and why? Thank you ahead of time for any and all comments to help me figure it out. Smile

Jonathan
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 885

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are pros and cons to all of them, try and narrow it down a little:

Chile, Panama, Uruguay

Have relatively high cost of living, so you will need more money in the bank to see you through to your first pay cheque.


Colombia, Ecuador

Probably have the lowest, so your start up fund will last longer there.

The others probably fall somewhere in between. (These are gross generalisations, obviously it depends where in each country you are).

With the right job, you can get a visa in any of them, with the possible exception of Panama. However, in Peru you probably won't get a visa, and will just be expected to work under the table on a tourist visa and pay $1/day fine for over staying.

Other than that, what are you looking for? Rural, city, beach, mountains? What sort of climate? What sort of job? If it's your first teaching job you will probably be looking to cut your teeth in one of the big language schools.

Finally, have you already got a CELTA course in mind? For various reasons it's generally better to do your training in the country you want to work in. So the availability of a CELTA course might influence your decision.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
spanglish



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

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colombia is actually at the upper end of cost of living. I read in a Dinero recently (a Colombian finance magazine) that Bogota has the 3rd highest cost of living in Latin America after Brasilia and Montevideo.

I can't vote in your poll because I only have experience in Colombia and can't compare. If you do end up coming here, get your SIT cert or CELTA and you'll get on easily enough with IH Bogota. After that, you'll either move up to better jobs or be burned for life on ESL (IH isn't that bad, but most of my fellow teachers really hated it, I thought it was quite an easy job but with a few frustrations and fairly low pay, all in all an OK starter job).

I'll tell you this about Colombia: I've got a great life and a decent income now. With over 3 years of steady work, networking, great Spanish skills and a B.A. and CELTA, I've managed to get one of the better (ESL) jobs in the country. Would I do it all again? To be honest, probably not. There have been some very difficult moments along the way, and I haven't exactly ended up in a very good financial situation. Living abroad as an ESL teacher isn't really my thing either, but that's my personal preference.

So, If you want to pursue a career in ESL in Latin America.....well, it's up to you. Weigh the information you receive and make your choice. And good luck; it sounds like you have a better chance of success than most.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JonathanRossWC



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow- Thanks HLJHLJ and Spanglish for your helpful replies...I really appreciate it.

In response to HLJHLJ: I would preferably like to live in a city. Being a native of Philadelphia in the US and living in New York, I've kind of become accustomed to city life and prefer it to rural life. Climate-wise, I think almost anywhere in Latin America is warmer than Pennsylvania, and that's great for me. I love the heat. I'm sure as a first teaching job I'll be grinding it out at a language school like International House - as long as the pay keeps me afloat, I'm ok with that. Paying my dues, I suppose. I'm new, I don't expect to be paid like a veteran. Smile I do not have a CELTA course in mind; I was thinking the same thing as you, that I'd take it in the country I decide to go to. I think that is the best thing.

In response to Spanglish: Thank you very much for your wish of good luck, and for your advice about IH Bogota - I was strongly considering doing the CELTA there and getting a job after. If I'm not mistaken, is there also a CELTA in Bogota being offered by the British Council? Even though it costs more, do you think it would be worth it to take my CELTA there if I decide to move to Colombia?

Thanks a lot for the comments so far...looking forward to more discussion!

Jonathan
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 885

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only been to Colombia on holiday, but the costs there were not massively different to Ecuador. It was a little more expensive, but nowhere near the league of say Chile or Uruguay. So in terms of short-let accommodation and eating out, I'd still put Ecuador and Colombia in the same bracket.

Perhaps costs increase significantly once you become resident. I can imagine that things like gas and electric would be higher, as it's subsidized in Ecuador. I have no idea about rents in Colombia either. However, once you reach that stage, you would hopefully have a job with a wage appropriate to local living costs, so it's less of an issue.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JonathanRossWC



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see four votes for Mexico. Would any of the Mexico teachers care to share why they think Mexico beats out Colombia or Ecuador for TEFL?
I have looked into Mexico, but it seemed like the salaries were low in comparison to the rent prices and general cost of living...maybe someone can shed light on this.

Thanks,
Jonathan
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
spanglish



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

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out the thread Mexico City vs. Bogota; that should give you plenty of info.

HLJHLJ - I've only spent time in Central America and Colombia, so I'll defer to you on cost of living comparisons. Thinking about Justin Trullinger's (an Ecuador veteran) posts in the past, I'm guessing that cost of living in a major city in Ecuador is a fair bit lower than in Bogota. I can't make any definitive statements though given my lack of direct experience.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JonathanRossWC



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks spanglish...checking it out now! Cool

Jonathan
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9399
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ditto Spanglish...we hashed out some of the costs/pay rates there between the two cities. I think they come out even in most respects. Mexico City probably has the edge on more opportunity just for the sheer size.

Mexico outside the capital is another story though. Pay rates drop off significantly in most teaching scenarios, making it hard to save.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
JonathanRossWC



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input Guy. I am really interested in Mexico City...how have you found your work to be there?

I saw in the Mexico City vs. Bogota thread that EFLeducator experienced "low wages, students who had no respect for TEFLer's, classes cancelled every week, and no career path for a professional TEFLer. "

Does this ring true for you? It seems like investing the time and effort into networking and building your skill set would help a TEFLer advance in Mexico, just like anywhere else. Am I being too naive to think that with a Bachelor's, a CELTA, and after some years of teaching (and maybe a Master's), that I could advance in a TEFL career?

Thanks,
Jonathan
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
spanglish



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

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course the answer to your question will be yes: you can and will get ahead as you upgrade your quals and get experience.

The issue here is how tolerant you are to living in the developing world, and to living in a part of the developing world that considers teachers a step or 2 above maids, who tend to be treated like indentured servants. After laboring as an ESL teacher for a few years you may begin wondering why you don't have the high roller life of a 'humble' NGO worker, an oil company worker or a diplomat, most of whom within a couple of years of starting their career will be making far more than you EVER will as an ESL teacher (okay, maybe not true for most NGO workers, but still....).

Sorry, sometimes it's frustrating to compare my salary with my successful Colombian friends who went into IT, the oil industry or have good government jobs. Their jaws drop when I tell them my salary and they assure me that I'm making 'really, really good money.' Meanwhile they are making 2, 3 or 4 times as much as me (or more!). It's just that a teacher 'doesn't deserve' to make a decent living.

Of course, in time you can make a decent living as a teacher, but the above is the mentality in Colombia.

Edit - I just want to point out that the salaries of many of my Colombian friends are not typical; they've definitely been much more successful than the average Latin American professional. On the other hand, they all come from normal, middle-class families, not the upper-class.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1129
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also inclinded to say you could do well over time.
I do not live in a big city and where I work is not suitable for people accustomed to city life--the culture shock of big city vs small town will hit you way harder than any USA vs Mexico culture shock. The professors from Mexico City and other cities have a lot harder time adapting here than I ever did.

Most of the Mexican's I rub shoulders with do think being a teacher is a really good job. There are a lot of benefits in the local teacher's package that really add up beyond their salary. But also, I don't rub shoulders with upper class or even that many middle class Mexicans. Most of my neighbors and all of my extended family members make significantly less money than I do. But I do see a kind of Mexican society that would fit in well with Spaniglish's description of Colombians, but not in the circles I move in. I
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8982
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spanglish wrote:
The issue here is how tolerant you are to living in the developing world, and to living in a part of the developing world that considers teachers a step or 2 above maids, who tend to be treated like indentured servants. After laboring as an ESL teacher for a few years you may begin wondering why you don't have the high roller life of a 'humble' NGO worker, an oil company worker or a diplomat, most of whom within a couple of years of starting their career will be making far more than you EVER will as an ESL teacher (okay, maybe not true for most NGO workers, but still....).

Sorry, sometimes it's frustrating to compare my salary with my successful Colombian friends who went into IT, the oil industry or have good government jobs. Their jaws drop when I tell them my salary and they assure me that I'm making 'really, really good money.' Meanwhile they are making 2, 3 or 4 times as much as me (or more!). It's just that a teacher 'doesn't deserve' to make a decent living.

Of course, in time you can make a decent living as a teacher, but the above is the mentality in Colombia.


I felt the same way and knew it was time to get out. While there are some who like living in "real Peru" for example, it took its toll on me. Working 3 jobs, 6 days a week and being treated no better than a maid wasn't cutting it for me.

And personally getting the cat calls, whistles, etc also stunk.

My highest salary was 1500 dollars, after deductions. My only regret is not having left earlier, where here in Asia, I can easily pull in double for half the work. Work hard, not smart. Last month I made 6 times as much.

I'm not saying not living in LA is for everyone: but for me, it was time to move on.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9399
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JonathanRossWC wrote:
Thanks for the input Guy. I am really interested in Mexico City...how have you found your work to be there?

I saw in the Mexico City vs. Bogota thread that EFLeducator experienced "low wages, students who had no respect for TEFLer's, classes cancelled every week, and no career path for a professional TEFLer. "

Does this ring true for you? It seems like investing the time and effort into networking and building your skill set would help a TEFLer advance in Mexico, just like anywhere else. Am I being too naive to think that with a Bachelor's, a CELTA, and after some years of teaching (and maybe a Master's), that I could advance in a TEFL career?

Thanks,
Jonathan


I've been a teacher trainer for a number of years now, mostly based in Mexico City. I've enjoyed it lots and continue to climb the ladder.

MOD EDIT

A bachelor's and a CELTA starts you out (yes at low wages)...you make the choices where to go from there. A master's opens up lots of doors within Mexico, outward to other countries and to back home.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9399
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My highest salary was 1500 dollars, after deductions. My only regret is not having left earlier, where here in Asia, I can easily pull in double for half the work. Work hard, not smart. Last month I made 6 times as much.


That's a little over 100,000 dollars a year in Asia...pretty damn good. Occupy Wall Street would call you the 1 percent Wink

Best I've seen in DF is about 50k ayear, with high quals and a few years experience, non-management.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> General Latin America Forum All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC