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Teaching in Cusco
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Raymundo



Joined: 24 Oct 2005
Posts: 10
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:41 pm    Post subject: Teaching in Cusco Reply with quote

I spent 2006 teaching in Cusco and offer this information for present and future teachers interested in teaching there.

Cusco is a relatively small, occasionally beautiful city high in the Andes. The former capital of the Inca Empire, it carries traces of its remarkable heritage in stone walls and the ruins of Sacsayhuaman above the city. Today it is a frenetic, noisy city totally dependent on tourism for its livelihood. This means you will be approached every 10 feet by adults and children offering textiles, finger puppets, sweaters, shoeshines, etc., or just begging. It also means there are swarms of gringos around you all the time, and little authentic Peruvian or Quechua culture available to the average visitor.

Cusco sits high in the Andes at 11,000 feet. It has two principal seasons: a dry winter (June-September) with freezing cold nights; and a warmer summer rainy season (November-March), when it rains almost every day,.

It is easy to escape Cusco to hike, both the hills above Cusco and by taking a bus to nearby areas and hiking there. The nearby Sacred Valley, which hosts the Inca sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, is a warmer, calmer retreat, again mobbed with tourists.

You can live on $400-500 a month in Cusco. If you share, you can pay as little as $50 a month; for your own place, $100-200. Food is cheap if you eat in locals’ restaurants and avoid tourist places. Fresh food in the markets is first-rate and cheap.

Gringos get sick all the time in Cusco. It’s puzzling and baffling to otherwise healthy people, who travel the world without major problems, to be so chronically sick in Cusco. Something in the air/water/food, and you’ll get sick even if you cook for yourself. Get all your shots before coming and bring medicine for diarrhea, upset stomach, etc. (Whenever I traveled outside Cusco, my body returned to health; and when I returned, I got sick again.) You won’t need a yellow fever immunization for Cusco as it’s too high for mosquitoes. Be aware that some countries require a yellow fever immunization if you fly from Peru to their country (Mexico is one). Yellow fever vaccinations are free in Cusco and essential if you plan to travel to the jungle.

South American Explorers Club has a clubhouse in Cusco and you should join if you plan to live in Cusco; the discounts for restaurants, clubs, hostels, tours, etc., will more than pay for the membership. They’re a great source of information for Peru and neighboring countries. They have a list of volunteer opportunities if you want to contribute in a meaningful way to alleviating the misery around you.

Cusco is an excellent place to look for ESL work because of its dependence on tourism. All the locals want to be tour guides, or work at hotels, travel agencies, etc., and they need English. I know of three language institutes where you could probably get full-time work.

Maximo Nivel (www.maximonivel.net). The only language school offering 100% native speakers as teachers. Teachers are from every English-speaking country in the world. A beautiful new facility with teachers’ lounge (sofa, TV, lockable cubby). They run on a typical schedule, with classes in the morning and again in the afternoon/evening; with a midday break. Kids’ classes have been phased out but teens’ classes remain (all are taught at the same hour so you won’t get more than one). Pay starts at $400-500 monthly; “superstar” teachers are given raises. Standard workday is six one-hour classes; you can work part-time if you specify that up front. Contract has a “no compete” clause which bars you from teaching outside Maximo (no supplementing income with private classes) or anywhere in Peru for six months following your stint at Maximo (I insisted on a modification limiting the restriction to cities where Maximo has a branch [Cusco and Arequipa]). They use the “Expressions” series. Free tea/coffee/Internet. They will get you a work visa if you commit to stay over a year; otherwise, it’s off to Bolivia every 90 days. (I’ve submitted a more detailed report on working here in a separate thread.)

Excel (www.excel-spanishlanguageprograms-peru.org). Primarily a Spanish school for gringos, they also offer English classes for locals. Most teachers are Peruvian. They use “Side by Side.” I sponsored a young Cusqueñan’s studies there and he seemed to make good progress, though it appeared the students were progressing more slowly than at Maximo Nivel.

ICPNA (www.icpna.edu.pe). This is a branch of the Peruvian-Northamerican Cultural Institute. They get money from the U.S. State Dept.; thus their lavish facility. They use a Cambridge series. Report from a friend is that you can teach as few or as many classes as you wish. Classes run 1-1\2 hours.

Beyond these three, there is the university in Cusco and various other smaller language schools. You could also offer private classes, though given the sheer mass of gringos in Cusco, and the relative cheapness of studying at institutes, the market for this is small.

One more note: most people know Cusco as the gateway to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, but it’s also the gateway to the rainforest. You can take an 8-hour bus ride to Quillabamba, a charming and utterly untouristed city in the jungle, with further bus routes deeper into the jungle (Pongo de Mainique). You can fly to Puerto Maldonado and have a lodge pick you up at the airport and whisk you upriver (best macaw/parrot clay licks in Peru). The most expensive, but best, option is to take a tour to Manu Park, leaving from Cusco every week. I don’t like tours either, but individuals cannot enter Manu Park, and it’s the primeval Garden of Eden; nothing like it on the planet.

Ray
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9016
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great info!
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Jams



Joined: 18 Sep 2007
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 2:39 pm    Post subject: Working in Cusco Reply with quote

Hello everybody!

Well, I'm just finishing off my 6 months of teaching here in Cusco. I've been with Maximo Nivel, and you can see my big praises for the place in my other posts.

With respect to Cusco, well it's a great place. Raymundo (above) is right that it's an excellent launching pad to many, many things [not just Machupicchu]. Mountains and jungle are just hours from here.

As for getting sick, I personally had no problems. Standard cold/flu once while I was here. In 6 months, I missed one day. I stayed away from tap water and street food. I also ate well, plenty of protein and veggies to keep my immune system up. And... no problems whatsoever. The folks getting sick here are generally not taking very good care of themselves, or are just ultra-sensitive to the altitude. I know some people struggling with getting sick, but then they're not being very careful about what they eat, or in a lot of cases they're just partying too much. Something I thought was really great about working at Maximo Nivel is they have an agreement with a small private clinic and the one day I missed they pulled me straight to the clinic; doctor's visit was all of $12! Smile

Cusco has a lot going on. A great nightlife, good restaurants, cheap food (but avoid the stuff on the streets), museums, music, art, etc. Many people talk about how touristy Cusco is, and indeed the center is quite touristy, but with just a Peruvian friend or two you will quickly learn the ins and outs of the REAL Cusco, complete with pure Cusquenan nightlife, family outings, etc. It's a city of more than 300,000, so you know there's a lot more going on here than just tourism, and there is a very lively and interesting local culture. I think some people just struggle to break through the tourist level, but 'hey' that's what living and teaching internationally should [in part] be about.

Be sure to bring clothes for both warm weather (daytime) and cool to even very cold weather (at night). During the day, you can enjoy this beautiful, warm sunshine, but tndeed the altitude takes its effect after nightfall, and warm jackets and even gloves will help keep you comfortable. It doesn't snow in Cusco, but July can be especially cold at night. In other months, Sept-May, nights are milder.

With respect to places to workl, there's Maximo Nivel (highly reccomended), ICPNA, Excel, San Antonio Abad's 'Centro de Idiomas, Speak Easy, and then there are number of NGOs, private schools, etc. Prior to accepting my position with Maximo Nivel, I interviewed and was offered a position at each of these places. Here is the low down...

MAXIMO NIVEL is by far the NICEST facility and is the most professionally run institute. Classes are limited to only 12 people and classes are only 60 minutes long. This is critical for teacher comfort. As well, teachers are under contract at Maximo Nivel, so salaries are fixed and there's no worrying about your cash from month to month. Work ethic and committment are key at Maximo, and teachers who are here more to travel than to teach probably won't fit in.

ICPNA, Raymundo says they have lavish facilities, but beware that's only their auditorium and their facade. Inside, the classrooms and the rest of the place are pure developing-country-style and leave a lot to be desired. Classes are large, averaging 18-25+ students and classes are 90 minutes long. The problem here is they won't guarantee their gringo teachers their hours, so one month you might have 5 classes, but the next you have only 3 (Yes, that affects your salary).

EXCEL is located in an interesting, old Spanish building, albiet a bit run-down. Classes here are smaller than at ICPNA (8-12) and classes are 90 minutes long. The problem here was my interview with the owner/director, a very aggressive woman with whom I just couldn't get comfortable.

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, San Antonio Abad's 'Centro de Idiomas is looking pretty good as they've just built a new facility, and the director is a very nice, professional woman. Unfortunately, they have BIG classes with 30+ in every class; and 90 minutes per class. They also won't guarantee their gringo teachers their hours, though I'm told once you work your way into their good graces, your hours will be proteced.

SPEAK EASY (I only visited their office, I didn't interview here) is a cute, small office with only 2-3 classrooms. Nice people, but I thought it was lacking in professionalism and resources; also the size of the place made me feel like there may not be much stability. That was just my first impression.

Note that all had comparable pay of between $400 to $500 per month (paid in local currency), though note above Maximo was the only one guaranteeing fixed hours and salary. The salary is plenty to live on in Cusco.

Okay, well, I hope that is good information for those of you considering teaching in Cusco.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9016
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Working in Cusco Reply with quote

Jams wrote:
With respect to places to work, there's Maximo Nivel (highly reccomended), ICPNA, Excel, San Antonio Abad's 'Centro de Idiomas, Speak Easy, and then there are number of NGOs, private schools, etc..


DO you have the contact info for these places so that I could post them on the LA job list?
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HollyC



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:21 pm    Post subject: Cusco Reply with quote

Hi Everyone. I worked and lived in Cusco for around 5 months and absolutely loved it. I returned back to the States because I kept getting stomach infections and it wasn't from the street food either. I ate a lot of street food and never got sick. I actually got sick from eating in a restaurant and eating chicken. You just need to be careful where you eat.
I worked at a placed called Excel and it was fantastic. The owner is a very friendly guy and the manager is a really nice woman. Some people might think she's too harsh but these are the same people that come to work late or always requesting days off. People who seems strict come off as mean which is completely unfair and someone who is nice, gets taken advantage of. The students are really good and the staff made me feel very welcomed. Many of the staff/teachers have worked there for years so that should tell you something. I would return to work there in a heartbeat. I dont know any other school that allows you to work 18 days of the month and have 1 week off at the end of every month. It allowed me to explore Cusco.
The people in Cusco are very friendly. Yes, there are many tourist but don't allow yourself to get stuck in it. (What's the purpose of doing that?) I see so many foreigners hanging out with other foreigners and I think...why did you come to Peru in the first place. I kept away and tried to do many things that locals do. There are tons of festivals going on so you never get bored there. Things are cheap and easily affordable. Cusco is also good for travelling to other places since there are so many tour agencies around or you could just go to the bus station and buy a bus ticket yourself for cheaper.
I hope this helps. I really really miss Cusco. It was an unforgettable time that I will never forget. If you have any more questions, feel free to send me a message. Hope this helps.
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Insubordination



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Posts: 391
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a gringa and almost died from pneumonia in Cusco. Luckily, I could get antibiotics right off the shelf. I almost got evicted from my hostel for coughing too loudly. I may have left a nasty deposit of chest phlegm on Machu Picchu. I continued to be sick in La Paz but the second I went back to Chile, I was fine. I guess me + altitude don't mix.

Great place however. I think I'll go back there again and see it properly but I hope I don't get sick again.
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ayeJess



Joined: 07 Jul 2007
Posts: 1
Location: urbana, il / soon to be santiago de chile

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will soon be teaching in Cusco, and I was wondering: are there any institutes that do NOT have a no-compete clause in their contract? I understand why it exists, from a raw business point of view, but unfortunately I'm not very business-orientated, and my true side is telling me that it is beaurocratic, purely based on capitalism, and restraining!
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9016
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that Maximum Nivel has a no compete and it carries over even after you finish working for them.
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huayhuash



Joined: 18 Jan 2007
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:41 pm    Post subject: Impartial words on Maximo Nivel Reply with quote

I have never worked or studied at Maximo Nivel but I am an English teacher and I live in Cusco. As soon as people hear I am a teacher, they start to complain to me about Maximo Nivel. Either it is teachers complaining about the schedule, conditions, lack of support or the management. Or else it is locals who have taken classes there complaining about the level of teaching. It seems that most teachers are young and inexperienced and may be nice people, but can't teach and dont get any guidance on how to teach. Maximo has a reputation of being the best and looks very professional but I'm honestly fed up of hearing how bad it is so thought I would share this with you. Good luck!!
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9016
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard mixed things about them. Both the good and the bad. I've heard there are teachers that stay there for years.

Complaining isn't anything new for teachers in Peru. It's really hard to find a good school. Where are you working? Would you recommend it to others?
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sparkysadie



Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 10
Location: Torreon, COAH, Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello

I just arrived in Cuzco yesterday and it is lovely! My boyfriend and I are hoping to find work here, if possible. There is great info on the schools posted here, but I am curious about housing. We saw a sign for an apartment and looked at it this afternoon. It was really nice, fully furnished, quite large, with a loft bedroom, and near the train station. They said it was $350 per month. Sounds like we could find a better deal, from what I read above. We could probably afford the $350, but would like to check our options. Can anyone suggest where to look for cheaper housing?

Thanks!
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9016
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The classified is good


List of Relators

http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Latin-America/Peru/Realtors
http://www.livinginperu.com/dir/real-estate/lima

Classified
http://www.viabcp.com/viainmuebles/default.asp
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sparkysadie



Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 10
Location: Torreon, COAH, Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip, but those sites seemed to pretty much have listings and realtors in Lima. After asking around, we found that the "Rueda de Negocios" is a little paper found at news stands that is all of classifieds thats published twice a week with apartments, jobs and things for sale. Its a great resource.
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joeandjen



Joined: 29 Jun 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:34 pm    Post subject: Moving To Cusco Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

My wife has a BA and I have no degree. However I have been a CEO,Professional Speaker and Stockbroker. Both are from the US.

Neither of us have TESL Certs. from anywhere.

Can we find TESL jobs there ?anywhere? Also what is needed as far as docs are concerned?

And last what kind of rent are we looking at for a small nice one bedroom?

Thank you very much!

J and J
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9016
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YOu could get jobs because you have life experience, don't expect high pay though. You could teach Business English or at top notch hotels, maybe 20USD an hour, max. Try www.expatperu.com and www.livinginperu.com See the PM I sent you as well.

For renting, expect 300 USd a month, more or less for a decent place.

Are you just looking at Cusco? There are other cities as well.
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