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Personal Growth International, Sigfried Castell, Bogota 2013

 
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adamthenerd



Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:07 am    Post subject: Personal Growth International, Sigfried Castell, Bogota 2013 Reply with quote

I worked briefly for this company and looking to get awareness out on how they are treating people. I had an interview with Mr Sigfried before I left my country of Canada. He said there was work and lots of it. After arriving I was told I would have to interview with a school first. Than I was used to go and do demo classes with a school to try and get new business for Mr Sigfried. I had another day of substitute tecahing for another teacher. It took two weeks than a few teachers were leaving so something opened up.

I met with Sigfried and he offered me a job immediately. They offered to rent me a room in an apartment at the building location of personal tutoring( Sigfrieds other company for some reasons they are operating under 2 names). Mr Sigfried seemed nice and went on and on how PGROTH is non profit they do not earn one dollar off of the teachers, they are only there to help, they are an international organization, worldwide. If you do not like the school or the school does not like you Sigfried can keep moving you to find a school that fits, it sounded good.

The room was late in being ready bit not a huge deal seemed like a decent place. After moving in and talking with the other teachers we realidzed the four of us were paying 1.6 million pesos for this 2 bedroom apartment that Sigfried rents and converted into a makeshift 4 bedroom. The price of the apartment to him is 800 000(we discovered this by getting to know the neighbors and what they are paying). The room comes with a cheap bed that you can buy locally for 250 000 pesos.
Upon moving in I discovered the toilet was not working properly and Sigfried told me we would have to fix it ourselves.

I did not have a visa and Sigfried knew this however he said it was perfectly legal for me to do a one month internship without a work visa, which later turned out to be false so he tricked me there.
I was hired as a part time PE teacher at a school called PIO XII in Mosquera. When I arrived for the interview with the school, I was informed I would be teaching Social Studies full time. My salary was 2 million which is ok for Colombian standard. After arriving at the school and meeting the other teachers it turned out they were having huge issues and my first day was a meeting to discuss the fact that the last four payments were late, and the general unhappiness of the teachers , of which there were aprox. 10.

After talking with the other teachers it turned out everyone was unhappy for repeated late payments, but more than anything they were unhappy with Sigfried and Carolina his coordinator. They felt that Sigfried and Carolina were not always being honest. The principal had to regularly have it out with Sigfried . Teachers were repeatedly leaving due to their unhappyness with PGROWTH. It was revealed to everyone at the school that Sigfried was collecting 3.5 million and paying out 2 million. This was very hurtful to many people. I myself left the school at this point and told Mr Sigfried that school was not for me there was too much negativity there. He told me I would have to stay there or go find a job on my own. So I left. I asked him what about what he said before about having many schools to place me in, and he said well you will have to wait until August( it was June).

When Sigfried was confronted about the 1.5 million discrepancy in payment he claimed it was for the bus ride provided for the teachers by the school, as well as the free lunch provided daily. When asked the principal said that is not true he provided those services for free. Upon confronting Sigfried with this information the group of teachers was told well that is what the cost would be if you had to pay for those services. As well Mr Sigfried stated well you signed a contract for 2 million so too bad. Many teachers left immediately after their 2 week paid holiday in June.

I left the apartment at his point as I did not want anything to do with this company. If you look at the web page of PGROWTH it says international company with locations in many countries. Along with a few teachers we called the office in Bogota and tried to get contact info for other offices and were told they did not have he numbers on hand. Also there are no links anywhere on thei pages to verify this information. We (myself and a few other teachers)searched the internet and could not find a trace of anything anywhere , minus a number in the cayman islands where Sigfried is from( which only led to an answering machine). They have some ads posted on you tube as well that are claiming international ties and locations in many countries though we could not find any links anywhere as well, in fact many of the pictures they used throughout do not seem genuine one of the london buildings is actually a hostel hahah in london.

We searched the internet and could not find out much about PGROWTH , there are a few other webpages posted with similar stories of late payments, and dishonest behavior, and greedy practices

.http://www.pissedconsumer.com/reviews-by-company/personal-growth-international/personal-growth-international-scammed-me-20121204364712.html

http://www.pissedconsumer.com/reviews-by-company/personal-growth-international/beware-of-personal-growth-bogota-colombia-20130702425405.html

http://www.pissedconsumer.com/reviews-by-company/personal-growth-international.html

http://poorbuthappy.com/colombia/post/teachers-does-anyone-know-personal-growth-international/

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=95681

This is currently my fourth time in Bogata and I have not met one person who is Happy with PG, although I have met over 20 teachers who have had really bad experiences with them. I am hoping to get more awareness out there. Also another thing these papers Sigfried likes to say cost 250, usd for the visa this is not true, I got my visa here from a company there is now a list on a webpage that can also be viewed in english of the requirements. Also VERY IMPORTANT if you do not have a visa and are in the country the laws have changed in Colombia, you do not need to leave the country to get a work visa any longer. The total cost is 245 usd and that is to the colombian government, do not pay anything to a company to get you a visa. This info is available at concileria.gov.co

Good Luck with your employment!!!
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adamthenerd



Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:08 am    Post subject: UPDATE Reply with quote

So Mr Sigfried tried to get me to take down this post. I will not say much and let you deciide what is what, much like my last post. I will just put up a copy of his email and my response. If you read spanish this is in my opinion quit amusing and childish of him. Also look at the links at the bottom(still nothing international), who knows anything about the cayman islands, I woud love to find out about that. But the other 2 companies are in Bogota blocks from each other, and really work as one with the same people but for whatever reason he likes to have to buildings under 2 different names.





From: General Manager- Personal Growth <academicdirection@pgrowth.com>
To: Adamthenerd
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 7:41 AM
Subject: NOTIFICACION No1


Bogota, Septiembre 13 de 2013


Senor:
ADAM JOSEPH
La Ciudad


Yo Sigfried Castell, Representante Legal de la Fundacion Educativa Personal Growth, y representante de la firma Personal Growth International por medio de este presente escrito se le notifica por vez primera:

1. Ud llego a nuestra compania a traves de un correo que envio el dia 30 de Abril del presente ano, en el cual nos decia que acababa de llegar a Colombia y estaba buscando empleo.

2. Se le hizo firmar "Carta de Internado" en el cual se le hiba a contratar como docente de Educacion fisica, Ciencias sociales o ingles, en el Colegio Pio XII, o en su defecto lo que ellos necesitaban. y con el compromiso que sacaria la visa de trabajo con nosotros.

3. Ud, se le arrendo un cuarto por $400.000 en el cual incluia los servicios de: Agua, luz, internet,gas natural, cocina con todos los implementos.

4. Decidio mudarse y no seguir en el Internado despues de un mes, a lo cual accedimos a cancelarle sus honorarios generados en el mes.

5. Nos encontramos con la sorpresa que UD publico el siguiente aviso en Internet sobre mi persona y sobre nuestra compania, en el link: http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?p=1106151
en el cual difama sobre nuestra empresa y mi persona.

6. Este es la primera notificacion por escrito en el cual se le solicita BORRAR dichos comentarios negativos, los cuales fueron publicados por ud, y atentan contra mi buen nombre y el de nuestra compania, teniendo en cuenta la ley DE BULLING CIBERNETICO EN COLOMBIA, para lo cual si al recibo de este correo ud hace caso omiso, nos veremos en la obligacion de notificar a las autoridades Colombianas y Canadienses, Migracion Colombia, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Interpol, Fiscalia, Policia Nacional y todas los demas entes de control sobre este acto que nuevamente reitero, nos esta afectando en sobremanera.


Sin mas a la presente,





___________________________________________
Sigfried Castell
General Manager
Fundacion Educativa Personal Growth
Address: Transversal 25 No 53C-15
Phone: 57-1- 5411503 Bogota- Colombia
Mobile: 57- 3044227835/ 321-4415962
Bogota- Colombia
E.mail: academicdirection@pgrowth.com
Skype: personal.growth.international
Website: www.pgrowth.com
.........................................................................................................
Personal Growth International (PGI) Ltd
P.O. BOX 12206 KY1-1010
Grand Cayman- Cayman Islands
Phones: 1-345-9273601 Grand Cayman
CALL US FREE: 1-888-525-8491 USA
...........................................................................................................
Personal Tutoring S.A.S.
Calle 56 No 18-21
Tel. 4611227
Website: www.mypersonaltutoring.com

My Response

Mr Sigfried

I never signed a contract with you to work at pio doce, nor did I ever get a visa with you. I am not taking this post down it is not in violation of anything except for the fact that you tricked me into working for you without a visa by telling me I could do an internship. Also if you would like I can get from Jonathan the email where you told him he had to be out of the apartment in 3 days so you cannot say that I never gave you notice, because you did not give others notice. It is not slander to speak the truth, also this is not malicious in any way. You are a bully who likes to use people and push around the kids that come here looking for work. You are dishonest, greedy, lazy, and a charlatan. That post only speaks the truth no bad things were said about you. If you thought they were bad than maybe the way you treat people is bad. You can send all the notices you want I am not taking anything down .

Sincerely

Adam


Last edited by adamthenerd on Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:29 pm; edited 2 times in total
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windowlicker



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

PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't worry about anything this Sigfried guy says. Clearly, Interpol isn't going to issue an international arrest warrant based on the Cyber "Bulling" Law of Colombia. Canada will clearly just laugh in this guy's face, and I'm sure you'll still be more than welcome by Colombian authorities, unless Sigfried is by chance a child or adolescent the law is meant to protect, in which case you, adamthenerd, should be ashamed of yourself for defaming a young, child-entrepreneur.
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adamthenerd



Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The truth is what it is. These are facts not opinions. These actions transpired. It is the readers opinion if Pgrowth acted in a negative and unscrupulous way or if Pgrowth was fair and just.

I was happy with the room I rented from them, it was helpful to have a room rented to me near work I only left after seeing what I thought was alot of negativity. I was happy to recieve work from Pgrowth I only left because of all the negativity I thought I saw . Also to me it seems unfair that someone would recieve 3.5 million pesos and pay out at 2 million pesos.However to others it may seem fair. Pgrowth has to make money of course to pay their employees and their overhead though I feel taking that much off the top is unfair. It may be just , it is up to the reader to decide what is fair and what is not.

defame (dɪˈfeɪm Pronunciation for defame )
Definitions
verb

to attack the good name or reputation of; slander; libel
(archaic) to indict or accuse


slanderous (ˈslɑːndərəs)
Definitions
adjective

false and malicious
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MNguy



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
Posts: 127

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adamthenerd wrote:
The truth is what it is.
defame (dɪˈfeɪm Pronunciation for defame )



Move on, let it go and find a new job.
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adamthenerd



Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mn guy I did move on, however that doesnt mean I was not going to post the experience to help out others if it can.
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zimmi337



Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:44 pm    Post subject: thank you :) Reply with quote

Hi Adam,

Thank you for posting this information. I really appreciate the heads-up.
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labomba



Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for posting your experience.
Its the right thing to do.

Personal Growth International! jajaja!
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adamthenerd



Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:02 am    Post subject: Your Welcome Reply with quote

Your Welcome all Beware of these guys it is a gamble, you may or may not get paid. The only 100% is you are going to have problmes with many things and in many ways. A learning experience but not necessarily a fun one. These guys run people through the wringer trying to squeeze every drop of humanity out of you . Pio Doce and Personal Growth. I just found another blog about these guys on this site.

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?p=1129735#1129735
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ccjones



Joined: 30 Jun 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject: Personal Growth Interntional Reply with quote

I just finished interviewing with Sigfried and am glad to find this post, which confirmed my suspicion about him and that he's not trustworthy and will say anything to "sell" the position. He was late to the interview and when I emailed him to confirm it, he replied that he was stuck in Bogota traffic. When I gave him another 15 min. to "arrive" and still didn't hear from him, I emailed him to either cancel or reschedule the interview. He replied immediately and requested my Skype i.d. We had a very short interview, which was interrupted by his choosing to take a phone call and was indifferent about keeping me waiting. After the call, he gave me the details about the position, speaking very quickly, and afterwards, I asked him to email me all the information.

I'm am experienced classroom teacher in the U.S. and just got my CELTA. I've spent the past two weeks interviewing with bilingual elementary schools and one language school, all in Mexico, so I've learned what to look for, listen for, and ask. When I first connected with Sigfried via Skype, the connection was poor and he told to mute the webcam. I told him that I wanted, even for a moment, to see who I'm speaking with. We reconnected briefly and I got a good look at him. I'm guessing that he's in his 30s and a nothing more than a fast talking recruiter who has little regard for the candidates and will say whatever he needs to say, as long as he's able to get people on board, since he knows how to avoid all accountablility.
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becsummer



Joined: 08 Oct 2014
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:04 pm    Post subject: WARNING! Personal Growth is a fraud!!! Reply with quote

THIS COMPANY IS A FRAUD!!! I want to warn you about working for Personal Growth, I’ll tell you about my (short lasting) experience with them. If you’re thinking about working for them, it’s worth reading!

I worked briefly for this company from July to August 2014. Similarly to what I’ve read in other posts, the interview with Sigfried was very short and he said whatever he needed to say to quickly “sell” a position. I did not sign a contract and I did not get a visa (even though I had cancelled my existing visa to get one with them), Mr. Sigfried was too busy to get me working right away.

I started at the school only a few days after the interview, in the middle of the academic year, and in the middle of the week, without any sort of introduction.

I had been told that my salary would be 2.000.000 Colombian pesos per month, but that the school paid the company (Personal Growth) 2.300.000 per month. Sigfried had told me that the additional 300.000 would cover my transportation to and from the school in the northern outskirts of Bogotá, as well as administration costs “since we (PG) are also a company and have to make an income”.

However, the school did not offer staff transportation, nor did Personal Growth cover my travel expenses (which added up to 6 daily busses and 200.000 pesos per month). In addition, when consulting the school, it turns out that they were paying Personal Growth a monthly 2.450.000 per teacher, and not 2.300.000 as Sigfried had claimed. This money, however, went straight to the company and not to its teachers nor to their transportations. I quit within three weeks.

Nevertheless, I decided to give Personal Growth another try at a language school close to where I live. I was accompanied to the interview at the language school by Sigfried’s secretary who insisted on sitting in during the interview. However, my interviewer refused to have her join. Guess why? The language school wanted to offer me a position that would include travelling (super awesome) and wanted to discuss the matter with me in private since they didn’t buy into Personal Growth’s reasoning for not allowing it… Sigfried had told the language school in advance that I could NOT TRAVEL UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES because “She (I) has an extremely jealous boyfriend who would NEVER let her travel, don’t even ask her – it’s impossible!” I couldn’t believe it! I have no idea why they don’t allow travelling, but if they have to make up lies about it, their reason is not good enough. Sigfried knows nothing about my private life and has no right to make up stories like that. That was it for me with this company, I had had it!

When pay day came along: did I get paid? Not a penny!
It took me 22 days, 6 e-mails to three different staff members, numerous whatsapp conversations with the poor secretary, and, of course, daily phone calls of which less than half were answered, for them to pay me about 65% of the salary I had earned! I was told that Sigfried had been on vacation in the Cayman Islands and that the company therefor couldn’t pay me.
When confronting them with that the salary they had paid me didn’t add up to what I had earned, there was no response whatsoever, and to this day there still hasn’t been.

By now I’ve simply decided it’s not worth all the effort it would take to get paid the money they owe me, and I’ve decided that the best thing I can do now is to share my experience with others, instead. Hopefully, somewhere, someone will be warned by this and similar posts about Personal Growth, and decide to go work for someone else, like I did, before it’s too late. There are plenty of options for teaching English in Bogotá, don’t be fooled by this one.
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becsummer



Joined: 08 Oct 2014
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:08 pm    Post subject: Re: WARNING! Personal Growth is a fraud!!! Reply with quote

[quote="becsummer"]THIS COMPANY IS A FRAUD!!! I want to warn you about working for Personal Growth, I’ll tell you about my (short lasting) experience with them. If you’re thinking about working for them, it’s worth reading!

I worked briefly for this company from July to August 2014. Similarly to what I’ve read in other posts, the interview with Sigfried was very short and he said whatever he needed to say to quickly “sell” a position. I did not sign a contract and I did not get a visa (even though I had cancelled my existing visa to get one with them), Mr. Sigfried was too busy to get me working right away.

I started at the school only a few days after the interview, in the middle of the academic year, and in the middle of the week, without any sort of introduction.

I had been told that my salary would be 2.000.000 Colombian pesos per month, but that the school paid the company (Personal Growth) 2.300.000 per month. Sigfried had told me that the additional 300.000 would cover my transportation to and from the school in the northern outskirts of Bogotá, as well as administration costs “since we (PG) are also a company and have to make an income”.

However, the school did not offer staff transportation, nor did Personal Growth cover my travel expenses (which added up to 6 daily busses and 200.000 pesos per month). In addition, when consulting the school, it turns out that they were paying Personal Growth a monthly 2.450.000 per teacher, and not 2.300.000 as Sigfried had claimed. This money, however, went straight to the company and not to its teachers nor to their transportations. I quit within three weeks.

Nevertheless, I decided to give Personal Growth another try at a language school close to where I live. I was accompanied to the interview at the language school by Sigfried’s secretary who insisted on sitting in during the interview. However, my interviewer refused to have her join. Guess why? The language school wanted to offer me a position that would include travelling (super awesome) and wanted to discuss the matter with me in private since they didn’t buy into Personal Growth’s reasoning for not allowing it… Sigfried had told the language school in advance that I could NOT TRAVEL UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES because “She (I) has an extremely jealous boyfriend who would NEVER let her travel, don’t even ask her – it’s impossible!” I couldn’t believe it! I have no idea why they don’t allow travelling, but if they have to make up lies about it, their reason is not good enough. Sigfried knows nothing about my private life and has no right to make up stories like that. That was it for me with this company, I had had it!

When pay day came along: did I get paid? Not a penny!
It took me 22 days, 6 e-mails to three different staff members, numerous whatsapp conversations with the poor secretary, and, of course, daily phone calls of which less than half were answered, for them to pay me about 65% of the salary I had earned! I was told that Sigfried had been on vacation in the Cayman Islands and that the company therefor couldn’t pay me.
When confronting them with that the salary they had paid me didn’t add up to what I had earned, there was no response whatsoever, and to this day there still hasn’t been.

By now I’ve simply decided it’s not worth all the effort it would take to get paid the money they owe me, and I’ve decided that the best thing I can do now is to share my experience with others, instead. Hopefully, somewhere, someone will be warned by this and similar posts about Personal Growth, and decide to go work for someone else, like I did, before it’s too late. There are plenty of options for teaching English in Bogotá, don’t be fooled by this one.[/quote]

[b]After receiving an e-mail from Mr. Sigfried Castell about this post, as expected, claiming that this is all a lie. I would like him to know that this is a discussion forum and that it shouldn't be necessary to point out that the purpose of it is for teachers around the globe to share experiences, give advice, and post opinions. With that said, and without the need to clarify any further, the previous post is solely MY OPINION on what happened. If anyone would still decide to go work for Personal Growth, I am sure that he or she will have an opinion of their own to share with the rest of us. But who knows? I could be wrong. Wink[/b]
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