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Possibly relocating to Colombia; Cost of living

 
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talktome



Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 6:23 am    Post subject: Possibly relocating to Colombia; Cost of living Reply with quote

I am looking into the possibility of relocating to Colombia in the next couple of months.
What is the cost of living like?
Is there a demand for adult language teachers?
Is it possible to go there and look for work?
How easy or difficult is it to get a work permit or visa?
What is the overall housing situation like?
What is the ESL scene like in Colombia?
Are basic enmities available in Colombia as they are in places like the US and Canada?


Here is my situation:
I am an American, late-30's. I worked in South Korea for 6 years and Kuwait for 6 months. I taught adults exclusively (though I have taught teens). I have a BA and a TESOL certificate (though it is only for 60 hours). I have experience teaching business communication and tourism.
I am not worried about money- I have a pension that amounts to 4.7-4.9 million pesos (depending on the exchange rate).
I don't drink or go out much, looking for a nice place to relax and enjoy tropical weather.
Workwise, looking to teach adults or teens if it is possible.
Again, would like to know the work permit situation as well as the tourism visa situation for Americans, if anyone has information on that.

Thanks in advance
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DebMer



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 211
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Possibly relocating to Colombia; Cost of living Reply with quote

talktome wrote:

Are basic enmities available in Colombia as they are in places like the US and Canada?


Enmities are commonly available worldwide. You'll find them next to strife and illness on aisle 3. Very Happy

It's been a long time since I lived in Colombia, so I can't comment on costs or work situations, but amenities are available at least in cities. I've lived in Cartagena and visited Medellin, Bogota and Barranquilla, and found everything I needed. As anywhere, local brands are lower priced than foreign ones.

P.S. Cartagena is something akin to paradise if you're looking for beaches and tropical climate in a setting of Colonial architecture.
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spanglish



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

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We get lots of people on here who are 'looking at' coming or 'possibly' coming to Colombia. Take a look through the previous posts on here. All of your questions (and more) have been answered in great detail.

There won't be much if any need for you to work if you have a pension that is that good.

In terms of living, I'm not sure where I'd recommend you go, given that I've always lived in places because of work opportunities, not quality of life. Once you've read up on the posts here, give us a few more details about what would be appealing to you. Perhaps the outskirts of Medellin or an upper-class area of Barranquilla or Cartagena (I've never been to Cartagena)....?
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simonenglish



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that you just need to come over here. A lot of the questions are unanswerable because much depends on where you end up, the people you meet, your quals, the needs of a school, and local factors..

If you have money behind you then just jump on the plane!!

The biggest issue will be the visa. Tourist visas are only one-three months. I would probably just pick a university and enroll on a Spanish course if I were you. You can get a one year student visa then... Working visas depend on the employer sponsoring you. For the part-time work many places won't employ you because they won't help with a visa.

I have been in Cali for three weeks and I am enjoying myself. A lot of the colleges employ teachers from around August, so I hope to get in around then..

For beaches and a tropical climate I would think Cartagena would suit you.
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spanglish



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

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let us know how things go, simon. I think ICESI is the place to work in Cali, so try to get your foot in the door there. I've never been to Cali, so one of these days I'll have to head down there and check out the Salsa scene.
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have a pension of almost 5 mil.....

What you waiting on? Jump on a plane, and get your living situated and look for work.

Not like you will be stressed for money.
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also I think Santa Marta would suite you more than Cartagena.

fug, id kill for a pension of almost 5 mil in colombia! lucky *beep*! lol Wink
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simonenglish



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking of Santa Marta but I don't know what the ESL schools are like, or if there are any decent universities to teach at. Obviously, your choices will be limited compared to Colombia's big four cities..

Regarding Cali, I have been dancing a lot here. If anyone wants info on salsa in Cali then just send me a PM. The weekend starts on Thursday. Thurs-Sun is great.
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Rainingsteel



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Regarding Cali, I have been dancing a lot here. If anyone wants info on salsa in Cali then just send me a PM. The weekend starts on Thursday. Thurs-Sun is great.


I'm actually very interested in this. Did you take private lessons? If so... What's the average cost? Besides improving my Spanish, another main goal while in Colombia is improving my salsa. I'm planning on moving to Barranquilla but I'm worried that I won't be able to find any private instructors or even classes, because I've read that most of the salsa scene in Colombia is confined to Cali. Any advice/knowledge?
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simonenglish



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can make some points but I don't want to hijack the thread and talk salsa, salsa, salsa! You can PM me or I may start a 'salsa in Cali' thread perhaps..

Average price for a private salsa lesson is 35,000 pesos. There are a number of teachers and schools to choose from. Most of the schools are in the south though, and not easy to get to other than taxi (no metro in Cali, and bus service is not the best). Lots of clubs, but again many are on the outskirts and you need a taxi and a group of friends..

Easiest places to get to and to go alone if need be are Tin Tin Deo and Zaperoco.

I heard that Barranquilla has quite a long salsa history, so I think there are places to dance, no problem.

Regarding improving your salsa, you will need months of practice I think. The beginner lessons in the hostels look like zumba workout lessons to me, and above that learning to do all the Cali steps in time and with rhythm takes practice!! Very different from spinny on1 salsa, anyway.
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Jmthomas



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am no expert when it comes to salsa but you may find how they dance on the coast is a lot different from inland particularly Cali. In BAQ they do dance salsa but at least with most of the population it tends to be a bit of a lazy shuffle, done as if you are half a sleep.

Yes I am generalizing, there are no doubt places and dancers who dance proper salsa (but they are probably from outside of BAQ!!). Cali from what I have heard is the salsa capital of Colombia if you really want to learn. Also you may find it is a bit more commercial, when looking in to possibilities of work in Colombia I noticed Cali seemed more active than the coast.
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windowlicker



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

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simonenglish wrote:
I was thinking of Santa Marta but I don't know what the ESL schools are like, or if there are any decent universities to teach at.


In terms of legal work, your options are pretty much limited to two high schools. The universities there by and large won't be equipped to handle hiring foreigners...I believe Universidad del Norte might have a satellite campus there, which could possibly be an exception to that rule (as far as I know, they demand a Master's in TESOL).

Beyond that, I'm sure there's any number of institutes that'll be happy to hire you illegally and pay you $15,000-20,000 pesos/hour.
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talktome



Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right- a lot depends on where you end up.
However, I was in the mind set after teaching in South Korea for so long; all cities were pretty much the same...its good to know there is a little more variety in Colombia.

The advantage I had before teaching in South Korea was being assigned there for 4 years in the US Army (hence the pension)...I was able to get familiar with the country, the people and the culture before I dove right into it.

What I am thinking now is I probably might just enroll on the CELTA course and find out things there while I am studying.

Asides from my 6 years experience, I have a BA in Liberal Arts and a 60-hour TESL certificate.
However, before I even think of going for my CELTA, I was considering enrolling in a M.ED course in TESOL.
Would that help me find a job at a uni, college or high school?


I have a lot of questions as I am now seriously considering going to Colombia....anyone with knowledge and who is able and willing to help me....pm me pls.

Thanx a bunch
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G22



Joined: 25 Oct 2010
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cost of living depends on how you want to live. You can get by on a $1,000 US a month if you're careful. There are a lot of people teaching ESL here, depends on your prior experience and qualifications as well as a bit of luck if you want one of the better jobs.
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

M.Ed in TESOL will def help you ALOT if you want to get a good Uni gig.
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