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Cali - 2 year degree and CELTA. Thoughts on options & p

 
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TheGreatAdventurer



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:47 pm    Post subject: Cali - 2 year degree and CELTA. Thoughts on options & p Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

As I look more and more towards setting off into the world of teaching English abroad, I find that my sights have been set more and more on Latin America, specifically Colombia. While I haven't made a final decision, as I still have several years to go before I'm ready to leave, I would like to start gathering as much information as possible in advance.

Basically, when the time comes for me to leave and embark on this Adventure, I plan to have a CELTA and a sizeable nest-egg saved up. I already have an Associate's Degree, and I also have certifications as a Flight Instructor as well as over a year of experience teaching people to fly, so I am not entirely inexperienced. And though I know that not having a Bachelor's Degree will hold me back somewhat, it is not something I will be able to finish before I depart.

One thing to note before I discuss my plan, I am actually looking for a place to settle down in for some time. I really hope to immerse myself in the culture, meet that special girl, and eventually start a family. Though the money in SA isn't that great, there are many more considerations. The most important thing to me is that I find a culture and climate that truly makes me happy, one that I can make a part of my life for the long term. I've always been infatuated with LA and the culture en todo and really enjoy Espanol.

Assuming I decide on Colombia, and choose Cali as the area I'd like to be, my plan is this -- To avoid VISA issues (and because I am working on becoming fluent in Spanish) I would enroll in a Spanish course at a colegio/universidad. This would also allow me to get my foot in the door at finishing my Bachelor's Degree, which I WILL finish once I get abroad. I would hope with my CELTA and also my Flight Instructor certs and experience, I would be able to find some type of decent starting teaching position that would allow me to at least break even after allowing some dinero to keep taking classes locally in pursuit of the degree. Hopefully by then my Spanish would be good enough to allow me to succeed at a Colombian colegio.

From there I would work my way up, network myself to hell and back, and try to climb the ladder into better teaching positions in la ciudad that I wind up living in. Having the nestegg to help me get started, and as a backup, but hopefully not having to dig into after it's all said and done. It's a sizeable nestegg that would allow me to live VERY comfortably in Colombia for AT LEAST a couple of years even if I were unemployed. Being employed as a teacher and making money, I could dip into it for classes to expedite finishing my Bachelor's if needs be.

So, with all this in mind, what are my options? Will I have a difficult time finding some type of position that will allow me to do this? I'm also willing (and maybe even prefer) to teach in a smaller community outside of the city. I also have other interests as well that I hope to dive into as a possible employment option someday, at least part time on the side, such as bodybuilding/fitness personal training. From what I understand, many people in Colombia are interested in fitness and appearance, so perhaps that door would be open to me down the road as well. Smile

I'm basically looking for my ESL career to take me to where I want to live for the rest of my life, even if I decide to spend time teaching in other countries in the interim. When it's all said and done, I'd like to start out in the place that I will ultimately return to for retirement after I've lived the Adventure I seek. I have no family or any ties of any kind in the US, and do not plan on returning once I leave.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts. Thank you friends!
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simonenglish



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come over and see what happens. The country is great but it takes time to find a decent job. For the colegios they usually need some qualification related to education, whether it be a MA in TESOL or a certified high school teaching diploma. A TEFL cert and BA will not be enough for good colegios. This is the same in other countries like Japan where the standards are rising all the time..

You get six months in the country on a tourist visa. Then you need to find a job that pays and will sort you out visawise.
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TheGreatAdventurer



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Simon.

I don't expect to find a top-tier job right off the bat, especially without more higher education under my belt. As long as I found something that paid me enough to live and continue going to school (at least one or two classes at a time), perhaps even put a tiny bit away to continue adding to my nestegg, I'd be happy. Oh and of course have a decent gym membership so I can continue my bodybuilding pursuits jajaja. I love to cook and have no intention of trying to go out to eat all the time, nor do I plan to drink or party much at all. Thus, I plan to live a very frugal existence, especially at the beginning. Smile

What kinds of schools would I likely be able to find a starting gig at? Also, are there opportunities at smaller ciudades y pueblos outside of Cali? Places like, from looking at the map, Palmira, Candelaria, Jamundi, etc etc... and are gringos welcome to work and live in those smaller communities or can it be problematic and/or muy peligroso?

Hoping to learn as much as possible in the next couple of years... perhaps even make some friends here that I can meet up with when the time comes to go! Gracias para sus pensados amigo.
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simonenglish



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could find a job at Berlitz or a institute fairly easily with a bit of perserverance. Just note that the actual working hours are crappy (at least for me). Last night I was told that instructors start at 6am for a morning shift at Berlitz. Even the colegios run from 7am-3pm. Overall, that would impact my social/dance life too much. At least right now, anyway.
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windowlicker



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

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheGreatAdventurer wrote:

Also, are there opportunities at smaller ciudades y pueblos outside of Cali? Places like, from looking at the map, Palmira, Candelaria, Jamundi, etc etc... and are gringos welcome to work and live in those smaller communities or can it be problematic and/or muy peligroso?


I don't know about these towns in particular, but the countryside around Cali is known for being a guerrilla hotbed. However, this isn't what would put me off...the bigger problem is that the answer to your first question is no, there are definitely no opportunities there.
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The Internationalist



Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP,

Some advice....

If you are SERIOUS about moving to Colombia and settling down for a bit than you need to throw out your current plan and come up with a better way.

Here is one way id recommend,

Forget basic ESL for suitable employment for a comfortable life and esp if you want to start a family ect. You will need a REAL teaching job at one of the elite International Schools. Getting a esl cert is only suitable for people just looking to stay 1-3 years for the experience ect. Its not a suitable long term option imo (unless you get a MA TESOL and get a job at a Uni making 3-5mil)

So with that said, you will need to get a teaching license / certification from your home country. You need to calculate which would be faster staying home and finishing your degree in education or finishing your bachelors in non related field then doing a 9-12 month alternative certification program. If you already have a Associates / basic course work done then you can knock out a education degree in 2 years.

You might not want to stay home for that long but you need to be patient and do this the RIGHT way.

Do it your way and I am afraid you will go down there and blow through your money and be forced to return home after 2-3 years. Even if you get a good job teaching ESL its only good for a single guy (and by good I mean have enough for rent / basic local food with a cheap nite out once or twice a week. not much in the way of savings and alot of travel) Then you factor in you wanting a family and that best case for you which by minimalist standards was good/ok as a single guy is now a not so pleasant situation having a wife and kids that you need to support.

Use that nest egg to get your education degree then get hired at an International Teaching Fair and have a good salary & benefits which would make living there long term and starting a family much more realistic and practical.

This is coming from someone that has been to Colombia and fell in love with the country, culture and people. I spent alot of time looking into ways to live comfortably in Colombia for an extended period of time.
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Cruiser



Joined: 26 Nov 2010
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Internationalist wrote:
OP,


This is coming from someone that has been to Colombia and fell in love with the country, culture and people. I spent alot of time looking into ways to live comfortably in Colombia for an extended period of time.


second that...
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spanglish



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

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Internationalist wrote:
OP,

Some advice....

If you are SERIOUS about moving to Colombia and settling down for a bit than you need to throw out your current plan and come up with a better way.

Here is one way id recommend,

Forget basic ESL for suitable employment for a comfortable life and esp if you want to start a family ect. You will need a REAL teaching job at one of the elite International Schools. Getting a esl cert is only suitable for people just looking to stay 1-3 years for the experience ect. Its not a suitable long term option imo (unless you get a MA TESOL and get a job at a Uni making 3-5mil)

So with that said, you will need to get a teaching license / certification from your home country. You need to calculate which would be faster staying home and finishing your degree in education or finishing your bachelors in non related field then doing a 9-12 month alternative certification program. If you already have a Associates / basic course work done then you can knock out a education degree in 2 years.

You might not want to stay home for that long but you need to be patient and do this the RIGHT way.

Do it your way and I am afraid you will go down there and blow through your money and be forced to return home after 2-3 years. Even if you get a good job teaching ESL its only good for a single guy (and by good I mean have enough for rent / basic local food with a cheap nite out once or twice a week. not much in the way of savings and alot of travel) Then you factor in you wanting a family and that best case for you which by minimalist standards was good/ok as a single guy is now a not so pleasant situation having a wife and kids that you need to support.

Use that nest egg to get your education degree then get hired at an International Teaching Fair and have a good salary & benefits which would make living there long term and starting a family much more realistic and practical.

This is coming from someone that has been to Colombia and fell in love with the country, culture and people. I spent alot of time looking into ways to live comfortably in Colombia for an extended period of time.


I totally agree.

I would say though that there is a bit of a middle path: you can get your CELTA and work your way up, but it's a painful climb.

Also, you definitely don't need an MA to make 3-4 million, just a CELTA, experience and luck. Unfortunately teaching conditions in Colombia seem to be slowly deteriorating.
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Welcheronymus



Joined: 08 Aug 2009
Posts: 22
Location: The Middle Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="The Internationalist"]OP,

Some advice....

....So with that said, you will need to get a teaching license / certification from your home country. You need to calculate which would be faster staying home and finishing your degree in education or finishing your bachelors in non related field then doing a 9-12 month alternative certification program. If you already have a Associates / basic course work done then you can knock out a education degree in 2 years.

You might not want to stay home for that long but you need to be patient and do this the RIGHT way.

....Use that nest egg to get your education degree then get hired at an International Teaching Fair and have a good salary & benefits which would make living there long term and starting a family much more realistic and practical.....[/quote]

Thanks, TI, for that advice. That's the conclusion I've come to after much research about how to go about an international teaching career.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would come over to Colombia as you are and see if you like the place. Do some teaching, make contacts, and take it from there.

In terms of quals, I would finish the degree, get a proper TEFL cert, and then do a Master's in English/TESOL. But all these things can be done at different times and not necessarily now or all at once. It depends how the teaching goes, too.

As for the teacher licence, I probably wouldn't take that route because it limits you to international schools. With proper TEFL quals you can work in language schools, do Business English, and if you are lucky get a uni job with a Masters. I had an interview at an international school in Cali this year and the monthly salary was only 2 million pesos. You can earn more at a language school. Of course, the higher end schools pay more, but this is just an example of what is out there/average pay.
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The Internationalist



Joined: 26 May 2012
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sounds more like a basic colegio than a proper International School.

unless you didnt factor in housing allowance, bonuses, ect.

if international teaching is what you want to do then go ahead and get your license. you can get a esl cert within a month or two if for what ever reason you would want to work in a language school. even then for a lot of them you dont even have to have one.

then later down the line after building contacts and some money then you can go get a MA TESOL if you wanted to switch over to the Uni scene.
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