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Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean TEFL WORK IN LATIN AMERICA

1. Posted by Bobalugats (Budding Member 12 posts) 11y


Has anyone got any hints on finding TEFL jobs in central or south America. I have a TEFL cert, little bit of experience and I can speak some Spanish.

I plan on travelling over there at the end of February 06 and to be honest I dont know where to start.

Is it easy to find work ? Where is the best place to start looking ?What countries would you reccommend to live ? I was thinking Buenos Aires but dont really have a preference. Would the pay be any way decent ?

If anyone has any info i would be delighted to hear it ?


2. Posted by jackboy (Inactive 350 posts) 11y

Check links,tools,destinations at top of this page for all upto date TEFL info ref Central and South America.
Have a good trip
al de bes

3. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member 458 posts) 11y

Hi Robbie,

I had the exact same question, and posed it a friend I met traveling a couple years ago. She later packed up, left the States and is now living in BA. Here's what she had to say:

I bought an apartment in San telmo and am still
working on it. I am still teaching English a little
bit, so I tell you what my thoughts are. First, don't
bother with the Tefl for here. Very few places ask for
it -- if you have a degree that is good though. Here
the TEFL doesn't matter really at all -- but I have to
admit sometimes it is difficult to explain certain
things that just come naturally to us as native
speakers -- maybe I am just a sucky teacher.

The other thing I have to say about it is that the
teaching English gig, at least in BA is kind of
bollocks. You get paid $15-$18 an hour ($5-6) and
usually you have to travel to companies that take an
hour to get to on the subway, so really it is three
hours of your time for one hour of work. (most of the
gigs I have been offered were like this)

There are people who do it for a living but it would
be hard to imagine being able to teach more than three
classes a day because of the transport time. It is
also exhausting to be traveling all day. So there may
be other situations but this is my experience. In fact
I have turned down lots of English teaching gigs
because I didn't feel it was worth it. I have heard
that it is better in other cities --Salta for example.
the less gringos there are the more work you can get
-- on your terms.

Hope that helps.

4. Posted by numero1 (Respected Member 295 posts) 11y

I was teaching English in Buenos Aires with no qualifications at all.

My job interview went something like this:

Where are you from ? Australia
Do you speak British English? Yes
Ok, when can you start work? Tommorow.

It was as easy as that in buenos Aires.

However the days were long. I started at 9:ooam and often finished up around 10:00pm.

The pay was not good. 20 Pesos per hour and only payed when I had a class. So if I only had 3 classes of 1 hour for the day I would only get payed 60 pesos for the day. Half of my takings went back to the school. So that would have been 30 pesos for the day for 3 hours of teaching. 30 pesos is around the $10 U.S mark for a whole days work. Not very much to live off. In fact almost impossible there. So I found myself most of the time chewing into my savings and cash I brought over from home, with the job pay being like a little bit of "pocket money" on the side.

My advice is don't count on making a living out of teaching English in Buenos Aires.

5. Posted by Sparlita (Budding Member 41 posts) 10y

you should visit

Dave's ESL Café

Its a great site for forums on teaching english.

6. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member 368 posts) 10y

Hi there, it is best to look for jobs on the spot. Some companies advertise on websites etc. but usually this is costly for them and it doesn't benefit them in a great way!! If you decide to choose B's A's look for jobs in the local paper 'Buenos Aires Herald' which is I think in both English and Spanish or ask around when you are there!! I have to say the pay will be fairly average! Infact with the decline in economy of Argentina - they will probably not pay too good atall!! However personally I want to go there to teach English etc. as I find it such a wonderful place and I don't really mind not getting paid a lot!! Santiago, Chile or Brazil may pay better, however the cost of living is alot higher than that of Buenos Aires and the pay is usually according to the cost of living!! Bolivia, Peru etc. are again not too high - unless you get to the main cities and even then you just have to try your luck and see if you get a decent school!!


7. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru 586 posts) 10y

You are facing long hours and low pay teaching English in Latin America, if you plan to stay and meet a nice lady and have a little to invest you can make money in some areas by opening your own school, find a place, usually smaller towns, where there is little competition. There is a chain of English Academies here in Central America promising native speakers work permit sponorship, full time employment, high starting salary, assistance with housing and free Spanish lessons..they actually pay $3.50US-$4.00US an hour, full or part time, as they did 10 years ago, do not assist with housing nor Spanish, while usually hiring part time (no work permit required)early a.m, afternoons and evenings, staggered hours, 6 days a week. As most students attend high schools or universities during the week, Saturday classes are usually popular in Latin America. In big cities like Mexico City, BA, Santiago, Lima etc. as noted above you'll sometimes spend up to 2 hours traveling to teach a one hour class. In some countries such as Peru, you'll require a business visa then a permit to teach as a foreigner, even part time. Far more profitable and much more fun, if one has the knack for it, is to export indingenous arts and crafts to one's home country if you feel a market exists from Countries like Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, etc.

8. Posted by taki (Full Member 132 posts) 10y


you cant be more accurate than what u jus said, it is the real story in teaching English in LA


9. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru 586 posts) 10y

If you are a CERTIFIED Teacher in any subject, with a B.A. Degree or equiv., in your home State, Province or Country and wish to broaden your horizons, there are many "American" and "British" type schools, certified in both the country where located in LA and US, Canada, UK, etc. 12 year programs for High School Degree and College Entrance abroad, these schools hire from abroad and offer nice starting salary, benefits, r.t. ticket home and free housing..these schools are also located world wide Teaching is usually done in English, except for foreign language subjects. A lot of information here for L.A. Some of these schools are also private Christian Institutions. Otherwise, TEFL or no TEFL, it is far better to volunteer first, make contacts and show people you are serious. Contacts (natives and long term resident ex pats, not other travelers, unless just 'traveling')are everything in L.A.