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Teaching in South America

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Teaching in South America

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1. Posted by jbagnall90 (Budding Member 3 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!


I am a fully qualified Maths teacher (secondary PGCE) and have been teaching for 2 years. I am also taking a TEFL course. I have A-level spanish and am quite fluent due to living with spanish housemates at University. I am wanting to travel for at least 2 years and am wondering how easy it is to get temporary teaching jobs throughout South and Central America to help me out with funds whilst I travel around I have enough savings for 1 years travel but . I am planning to visit Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guyana, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Columbia, Chile, Peru, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Uruguay, Costa Rica. So if anyone has any info on any of these countries that would be incredibally helpful.
I am also wanting to visit Brazil and Suriname but don't speak the language so understand I probably won't be able to work there.


2. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Honestly, this is way harder than you imagine. In the cities you are competing with lots of well educated locals and off the beaten path you're looking at almost no money at all.

Good luck with you research, but I doubt you'll find many places where you can get a short term contract for enough of a wage that it will finance travel.


3. Posted by jbagnall90 (Budding Member 3 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I have enough money to travel for a year I was just looking at extending this as much as possible. I am also part way towards qualifying as a dive instructor I don't suppose that would be any easier to get a bit of paid work?

4. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

In my opinion it's likely six-of-one-half-a-dozen-of-another... You might have more of a chance getting hired as a dive instructor, who knows. Dive schools are easy to contact.

Since you're not a dive instructor already though that means your experience is zero... put yourself in their shoes... would you hire a dive instructor with no experience?...


5. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I don't mean to sound negative, I just want you to think about where you're going... for the vast majority of jobs in Central/South America there's an endless number of qualified locals scrambling for employment. Why would anyone hire a foreigner looking for short term work over a local? Put yourself in the employer's position...

That said, there's lots of vagabonds everywhere who manage to get jobs that helps perpetuate their travel. Your knowledge of Spanish is a huge advantage. Good luck.


6. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hi Jonathan

When I was in South America in 2006, it was very easy to pick up English teaching jobs. I had no TEFL qualification at the time and was able to get teaching work in the Las Condes area of SAntiago. Many other backpackers I met at the time were picking up work easily in Chile and Argentina. Some schools required a TEFL qualification, others based their selection on an interview.

As that's 8 years ago now (time is flying!), I couldn't advise you on what the current situation is like, but I doubt it has changed too much since then,

Also, my brother taught English in Buenos Aires for a year in 2010 and had no major problem finding work.

Good luck and have a great time on your travels ;)

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Jun-2014, at 07:16 by samsara_ ]

7. Posted by polyglot25 (Budding Member 42 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

In some cities - Santiago and Buenos Aires first among them - you can barely see the pavement for English and Americans teaching English. Clearly, it means that work is available - but as previous posters have mentioned the best work goes to the most experienced. I suspect many of these English 'teachers' (I use the quotation marks advisedly, they are not all qualified and even having a TEFL doesn't make you a good teacher - I say this being a teacher myself) pick up a couple of hours' work a week, enough to pay for meals and little else.

Much better in my view is to save up in your home country, where your earning potential is significantly greater (having taught in the UK for 4 years, I know this is hardly hundreds of thousands!), and travel on your saved money. Financing your travels while on the road is a risky proposition - I personally find the idea extremely depressing!

Alternative, get yourself over here and teach in Australia, that's what I did. For the same amount of work my salary is nearly double the UK!

Good luck!

8. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!


[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jun-2014, at 19:26 by CheersT ]

9. Posted by Cheryllm (Budding Member 9 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Are you a real human or one of those spam programs trying to upload a profile.

10. Posted by jbagnall90 (Budding Member 3 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Thanks guys I think I might stay on next year then working here to save a bit more like polyglot said, then go out there and see what happens, if I can't get a job then I'll just come back as soon as money runs out. I can confirm Cheryl that I am indeed a real human, to be fair that's not the first time I've been asked that.

Thanks for the advice