Exploring Latin America: A Guide to Adventure and Teaching Opportunities

From mountain landscapes to the Amazonian rainforests, Latin America holds the promise of adventure for everyone. Whether you’re keen to see ancient ruins, go trekking in the Andes, or relax on sunny beaches, this continent offers some of the best experiences to be had anywhere in the world.

Yet, while exploring South America is a dream for many, it can be far out of reach due to the expense of travelling. However, there’s a solution to that problem. Teaching English in Latin America offers a chance to explore new cultures while earning. Not only will you be able to have experiences that you’ve only dreamed of, but you’ll also be doing a rewarding job, making a positive impact on the lives of your students. What could be more satisfying than that?

Why Latin America?

The global shortage of teachers hasn’t passed Latin America. Almost three million replacement educators are required across the continent, and that means there are plenty of opportunities for those who know how to teach English in Latin America. Teachers with the right skills and qualifications are in the perfect position to take up roles in South America, which is home to some of the most stunning countries in the world.

There’s an enormous range of opportunities for TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) professionals all across South America, and this part of the world is especially appealing to those who are new to the profession as well as those who have no university degree since finding work here tends to be simpler than in Europe and Asia. So, if you’re equipped with a TEFL qualification and have a passion for travel and exploration, this could be an excellent career move for you!

The Pros And Cons Of Working As A Teacher In South America

One of the best things about working as a teacher in South America is the sheer beauty of the continent. When you live and work here, you get the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and get a real taste of each country’s unique lifestyle. There are some impressive natural wonders here, too, from the Amazon itself to the Iguazu Falls, all just waiting to be discovered.

While teaching in South America offers exciting experiences, it’s also important to be prepared for some of the challenges you might face. 

One thing to be aware of is that many employers prefer hiring teachers in person rather than online, so you need to be in the country before you can get a job. With that in mind, you should have sufficient money to last you for a couple of months when you arrive so that you don’t have any financial concerns. The best times to head to South America as a teacher are in August, February, and March, since these are the peak hiring seasons, so take care to time your arrival well, or you could struggle to obtain work.

It’s also advisable to know the local language, not only because it’ll make life much easier when you’re travelling around, but also because it’s sure to be appreciated by your students and employers.

Where Shall I Teach In South America?

South America is a huge continent, and every country has qualities of its own to discover. Brazil is very different from Ecuador, for example. However, no matter where you decide to head, you’ll find a lot to enjoy and many challenges to face. Therefore, doing plenty of research is crucial to ensure you’ve made the right decision for you.

Ask yourself some questions about the kind of lifestyle you hope to enjoy. What kind of weather would you prefer? Do you want to base yourself in a city or somewhere more rural? Are there any specific attractions you want to experience?

It’s also important to consider how much teaching experience you have since some South American countries prefer to take on more experienced staff or those with a university degree and a TEFL certificate.

So, let’s take a closer look at some of the best destinations in Latin America for English teachers.

Discover Colombia

The TEFL market in Colombia has experienced significant growth over the past few years. If you have an adventurous spirit and want to experience a different way of life from your own, this could be the ideal place for you to begin your teaching career.

One of the top reasons to consider Colombia as a newly qualified TEFL professional is that competition for jobs here isn’t as strong as in most other South American countries, so if you have little teaching experience, you’re still likely to be considered and will have more opportunities to pick from.

While average teaching salaries are lower than those in other countries, you’ll also find that living costs are low too, so you’ll still enjoy a good quality of life, with the chance to discover the country’s diverse cultures and cities like Medellin, Cali, and Bogota.

Teaching In Argentina

As one of the top destinations for TEFL teachers who want to work in South America, Argentina has a lot to offer. Its varied geography, welcoming locals, and delicious food attract many education professionals to roles in cities like Cordoba, Rosario, Mendoza, and Buenos Aires, where they can enjoy a fast-paced, exciting, and multicultural experience while working in one of the many local language schools.

Many English teachers here offer tutoring on a freelance basis to top up their income, and there is a strong demand for lessons. It’s also possible to work here entirely on a freelance teaching basis, which is the best option if you don’t have a degree since many language schools will be looking for applicants who have attended university.

Working As A Teacher In Chile

While Chile isn’t the most lucrative TEFL destination in the financial sense, there’s far more to this country than just money. With its wide-ranging landscapes that vary from the Atacama desert to volcanoes and cosmopolitan cities like Valparaiso and Santiago, it’s a great place to work as an English teacher if you relish the prospect of adventure. Chile is also one of South America’s safest, most stable countries, which makes it an attractive option.

You’ll find plenty of work opportunities here, whether you’re an experienced teacher or a newcomer to the role. There is a strong demand for English lessons from adults and children alike nationwide. Teaching business English is one option here, while Chilean children begin learning English at a young age and also require trained language teachers.

Ecuador’s Teaching Opportunities

Although Ecuador is Latin America’s second smallest country, it still boasts a thriving TEFL market. Demand is growing year-on-year for skilled TEFL professionals, and if you’re seeking an entry-level position, this could be the ideal place for you to begin your career since there are lots of roles here that are suitable for newly qualified English teachers. There’s no need to have a degree, so as long as you’ve obtained your TEFL certificate, you’re good to go here.

While a lot of positions here involve teaching university students or business professionals who are learning English, opportunities to teach children are increasing, too. Most jobs can be found in cities like Quito, Latacunga, Quevedo, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. However, if you can find a post in a more rural location, you can benefit from an even lower cost of living.

Opportunities In Peru

There has been steady growth in Peru’s economy since the early 1990s, and this has driven up demand for TEFL teachers in the country Peru’s tourism sector is thriving, and that has opened up a host of opportunities for English teachers to deliver Business English classes as well as more general language lessons.

Private tutoring is popular here, so it’s possible to earn a little extra outside of your day job. With a typical working week for teachers working out somewhere between 20 and 30 hours, that leaves sufficient time for freelance work or for travelling to some of the country’s most popular attractions, such as the world-famous Machu Picchu. Most teaching jobs are found in Lima. However, there are some opportunities available in Arequipa, Sullana, Trujillo, and Cusco that are worth exploring if you want to experience life outside the capital.

Embracing The Latin American Lifestyle

Working as an English teacher in Latin America may well be one of the most rewarding decisions you make in your life. It’s an opportunity to discover a completely different way of life in a unique and wonderful environment. For those with an adventuring spirit, it represents an amazing chance to live out your dream of exploring South America while earning a living at the same time. Although the infrastructure, systems, and culture here are very different from those at home, you’re sure to love life in the South American country of your choice if you go with an open mind and are willing to embrace every challenge. One thing’s for sure – you’ll make lifelong friends and some unforgettable memories during your stay!

Read Also: 

20 Best Places to Visit in Central America: A Traveler’s Guide

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22 Famous Places in Argentina You Should Visit Once In Your Lifetime

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