Teach English in Colombia

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  • Overview

    Questions or concerns about the coronavirus? Please read our blog about it here!

    On Greenheart Travel’s Teach in Colombia program, you’ll spend 11 months teaching English to underserved populations at public schools in Colombia’s Valle del Cauca region. With the help of a local co-teacher, your role as a teacher through Colombia’s bilingual education initiative will be to help students improve their English proficiency and in turn, make an impact on their future job prospects and economic stability.

    This program is perfect if you:

    • Can’t wait to experience a new country as soon as possible – this program starts on January 17, 2021 with no exceptions!
    • Consider yourself an adventurer. You’re ready for the challenge of moving to a new town, in a new language, with new friends.
    • Are willing to make Colombia home until December 2021. This program runs 11 months!
    • Want to use your skills to make a difference. You’re eager to use your native language to benefit under-resourced populations. 
    • Love to travel. Your weekends will be yours, so you can spend them dancing salsa until the early hours of the morning, sipping coconuts on the beach, or spotting street art in Medellin, or anything in between.

    Does that sound like your cup of coffee? (Get it?) Here are some of the details: 

    • You’ll be hired on an 11-month service provision contract
    • You’ll earn a monthly stipend of $1,750,000.00 COP (~$500 USD/month) 
    • We’ll provide work visa application assistance and help you get your Colombian identification card
    • All teachers are enrolled in local medical insurance (EPS).
    • You’ll receive a $650,000 COP (~$190 USD) bonus after successfully completion of the contract
    • You’ll mingle with fellow teachers, learn about Colombia, get teacher training and take care of some logistics (like securing your work visa, getting your ID card, opening a bank account, etc.) during a 4-day/5-night arrival orientation in Bogotá 
    • After orientation, you’ll be provided a flight from Bogotá to your placement town or closest city. At the end of your contract we’ll provide you a flight back to Bogotá

    Check out a day in the life of our alumni, Emily, placed in Bucaramanga, Colombia.

  • Program Dates

    Start Date – January 17, 2021.

    This Program starts on January 17th, 2021 and runs for 11 months. If you are interested please start your application as soon as possible as the spots are limited and the deadline is December 30th, 2020.

  • Eligibility

    Eligibility

    • Bachelor’s Degree, Technical Degree or Associate’s Degree
    • Citizen of the US, Canada, EU, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand
    • Native/Fluent English Speaker*
    • No criminal record, including underage drinking or DUI (the only exception would be minor traffic violations)
    • 22+ years old
    • Be in great mental and physical health

    *For those from the EU (and not Ireland) you will need to provide proof of your English fluency at a C1 Level.

    There are no exceptions to the eligibility requirements. These requirements are put in place by the Colombian government, and we are not allowed to make exceptions.

  • Costs and Inclusions

    • Program Fee: $750
    • Upon successfully completing the program teachers will receive about $535 USD back*

    *The participant will receive a portion of their program fee, plus a service bonus in Colombian Pesos (COP), upon successfully completing the entirety of the program. Therefore, the Participant will receive $1,400,000 COP (~ $365 USD) of this program fee in COP plus $650,000 COP (~$190 USD) service bonus; totaling to $2,050,000 COP (~ $535 USD).

    What’s included in this program:

    • 35-hours per week co-teaching placement in Colombia
    • Monthly stipend to cover living expenses: $1,750 000 Colombian Pesos per month (~$500/month)
    • 650,000 COP (~$190 USD) bonus after successfully completion of the contract
    • Work visa paid for by the Colombian government
    • Colombian national EPS health insurance
    • Domestic flight from Bogota to placement city (domestic baggage fees are not covered if you have more than 23 kg of luggage)
    • 4-day arrival orientation. Accommodation during orientation in shared rooms and meals are covered by the program
    • Assistance finding housing in your placement city from program regional coordinators, who know the cities and can help communicate with landlords
    • Support and guidance from your Greenheart Travel program manager & in-country coordinator
    • Airport Pickup & transfer to orientation site 

    Our Support and Services: 

    • Visa Assistance in applying for the visa  including visa paperwork and extensive directions and support
    • Extensive pre-departure advice and support from Ana, your US-based program coordinator! She will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Colombia
    • Support and counseling services from in-country staff upon arrival to Colombia
    • Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave
    • 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.
    • Opportunity to apply for a Greenheart Grant to give back to your community at home or abroad

    Extra Expenses to Budget for: 

    • Flights to/from Colombia
    • Additional International Medical and Accident Insurance if desired
    • All meals beyond the 4-day arrival orientation
    • Monthly rent
    • Any personal expenses like toiletries, excursions, entertainment, meals out, etc.

    Payment Details:

    • $300 Application Fee due by the program deadline to formally apply
    • $300 Commitment Payment due 14 days after acceptance
    • Remaining balance is due 6 weeks prior to your start date
  • Accommodation

    Accommodation is included in the cost of the program during the arrival orientation in Bogota.

    Once teachers move to their final placement sites in one of the towns in the Valle del Cauca region, teachers are responsible for finding their own apartment or house. But no stress– You’ll also have the help of the program coordinator assigned to them. Program coordinators have the local intel and can help connect you with landlords and apartment listings.

     

  • FAQs

    Can I apply with my friend/significant other?

    Yes, we can accommodate couples or small groups on our program and you can be placed in the same city, so that you can live together.

    Can I talk with alumni or current participants from the program?

    Of course! Please join our Facebook community specifically for teachers in Colombia and check out our reviews on GoOverseas.com and GoAbroad.com!

    What type of visa will I need?

    All teachers will apply for the V Visa before arrival in Colombia. We will provide all visa paperwork needed for this application. This is all done online, so you can apply from anywhere in the world. The visa will allow you to stay in Colombia for the duration of your program, as well as come and go to other countries and re-enter Colombia.

    We will provide all of the paperwork needed and directions, so you don’t need to worry about this at all!

    What kind of “startup” money will I need?

    Before you go, you’ll need to plan to pay for your one way flight to Colombia. You’ll want to bring extra money for meals, cultural activities, and other free time opportunities. We recommend bringing around $1000 as spending money or as “emergency funds” in case something comes up. Our teachers are able to support themselves on the stipend, without dipping into personal savings, once they begin teaching.

    Please note that you will not receive your first stipend until the end of your first month working. You will need enough money to cover your personal expenses until the first stipend is received.

    Is the stipend enough to live off in Colombia?

    Yes. The stipend is meant to cover your living costs like rent, transportation, and meals. All of our teachers are able to live off of the stipend amount. Placements in larger cities like Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, Cali, and Barranquilla will have a much higher cost of living, so the stipend will not go as far in more urban areas like these. Read more here: Is The Stipend Enough?

    How much is rent, on average, in a rural city vs. Bogota for instance?

    This completely depends. Depending on the city it can be anywhere from 200,000 pesos to 650,000 (as a very very rough estimate).

    How are placements determined?

    Placements are assigned entirely based on the needs of the schools. Teachers will be placed in cities and towns of all sizes, and in a wide variety of climates. It is therefore very important that applicants are completely flexible and open-minded about placements.

    Please remember that this program is first and foremost about the students, and the people who need this education, and not necessarily about placing everyone in their number one city. If your number one reason for doing this program is because Cartagena’s beaches and nightlife seem like a fun time, you might want to consider just backpacking or vacationing in Cartagena. You’re more than welcome (and encouraged) to visit these places on the weekends and during your vacation time, but this is a serious teaching position, meant to make a big impact on these communities, and that should be the most important reason you’re applying to the program.

    Is Colombia safe?

    Colombia’s reputation is currently struggling with old stereotypes that are largely outdated at this point. There are some issues with guerillas in remote jungle regions, but as long as you stay in well-traveled areas, and avoid areas that you are advised against traveling in, Colombia is quite safe.

    At the country level, the existing safety issues rarely involve foreigners. Colombia has certainly had its challenges over the past several decades, and like any country or major city, there are still some areas that may be dangerous. Use the same caution you’d use in any major city or foreign country.

    In general, travelers find Colombians to be extremely open, warm, friendly and helpful. Speak with anyone who has traveled to Colombia in recent years, and you’ll likely find out that it was one of their favorite countries that they’ve ever visited, and that they felt perfectly safe. Use common sense, and listen to the advice of the program and the locals, and you’ll be in great shape to have a positive and safe experience in Colombia!

    Is there reliable high-speed internet in every city?

    There is high speed internet in all cities. However, volunteers should be reminded that it is not uncommon for services (water, gas, internet, etc.) to go out sometimes as this is a developing country. During orientation you will have access to the wifi at the hotel for free, but with so many teachers accessing it at the same time it can be slow.

    Can I bring my children? Pets?

    No, children and pets are not allowed.

    Why do I need extra insurance?

    You will be covered by Colombian national health insurance as part of the program, but the extra insurance will cover you in case of a severe emergency and will also cover things like repatriation, terrorism, and evacuation which are not covered by Colombian national health insurance.

    Do I need a TEFL/TESOL certification?

    A TEFL certification is not required for our program in Colombia, however, a certificate will make your application much more competitive. Greenheart Travel highly recommends that you obtain a TEFL/TESOL certificate before teaching abroad. By taking the course, you’re setting yourself up for success in your new teaching job! Read more: Which TEFL Course Should I Take To Teach in Colombia?

    Is there usually more than one teacher from the program in the same school or same town?

    Yes, every city will have at least 2 teachers placed there, and some larger cities will have over 50. Some teachers are at the same school or center as up to 5 other teachers, but other teachers might be at their school as the only English teacher. That being said, this program is very social and all of the teachers travel and hang out together on the weekends. Please also remember that a big part of this program is experiencing a new culture and meeting and making friends with Colombian people, not just those who speak English fluently. No matter where you are in the country, you’re not alone.

    When should I apply?

    ASAP! All teachers need to be in Colombia on January 17th,2021. We have very limited spots and are accepting applicants on a rolling basis.

    Are there any required vaccinations for Colombia?

    While there are no required vaccinations for Colombia, we highly recommend that you see a doctor or travel clinic for advice on vaccinations. You can find more details about recommended vaccinations on the CDC website. If you are planning to travel in South America, some countries require that you have the yellow fever vaccination for admission if you have spent time in Colombia.

    Will someone be there to pick me up at the airport?

    Yes, you will be picked up at the airport, unless you are traveling independently before the program begins. In that case, you can just arrive to the hotel in Bogota on your designated arrival date.

    Are flights included and booked for me?

    No, flights are not included in the program, and you are responsible for arranging your own flights/transportation to Bogota.

    When should I book my flight?

    You may book your flights once you’re accepted onto the program and the official start date has been confirmed. We will let you know when you can do so!

    How will I get from orientation to my placement?

    This is included in the program, and you will be provided with a bus ticket or plane ticket to your placement city. You will make the journey with the others placed in your city, as well as your local coordinator. Please keep in mind that baggage fees are not covered by the program, and domestic baggage allowances are usually much lower than international allowances.

    Do teachers receive an induction when they arrive at their school before they start teaching?

    Yes, each placement location has a “welcome week” orientation, but the activities and events during this week will completely depend on where you’re placed!

    Will there be a course book or syllabus to follow?

    Yes, there is a course book and curriculum for you to follow, but this is still very new and you will have creativity within this as well.

    What is the most common level of English ability with the students?

    Age can often be a deceiving indicator of English ability among students. For planning purposes, we recommend preparing your expectations for lower ability students ranging from elementary to advanced beginner.

    What is the dress code for teaching?

    You can dress business casual for teaching, but definitely still try to look your best. For those teaching at SENA centers, you will also be given a white coat (looks like a lab coat) to wear while teaching as well.

    What if I don’t speak Spanish?

    No problemo! It is not necessary to speak Spanish to apply for this program. In fact, the schools prefer that you only use English in the classroom to create a complete immersion experience for the students. However, having some knowledge of Spanish will of course benefit your day-to-day life, help you negotiate, understand the culture and allow you to connect with your students and people in your community.

    What holidays will I have off?

    You’ll have a two week summer vacation at the end of June. All teachers will also get all Colombian national holidays off. Colombia is second only to Argentina in terms of how many national holidays there are – Colombia recognizes 18 days! Most teachers will also get the week of Semana Santa off, which is the week before Easter.

    Can I use my credit card in Colombia?

    Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Colombia, but the ideal method of payment is cash. Plan on using cash for most transactions.

    Greenheart Travel works with our Colombian partners, not only to find qualified and motivated applicants, but also to assist with the application process and prepare participants for life in Colombia prior to departure.

  • Orientation

    Upon arrival, teachers will attend an orientation in Bogota, where they will get the identification card, bank account, and co-teaching training. Accommodation and meals will be included throughout the orientation.

    The orientation will include:

    • Accommodation at a hotel in Bogota, paid for by the program.
    • 3 meals are included on the hotel grounds
    • An introduction to Colombia, safety training, and logistics
    • Meetings with your Regional Coordinator and other teachers placed in your location
    • Overview of Colombian curriculum
    • Help setting up your bank accounts and cedulas (Colombian foreigner ID cards)
    • Visits from several guest speakers (sometimes the President of Colombia!)
  • Placements

    Teachers will be placed as co-teachers at public education institutions in small towns in Valle del Cauca region.

    Most teachers are placed in secondary schools, but possibly also elementary and middle schools. You can share your preferences during the application process, but we’ll focus on placing you where your skillset will meet the needs of the schools.

    The Valle del Cauca region has it all – beaches, mountains, quaint towns and the region’s biggest city Cali is Colombia’s hub for all things salsa dancing and music. Plus, you’re just a few hours outside the famed Zona Cafetera, coffee zone, to try some of the world’s best brews.

  • Why Greenheart Travel?

    We have 33 years of experience with cultural exchange programs. Greenheart Travel works with our Colombian partners, not only to find qualified and motivated applicants, but also to assist with the application process and prepare participants for life in Colombia prior to departure.

    Greenheart Travel has been working in Colombia for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:

    Our alumni recommend us! GoOverseas.com Reviews // GoAbroad.com Reviews

    Friendly, responsive, and professional support from program managers who have taught abroad as well as visited the program in Colombia and attended orientation

    Our application is completely online and easy to complete

    Connect with alumni and others on the program before you even leave!

    Discounts for future Greenheart Travel programs

    We are a non-profit, mission-based organization

    Continued support throughout your contract

    We will keep you on track to make sure you have the best possible chance of getting a position in Colombia! Once you’ve been accepted, we provide extensive pre-departure support to make sure you’re prepared for your new role as a teacher in a new country.

    We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel teachers and alumni!

    Greenheart Impact Grants: Greenheart Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country. A Greenheart Grant is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.

    Greenheart Alumni Program: We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!

    Greenheart Global Leaders Conference: Each August Greenheart offers full ride scholarships to over 40 alumni to attend our annual conference in Washington, DC. Participants even get a chance to advocate for cultural exchange in a presentation to the US Department of State. You can see more about what GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.

  • Schedule a Call

    Have questions or want to talk to a program manager? Set up a time to have a phone call below.

  • Application Process

    1. Start Your Application HereYou will be sent more information as well as the link to our application portal to begin your formal application.

    2. Submit Basic Program Information: The first step in our application portal will be basic things like your chosen start date, etc.

    3. Submit your Application Fee: A $300 fee is required in order to apply for the program. This is subtracted from your total program fee. If we are unable to accept you following your interview (very unlikely!) we will refund your application fee in full.

    4. Complete Application & Documents: Provide more detailed information about yourself in Part 2 of the application. In this section, you’ll tell us more information like your work history, motivations for joining the program, travel history, and emergency contacts. You will also submit your documents (below) within your portal account.

    5. Skype Interview: Once you have submitted your online application and paid your application fee, you will be asked to schedule a video interview with a Greenheart Travel representative.

    6. You’re Accepted! Woohoo! We are usually able to accept people within 1-2 weeks of their interviews.

    7. Commitment Payment : Once you are accepted to the program, you will need to submit a $300 commitment payment within 14 days to confirm your spot on the program. Once you submit your commitment payment you will unlock the acceptance portion of your portal, which includes things like pre-departure videos, travel and arrival information, the Greenheart Travel Atlas, and more.

    8. Book your flights, and get ready for your adventure to Colombia!

    Required Documents To Apply

    • Terms and Conditions (signed virtually in portal)
    • Copy of Passport
    • Resume
    • Criminal Record Check
    • Negative COVID-19 Test 96 hours prior to departure
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