Teaching English in Colombia-Paid Internship
Teaching English in Colombia is a FREE program designed to broaden every teacher professional life while enriching their personal one. The program is designed as a truly culture exchange program in which teachers can first-hand experience one of Latin America’s most fascinating and colorful cultures and on top of that learn or master their Spanish skills in the most natural environment.
As the Colombian government is aware of the importance to integrate English education as a way to succeed in our globalized society, it has developed this unique opportunity for English teachers. With a fully bilingual initiative, you will work in public institutions, especially with students in disadvantaged economic positions. By learning English they will have an opportunity to change a bleak future ahead them and you will have the opportunity to be part of a change into this community and also to get to change every student’s life!
This program is free. There will be a USD 400 (american dollars) deposit upon acceptance to the program, but this will only be required after both interview rounds, after you have been accepted and know your placement location and details.
The deposit will be returned to you only when you complete your full program and contract term, along with an end of contract bonus. This deposit is your official commitment to participating in the program and is non refundable if you cancel or withdraw from the program at any time, for any reason. This deposit will be refunded in Colombian pesos, at a fixed exchange rate outlined in the Participant Agreement each teacher will sign after acceptance.
We offer you:
*Please, bear in mind that this is a volunteer position with an stipend aimed at covering basic living costs: rent, commuting and food. Any extra activity (traveling, socializing, going out) you will surely need some extra cash..
Once you are accepted, your spot on the program will not be confirmed until we have received your USD 400 deposit and proof of both your flight to Bogota and International Medical and Accident Insurance coverage.
The program has two start dates per year, in January/February and June/July at the beginning of each semester. Since there are LIMITED PLACES we recommend you to BOOK EARLY! FULL
The Upcoming Program Dates are:
January – December 2017 (teachers need to apply by November) FULL
June 2017 – December 2017 (teachers need to apply by April) FULL
How long does the program last?
Depending on your time availability and what course you choose, the program can lasts between 6 and 10 months at maximum. Places are limited… What are you waiting for? Be part of the change helping Colombian development!
After the first month, in which teachers usually live in a hostel to get used to their life in their new home away from home, teachers can find their own accommodation and decide whether to live by themselves or share a house/flat with other teachers or locals. Of course, we will provide assistance as part of our 24/7 support in finding the right place to live and to help in any possible way
There are two semester in the academic year and, therefore, we have 2 “high season” application periods: January/February/March and June/July. You can choose from a 6, 8 or 11 month placement.
Upcoming Program Dates:
Next Available Ministry of Education Starts:
July 2017-November 30, 2017 exact dates TBD- FULL
January 2018-June/November 2018-exact dates TBD
Next Available SENA Start:
February 2018-June/December 2018-exact dates TBD
Please note: positions are limited, and could fill before the listed deadlines. Spots starting in Summer 2017 are extremely limited, hence our deadline being 6 months out. Apply early!
*We do not know the exact arrival dates until around 2 months before the program begins.
*Our 6 month availability for the June-November 2018 semester in rural areas is very limited and only suitable for candidates with a TEFL/TESOL Certification, teaching experience and/or Teaching License. Feel free to contact us if you have any doubts or questions about these positions.
Upon approval of placement, successful candidates are required to pay a deposit of $400. Your program deposit payment demonstrates your commitment to the ETF Program, Colombia. This commitment helps the local support staff to plan their resources and ensure you have the best possible experience when you arrive in Colombia.
The deposit is fully refundable by SENA or the Ministry Of Education Colombia upon completion of contract.
The deposit is non-refundable if the teacher decides to cancel or withdraw from the program at any time and for any reason.
Why are some programs shorter than others (5/6 or 10 months)?
Because, being a government-funded program, with a budget annually renewed at the end of the academic year (November-December) , the Colombian government can only guarantee a 10-month budget at the beginning of the academic year (January), but can only guarantee a 6-month period for the second part of the year (June onward). Therefore, there are 10 month programs starting in January and 6 month programs starting in June.
We have positions all throughout Colombia, both in large cities and in smaller, rural areas. We work with elementary, high schools and also private institutions.
You can choose which option you prefer. However, as we process applications on first come, first served basis we can not promise that you will be placed in your preferred destination unless you apply EARLY. You can also choose the age and level of the students you would like to teach as well as the kind of city you would rather live in. To provide teachers with a sense of community and a home away from home feeling, we try our best to place at least 2 teachers in the same city and up to 50! in major cities such as Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Medellín, etc.
We have different working options to cater for every teacher’s preferences:
Public High Schools belonging to the Ministry of Education
Teaching in one of Colombia’s public high school gives teachers the opportunity to enrich students’ lives since most of the positions are in disadvantaged areas where students are in high need of quality education. English is not widely spoken or even taught in Colombia, so this government initiative to bring foreign teachers to the classroom is a breakthrough of which you can be part of!
To make the best out of this experience, teachers working in public high schools will count on a Colombian teacher by their side while teaching. Students are between 16 and 18 and very eager to learn not just the language but also the culture and teachers ‘personal experiences. It is a true cultural exchange program.
SENA is Colombia’s government agency in charge of investing in the professional development of workers. It is domestically known as the “University of the Poor” for the non-paid educational opportunity it provides to disadvantaged workers. This National Training Service is aimed at providing workers with the necessary skills to obtain a job after graduation. In order to foster a better career, SENA students have the opportunity to receive English lessons and enrich their CVs. If you decide to work for a SENA center, you will be not only teaching, but also helping Colombians pursue a better future. Students are above 18 and doing their best for a better future.
Antioquia “Park Teaching”
The Government of Antioquia has developed a Community teaching program called “English at the Park” which is aimed at improving Antioquia residents´level of English in a natural environment, such as public parks. This program is only available in smaller cities nearby Medellín. The role of the “Park Teacher” will be to develop an engaging curriculum and also help local teachers for the Antioquia community to develop their English skills. This placement option requires teacher to hold a TEFL certificate and teaching experience and a lot of motivation to become part of a small community with a high need for learning!
Click on the map of Colombia to see where our CW teachers are placed currently!
Is it possible to go with my boyfriend/girlfriend?
Yes, we offer couples or even small groups the opportunity to work in the same city for them to live together.
Is there any ex or current participant I can reach out to?
Of course! We have our Facebook community where you can find participants who have been or are in Colombia and ask them anything you may be curious about.
What visa do I need to apply for?
All participants need to for a TP-1 Visa in their home country, which can be done online with the necessary document we provide. Once in Colombia, you will be granted a new official Visa at the local immigration office. The program cover the visa costs and it will be valid for the entire duration of the program.
How much money do I need to count on till I get paid?
First things first, participants need to cover their flight to Colombia and travel insurance. After that, you don´t need to worry about anything until you arrive at your placement destination. How much money you need will entirely depend on you. The money you need will be for meals, recreation activities and weekend activities. But, as a suggestion, we usually recommend $1500 as “pocket” money to be covered for the first month since you will be paid after a month of work.
Can I live on the salary I will be paid?
Please, bear in mind that this is a volunteer position with an stipend aimed at covering basic living costs: rent, commuting and food. Any extra activity (traveling, socializing, going out) you will surely need some extra cash..
How much will I spend on rent depending on the city where I am placed?
Living in large cities (Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, Cali, and Barranquilla) are notably much more expensive than rural areas or smaller cities. Therefore, rent depends on the city and can range from 350.000 Colombian pesos to 650.000.
Is Colombia dangerous?
Colombia has been working hard to become safer and although there is still agitation with guerillas in remote jungle regions, the country is pretty safe. In fact, for our own participants’ safety, we have carefully chosen Colombia’s safest cities as placement.
Do they have high-speed internet in all areas?
Yes, there is high speed internet access in all major cities, but please bear in mind that the speed and reliability might not be the same as, say the USA.
Can I take my son/daughter or my pet to Colombia?
Sorry, children and pets are not allowed.
Do I need to buy my own insurance?
Yes. Although the Colombian national health insurance will cover you during the program, participants need to buy their own insurance just in case of a severe emergency.
Do I need to be certified as TEFL/TESOL teacher?
Although a TEFL certificate is not a requirement, we do encourage participants to take it since it is an internationally recognized certification that looks good on your CV.
Will there be other foreign teachers where I will live/work?
Yes. There will surely be at least 2 and might there even be up to 30 in large cities. Teachers can travel in groups and be placed together, or in some smaller schools, they may only need 1 teacher, but we have many schools all around the Country, so we make sure there are a few teachers per city. However, we would like to emphasize the cultural exchange nature of the program, giving teachers the unique opportunity to experience the wonders of Colombia and its charming people.
What are the application dates?
We usually accept applications year-round, but 6 months before each academic year is the peak of application season. We suggest that the sooner the better to secure a placement in the place of your choice.
Why do I have to pay a deposit?
Because it is the way we have to make sure participants will actually commit to the program. As the program is FREE, there is no other way for us to secure the participant’s real intention to be placed. But, as soon as you finish your work contract, the entire deposit will be reimbursed.
Can I extend my stay?
Yes. This depends on both the school and the teacher, but our programs do have the option to extend after the contract is successfully finished.
Do I need to get any special vaccine to travel to Colombia?
No, there are no sanitary requirements to travel to Colombia. However, if you are planning further traveling in South America, be aware that some countries may require yellow fever vaccination.
Do I need to book an airport pick-up service?
No. We will pick you up at the airport upon arrival (yes, with a sign with your name at no extra cost!)
Are plane tickets included?
No. Each teacher has to cover their flights to Bogotá. We do provide the transportation to your placement city from Bogotá
Will I receive any orientation/training upon arrival?
Definitely. We offer an orientation week upon arrival.
Do I have to do all the planning for my lessons?
No. You will need to follow a course book and curriculum designed by the school, but some creativity on your side is always welcome!
What level of English do students have?
English is not widely spoken outside school in Colombia, therefore, do not expect a very high level from the students. However, there will be different levels, from total beginners to advanced students.
Do I have to comply with any dress code when working?
Not necessarily, casual dressing is ok for teaching, but it is always good to try to look as good as you can! It shows a lot of respect for the school and your students as well. At SENA centers, however, teachers are required to wear a white coat that will be provided by the center.
Are meals included?
No. Each teacher pays for his/her meals, which are usually around 10,000 Colombian pesos. Some schools do offer free lunch, though.
Will I have a local phone number?
Yes and we can help you with that. During the first, welcome week, we help teachers with those daily life issues.
My level of Spanish is NON-EXISTENT. Can I still apply?
Of course! You do not need to speak Spanish for the program because most schools prefer teachers to only use English to create a real, natural environment for the students to learn. However, as your Spanish starts getting better, you will find your everyday life a lot easier!
Will I have holidays?
Yes. One week of holidays in Easter (Semana Santa) during the spring semester and if you stay for a full year, you will have a two-week paid holiday by the end of June. Of course, local national holidays will be off, too.
Should I take my credit card to Colombia?
Why not? Just in case, it is always good to have some back up money. All major credit cards are accepted in Colombia, but bear in mind that Colombians still prefer cash for most of their transactions.
Teachers will receive a two-week orientation period in Bogotá before they continue with a one-week orientation in their placement location. Al the meals for the two week orientation period will be covered.
During the two week orientation period, you will:
As we have a limited number of positions available, we do encourage teachers to submit their application as soon as they have decided to embark on this amazing experience.
What documents do I need to apply?
How to complete the online application form?
We strongly suggest applicants to complete the online application form that we will send you via email in one sitting to make sure it is complete and saved. As we have limited positions, we process applications on first come, first served basis. Please bear in mind that completing the application is just the first step of the process since after you complete it, we process it, arrange an interview and let you know about the position. It takes a few weeks all in all, so if you are ready to live a life-changing experience, you can start filing the application as soon as possible!
To start the process, what you need to do is to:
1) Click on APPLY ONLINE
2) After receiving the filled application, it is time to arrange a Skype interview with Connecting Worlds. If you don’t have Skype, you can download it for free here
3) Submit online your placement preferences
4) Skype interview with our representative in Colombia
5) Once you have passed the interview with a representative in Colombia, you will receive the official acceptance to the program by email and the destination where you will be based.
6) When you have your official acceptance and a confirmed placement location, you will need to pay the USD 400 deposit
Application Processing Time
It takes about 2 to 3 weeks to go over the whole process from filling in the online application to being confirmed the position and placement location. The application process can only be completed if all the required documents are sent on time. We will keep track of the process the whole time via email.
However, do bear in mind that it is our partner in Colombia who will make the final decision acceptance decision will come from our partner, and we will notify you as soon as we have news about your acceptance. Once the acceptance is confirmed, a $400 deposit (which is non-refundable ONLY if you cancel your application for any reason, at any given time) is required together with your booked ticket to Bogotá and the receipt of the insurance policy.
Below is a small sample of what people are saying about Connecting Worlds and our Teach programs in Colombia:
Klara S. from Czech Republic/ She participed in the Ministry of Education program in Cali: http://www.cwlatinamerica.org/klara-e-36.html
Sara F. from USA/ She participed in the Ministry of Education program in Cali: http://www.cwlatinamerica.org/sara-french-e-35.html