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Overview

Whether it’s taking the TEFL in Chile, working as an English teacher, or enjoying the diverse geography and outdoor beauty, you will be enamored with Chile. The capital, Santiago, is a city of five million people, and the hub for all business development that has made Chile the leading country in growth and economic stability in Latin America since the early 1990s.

Santiago itself is situated in Chile’s central wine country, and is sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, both of which are a bit more than an hour from the city. Within a day’s travel, you can reach the Chile’s rain forest and lake region to the south or the Atacama Desert – the world’s driest – in the north.
Outdoor enthusiasts find Chile a dream come true. Chile has world renowned skiing, fly fishing, surfing, mountaineering, kayaking and white-water rafting, and rock climbing. You name it, Chile has it.

There is a surprisingly large amount of EFL work to be found in Chile at the moment. In 2003 the government launched an initiative to try to get all University graduates to FCE standard and introduced compulsory English modules on lots of University courses. English is very much a language in vogue in democratic Chile. The vast majority of EFL jobs will be in Santiago or Valparaiso, though there might be some in a few other cities. The best way to get work in Chile is to go through the private language institutes like Instituto Chileno Britanico or its American equivalent. The Universities, secondary schools and businesses often outsource their English language tuition to private language schools rather than do it themselves. Lots of foreigners also find work teaching English out of their home- though strictly speaking illegal, lots of people do it. There is also a strong British Council presence there.

Salary and hours
Pay is better in Chile than in its neighbouring countries. Salaries can equate to the same as if you were working for a British Council accredited school in London (probably slightly lower though), but accommodation costs will obviously be much less. Wages generally start at £5.00 per hour, but you can get more than this.

If you are newly qualified you can expect to take home about £600 - £750 a month for teaching 30 hours a week. The disadvantage is that these 30 hours often include working Saturdays.

Type of teaching
The most common type of EFL is probably still general English, but there’s a lot of business English, Cambridge exams and EAP. English for young learners is growing and lots of institutes run teens classes on Saturday mornings.


Accommodation
Although accommodation may sometimes be provided for a month or so until you find something permanent, it is not common practice for Chilean schools to arrange accommodation for their teachers.

People are usually very helpful though and will give you advice on where to look. Estate agencies generally look favorably on Brits. They will usually ask for some sort of guarantee from your employer so try to make sure that your employer provides some kind of “to whom it may concern” letter acting as a reference.
Start of school year/ best time to look for work

Start of school year/ best time to look for work
The school year begins in March so end of the year or January is a good time to look, but you will probably be able to find work at all times of year.

Red Tape
As long as you apply for a job before you go it is very easy to get a working visa. In Chile they like to do things by the book and it’s not generally advisable for anyone to just go out there as a tourist and try to get work in a school (except if you are doing a TEFL course there which will provide you with guaranteed job opportunities). This is for several reasons:

1. If you get caught you’ll be heavily fined
2. If you find work out there then to get the proper papers you’ll have to out of the country to get it all done (you can’t change a tourist visa for a work visa)
3. If an employer knows you don’t have a visa they will pay you less.


Miscellaneous advice
Get a job before you go – it will be much easier. Also get qualified. With a CELTA or TESOL you will earn more.

Learn some Spanish before you go, or take a Cactus course in Chile a couple of weeks before you start. Chile can a hard place to learn Spanish because they have a very distinctive accent.

Bear in mind that you will probably have to work Saturdays and antisocial hours during the week (you may find yourself doing your first class at 8am and the last one at 9pm, every day).

Don’t expect great food, but do expect amazing wine.

Do expect amazing scenery. The capital is spectacular after a rainfall and Chile is a country with 4,000 miles of mountains and coastline.

Be prepared to have to teach to a curriculum. In Chile they very much teach to the book they are using and students tend to measure their own progress in terms of how far they’ve got in the book.

Chile is probably one of the best places to teach in South America because here you have the best salaries, the most variety in terms of what you can do, the highest standard of living and security and doubtlessly the best wine.


FCO

Lonely Planet Guide - Chile