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
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.
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.
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.
Get a job before you go – it will be much
easier. Also get qualified. With a CELTA or TESOL you will
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
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
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
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.
Planet Guide - Chile