Travel & Teach - Peru
If you are headed for Peru, you’ll find that, like most of the Americas, you’re in for a warm welcome. You’ll also experience some of the most spectacular and varied scenery in South America. Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilisations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors in 1533. Peruvian independence was declared in 1821.
There is an enormous demand to learn English so teaching work is plentiful, provided you are flexible in your approach. This means that you may have to travel to Peru to secure work and be prepared to make up a full timetable by teaching in various locations, at least at first. The benefits are unlikely to be financial although you should be able to live well by local standards. It is the climate, the culture and the incredible friendliness of the people that will make teaching here such a rewarding experience.
You may wish to start your search away from the capital and larger cities as there is more competition for work here. Also pollution and (to some extent) crime are factors of daily life. Lima and traditional tourist areas such as Cuzco and Machu Picchu are considered safe, but visitors are reminded to exercise care at all times. Areas where the government is conducting counter-insurgency campaigns have been designated 'emergency areas' and should not be entered. Certain areas of the Amazon (home to drug barons and Shining Path guerrillas) are definitely off limits. The capital and largest city in Peru is Lima with approximately 7,000,000 inhabitants. Peru has had a turbulent time economically over the past decade, with the aftermath of El Niño and the Asian financial crisis working its way through the economy. But things have stabilised and there are good prospects for EFL teachers. So if you are prepared to take the plunge into the Peruvian way of life, there has never been a better time!
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in Peru: http://www.britishcouncil.org/peru.htm
Peruvian Embassy UK: http://peru.embassyhomepage.com/
Peruvian Embassy USA: http://www.peruvianembassy.us/
Peruvian National Tourist Office: http://www.peru.info/perueng.asp
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Travel and Teach
With a large increase in the demand for English, there are excellent opportunities for finding work, both in Lima and the other major cities. But do be careful - the private sector is still developing and there are many less reputable employers cashing in on the recent boom. We suggest that you ensure that all terms and conditions are investigated thoroughly before you agree to work for anyone. Throughout the region, American English has had the edge over British English, although this should not prejudice British English speakers too greatly. Much of the demand is from business and many students have to make their own arrangements to learn if there is no company scheme. This has made for buoyant freelance opportunities. Freelance teaching generally pays more and should be relatively easy to organise as long as you have a base, a telephone and can afford some basic advertising (a small ad in the newspaper, for example). It is possible to do well or at least supplement your income quite substantially.
We are beginning to see more and more positions advertised outside of the country through the Internet and you might like to try www.tefl.com for current positions. Also you could try English language newspapers like the Lima Herald or Lima Times. English language bookshops are a good place to make contacts and the telephone directory will have a list of schools in the area, although the next step, unless you speak Spanish, is to find a way to communicate with the school employees. Ensure you dress very smartly for interview and highlight any business or commercial experience you have had. Take copies of degrees and your Accredited TESOL certificate with you as well. You might find the guide to writing your CV on our site quite helpful here.
Your ability to speak English may be all you need in order to get started teaching, such is the growing demand from the population. However with a degree and TESOL Certificate you are likely to secure better pay and conditions for yourself. We would recommend at the very least you take a Global English Level 1 TESOL or a Weekend TEFL before you go. Many people work unofficially, on a tourist visa, which can be renewed for up to 5 months without leaving the country. However working on a tourist visa is illegal but even with a full time contract, obtaining a work permit is a costly, bureaucratic business and there is still no guarantee that your application will succeed. Exchanging a work permit for a tourist visa from inside Peru is also not possible.
If you can, try to secure a job before you travel, as this will enable you to get the correct paperwork and quite possibly one of the better paid positions. If you are looking for work on spec, do not expect a contract initially, even though work is plentiful. The average monthly salary is likely to be between US$400 to US $800 per month. If you are freelancing, you may be able to earn over US$1000. This should be enough to live on fairly comfortably. In addition you should investigate private health insurance and call your doctor for the latest information on the inoculations recommended before travelling to the region.