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Travel & Teach - Chile


Teaching English in Chile affords the opportunity to experience a truly beautiful country of spectacular contrasts. The country forms the spine of Latin America and has a spectacular pacific coastline, with beautiful Andean highlands. It has a growing economy, a strong demand for English,  the people are warm and friendly and there is much to explore.  

Paid English teaching jobs are not so easy to find on the net. Most employers will want to meet you or talk to you face-to-face.  If you don't want to go through a voluntary agency, this means contacting schools via the net, speaking to the directors and telling them when you can be in-country. Global English TESOL can help its trainees with a link to a list of language schools and voluntary agencies.

From business English to teaching children, to freelance - the demand to learn English is strong - plus you can brush up on your Spanish at the same time.

Tips for teaching English in Chile

* Contact schools in advance with a view to following up once in country
* Consider a Global English 100 hour TESOL with specialism >> to help you stand out
* View comments from our TESOL graduates teaching English in Chile >> 

Useful Contacts

British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/

British Council in Chile:  http://www.britishcouncil.org/chile.htm              

Chilean Embassy UK: http://chile.embassyhomepage.com/

Chilean Embassy USA: http://www.chile-usa.org/

Chilean Tourist Office:  www.visit-chile.org

Need more info: Teaching English Abroad available through our bookshop page

Schools: http://www.eslbase.com/schools/chile

Global English students are working all over the world with their accredited TESOL certificates. Find out
how TESOL training from Global English has made a difference to their lives:


John Soto

I did a Global English level 2 course and can confirm that there are many opportunities for native English speakers. There are almost countless organisations offering English lessons here in Chile. As you state, the government has a major drive at the moment to make Chile a bi-lingual country with English as the second language, this means that all schools teach English as a normal part of the curriculum. Payment rates for schools are somewhat lower than in private institutions. Teaching institutions range from small offices offering reasonably priced tuition to high quality institutions like Berlitz.

Getting a job before you arrive can be quite a challenge though as the Chilean institutions will often insist that you attend an interview in the first instance rather than submitting a CV, some institutions can be very reluctant to take teachers that they have not seen and most will enrol you on an induction/training program of 1-2 weeks which you must pass before being offered the job. We have seen native English teachers fail this induction process and not be offered a contract. Simply speaking English and having a certificate is not enough to guarantee a job here, you will be put to the test and assessed on your confidence and ability to deliver the lessons in the way that is acceptable to the institute. You will also have to design your own lesson plans and provide your own teaching aids in many cases.

Class size varies from school to school. In an average school for 5 to 16 year olds, you are likely to encounter groups between 30 to 45 students. In contrast, private institutes have small group sizes that vary from 4 to 15 students.

A degree will almost certainly improve your chances here in Chile, though we recently heard of a fluent Spanish speaking nursing professional who was told that her American Degree was not acceptable in Chile and was turned down for a job in nursing, so it’s no guarantee.

One important consideration is that it can be very difficult to rent accommodation in Chile. As a new tenant you will need any or all of the following;
Last 3 months payslips from a Chilean company which show a monthly salary of more than 3 times the cost of the rent.
A bond, usually equal to one months rent.
A Guarantor, who will sign the contract with you and is legally bound to pay your rent should you default.
2 types of ID
up to six months rent in advance, however, this still is not a very common practice among estate agents (corredores)
(Even if you can prove that you are bringing enough money to cover rent for the entire duration of your stay, you may not be considered to rent through any letting agency unless you can provide the above)

If you do secure a job offer from a Chilean employer it would be well worth asking them to arrange your accommodation for your arrival in Chile.

Other options are renting an Apart hotel room (the equivalent of an English bed-sit) which costs from $10’000 to around $20’000 roughly £20 a night, though the difference definitely reflects the standard you can expect. There is also the alternative of Home-stay, which costs from around £50 per week., this is a good choice for those who want to experience Chilean life and also improve their Spanish.

Accommodation outside the city can cost considerably less, though transport can prove a problem before 7am or after 10pm if you live outside of the Metro line areas.

Some institutes offer part time hours. If you are going to be working teaching in-office (working in various offices and companies around the city as scheduled) be prepared for a lot of walking and travelling from class to class, Santiago is a huge city.

Bear in mind that you are coming to a country that is very different to the UK and North America, there are big differences in may things. There is a great deal of poverty evident on the streets of the city once you are away from the tourist sites and prosperous areas.

You will ideally need some Spanish in order to live and teach in Chile as there are still few services and shops where English is understood, however, you will find the average Chilean individual is unfailingly willing to help you to communicate.
This is a wonderful country with something for everyone, it has its problems of course and those can be quite shocking to those of us who live in countries with a highly developed social care system.

Travelling to the North and South of the country can provide breathtaking views and memories to last you a life time. If you are into adventure tourism or activity pursuits, Chile offers an almost inexhaustible supply of options.

It is perhaps not the best choice if money is your motivation or if you are looking for a ‘working holiday’. Employers here are not casual in their appointments, no allowance will be made for you to come and go as you please like a tourist. You will be expected to work with the same level of professionalism and commitment as your Chilean counterparts or as you would in your job in your home country. Most teaching jobs are Monday to Friday. Once you are offered a contract you are entitled to the usual benefits that a Chilean gets such as Holidays, Public Holidays off and in most cases health care and private pension. The usual holiday allowance is 20 days plus bank holidays, though these are not paid. Business dress is a standard requirement in most institutions.

If anyone is considering working in Chile, I would be happy to answer their questions and help them get a realistic picture of what living and working in Chile is like.

Bekii Kisamore

My husband and I are Christian missionaries here in southern Chile with Eastern Mennonite Missions (emm.org). However, I also have had the opportunity to teach and tutor English here.

English is now a required course in every school and in every grade. Because of this, the demand is quite high for English teachers, especially English-speaking English teachers (there happen to be a lot of English teachers who would not actually qualify as English-speaking, unfortunately). Because of a recent change in government, and especially because of rebuilding after the recent earthquake and tsunamis, there is less money given to English programs (like extra-curriculars) at schools. For example, last October there was an English festival here on the island for high schools to participate in a English-song competition. This year there will not be one because of a lack of funding.

There are many opportunities all throughout Chile. While there is greater demand in the cities, there is less competition for jobs in smaller cities and towns. The further away from the big cities you go, the more you become the only one who speaks English. Anyone who comes to Chile should have a basic knowledge of Spanish and an adventurous spirit. Most of my experience with people is from smaller towns, so I can't speak for life in the cities. Where we are, we have found a lot of Chilean people to be very warm and welcoming, many with the desire to make sure you're okay and that you don't have any problems. People appreciate it when you show interest in learning about the history of their country or praise the beauty of it (and Chile, particularly the south, is quite beautiful!). Culturally speaking, confrontation and strong directness are considered quite rude. Because of this, it is very hard to know whether or not you have offended someone or done something culturally inappropriate (because they will not tell you). Any sort of problem or issue should be dealt with in a rather round-about way. [This could be different in the formal business world, but even in small-town businesses, this is true.] Cost of living varies - the farther from the city the cheaper, but that also means less convenience and options in travel, shopping and activities. Many families in smaller towns have pensions in their homes in which they rent a room and provide meals. This is a very good option for singles with a desire to immerse themselves in Chile while teaching English.

Chile is a good option for any English-speaker, and it's a great option for an English-speaker who is certified to teach (many schools and more formal institutes want someone to either be certified or have graduated from college).

I hope this was helpful!

Add your own comments on your experience in Chile

Travel and Teach

Teaching English for business and to young learners most in demand

There is an increasing demand for business English. Choosing a course with a business  specialism included will also help you secure freelance teaching work so consider the:

Global English  100 hour level 2 with business >> 

A lot of language schools will be geared to teaching young learners so this course is recommended for this type of work:

Global English 100 hour level 2 with young learners >>
As with many countries in this region, there is a slight preference for American English. There is more competition for teaching jobs among the larger institutes in Santiago, where qualifications and experience are often required.  But the government push to increase the ability and level of English among younger learners has led to an increasing demand for teachers in this area as well.

What do I need to teach English in Chile?
A degree and TEFL certificate will enhance your prospects, as will any business qualifications or experience. There is an increasing amount of in-company teaching to middle management and senior management as the commercial sector continues to grow robustly.

What is the best time to find work teaching English in Chile - and how?
The academic year runs from March to December and so the best time to look for work is November -January.  Make speculative enquiries to schools on the net before traveling. Consider volunteer teaching through a variety of agencies as an 'in' otherwise. You can pick up the occasional TEFL job direct from the employer on tefl.com you can advertise for private clients in the principle newspaper El Mercurio. Other sources of invaluable contacts are English language bookshops.

Chile has several well-qualified and experienced teachers, so picking up work could be more challenging than some of the other South American countries. But there are opportunities and speculative CV’s sent beforehand might prove useful. Even if they don’t yield immediate success, the schools may remember that they have heard of you and be more inclined to give you some work when you later present yourself on their doorstep. If you are looking for work in the business English sector, remember to highlight any business or commercial experience you may have. Dress in a business like manner to create that vital first impression at interview.

The British Council (see Useful Contacts) may be able to provide a list of schools throughout the country.  However you may find that an employer will want to see you before committing to giving you a job. If you can secure work before you travel, you will be able to obtain a work visa via the Chilean Consulate or Embassy in your country, or your employer may help you by doing the necessary paperwork in Chile. Alternatively you can travel on a tourist visa and exchange it for a work visa when you find employment, but you will have to leave the country to do this.  Again some employers may help you in this process, although many teachers continue to work on a tourist visa, as the interest from the local police is minimal.

What can I earn?
If you find work with a private language school, expect pay to be the equivalent of 4000 to 5000 pesos per hour. While it doesn’t sound much, it should enable you to live comfortably by local standards and it is more than many other countries in the region, although the cost of living is also a little higher. Rent in shared accommodation could start from around 70,000 pesos per month so it won’t consume all your earnings and you should be able to live quite comfortably.

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Key Comparison data
Courses Level 1 Level 1 + Young Learners Level 1 + business Level 1 plus 1-2-1 Level 2 Level 2 + Young Learners Level 2 + business Level 2 + 1-2-1 Teaching business English Teaching English to Young Learners Teaching English 1-2-1 Grammar course Weekend face-face
Price £195.00 £295.00 £295.00 £295.00 £315.00 £395.00 £395.00 £395.00 £140.00 £140.00 £140.00 £50.00 £170-£190
Duration (hours) 70 100 100 100 150 180 180 180 30 30 30 20 20 or 28
Time limit (months) 6 6 6 6 18 18 18 18 6 6 6 6 n/a
Modules 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2 2 2 1 n/a
Content General English General English + Young Learners General English + Business General English + 1-2-1 General English General English + Young Learners General English + Business General English + 1-2-1 Business Young Learners One to One Grammar General


Yes . ACTDEC Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes.20 or 28 hour
Course book provided No Yes Yes No* No Yes Yes No* Yes Yes No* No No
View live teaching excerpts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No. n/a
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