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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.
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!
We suggest one of these courses for this country: