By Grace ChinnFor many of us, our main motivation for teaching English is to have the opportunity to experience new and exciting cultures first-hand, whilst learning another language. If this sounds like you, then Latin America could just be the perfect place for you to start or continue your TEFL career.
Those who wish to earn buckets of cash or live in the lap of luxury would be better looking elsewhere though, as the teaching experience in Latin America is in no way for the faint-hearted! From first hand experience, I can safely say that some jobs out here are a dream, but you have to look hard to find them. The blog entries to follow will chart my progress as I travel from Nicaragua back to Peru- where I started my EFL career- as I gather information on the ground about the EFL industry. My goal: to find a job somewhere near the ocean, so I can combine my two passions; teaching and surfing!
Teaching in Peru
As the first of my series of blogs about finding EFL work in Latin America, I’ll give you the low down on my experience teaching in Peru. Due to the current boom in Peru’s economy and tourism industry, there are hoards of students desperate to learn English, so you couldn’t go at a better time. Popular places to pick up a teaching job are Cusco, Arequipa, Lima and- where I taught for around a year- Trujillo.
Trujillo lies on the coastal desert of northern Peru and, mainly due to its pleasant year round climate and its proximity to the picturesque fishing/surfing town Huanchaco, has long been a popular EFL destination. There are many options out there for certified EFL Teachers, but you have to do your homework to find a job that suits you. There are a couple of private schools and universities which require teachers, but the most common place for foreigners to work are language institutes, of which there are a handful dotted around the city. For Example: El Cultural and CIDUNT.
I’d recommend Trujillo as a great place to teach if you want to be somewhere a little off the gringo-trail, and really get stuck into learning Spanish whilst soaking up the Peruvian culture and eating as much seafood as possible. Trujillo is one of the most affordable places to live in Peru, with a month’s homestay or private rental accommodation costing $100-$200, a set-menu
lunch $2, and a large beer $1.50.
There are plenty of reasons why you should pack your bags, dust off your passport and head to Peru to teach: energetic students, a fascinating culture and wonderful food. There is no denying that Peru is an incredible country. It is, however, not for the faint hearted. Peru is the country where your 12 bus will be delayed by 4 hours, orderly queuing simply does not exist, and running water and electricity can be off for days on end. In terms of teaching, you’re given little professional support and the administration of the schools is highly questionable. However, in my eyes, it’s all part of the experience and means you can really put your own mark on the classes and grow as a teacher.
Look out for Grace’s posts on the first Friday of every month.