Teach English in Brazil – the following comments are from English teachers who have taught, or currently teach English in Brazil.
If you want to work in Brazil, it takes time and a lot of patience. People really don’t email you back promptly about your qualifications and if you are even considered for the job. I just had to keep working at it and applying all the time, and finally I found a company that was interested in hiring me and a company that’s legit. Look into the bigger companies first like Wizard and if it’s possible for you to just come here and apply for jobs, that may be to your benefit. It is difficult getting an English teaching job in Brazil, but it is possible.
I’m from Brazil and I work here as an English teacher. Finding a job here is not that easy, but there are loads of English schools here so if you have experience as a teacher it might be easier for you. Just go to some schools, leave your resumé, and be patient… they might call you or sometimes they might not. Besides that, Brazil is a wonderful place to live. The weather is perfect, people are friendly and the beaches are amazing!
For those who are are about to start a career as professional teachers down here in Brazil, I just have one thing to recommend: Learn a bit of our native language every day. People in general look down on foreigners who display no interest in our local culture and traditions. They assume that you are only teaching here for the money!
Teaching English in Brazil is a very rewarding experience, provided you make an honest attempt to learn more about the local culture, the language, the music, don’t mind about some of the peculiarities of Brazilians: 1) lack of punctuality being one of them and 2) not returning or reading your emails promptly being another one… But, hey… the weather is great, the people are the best and the ecosystem is one of the most amazing in the world… So, relax and enjoy your teaching journey! By the end it will pay off!
How to get a Visa to teach English in Brazil?
As the largest country in South America, Brazil is big on business. Their geographical proximity to the United States, as well as their trade agreement with North America, makes speaking English a very important asset for Brazilian citizens. English is taught to all levels of Brazilian students, from childhood on up. Some Brazilian companies will hire English teachers to train their employees to make foreign communication easier. With that said, Brazil is naturally a major destination for those looking to teach English in a foreign country. Teaching English in Brazil is a unique and enriching experience that anyone who wishes to travel should consider.
What is required?
Some countries require English teachers to be certified in any number of teaching courses. TEFL, TESOL, and the Cambridge CELTA are all certifications that are often required for foreigners wishing to teach English in another country. Brazil, however, does not consider this a prerequisite. If you do have a certification, it may very well help you in the classroom. But chances are good that if you are hired by a Brazilian company or school, they will require you to go through an in-house training program regardless of whether or not you are certified to teach. What is recommended is a BA in some subject and a working knowledge of Portuguese, the official language of Brazil.
What about a visa?
This is where the information can get a little sketchy, and keep in mind we’re not advocating one course of action over another. The truth is, getting a work visa for teaching English in Brazil is going to be very, very difficult. The vast majority of schools in Brazil that hire English teachers are unwilling to sponsor those teachers for work visas. Sponsorship by an employer is required to get a legitimate work visa. It is also extremely expensive and complicated, and many companies steer clear of doing so for those reasons. With that said, if you are planning on remaining in Brazil to teach English for an extended period of time, you may be able to find an employer who is willing to sponsor you. The catch is that you will probably have to pay for the process yourself. This is something that you should actively research and discuss with your employer if you’re interested in pursuing a work visa. So you might be wondering how so many English teachers manage to work in Brazil. The answer is, the majority of them are working on tourist visas. Technically, it is not legal for a foreigner to work on a tourist visa; however, you and your company have high risks to get into serious trouble for doing it.
Tourist visas are fairly simple to get, and require an application through the Brazilian Consulate as well as a valid passport and other documents. Tourist visas are valid for three months, which means if you are working in Brazil you will have to renew your visa at a Brazilian police office every three months. You are also not allowed to remain in Brazil on a tourist visa for more than six months every year. It is not possible to get a tourist visa changed over to a work visa. Your best procedures is to struggle for the correct visa before entering Brazil, what may take years if you are lucky in getting it.
It sounds like a lot of red tape, but the truth is that teaching English in Brazil isn’t as complicated as it sounds. The market for English teachers in Brazil is booming, and with that demand comes an increased possibility that you’ll be able to find the right job for you. With thousands of English teachers needed all over the country, Brazilians are for the most part eager to help. Do your research and be prepared, and you’re sure to have the experience of a lifetime. A harder visa problem is faced by Brazilians interested in entering the USA, even tougher to apply for a simple tourist visa, which are denied for about 70% of people trying to visit the United States.
Well, Brazil is divided in two distinct realities: The North and the South. Living in the south of Brazil is to be in contact with people who are probably European descendants, as most of our region has been colonized by Italians, Germans and Portuguese. Also there will always be a Japanese community around.The weather in the south is sub-tropical… we used to have four distinct mild seasons during the winter, but nowadays winters are getting colder (few incidences of snow) and summers are getting quite hot. Yet, for the North part of the country the climate is tropical and it is quite sunny… can’t tell much as I live in the south region of Brazil. Living is Brazil is not expensive if you compare that we need R$2,00 to buy US$1,00 (more or less) or R$3,00 to buy 1,00 euro. Brazilians are warm hearted and usually very informal in manners. It is quite easy to commute in Brazil since we have a very efficient public transport system provided by buses and subways. It is very easy to get used to the Brazilian way of living since I would say living in Brazil is like wearing sandals the whole year though… however, it not so easy to make lots of money… it takes lots of work and dedication… as everything in life… come, you’ll love it here.
Teaching English in Brazil is scary at first thought, with all of the unknowns. it is normal to ask difficult questions to yourself when you plan on doing something like moving to the other end of the world to do something you have never done before. Let me tell you though, it is more than possible to make it work. Jacy gives some good advice about the visa situation. Almost every teacher I have met here in Brazil has entered with a tourist visa and remains past the expiration date of their visa. If you do not cause any trouble, then no one will every find out that you are here past your visa expiration date. It is difficult to find reliable information about doing something like coming to Brazil to teach English, so this forum is excellent. For anyone interested, I also came across another web page that has some good information. The link is teachingenglishinbrazil.googlepages.com. Good luck to everyone who is interested, and remember that this is very possible!
Just a quick note to all people that are thinking of coming to Brazil to teach English. Be aware that at some police stations, like Policia Federal, they do not speak English. So, either learn the lingo or take a friend with you who can translate for you. Good luck.! I have been working here for a few months but it is advisable as well to get all your documents translated to Portuguese… not your passport.
I have lived and worked in many countries in the world, and by comparison, Brazil is probably one of the hardest. While Brazil has a wonderful climate, stunning nature and great food, you won’t end up seeing much of it because in order to make a decent living, you’ll usuallly have to live and work in one of the huge, polluted, crowded cities. I would only recommend Brazil as a work destination for a while, just to learn the language and get some experience. Brazilian companies work you as if slavery still existed and pay a pititance and there is a lot of back-stabbing and unethical behavior in the companies and the contracts.. Otherwise, make money elsewhere and come as a tourist with lots of money in your pocket because the idea of Brazil as a cheap tourist destination is a myth.
I have to say I agree with Karen. It is very difficult to find people to employ you. Brazilians are very tardy of foreigners and look at you as if you were from Mars. The curiosity factor that you receive at the beginning soon wears off, and unless you can speak near perfect Portuguese they switch off. Having said that away from anything work related they are very friendly and accommodating, the food is great, the weather is great and the country is great, but when it rains, it RAINS!
I have also had trouble finding work here as a teacher initially, it takes a long time to get contacts and enough students for private lessons – that’s why I have started a website together with some fellow teachers to connect students and teachers of foreign languages in Brazil. The BETA went online last week at beta.basetutor.com.br and already has over 100 users (official launch: 2nd of Feb). We hope this will be helpful especially for people that are just starting out here since it provides an instant network of potential students and fellow teachers who might give some pointers. Cheers, Lennart
I’m one of the fortunate foreigners here in Brazil as all my documentation is in order in terms of permanent residency, work permits etc. But I started out here in 1994 so I can confirm the other advise given in the other posts, it is not an easy process to obtain the legal status here in Brazil. I finally got mine in 1996, after 2 years of formalities and tourist visa renewal. Be careful though, if you overstay your tourist visa there is now a determined fine for each day overstayed, not sure how much. Seldom checked but it’s a risk. I’ve taught English in S.P. in 2006 for about 6 months, usually to executives wishing to perfect their English. Wasn’t too difficult even without formal certification. Now I have the TEFL certification and I’m opening up a language school franchise, currently coning to an end of the process, thankfully. So, good news is that I will be looking for native English speakers with TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certification. If you’re planning on spending some time in this marvelous country in the near future and meet the requirements above just let me know and we can take it from there.