New Teacher in South America

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  • bex-sloth
    3 November, 2009 at 14:11
    • Total posts: 1


    I’m just about to do my CELTA course and then am planning on travelling to South America in the new year to work. I’m starting to panic a lot though about finding my first job as I’m realising that South America may have less opportunities for a new teacher with no experience than other countries in, say, Asia. Is this going to be possible?!

    What is the best approach for me? Is it going to be realistic for me to just turn up and travel and apply for jobs when i arrive? I have had a look at some websites but haven’t come across much that would be relevant for me to apply for while still at home. I am not open about the country, but am considering Chile as a first stop. If there are more opportunities in other countries, then i would definately consider other places! Also, that leads to a query regarding visas as until I know where to go I don’t know where to get a working visa for (am I being naive? Is it normal to just turn up on a tourist visa and be able to work?)

    Thanks for any help! I’m feeling a bit clueless at the moment!


    4 November, 2009 at 14:44
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: New Teacher in South America


    I just returned from Santiago, Chile and have taught there for a year and a half. There are lots of institutes. You don’t need prior experience but all of the institutes will make you teach a demo class and you have to do will on the demo in order to get hired.

    As far as the visa process is concerned, it’s a bit more complex. You can’t get a work visa until you get a job. Some institutes will assist you with the visa process and others will let you work without even having the work visa. If you don’t get the visa, you’ll have to leave Chile every 3 months in order to stay legal.

    If you do get the carnet (Chilean ID card) which is the one year visa, you will be given one of 2 types. If the back of your carnet is stamped visa temporaria, this means you will have been given a temporary residents visa. This is the best visa to start out with (unfortunately, you can’t just request it, especially if you’re there to work). You may just be given this visa anyway (I was) and it’s the best because it means that for one year, you are a legal temporary resident of Chile and can work anywhere in the country.

    If however, your carnet is stamped, visa sujeto de contrato on the back, it means that you have to stay with the institute that hired you before you got the visa. If you want to switch jobs, your visa would then be invalid.

    Hope this helps. Another fantastic resource is the expats group in Santiago.


    5 November, 2009 at 6:59
    • Total posts: 149

    Reply To: New Teacher in South America

    There are jobs in Chile (and many other countries for that matter) for teachers without experience. Many teachers do turn up and find work on the spot so as long as you go when the demand is greatest (turning up in March is a good idea) and are prepared to get out and tramp the streets for work, then go for it. Of course it’s a good idea to have enough money in reserve in case it just doesn’t work out and you need to move on.

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