There are many ways to make money in Colombia. Investment in the country is booming and opportunities for business-savvy individuals are numerous and come with a great deal of potential. You can read about investment in Colombia here.
A great deal of expats, however, come to Colombia to teach. Teaching in Bogotá and teaching in Medellín are the two preferred means of earning a living, since in both cities there’s great opportunities and for many private classes you only need English as your native language in order to be considered qualified. Of course, with more qualifications you can expect to earn more money and, as such, teaching in Colombia can become very lucrative.
Working for universities (you’ll need experience and qualifications) can bring in $4m – $6m COL per month, while your average teaching job will land you around $2m. Either way, the life you can live in Colombia is very comfortable.
Here’s a couple of testimonials from expats living in Colombia, both of whom have over a year’s experience teaching in Bogotá.
My favourite way to travel is to stay in one place for an extended period of time so I can fully immerse myself in the country and the language. As I didn’t have wads of cash and wanted to try my hand at teaching, it seemed the easiest skill to pass. Lucky for us native English speakers, English teachers are in demand in Bogota – there is also a strong appetite for a British accent – posh it up a bit and you will get several offers.
But here are some tips for teaching in the high city –
1) Don’t jump into the first job you get – there are plenty out there and not all cut the mustard. Do your research, check out forums, blogs, get word of mouth recommendations, they’re often the best advice.
2) Be prepared to do graveyard shifts – early in the morning but also evening classes. Unless you’re working for a language Institute that offer classes during the day. Bogotanos, like early birds, seem to be fully functioning at 7am.
3) Consider building your private portfolio – if you’re good at what you do, you will find a market of dissatisfied customers who are tired of wasting money on Language schools that don’t teach or pretend to teach English but have Colombian workforce that can barely go through the English Alphabet.
4) Lastly, have fun, enjoy teaching and you will find that many Bogotanos will come rushing for more, invite you to their BBQs and dinner parties, might even take you on a weekend trip outside Bogota!
English teaching in Bogota has been a greatly rewarding and enjoyable experience for me. With increased international investment in Colombia English has become an indispensable skill to put on your CV when applying for any graduate level job. This means the EFL market is growing to fulfill the Colombian demand for English, whether it be for young learners whose parents are aware of the necessity of English in their child’s future, university students or employees looking to boost their career prospects. Therefore Bogota combines being an exciting, fun and unique place with great work opportunities.
In Colombia expect to earn enough money to live a comfortable though perhaps not frivolous lifestyle based on 20-25 hours per week (from which you’ll earn about $2mCOL per month). CELTA is preferred but not essential in the majority of the city’s language institutes. However, be warned that the nature of the work means you will probably be sent by an institute to offices all around the city and will spend a lot of time travelling in the sometimes hell-ish Bogota traffic. Furthermore the hours in which you teach will be those in which the student is not working. i.e before 9am, lunch hour and after work.