If you would like to teach English in Latin America so that you can improve your Spanish while getting teaching experience and living abroad, here are some official programs and options for native speakers of English:
Get Paid to Teach English:
If you’d like to teach English in Colombia, the English Teaching Fellowship offers placements in primary/secondary schools or vocational training for young adults. The age limit is 21 to 50, and a Bachelor’s degree plus basic Spanish competency is required. The monthly stipend is 1,500,000 Colombian pesos (around $500) for 25 teaching hours and 15 administrative hours per week. A deposit of $400 is also required, but will be returned once you complete the program. There are many start dates throughout the year (January, March, June), with contracts ranging from 6 to 11 months.
If you’d like to teach English in Chile, the English Open Doors Program began in 2015 thanks to the Educational Reform to provide students in public schools with more opportunities to learn English. Volunteers can be placed almost anywhere in Chile during the fall and spring semesters (March to July and August to November). The age limit is 21 to 35; however, applicants over 35 may be considered on a case-by-case basis. A Bachelor’s degree is required, but knowledge of Spanish is not. The monthly stipend is 70,000 Chilean Pesos (around $100) to cover transportation, supplies, or extra food not provided by the host family. The application is usually available in mid-September, with start dates in March/April and July/August.
The WorldTeach Global Education Fellowship program recently began in Ecuador as part of President Correa’s “It is Time to Teach” initiative. Fellows spend 10 months in the Amazonian and Andean regions of Ecuador, teaching English full-time in public K-12 schools. Airfare and TEFL certification are included, and a professional development project is required in addition to teaching. Fellows live with host families and receive around $150 per month for basic living costs. Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree and be between the ages of 21 and 74.
The English Fellow Program through the US Department of State is probably the most well-paid option for Americans (stipend of $30,000 for the 10 month placement), but you do need a Master’s degree to apply and there is no guarantee where you will be placed. They have several assignments all over the world, so you may not even be placed in Latin America.
Program Fee plus Monthly Allowance:
Teach Abroad with CIEE offers paid programs to teach English in the Dominican Republic or Chile. Even though you receive a monthly stipend, you also have to pay a $1,900 fee for the Dominican Republic or $2,900 for Chile. The stipend is about $550 for the Dominican Republic and just over $750 for Chile, so you’ll essentially be volunteering for almost half the time. A Bachelor’s degree and upper intermediate Spanish skills are required for both countries, and a TEFL certification is also required for Chile.
CIEE also has a few programs to teach English in Spain if you’re just looking to work in a Spanish-speaking country, but note that the regular program is essentially the same as the free auxiliar de conversación program run by the Spanish government.
Pay to Volunteer Programs:
It may seem odd to pay to volunteer, but the fees cover almost everything except your plane ticket and visa. You will usually stay with a host family, be provided with three meals a day, have health insurance, and possibly transportation costs covered. You will have support from the program coordinators if you need help, and some programs offer a TEFL certification as part of the volunteer experience.
CIEE offers a one month volunteer program to teach English in Peru.
World Teach has programs in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Guyana (which is an English-speaking country so the subjects will be math, science, history, etc.)
Projects Abroad includes programs in Argentina, Belize (English-speaking country), Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jamaica (English-speaking country), Mexico, and Peru.
Check out Go Overseas for more programs and reviews. Remember that you can always study abroad, intern abroad, or volunteer abroad for programs involving conservation, agriculture, archaeology, etc. if you decide that teaching English is not your thing.
Also read through Offical Programs to Teach English in Europe if you think you’d rather go across the pond.
Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.