I started my journey to Colombia (which, thanks to Avianca’s direct-from-London flight, was significantly easier than my last visit) and as soon as I arrived I felt like I was home. Have you ever had that feeling of just belonging somewhere? It’s pretty magical.
I had various job interviews when I first arrived in Colombia: every company was different and each offered a variety of benefits and hours etc. After a number of interviews I decided that the best fit for me was Bogota Business English. A couple of weeks later I found myself in the Colombian migration office waiting for my visa interview (in which you need to have the relevant paperwork, go to the office as early as you can and then sit and wait). The whole process was pretty straightforward: you wait for your turn, present your documents to the official, they study them and call you back to tell you the outcome. The process took around 2 hours to complete and they put your visa in your passport straight away, then you’re free to go.
In Colombia you have to have an ID card called a cedula and foreigners get given a cedula extranjeria- this number is your person ID and is used for opening bank accounts and getting paid etc. You have to get this from a different office where once again you present your documents, wait and they give you an answer (it’s also useful to note that at this office they stamp your visa with an entry stamp, so you have to go within 10 days of receiving your visa). Cedulas take around 5 days to be processed and then you are good to go.
Working as a teacher in Colombia is amazing as there is a big English/American community of teachers who are all very friendly and welcoming. Bogota Business English employs around 30 teachers who are all from English-speaking countries.
There are a large number of schools in Colombia who employ English teachers and if you happen to have a masters degree in teaching, from a UK or American University, you have the opportunity to be employed by one of the private Bilingual English schools in Bogota or at a University. The British Council has a big presence in Bogota as well as Wall Street English and International House. Whilst all of these institutions are good, they require different qualifications and offer different hours and wages. I picked Bogota Business English because it pays by the hour and offers 25 hours a week (the typical working hours are 7 – 9am, 12- 2pm and 5-7pm) which gives you plenty of time to explore Bogota as well as giving you long weekends to travel the country.
I would definitely recommend Colombia as a place to teach English as the country is beautiful and the people are so kind and friendly. Bogota Business English is a great company to work for and they are always looking for new teachers, so if you find yourself wanting to come and work in Colombia be sure to check out their website.