Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side - Teaching in Latin America

By Drew Randall

“The grass is always greener on the other side.” This phrase couldn’t be more appropriate for how my wife and I perceived life as English teachers would be in comparison to life as civil engineers in the US. We obtained our TEFL certifications online through the International TEFL Academy. My wife and I have been teaching English abroad in South America for 10-months; 5-months in Arequipa, Peru and 5-months at our current teaching position in Cuenca, Ecuador. Based on our experience so far, there are obvious differences, like the salary, and shocking similarities in time commitment or daily schedule.

Valpo, Chile on Foot (Mostly)

By Scott Mistler-Ferguson 

An enormous benefit to living in Viña Del Mar is that I’m just a bus ride away from all of Central Chile’s cities, and each one is undeniably different from the other. Valparaíso and Viña Del Mar are a prime exampleof this in their contrasting looks, vibes, layouts, and intangible personalities. Newcomers always comment on how shocking it is that two cities only ten minutes apart appear to be from different worlds. I’ll try to create an easier image to grasp.

Transportation: Getting Around Bucaramanga, Colombia

By: Rebecca Sirull 

After spending an hour just getting from one side of Bogota to the other, it was refreshing being in a smaller city like Bucaramanga, where it never takes more than thirty minutes to get anywhere. I love how easy and cheap it is to get around and the surprising number of options within such a small city. Here are all the different types of transportation you can find in Bucaramanga.

The Biggest Challenges I Faced Adjusting to Life in Colombia

By: Rebecca Sirull

If you’re looking into teaching abroad, you’ll probably find tons of posts online about the amazing adventures, transformative experiences, and breathtaking sights. But it’s not always sunshine and crystal blue waters. It takes a lot of hard work to get set up in a new place and it can come with plenty of challenges to overcome. Here are some of the more difficult experiences I had when adjusting to life in Colombia.

Fascinating Experiences You'll Have in and Around Bucaramanga, Colombia

By Rebecca Sirull

The best parts of traveling, and especially living, abroad are never the things you see recommended in guidebooks or marked on a map; they’re not the things you bought a ticket for;  and they’re certainly not going to be the same for you as they are for me.

The most fascinating experiences I’ve had in Bucaramanga are the ones that I couldn’t possibly have planned before, but rather the ones I just seemed to stumble into. Throwing yourself into a new culture, you’re bound to have several moments of 'oh my god, this is the weirdest situation I’ve ever been in'. And those are the moments that I live for.

Finding Housing in Bucaramanga, Colombia

By Rebecca Sirull

In just one short year in Bucaramanga, I’ve experienced a surprisingly large number of living situations. The culture here is different from the US in that young people generally live with their parents or other family members, and it’s not very common to have a shared house or apartment.

Making Friends with Both Expats & Locals While Teaching English in Colombia

By Rebecca Sirull

One of the best parts of teaching abroad is the opportunity to meet interesting people. Being in a new country always makes me feel more open to other new experiences, and I’m much more likely to strike up conversation with a stranger than when I’m back in the US. Most other expats I’ve met tend to have the same mentality, so it’s incredibly easy to connect with people from all over the world when you’re living in a new place.  

The Finances of Living and Teaching English in Bucaramanga, Colombia

By: Rebecca Sirull

One great benefit of teaching in Colombia is the low cost of living, and the strength of the dollar, euro, or pound in comparison with the local peso. If you come here with a bit of savings, it will go much further than it would back home and you’ll be able to take advantage of all the amazing travel opportunities. However, the downside of a weak currency is that local wages are fairly low. That’s why so many English teachers rely on online teaching for a large part of their income. You could easily earn all that you need to live comfortably here just working a few hours a day online, but I prefer the experience of teaching classes in person, so the combination of both works well for me. Here’s a breakdown of my monthly earnings and expenses.