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Top 5 Highlights of Teaching English in Uruguay, South America
Written by: Gabriela Fernandez
Last Updated: July 19, 2021
Uruguay may be the most charming South American country that you've never heard. The second smallest country in the continent with a population of 3.5 million, Uruguay is located in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoying a long coastline from the Atlantic border with Brazil to the mouth of the Rio de la Plata and the border with Argentina. Like its large neighbor, Uruguay is distinguished by a cultural melange with strong Spanish and Italian influences; a mild climate; and it is a nation that loves “futbol”, yerba mate and world class beef. In addition, Uruguay boasts a combination of the lowest level of corruption and poverty, and the highest standards of living in the region.
And finally, it also considered one of the most progressive nations in South America. It boasts a long democratic tradition, was the first nation in South America to legalize gay marriage and it is on track to become the first nation in the world to fully legalize, regulate and tax the trade of cannabis. Want to learn more? Read on...
Teaching English in Uruguay
If you are considering teaching English in South America, Uruguay is a country that is rich in natural beauty, sandy beaches, colonial cities, great cuisine, music, art, literature and friendly people that will make you feel right at home! It may not be as large of a job market as Argentina, Chile, or even Peru, but given the country's relatively strong economy and its increasing reliance on international trade and commerce, the demand for TEFL certified English teachers is growing and there's no reason why any TEFL certified English teacher who ventures to this gem of a nation will not be successful in gaining employment.
Those looking to teach English in Uruguay should expect to interview locally in Uruguay - probably in Montevideo as most jobs and schools are located there - and can expect to make an income that enables them to live comfortably (if modestly), cover the bills (rent, groceries, utilities, etc.) and enjoy travel on the weekends, going out a couple times of week, and undertaking other personal pursuits like taking Spanish lessons. Many English teachers in Uruguay supplement their income by taking on private students. Those who do teach English in Uruguay can look forwarding to a rich and exciting experience that includes the following highlights.
Home to more than half of the Uruguayan population, Montevideo is a vibrant capital city that lays in an uninterrupted stretch of white sandy beaches. In Montevideo every neighborhood has their own character, so there is a lot to explore and discover! In the historic downtown “Ciudad Vieja” you will find: 18th century buildings mixed with modern skyscrapers: art deco and neoclassic architecture, commercial activity in the “ 18 de Julio” street, theaters, museums and art galleries.
The southeast part of town is known for it great shopping and chic beach communities like Punta Carreras, Buceo, Carrasco and Pocitos. Though known for being a bit more mellow than other South American hotspots like Buenos Aires and Rio, Montevideo still hums at night and for those looking to hit the town, there is no shortage restaurants, clubs, tango houses and bars. And if you have never danced an electric tango, this is the place to get down!
2. The Fantastic Beaches of Punta del Este
Punta del Este enjoys the reputation of being one of the most famous beach town in South America, attracting more than 300 thousands visitors per year, including all types of celebrities from Europe, South America and even in U.S. A perfect getaway from from the hustle and bustle of Montevideo, this stylish and modern city is filled with stylish restaurants, boulevards, bars and cafés.
3. Colonia del Sacramento
Travel back in time in this charming colonial city known for its delightful cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, and its central historic quarter, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Located just across the Río de la Plata from the Buenos Aires, Argentina, the town is was originally founded by the Portuguese in 1680, making it one of the oldest European settlements in Uruguay. It switched hands between Spain and Portugal no less than a half dozen time over the centuries makes for a perfect stop if you are on your way to the far larger and more famous Argentine capital.
4. “Futbol”, Mate and Asado
Did you know that Uruguay has won the World Cup twice and that it is the smallest nation ever to win the world's most prized sports trophy (1930 and 1950)?
Uruguayans are all about soccer, their country team is called “la celeste” (Light Blue) and its part of their pride. Uruguayans also love drinking yerba mate (an herbal tea-like beverage popular in South America), so don’t be surprised if some encounter people drinking mate instead of beer at the game!
But perhaps the greatest Uruguayan pastime is eating meat - particularly a South American style of barbecue called asado. In fact, despite its small population of just over 3 million, Uruguay ranks as one of the world's top beef exporters! So you will figure that futbol, mate and asado are just a perfect Uruguayann combination!
5. Gaucho Riding
A definite cultural highlight of living and traveling in Uruguay is a visit to an authentic Estancia, a South American ranch, to discover the traditions of the Gaucho, or South American cowboy. Gauchos enjoy the status of a national symbol and their lore is an integral part of Uruguayan national identity. As a visitor, you will discover the beauty of the Uruguayan countryside while riding alongside gauchos as they tend to their herd before feasting on asado and sipping on wine as dusk settles in.
Gabriela Fernandez is a passionate traveler, journalist, writer and political scientist with extensive international experience working as a broadcaster, writer and actress for television channels, radio stations and magazines across the globe. With a Master's Degree in International Development & Cooperation, she has explored cultures and cuisines the world over while traveling to 6 continents, more than 20 countries and hundreds of cities worldwide.
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