Teach English Abroad in Bogota

Back to Programs

Teaching Abroad in Bogota

They say that the only risk in finding English teaching jobs in Colombia is wanting to stay. If you teach in Bogota, this risk becomes a serious danger. Colombia’s capital city is bursting with life, culture, and teaching opportunities. After dancing until your feet hurt in an all-night salsa bar, absorbing the messages painted by street artists all over the city’s walls, and learning the words to very Maluma song at the behest of your students, you will be thoroughly enamorado with Bogota. You’ve been warned: teach abroad in Bogota at your own risk.

Teaching Jobs in Bogota

If you are teaching in Bogota, you will most likely be teaching English. Speaking English is becoming more and more desirable in Colombia, so there are plenty of jobs to go around. TEFL gigs usually crop up in public schools, private schools, and as private classes.

As part of a country-wide drive to improve English skills among high school students, there are many placements available in public schools in vulnerable neighborhoods. This placement is ideal for anyone wanting to use their time abroad to make a lasting difference (so basically everyone). Placements for teaching in Bogota come with a lot of in-country support, a thorough orientation, and the opportunity to see a different side of Colombia. Despite the feels, the environment can be challenging though, so think carefully before taking on this responsibility.

Working in a private institution, you will be interacting with people from an entirely different social strata. You will probably have a more comfortable teaching environment (smaller class sizes, more resources, etc) and better pay. Because of competition for placements, you will most likely need a formal TEFL/TESOL qualification to get hired. Luckily it is easy to get TEFL certified in Bogota, and once you have this under your belt, you will be set to teach anywhere in the world!

Both private and public schools prefer a commitment of one year from ESL teachers in Colombia. The school year commences in February and runs to November, with a long summer break in the middle. Because it will take at least a year to explore Bogota, this is a great length of time to sign up for (to start off with anyway - you may even stay longer!). 

Life in Bogota

Bogota is one of the fastest developing cities in Latin America. As Colombia emerges from decades of civil war, Bogota is leading the way for the whole country into a brighter future.

Bogota is not known as a tourist hotspot, but for those who choose to teach in Bogota, there is no shortage of things to do. A vast array of restaurants, theaters, museums, and other cultural centers blend into the colonial architecture, for the perfect blend of traditional and cosmopolitan. In the chic northern suburbs, upmarket shopping malls line leafy green parks, and entertainment districts come into a life of their own after the sun has set.

Bogota is not only home to museums and art galleries that house some of the world’s most famous artworks, it is the canvas for graffiti artists with something to say. Street art and murals are spreading throughout the city, as young artists use their craft to tell their stories and share their voices, on subjects ranging from gay rights, to peace, to political corruption. To understand the movements that are taking place under the surface of the city, you just have to take a graffiti tour around some of the central barrios.

Colombians from any other part of the country will tell you that Bogota has a cold and unpleasant climate. Set high in the Andes, Bogota is certainly chillier than the coastal areas, with temperatures never getting much higher than 65 degrees. You will want to pack a good jacket: rain is a frequent visitor to the capital. If you want to escape to warmer climates though, El Dorado airport has connections to almost everywhere in Colombia and surrounding countries (and Caribbean islands aren’t all that far away).

Salaries & Costs

With the higher prices that come from living in a big, international city, both salaries for ESL teachers and the cost of living are higher than in other locations in Colombia. You will still be earning a modest amount compared to other places however: teachers in Bogota usually earn between $500 and $1000. Teach abroad salaries in Colombia depend largely on your employer: government sponsored programs can only afford to pay a minimal amount, whereas private language schools can up the ante a little. These schools will generally throw in some perks, such as paying for visa costs and sometimes granting you a travel allowance. If you are lucky enough to snag a position in a posh private school, that figure could rise to as much as $1500, which is a phenomenal amount to be earning in Colombia.

It is entirely possible to live off a salary of $500 in Bogota, if you observe Colombians and pick up some of their frugal living habits. Eating almuerzo, a fixed menu which usually includes soup, a main course, and a drink, in a local restaurant is around $3. If you buy your produce in markets, you can keep your grocery bill under $70 a month, and public buses usually only cost about 50 cents each time you ride them. If you are earning a little more, you can splurge on fancier restaurants, where a meal is around $10, buying a few cocktails for $5 each, and taking trips to Cartagena for as little as $60 round trip is you book in advance. 

Accommodation & Visas

One of the biggest hurdles to moving abroad to teach English in Bogota is finding a place to live. While program providers will generally guide you through the house-hunting process, and provide you with all the information and support you need to to land a place, you will have to do a lot of legwork yourself. It is helpful if you speak intermediate Spanish, or have a friend who can help you translate, in order to contact landlords. Most teachers in Bogota rent either studio apartments by themselves, or a room in an apartment shared with one or two other people. It can be difficult to sign a lease without Colombian guarantors, so you will need to find places that are available for flexible or short-term rent.

As for visas, you have a few different options for teaching in Bogota. If you travel to Colombia as a tourist, you can stay for 90 days and then renew your tourist visa for a further 90 days, giving you a total of six months in the country. You will still be able to give private lessons, or work for most language schools with this option. A proper visa is better though, and most programs will arrange to have one issued for you. In this case, you don’t need to worry about a whole lot: just provide all the required documentation and your employer will take care of it for you. Work visas are usually valid for one year. If you have any queries or concerns about visas, use the GoAbroad Embassy Directory to contact the Colombian embassy nearest you. 

Benefits & Challenges

Bogota is such a big city that it packs in enough variety and excitement to fill a small country. It strikes a balance between having its own distinct culture, yet still having a lot of the comforts and amenities you are accustomed to from home.

You might be there to teach English, but Bogota is a great place to learn Spanish. Colombian Spanish is repeated to be ‘pure’: in loose terms this means it is clearer and easier to understand than other accents in Spanish. It helps that Colombians themselves are gregarious and persistently friendly: ¿de dónde eres? will be the opener to countless conversations and friendships with locals. Take advantage of the friendliness of locals to practice your Spanish at every opportunity.

As in every large city, safety can be a concern in Bogota. You should be aware of your surroundings at all time, avoid going to barrios that are known for high crime rates, and listen to the advice locals will give you: don’t dar papaya, as they say. This literally means “give papaya,” but what they mean is don’t let people take advantage of you. Don’t walk around with your phone in your hand, don’t walk alone after dark, and keep your wits about you at all times.

Read More

written by:

A Guide To

Teaching Abroad in Bogota


12 Teach Abroad Programs in Bogota


This listing has been saved 9 times

A job teaching English in Colombia is a fantastic way to live overseas and get paid to travel the world! Armed with an International TEFL Academy TEFL/TESOL certification, you will be able to work abroad teaching English while getting paid. After taking our course, you can quickly begin working in major cities throughout Colombia, South America, and around the world. Teaching English oversea...


This listing has been saved 36 times

Native & fluent English speakers welcome! We are looking for professional, enthusiastic candidates keen for adventure and excited about living and working in beautiful Colombia. Contract Length: 5, 6 and 11 months Students: School kids, teenagers and/or adults. Primarily teaching students aged from 14 to 20. Workshops with children of all ages. Teaching: Monday to Friday, 25 Hours ...


This listing has been saved 14 times

API is working together with Colombia’s Ministry of Education and a Colombian public institution, National Service of Learning (SENA), to provide conversational English training in job training centers and schools. English training is an important step to help locals succeed in school, find better jobs, and improve communication in the global market. This program will not only give you invaluab...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Hiring for JUNE 2017 start. Teach English: ESL is looking for qualified, motivated and passionate individuals who want to share their knowledge of English and their cultural differences with students in underprivileged schools around Colombia, South America. The Teach English in Colombia Fellowship is free for the successful candidates, and the benefits (including a monthly living stipend) ...


This listing has been saved 38 times

The only teaching program of its kind in Latin America, Greenheart Travel's Teach in Colombia program is a fully structured program, ensuring the participants' experience is the most comprehensive and highest quality program available. The program is FREE for qualified applicants, and a monthly stipend allows participants to support themselves while they experience Colombia and perfect their...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Earn your TEFL certification in Colombia through this intensive training offered by Teaching House. Sponsored by Cambridge University, the CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching for Adults) is the most widely accepted and prestigious TEFL certificate available. Bogota, also known as the Athens of South America, is a cultural and educational hub of Colombia and our school is centrall...


This listing has been saved 4 times

The Colombian government is actively seeking English teachers for its major education initiative. Native English-speakers are sought to team teach with local teachers. A modest stipend is provided. This is a great opportunity for those who would like to spend some time abroad, work on their Spanish skills, and get acquainted with one of today's hot travel destinations. Teaching experience and S...


This listing has been saved 6 times

TEACH ENGLISH IN COLOMBIA * No teaching experience required! Enjoy a truly once in a lifetime experience! * Join this FREE programme run by the Colombian government and change lives! Since its launch in January 2015, more than 500 individuals have helped provide English education to more than 30,000 public school students. You too can make a global difference and help improve lives for t...


This listing has been saved 7 times

The English Teaching Fellowship Program is a paid social initiative organized and supervised by the Colombian National Ministry of Education to build a bilingual Colombia. As the Colombian government is aware of the importance to integrate English education as a way to succeed in a globalized society, it has developed this unique opportunity for English teachers. With a fully bilingual initi...


This listing has been saved 2 times

We are hiring Native teachers from an English-speaking country to work in different cities in Colombia: Bogota, Cali, Barranquilla, Medellin, Villavicencio, Monteria, Popayan. We require TEFL, CELTA, TESOL certified or with a BA, one year experience minimum. The candidates must commit to a one-year contract. Schedule: Monday- Friday 6.30 AM - 3.30 PM