Teaching in Peru will not only help you gain valuable work experience, it will provide you with access to a variety of stunning sites, from the beaches of Máncora to the mountains of Cusco to the jungles of the Amazon and the glaciers over the Andes. Built on the remains of the impressive Inca Empire, present-day Peru retains its personality, so exquisitely crafted from its ancient cultural inheritance. As you begin to travel throughout the country, you’ll see how the people who call its diverse landscapes home beat with one strong Peruvian heart; and, one of the best ways to get to know these incredible people, is by teaching English in Peru.
Geographically, Peru has three distinct regions: the Pacific Coast, the Andes Mountains, and the Amazon Basin. Most individuals end up teaching in Peru in one of two main cities, where teaching job opportunities are particularly plentiful; but, if you’d like to go run with pumas, fly with the condors, and slither with the snake (the Holy Trio of Peru), there’s likely an place with you can teach English in Peru off-the-beaten track as well.
Lima is a popular spot for teaching English in Peru. Though currently the country’s largest city, Lima continues to grow every year. Miraflores is a popular coastal neighborhood, where many international teachers end of teaching in Peru, as it is a bit less overwhelming than the city center. While teaching in Lima, you’ll have great views of the coast, as well as access to nightlife, museums, and plenty of fresh seafood. If you are interested in something a bit more authentic, try teaching in the Barranco neighborhood, where there are colorful colonial churches and hidden cultural treasures galore.
If you are looking for a smaller city full of culture, look for teaching jobs in Cusco. A much more manageable city than Lima, Cusco is easy to get around by foot, and what isn’t can be accessed by bus. Cusco is very close to the well-known Sacred Valley, which is home to Machu Picchu, the Urubamba River, and many well-priced and stunning artisan markets. This close proximity to stunning Inca ruins make it a hotspot for tourists, but its isolation also leaves plenty lesser known treasures to explore.
It can be more difficult to find opportunities to teach in Peru outside of these two big cities, but there are some ways! Teaching jobs in the rural areas throughout Peru are best found through larger TEFL placement agencies or English language institutes. Rural towns and villages will be visited by fewer tourists, and consequently will be more affordable. Cities like Arequipa, Iquitos, and Puno are much less-traveled, but will give you a more immersive experience of teaching English in Peru.
Teaching Jobs in Peru
As English continues to become the lingua franca of the world, demand is growing for native English teachers across the globe. Peru is no exception to this trend.
Before you begin searching for teaching jobs in Peru, decide how long you’d like to stay. The most popular way to teach English in Peru is through short-term programs in the summer, but long-term opportunities are also available. Also keep in mind that opportunities to teach English in Peru are most prominent in its cities, where people have more resources to pay for English classes and more need for them to access jobs in globally driven fields.
In general, more traditional teaching jobs in Peru are most accessible for those who already have a TEFL certificate. These types of teaching jobs include those at universities, K-12 private schools, or language institutes catered to adult learners. If you don’t have a TEFL certificate yet, you can earn a TEFL or TESOL certificate and begin teaching English in Peru with the help of job placements services offered through your TEFL program provider. A TEFL certificate will also allow you to teach English abroad almost anywhere.
On the other hand, if you have Spanish language skills and feel comfortable teaching in Spanish, many nonprofits offer teaching opportunities in Peru focused on educational outreach for street children, bringing the classroom to them as they live and work with their families in the cities. This can be hard work, but is becoming an increasingly popular solution to educate children who can’t afford to go to traditional schools.
Salaries & Costs
Teaching English in Peru is not going to make you the “big bucks” (or those pretty pesos), but your new lifestyle will soon teach you that there are things worth so much more than gold.
If you are looking for a paid teaching job in Peru, you’ll likely need a TEFL certificate and be willing to commit at least six months worth of teaching. Salaries vary based on your host city’s cost of living, but you can expect to make enough to pay for your housing and other basic daily needs teaching in Peru. It’s not common for your flight or accommodation to be included in teaching contracts or teach abroad program prices, so the main expense associated with teaching English in Peru is typically the cost of the plane ticket.
Once you arrive, you will find that Peru is one of the most affordable countries in Latin America. Even if you aren’t making much, you’ll be able to live well while teaching in Peru. A three-course lunch usually runs about $8, an hour long bus ride is $2 (or less, if you wanna ride with the goats), and rent for a shared apartment can be found for under $200 per month.
If you decide to teach in a larger city, there will be a plethora of top-notch performances and exhibitions for mere cents that you can attend, but don’t forget about free cultural events too; they are plentiful and will add greatly to your overall experience, at no risk to your wallet! If you are teaching in Peru in a smaller town, take advantage of the endless outdoor activities; hike through Colca Canyon, trek through the Amazon rainforest, tour the floating islands of Lake Titicaca with a reed raft, sandboard in Huacachina, go surfing in Mancora, and chill with the glaciers on the Cordillera Blanca.
Accommodation & Visas
Teachers will have two main options for housing: apartments and homestays. Residence halls are also available, but are often offered at a higher cost and full of students studying abroad (warning: not a culturally immersive option!). The most important thing to remember is to sign up for the one that sounds most like it will fit your lifestyle!
Staying in homestays is the best way to improve your language skills and pick up on cultural norms in Peru. You’ll also have a family away from home and find that it is an affordable way to live, with food usually included in your housing costs. Apartments are a good option for teachers who want to share a space with local young professionals or those who want more personal space. They are affordable and easy to find through search engines and announcements at local community centers.
No visa is needed for volunteer teachers that plan to teach in Peru for less than 90 days, but you’ll need to check requirements for work visas if you plan to be paid for your hours. For those who would like to teach English in Peru for more than three months, be sure to consult your program provider for the most up-to-date visa requirements. You can also visit GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for more information on visas.
Benefits & Challenges
Spanish is the national language of Peru, though many rural communities speak little of it and communicate only in Quechua or Aymara instead. The Spanish spoken in Peru is slower and more standard than the form that it takes in many neighboring countries, making it a great place to gain fluency, even after only a few months of classes and speaking practice. Local slang varies depending on what city you are in, and typically Limeñians speak much faster than the rest of the country.
Today, the Peruvian nuevos sol is the accepted currency and can be obtained through money exchange centers and from ATMs around the country. Beware that U.S. dollars must be in very good condition for an exchange center to accept them. Don’t get stuck with money problems because your bills are in bad shape. Also, take note that most businesses (not to mention tiendas, collectivos, and street carts) only accept change and very small bills…so when you do withdraw money, be sure to ask the bank to change the large bills into smaller ones; sucks to have a lot of money and not be able to use it.
Final note of caution: food is delicious, but can cause havoc on your digestive system. Unless you have a stomach of steel, make sure that what you eat is washed with potable water and that it has not been sitting in the sun for hours before you eat it. Sanitation is not up to global standards, and you wouldn’t want to end up in a hospital for three weeks with a stomach virus because of that one choclo con queso bought at the street corner.
You have a chance to teach some of the kindest people in the world: peruvianos. While sharing your knowledge with them, they’ll share their incredible country with you. Make the choice to teach abroad in Peru today!