Stretching over 2,600 miles in length, it is no wonder Chile has so much diversity to offer, not only in its various landscapes (all stunning!), but in its culture and people. From the high and dry Atacama Desert in the north, to the glacial peaks and rainforests of Patagonia in the south, Chile, in a word, is breathtaking. Likewise, you’ll never have a dull moment while earning your TEFL certificate in Chile, whether learning new teaching methodologies in class, brushing up on your Spanish or indigenous dialects, eating fresh seafood, hiking, or learning about the complex political scene that has shaped this very up-and-coming nation in Latin America.
As the capital city of Chile and home to a population of roughly 7 million, Santiago is one of the best bets in finding a quality TEFL program in Chile. The majority of TEFL programs are in Santiago because many ESL job placements are also located there, making it easy for new TEFL teachers to find jobs after they complete certification.
Another location that may very-well become your new Chilean home is Valparaíso. Think San Francisco without the sky high prices! Valparíso is known for its Bohemian lifestyle, vividly colored buildings, steep hilly terrain, and accessibility to the entire city by bus. Pablo Neruda fans will adore touring his home with endless views of the harbor and the Andes mountains. Future ESL teachers will also have plenty of opportunities to get teaching experience at the Chilean Naval Academy base and in many thriving international businesses.
Viña del Mar, Concepción, or La Serena would also be excellent locations to pursue your TEFL certification in Chile. While all of these locations are fairly central in the expanse of the country, if you feel so inclined, you can still extend your reach a bit more via boat, bus, or car, and see more of the country.
TEFL Programs in Chile
An undergraduate degree is not necessary to pursue TEFL certification in Chile, but it is a general requirement. If students don’t have a bachelor’s degree, TEFL programs may require students to be at least 20 years old. To start the process, most organizations require a written application and then conduct an interview process over the phone or via Skype (usually with a quick week turn around time). After passing the application process, you will be ready to buy your plane ticket!
TEFL programs in Chile last roughly four weeks, but some providers offer part time TEFL courses which last three months or online courses. Regardless of specific structure, TEFL certification programs prepare individuals to teach anywhere in the world. TEFL courses in Chile typically include 120 hours of classroom time, 20 hours of classroom observation, on average, with veteran English teachers, and practice tutoring ESL students under the mentorship of professional English teachers.
During TEFL courses, students can expect to learn techniques for teaching English grammar and pronunciation, classroom management, lesson planning, and methods for enhancing speaking, listening, reading, and writing for new English language learners. Some TEFL certification programs in Chile also offer two weeks of Spanish language courses, an added bonus! Lastly, after finishing your TEFL certification in Chile, program providers routinely provide job coaching and job placement assistance.
Salary & Costs
The cost of earning a TEFL certificate in Chile is on average around $2,000 (plus the cost of housing, airfare, and meals). Keep in mind that this includes more than just TEFL courses, the following is often included in this price: job assistance, learning materials, and access to alumni networks - all of which will help build your English teaching career abroad.
After finishing TEFL certification in Chile, teachers can expect to earn around $500 to $800 per month (which is quite a liveable wage in Chile) teaching English in Chile. A meal of empanadas can run you less than $4, whereas a mid-range, sit down restaurant can run you around $6. If you’re a Coke fanatic, don’t expect to pay more than $1.20. Clothing and shoes tend to be on the expensive side, while food is on the cheaper side.
Accommodation & Visas
Airfare and housing are typically the responsibility of each TEFL student. A one-bedroom apartment in Santiago’s city center averages around $430 per month and a shared apartment with two roommates can run less than $300. Costs are typically cut by opting for shared apartments recently vacated by previous TEFL students or former ESL teachers, and many of your fellow students and current ESL teachers in Chile will be open to sharing accommodations with new students too. Some TEFL program providers in Chile assist students in arranging housing near TEFL schools to reduce transportation costs for students, such housing usually includes apartments, homestays, student residences, or even hotels.
Since the working status of TEFL students often changes throughout the course of a TEFL program, it is sometimes difficult to determine what type of visa is needed, a tourist, student, or work visa. Student visas are typically reserved for high school and university students and for those participating in TEFL certification programs in Chile offered by private institutions. For those that opt for tourist visas, visitors are allowed 90 days in-country. It is likely that work visas will require proof from a company or school that you’ve already been hired, so you won’t want to pursue this visa until after you have completed TEFL certification and you are hired for a teaching job in Chile. Above all, check with your TEFL program provider for the best advice on what type of visa you’ll need.
Benefits & Challenges
Earning your TEFL certificate in Chile will open doors to new experiences, development in communication skills, global awareness, and insight into a culture very much different from your own. Since Chile has been increasing its efforts to gain English fluency, you may find yourself teaching in Chile in a variety of institutions, from a top corporation to a local school.
Chile offers a unique experience by combining elements of modernism and high development, with a history of turmoil and a complex political scenery. The culture is vibrant, proud, and unique but yet distinctly Latin American. Don’t be surprised if you get swept up in cueca, carne asada, and curanto, and looking for the Pudu puda. Folklore abounds, craftsmanship is beloved, and teaching English in a country so keen to learn English may just give you a better appreciation for your native tongue as well.
The challenges you might encounter when applying for TEFL programs in Chile include cost (compared to the majority of Latin America, Chile runs fairly expensive as one of the most stable economies), occasional anti-American sentiment (brush up on your 20th-century history and you’ll better understand why), and being far from home (Southern Hemisphere folks!). For those wanting to see the world from a different perspective, however, and make a positive impact while doing so, look no further than TEFL certification in Chile!