In recent years, Chile has become somewhat of a destination for teaching English. After having spent two weeks there in 2012, I can understand why. Prior to arriving to Chile, I had been in Argentina for nearly three months. Chile offered a sense of peace, simplicity and security that that seemed to be lacking at times in Argentina. If I could choose one country to live in for the rest of my life, Chile would be near the top of my list. It is a geographically elongated nation, isolated by the Andes and often overlooked in discussions about South America.
Along with Uruguay and Costa Rica, Chile is by far the most politically stable and secure country in Latin America. It also has a vibrant economy and a decent amount of friendly university students and working professionals that are eager to learn English. If you enjoy nature, Chile is a land of vast beauty, endless mountains and open space. It is also a place of warm people, excellent food and adventure. From hiking the Andes, camping, outdoor adventures or just spending time on the coast, there is an abundance of open space that makes one feel at ease. If that wasn’t enough to lure you, Chile is also the number two producer of avocados in the world and they consume exorbitant amounts of it. In fact, Chileans seem to put it on everything, including hot dogs, sandwiches and wraps. If you are thinking about teaching English in South America, Chile deserves some serious consideration
What is the cost of living and pay rate for teaching English in Chile?
Keep in mind that you are not going to save much, if any money teaching English in Chile or almost anywhere in South America. With this in mind, it is better to come with at least 4 to 6 thousand dollars in savings. Chile is cheaper than the United States, but not by much and definitely not like Ecuador or Peru. A modern one bedroom apartment in Santiago can be had for around $325 dollars and you can expect to make between $1000 to $1500 per month working full-time. The cost of living in Santiago is about $1200 per month.
Where can I get a job teaching English in Chile?
Not surprisingly, most of the jobs for teaching English are located in Santiago, which has a population pushing 7 million. There are also positions throughout other cities in Chile, but your best bet is to start off in Santiago, network and move on from there. Like most countries, you can teach in public schools, private language institutes and at universities. When you first arrive to Chile, you may find it a little difficult to obtain full-time work. However, there are plenty of part-time teaching opportunities until you land a full-time position. If teaching in a private langauge institution, expect to work from the early afternoon and through the evening. Some schools may have limited teaching material, which can make it difficult on the teacher at times. On the other hand, this also affords teachers in Chile the opportunity to be creative since they have to make much of the material themselves.
How do I secure a work visa in Chile?
The best way is to enter Chile on a tourist visa and change it to a work visa after finding a teaching job. Most likely, you will bring your work contract to the immigration office. Remember, South America can be quite lax on immigration compared to the United States. Bring a copy of your university diploma just in case. You should bring a copy of your degree to any country where you want to teach English. Be very skeptical of schools or recruiting agencies that offer you a job before you arrive in Chile. Even if it is a legit job, they will claim a percentage of your paycheck each month.
Chile is an amazing country. While it is not a place to save money like parts of Asia, it is a great place for teaching English and enjoying life for at least a year or two. Don’t be deterred by its elongated shape. Chile has an excellent bus system and highways from north to south. If you live in Santiago, there are plenty of destinations to escape to on the weekend or during a vacation. Chile is sure to be a great place to live and teach English.