Of all the intriguing countries throughout the world, Brazil might be the most attractive. Beautiful beaches, rainforest, architecture, wonderful people and a growing economy make Brazil the destination of the 21st century. Of course, it has problems like anywhere, but with the World Cup just ending and the Olympics coming, there is bound to be opportunity and energy pouring into the world’s eighth largest economy for the foreseeable future. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a fair amount of Brazilian students in the United States and they have always been a pleasure to teach.
How much can I make teaching English in Brazil? What about obtaining a visa in Brazil? What kind of teaching opportunities are there?
Like anywhere in Latin America, do not expect to make a lot of money in Brazil. However, teaching in Latin America is never about the money, but the experience. If you cannot fathom this, then teaching in Latin America may not be the best choice. Most teachers in Brazil make between $800 to $1,500 per month depending on a teacher’s experience and the quality of the school. Unfortunately, it is not easy to obtain a working visa.
There are international schools and language schools for children of affluent parents that will sponsor a visa, but this is not the norm. For the most part, many teachers work part-time at a couple of different language schools and fit private lessons into their schedule. Many foreign instructors work on a tourist visa and make visa runs to Argentina or Uruguay.
Teaching English in Brazil does come with the security of teaching in East Asia, but teaching anywhere in Latin America is always more about adventure. Personally, I’ve spent a total of four months in South America and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Realistically, it is best to have at least $5,000 or $6000 saved before coming to Brazil as it may take a while before you can build up enough work to sustain yourself. While a TESOL, TEFL or CELTA is not required for most jobs, it could certainly serve as an advantage to have one along with any previous teaching experience.
Most importantly, if one is flexible, adaptable and able to roll with the punches, teaching in Brazil or anywhere in Latin America is sure to be a rewarding and unforgettable time. Who knows, you may come with the intention of staying a year and end up spending the rest of your life there. It definitely wouldn’t be the first time. For the ambitious types, there are likely to be business opportunities in Brazil outside of teaching English.
What is the cost of living in Brazil? Can I save money?
If you are coming to Brazil for a year or two, it will be almost impossible to save money. Unless of course, you are the world’s cheapest person and have a habit of leaving your wallet at home when it’s time to pay the bill. Brazil is by no means cheap and cities like Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo can be as expensive as North American ones. This is the case for all major cities in Latin America, including Buenos Aires, Bogota, Santiago and so on. It might be possible to find an apartment outside the city center for $600 per month or to share an apartment for $400 per month in the city center. Expect to pay almost back home prices at restaurants and bars. Nonetheless, teachers in Brazil learn to adapt, survive and live as the locals do.
If one is looking for culture, beauty, and adventure, then Brazil could certainly be a fun place to teach English.