While Ecuador may not hold the same international prestige of Brazil or Colombia, it demands the same respect as a place to visit, work, live, start a business or retire. It turns out that Ecuador is also a great place to teach English.
How much money can one make teaching English in Ecuador? Like anywhere, it depends on the location and type of school, but typically English teachers in Ecuador make between $500 to $1300 a month. That’s it! It doesn’t sound like much money by North American standards, but keep in mind that the cost of living in Ecuador is cheap and the lifestyle is tranquila!
Trust me, I spent a month in Ecuador in 2013 studying Spanish and hiking around luscious, green mountains. I had a chance to talk to several English teachers who loved being there and I was even offered a couple of teaching jobs while on vacation! God damn Uncle Sam, I wish it were that easy to find a job in the United States!
In most cases, you will need a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA to teach in Ecuador along with a university degree. I’ve known a few teachers who landed sweet positions in Ecuador because they had that extra teaching certificate.
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Here are five reasons to teach English in Ecuador
1. The People
The people in Ecuador are wonderful in so many ways. Although quiet and slow to open up to outsiders, they are genuine, down to earth and easy-going folks. Like everywhere, Ecuadorians may not be as friendly in the largest city of Quito, but the rest of the country is populated by chilled and hospitable souls. Even the taxi drivers are pretty nice. Especially compared to those psychopaths in Argentina!
2. The Food, Man!
Food always seems to be orbiting around the center of my universe. But hey, experiencing the cuisine is one of the best aspects of living or traveling to another country. The food in Ecuador is not only excellent, but there is an abundance of cheap cafes and markets that serve a variety of soups, meats, rice dishes, and sandwiches. So if you are teaching on a budget or just really cheap, head down to any local market and you can eat well for about 2$! Well, maybe $2.50 now with inflation.
3. The cost of Living
The cost of living in Ecuador is pretty darn inexpensive. It isn’t Thailand cheap, but close and a little cheaper than Peru. It is possible to rent out a one bedroom apartment in Quito, the capital, from $200 to $400 dollars a month. In the smaller cities and towns, such as Cuenca and Banos, a modern one bedroom flat can be had for $200 to $300. If you want to showcase like a baller, it will only cost around $600 per month for a nice pad.
As already mentioned, food in Ecuador is cheap and transportation is just as inexpensive. When traveling between cities, there are several bus companies to choose from and prices average around $1 per hour of travel by bus. So a bus ride from Quito to Cuenca would cost between $10 to $12 dollars and another $10 dollars to travel from Cuenca to the beach. If you like to drink, a large 24-ounce beer at a bar in Ecuador costs between $1.50 to $2.00. However, cocktails can sometimes rival North American prices in certain locations.
4. English teaching jobs in Ecuador
I got the impression while I was there and from talking to fellow teachers that there is a decent amount of teaching jobs in Ecuador. Don’t expect to just waltz in and get hired right away because you are a gringo, but there are jobs to be had for those that are qualified. The Ecuadorian economy has been growing the past ten years and each year procures more and more Ecuadorians seeking to advance their professional careers by acquiring English language skills. However, you will need to be qualified, so be sure to get a TESOL or TEFL before heading down there.
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Just like in other countries where English is in high demand, there are opportunities to teach in Ecuador from private companies to public schools to universities. I even met a couple of foreigners while I was there who have opened their own private schools. Again, you are not going to get rich teaching English in Ecuador, but it is a nice place to work and the cost of living makes it possible to teach English and enjoy life. One can expect to make anywhere from $600 to $1,300 per month teaching English in Ecuador.
5. Outdoor activities in Ecuador
If you are a nature lover, then you will quickly fall in love with this country. There is an abundance of green, majestic mountains that seem to touch the sky, mystical volcanoes, meandering rivers, the Rainforest and beautiful beaches on the Pacific coast. Best of all, it is easy for one living in a large city like Quito to hop on a bus during the weekend and spend a couple of days hiking, rafting, climbing, surfing or just about anything you can imagine doing outdoors. Personally, I just did a lot of hiking when I was there. I like to play it safe!
Where can I get a job teaching English in Ecuador?
Like any country, there are more English teaching jobs in the larger cities like Quito, but there are plenty of unique opportunities in the smaller cities and towns as well. As mentioned before, it is possible to teach in private English language schools, public schools, colleges, and universities. If you are really ambitious, you can moonlight it with some private lessons or by tending bar.
How can I get a job teaching English in Ecuador?
My advice is to first fly to Ecuador on a tourist visa and travel around the country for a few weeks. Get a feel for the place, study some Spanish, taste the food and drink a few beers with new friends. There are tons of inexpensive hostels where you can live on the cheap while you look for a job.
Fortunately, Ecuador has a lenient immigration policy, so switching your tourist visa to a work visa is legal as long as you first secure a job. Once you land a job, you will then bring your work contract to the immigration office, pay some kind of fee and you got yourself a work visa!