A day in the life of an English teacher in Colombia
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The opportunities for an individual to become an English teacher in Colombia are vast; as a result of Colombia becoming one of Latin America’s fastest developing countries, a large amount of multinational companies have arrived in the country and a large number of entrepreneurs have established new businesses. Colombia is also quickly becoming a big tourist destination: the number of tourists visiting the country has increased by 16.5% every year for the last five years. Colombia’s major cities (Medellin, Cali and Bogota) are developing quickly into major expat destinations thanks to the demand for English teachers in Colombia.
It is fascinating and exciting to live and work as an English teacher in Colombia especially when considering the country’s hugely promising future. There is a large teacher community living in the capital Bogota which means it’s the ideal destination to meet new people from around the world as well as Colombians.
A day in the life of an English teacher in Colombia specifically Bogota goes as follows: an English teacher’s day begins with an early start as the majority of English classes start at 7 a.m. and finish at 9 a.m., but a teacher’s first task is to navigate through Bogota’s transportation network. Bogota is a very large city with over ten million people living within its boundaries. Bogota has an efficient bus system called the Transmilenio, which runs from the north to the south, and from the east to west of the city and everywhere in between; it is an extensive bus network containing a large number of routes and a many buses. Like every other big city Bogota can become crowded in rush hours which makes for an uncomfortable bus ride. A journey to class can take over one hour,so a teacher’s day starts well before 6 a.m.
At 9 a.m., the journey back from class begins: it’s usually not as crowded as the early commute but, with a large amount of the people using the bus service, it can still take a long time to get back home from the office. Coffee is a big part of a teacher’s day and since coffee is readily available within offices, and Colombia has the best coffee in the world, it’s hard to resist. Next, class prep begins (it’s easier to prepare for the next class when the previous one is still fresh in your mind). Class prep can take between 30 mins and 1 hour depending on the class.
Some teacher may have classes over lunch time depending on the individual teacher’s schedule, and these times can vary depending on the students’ needs. An English teacher in Bogota specifically can have a varied schedule depending on the needs of the companies and the needs of individual students. If a teacher doesn’t have a class at lunch time they have free time in the middle of the day before the next class that can be filled with everyday activities such as food shopping, exercising, studying Spanish or just relaxing.
At around 4 p.m., the journey to evening classes begins. The evening journey usually isn’t too crowded because the majority of commuters are still at work. Evening classes usually run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. after the students have finished work for the day.
The commute home from evening classes doesn’t tend to be busy but it depends on which area of the city you are working in. English teachers in Colombia have access to many forms of transportation, depending on which city you are living in; cycling is a very big sport in Colombia with a large number of cities having well connected cycle lanes and routes.
Being an English teacher in Colombia is exciting, life changing and a truly cultural experience. Colombia is an extraordinary place to live and you have the opportunity to travel around the country relatively cheaply on weekends and holidays. Colombia also has 14 bank holidays a year which means you can spend long weekends travelling or just exploring what this amazing country has to offer.
Written by: Anny Wooldridge