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Want to try something out of the box? Want to travel abroad in a breathtakingly beautiful country? Want to get a salary while doing so?! Well, teaching English in Peru is an excellent way to make your dream a reality. With lush rainforest, extensive mountainous regions and deserts, and the wonder of Machu Picchu, Peru is an extremely diverse country filled with sights to interest any traveler.
Whether you are an adventure seeker, interested in trying new cuisine, or just looking to spice up your life, you have a lot to look forward to in Peru. The South American country is quickly becoming a hot spot for travelers and it is no wonder why. Along with a growing industry for tourism, Peru also has an increasing need for English teachers. As the capital city of Peru, Lima has a population almost 9 million and remains the primary location for English teachers in the country.
In Lima, most teaching opportunities are in private language institutes and the majority of students are business professionals. Since business professionals are the main demographic for these schools, it is helpful, but not necessary, for teachers to have prior experience in a business setting. Once some teaching experience is obtained, many teachers take on private lessons. These positions are more difficult to find, but have a higher average pay. Some examples of popular English schools in Lima are Auslang Peru, Camelot, and New Horizons English Learning Center.
Teachers generally work between 20 - 30 hours per week, which includes preparation for classes. This leaves you with plenty of time to explore the city or expand your taste buds (such as checking out that awesome ceviche shop around the corner or the guinea pig down the street you've been eyeing). Try taking the combi (Lima's public transit) to the city's central lookout point at sunset, watch the nightly water fountain light show, bike along the coast, or take the boat to Palomino Island to swim with sea lions! Never a dull moment!
As previously mentioned, the best times for a teacher to get hired are from February to March and July to August. Classes start in March, so keep that in mind when sending out your resumes. The early bird gets the worm, so get them out as soon as you can!
The typical hiring process for teaching positions in Lima is a face-to-face interview in the country. It may be difficult to get a work visa before you have a secured position, so keep this in mind when applying. Not to worry though! Many institutes grant work visas or help you obtain one. However, it is recommended that you apply for a work visa as soon as possible, so you do not run into any legal problems. Visas can be applied for at the Direccion General de Migraciones y Naturalizacion del Peru. Find out more information on how to obtain a Peruvian work visa.
English teachers are not required to have a bachelor's degree, but it can be very helpful to distinguish you from other candidates and open up more job opportunities. Teachers are, however, required to have a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a First Language).
A typical salary for a teacher is about 1,700 - 2,300 PEN ($600 - $800) per month and the average cost of living is about the same. Housing is not typically included in teaching contracts, so you will likely be required to find an apartment on your own. A good way to get your hands on an affordable apartment is to move into one that was previously rented by another TEFL teacher. It is common for teachers to do this and you should be able to get in touch with someone about the switch before you leave home. If you want to find an apartment on your own or cannot find another TEFL teacher, try looking in the districts of Miraflores, Barranco, or San Insidro (as these are the safest areas).
The cost of a meal will vary depending on if you are eating out or buying your own groceries. However, there are a lot of restaurants where you can get a good lunch Menu del Dia (menu of the day) for 7-10 soles. That's only about $2.50 - $3.50, not bad!
If you are hoping to make a pretty penny while working here, you may have to look elsewhere. Most teachers will break even while teaching in Peru. The experience of teaching abroad can be payment enough. Whether you want to find out more about Peruvian culture, work on your Spanish, or even just get used to navigating the city, there is always something to learn. In addition, learning the bus route is recommended because it's a quick and easy way to get around. It's only about 1 sol per ride!
Classes in Peru are usually fully taught in English. Though some comprehension of Spanish will help you in day-to-day life, it is not necessary for teaching. The Peruvian curriculum is set up so you, a fluent English speaker, can teach what you know. Since most ESL students in Latin America tend to be adults, you will need to adapt your teaching methods to engage older learners.
You will be required to wear business casual attire while teaching. This means dress pants and shirt for men and dress pants or skirt along with a blouse for women. The appropriate greeting in a business setting in Peru is a handshake.
Teaching in Peru could be the adventure you're looking for. It truly is a beautiful country, so dive into something new and call it your home! Get out there and give life a shot. This could be your job sooner than you think!
Colin Grenning is an Anthropology student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, who has recently spent some time traveling and volunteering in Peru.
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