• Colombia
12 - 52 weeks
Classroom Audience
Adults Business High School

Program Details

  • Native or fluent English speaker
  • Minimum 21 years old; maximum 55 years old
  • Previous experience working as a teacher, mentor, tutor, coach, etc. preferred, but not required
  • Excellent spoken/written English, flexibility, and cultural sensitivity
  • Basic Spanish language skills helpful, but not required
Classroom Audience
Adults Business High School
Weekly Classroom Hours
Age Min.
Age Max


Salary / Benefits
• Monthly stipend: COP$1,500,000
• Semester-end bonus
• Two-week orientation in Bogota with shared accommodations, meals, and activities
• National Colombian and international health insurance
Starting Price
$350 USD
Price Details
Price is comprised of $150 application fee and $200 program fee.

Price includes:
• Guaranteed teaching placement
• Monthly stipend and semester-end bonus
• 24/7 Pre-departure and local English-speaking support
• Airport pick-up and transfer on designated arrival date
• Visa and work permit processing fees
• Orientation and in-country TEFL training
• Domestic transportation to placement city (Baggage fees are not included)
• Cultural activities and excursions
• Medical, life, and travel insurance
• Krama Wheel scarf or a gift card to one of three socially responsible companies upon completion of your program evaluations
What's Included
Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Accommodation Airfare
Apr 17, 2019
Dec 17, 2016

About Program

English training is an important step to help locals succeed in school, widen their job opportunities, and improve communication in the global market. API has paired with organizations who dedicate their work to Colombia's “National Bilingualism Project” by offering English instruction to Colombian students and adult learners. We offer a variety of co-teaching placements Colombia, ranging from government-sponsored programs in public schools (primary or secondary), vocational schools (ages 17 and above) and professionals within the tourism industry, to independent/private institutions including business English and schools.

Participants are required to teach 20-25 classroom hours and put in an additional 15-20 hours of classroom prep, grading,
office hours, and staff meetings per week.

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from API.

Video and Photos

Cultural Embrace by API is now known simply as API. API (Academic Programs International) has been the parent company of Cultural Embrace since 2012, and API has sent thousands of students abroad since 1997. Our name has changed, but our mission will remain the same. We still aim to transform lives by providing enriching experiential programs abroad that foster increased self-knowledge, cultural sensitivity and understanding of the global nature of our contemporary world.

Program Highlights

  • Guaranteed teaching placement
  • Earn a local salary (COP 1,500,000/month)
  • Orientation and in-country TEFL training
  • Krama Wheel scarf or a gift card to one of three socially responsible companies upon completion of your program evaluations
  • Possible semester-end bonus!

Related Programs

Program Reviews

9.17 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 83.33%
  • 7-8 rating 16.67%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Benefits 9.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.2
  • Facilities 9.2
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Colombia: An Unforgettable Experience

I was looking for an experience in a Latin American country that would challenge me; I had never formally taught before and I wanted to throw myself into a new situation. Colombia seemed like the perfect opportunity. I'd recommend teaching in Colombia to those willing to be flexible, adapt and thrive in a beautifully chaotic place. You'll fall in love with the people, the place, and the culture.

Since the beginning, API has been supportive and helpful – the application process was easy, too. Once I filled out my city placement survey, I found out that I'd be teaching in Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast, which is what I wanted! Once you are in country, logistical and regional support is provided by an organization called Volunteers Colombia, which collaborates with the governmental programs you’ll be teaching at. My Regional Coordinator was amazing and super helpful in navigating coastal craziness as well as coordinating group events to bring us all together. One of my absolute favorite parts of teaching here has been the network of inspirational teachers/travelers with whom I’ve become close. Our coastal group feels like a family.

When I arrived, I had a two-week orientation in Bogotá filled with long workshops for TEFL training and Colombian culture, as well as figuring out logistics (phones, ID cards, bank accounts, etc.). As a brand new teacher, the TEFL training was useful for me, but I think the most beneficial part of orientation was building relationships. You have access to people that are from vastly different places and have had experiences all over the world. I felt I learned the most from experienced teachers who have taught in several countries, and I was inspired by others’ stories.

I arrived to Barranquilla right before Carnival and the city was in a state of fiesta, so it took a bit of time for things to start up. I taught at SENA, a governmental institution that provides vocational training for students ages 16 and up. Working at SENA was a challenge at first: Communication isn’t as direct, scheduling takes time and things happen as they happen (especially on the coast!). It is disorganized to say the least. There isn’t a strict curriculum and there aren’t materials, so I had free reign of creativity to plan and carry out my classes. I was lucky enough to teach a majority of my classes in the English lab that had a Smartboard and computers, but technology has its pros and cons in the classroom. Overall, it has definitely been a learning experience for me, but the students really made my experience great. They are full of energy and enthusiasm, curious about me and where I’m from, and eager to share their culture. I loved getting to know them and developing relationships with my students!

I came here looking for a challenge in a Spanish-speaking country and it has exceeded my expectations. Colombia’s landscape is gorgeous and impressive, and I was able to travel relatively cheaply and safely. I have grown as a person, a traveler and a teacher, and I have absolutely loved my time here. Colombians are friendly, generous and excited to hear about how your experience has been in their country. For those who are open-minded, positive and ready to go with the Colombian flow, I’d say go for it because you will cherish the memories and friends you make forever!

What would you improve about this program?
Managing expectations for the actual teaching experience. It definitely varies by each center within each city placement—that information would be good to know.
2 people found this review helpful.
Samantha Sullivan
Yes, I recommend this program

The Greatest Challenge You Will Face Is Not Wanting To Leave

When I first came to Colombia with API's Teach Abroad program I had a few expectations, but I had no idea just how incredible and valuable my time here would be. I have been in Colombia for about 7 months now working with SENA, since arriving I have felt the ups and the downs, I have seen breath-taking landscapes, and walked through old colonial towns, I have hiked to find a lost Indigenous city, and I have connected on a deep level with a new culture. Among all of these wonderful things, I have also experienced extreme poverty, corruption and far too many stray animals, but the greatest challenge that I have had to face so far is making the decision to stay or to go. What did I do? I stayed. I couldn't get away from the warm people, the empanadas, and the way everyone seemed to be super relaxed despite the hardships they are facing. I have truly fallen in love with this country and the people who inhabit it. My students especially, they light up my day, every day. I didn't know what teaching would be like when I first arrived, I was an advertising major with a desire to travel the world. Little did I know that teachings would be such a rewarding and challenging experience! I feel that I have grown immensely since coming here 7 months ago, and I have so much more growing to do! Who knows if I will ever return to the US! I didn't believe everyone when they first told me, " The biggest challenge is not wanting to leave," but now it's true. I'm sold, thank you Colombia and API Abroad for this amazing life experience.

What would you improve about this program?
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Opportunity

This program is close to my heart since I was born in Colombia. I migrated with my family to Canada when I was nine and assimilated easily to life in Toronto. After graduating University, I decided to teach abroad for a year and Cultural Embrace by API's program to teach in Colombia seemed a prefect fit; an opportunity that would allow me to get reacquainted with my Colombian roots. My background, therefore, has influenced how I view this program quite a bit. Speaking just for the program, my day to day life consisted of two classes which were an hour and a half in length. We were told we would teach an instructor class, but it wasn't until the second semester that I acquired one. My schedule was very relaxed since there was so much free time, however I did spend a lot of time planning lessons since we were not given a curriculum and I had never taught before. Although we were given a week of training in Bogota, I felt what I truly learned about lesson planning was definitely based on my teaching experience in the classroom. At times this program was disorganized: we were not fully informed about how to grade students on a program called Sofia Plus, we sometimes had to search for classroom space because there was a problem with the one we were given, and instructor classes were always a bit ambiguous (even when I was given one attendance was very low because teachers have such a busy schedule).
However, despite these problems, the students were very friendly and humorous, and teachers were also very welcoming. The SENA centre itself is quite nice; it is a very illuminated building and the teacher's lounge on the fifth floor is a great space for working, relaxing, or having lunch with coworkers while not dictating class. Overall, my experience teaching English in Medellin was fantastic; I learned innumerable lessons and it was a great growth opportunity, both personally and professionally. Medellin is a beautiful place to live and I would recommend this program to someone who was considering teaching in South America.

What would you improve about this program?
This program could improve by training volunteers better, giving them resources in order to teach and grade as a regular teacher at SENA would. Informing volunteers about uniform policies, attendance, and how to grade students on Sofia Plus would help tremendously. Having a very good regional coordinator is also vital for the success of the program.
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Colombia

From the scale 1 to 10, I rate my overall experience an 8. The recruiters of Cultural Embrace were a great access. They assisted applicants with materials about the country before their departure and during their stay in the country. Their communication is very effective.

I taught in Cartagena, a coastal city in the northern region of Colombia. If you're the type that enjoys Miami weather and a vibrant atmosphere, then this the city for you. One thing that bothered me was the long commute to the school. Even though they have homes near the school, they (my opinion) were not of good quality, and I didn't want to live in the middle of nowhere. If you enjoy living in a rural area, then you will not have a problem.

If you're looking for a lucrative salary, then this is not the program for you. You will receive a stipend (plus housing allowance if you do not wish to live with a Colombian family) that will allow you to live comfortably. However, I think they can pay a little bit more. The main goal is to gain experience if you wish to become an ESL/TESOL instructor. If you decide to participate in the program, be prepared for work as a Teacher. Colombia largest public institutions are promoting bilingualism in their country; therefore, they are looking for individuals who are serious about teaching than having fun (you will have leisure time, though not much).

What would you improve about this program?
Providing more flexibility would be beneficial. I had a late teaching schedule (in addition to a long commute) and I couldn't change it. Since this is a volun-teachers program, there shouldn't be any split shift, and teachers should be able to have more of a say regarding schedules.
2 people found this review helpful.
Mary Smith
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing and wonderful experience

The Teach English in Colombia program has been an incredible experience. It was a relatively new program so there were some changes in the beginning. More cities were added at the last minute and the specific details about the centers weren't clear but CE did a very good job of staying in touch with me before and during my time here. By participating in this program I have had the opportunity to improve my Spanish, to learn more about the Colombian culture, I have been able to teach English to Hotel students, I have been able to travel in Colombia and experience living in the beautiful coffee region. Although there were difficulties, I believe the benefits out way them. If you enjoy adventure, experiencing a new culture and can go with the flow then this is a great program and I would recommend it to anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
There weren't a lot of specifics about the program in the beginning but the program was also new. Now that there have been more volunteers placed though out the country future volunteers should have more information about the program. Applicants should also be given the opportunity to speak with previous volunteers.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredibly rewarding opportunity

I'm so happy I decided to teach abroad in Colombia with Cultural Embrace! It definitely wasn't easy getting here because it was a relatively new program when I joined, so I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting into. However, Cultural Embrace did the best they could to make me feel safe and supported as I prepared myself to move to Colombia. They worked extremely hard to get me contacts with current teachers before I arrived in the country and although it took a long time to confirm city placements, they continued to stay in touch with me on a regular basis to let me know they were working hard to get me a teaching position in Colombia. Cultural Embrace answered all my questions in a timely fashion and continue to stay in touch with me now to see how the teaching is going. Teaching English in Colombia is both challenging and rewarding and I'm so happy I made the decision to come here!

What would you improve about this program?
The details about what company I would be working for and the job itself were very vague before I arrived to the country. However, that is more likely due to the fact that the program was brand new and Cultural Embrace was not entirely sure where the volunteers would be placed until right before we left to begin teaching. I recommend being more clear to applicants about the actual job placements and allowing more contact between interested applicants and current volunteers.
2 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

Hi! I am a current volunteer living in Barranquilla Colombia. There are definitely options out there for you to find living accommodations. There are many "pensionados independentes" which are basically independent rooms in a family's house. Or it is possible to find furnished and unfurnished apartments. Right now I live in a house specifically for international people. I really enjoy it, however...