Teach English in Colombia on a One or Two Semester Contract with Greenheart Travel

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About

Teaching English in Colombia is a unique opportunity to work abroad in South America. Responding to the Colombian government’s goal to integrate English education for all by 2020, and recognizing the importance of the English language as key to the country’s development and success in today’s global world, Colombia has launched a bilingualism initiative.

Our teach program works with Colombian education systems to raise English levels and proficiency in the classroom.

Program-at-a-Glance:
-- Free to apply!
-- One Semester or Semester contracts depending on when you start
-- 1,500,000 Colombian Pesos monthly stipend to cover living expenses
-- Placements throughout Colombia (50+ cities)
-- Co-teaching placements, with other Colombian teachers
-- Extensive orientation upon arrival, in Bogota
-- Courtesy Visa paid for by the Colombian government for the duration of your program (~$300 value)

Highlights
  • Monthly stipend to cover living expenses: 1,500,000 Colombian Pesos per month
  • Visa paid for by the Colombian government
  • Accommodation during orientation is included in shared rooms
  • Support and guidance from your Greenheart Travel program manager
  • Colombian national EPS health insurance

Questions & Answers

Hmmm...Ok, I'll go check out your site. Thanks!
You are provided with about 40 hours of Teaching English in Colombia training that is specific for the situations you might encounter within classrooms here, but that is the only formal instruction the program offers. Heart for Change will supposedly be offering a discount on an online TEFL certification program for the upcoming semesters, but that is optional and independent from your duties as a...
Ok, thank you for your answers. I'm still interested in the experience of teaching in Colombia. Thank you again. I will review the Greenheart site for a future possibility. I'm interested in the TEFL hours and the volunteer experience. However, I'd like to do it part time only.
I can tell you that we have lots of solo travelers on this program and have never had any serious incidents. Petty crime is common, and people do often get pickpocketed, but nothing more serious has occurred. Our placements are in the half of the country that is more developed and politically stable. We would never place a teacher in a city where we wouldn’t feel comfortable traveling and I have...

Reviews

92%
based on 42 reviews
  • Benefits 9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9
  • Facilities 7.5
  • Safety 8.7
  • Instruction 10
  • Support 10
  • Value 10
  • Difficulty 7
  • Job Assistance 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 42
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Kiersten
9/10

Patience is a virtue

During my stay in Valledupar, Colombia, I learned that I am capable of more than I have ever thought. Culture shock can be a challenge, especially in a place that averages 100 degrees each day. I moved to Colombia to not only experience a new culture, but to see if teaching was something I wanted to pursue further. I worked for a very low-income school in higher-risk area and loved it. The teaching was extremely difficult because of lack of materials and lack of funds for materials for the school and my students English levels were zero. However, I took it as an opportunity to really immerse myself. I built incredible relationships with my teachers and faculty, despite the language barrier. I was invited to their homes and leisure activities and leaving was a very emotional day for all of us. Colombia is an amazing country with natural beauty in every direction, but the people have the most beautiful souls I have encountered. I encourage anyone remotely thinking about going to go and to go without high expectations. Surprises are inevitable and giving a smaller, less known town a chance, may be the best decision you’ll ever make.

How can this program be improved?
Better communication between the schools and the ministry.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Katherine
10/10

Cartagena

This program will provide a very different experience based on what part of Colombia one is sent to, but no matter where you go it is a beautiful country with extremely kind and charismatic people and it's an amazing opportunity to explore Colombia. Colombia is full of natural geographic beauty from the coast to the mountains and coffee region. Not to mention, each different region and even city has a distinct culture with different food, accents and personalities. Colombia is on the rise and it's a great time to visit and explore.

How can this program be improved?
Stagger payments for more expensive cities
Yes, I recommend this program
Zadka
9/10

My time I Colombia

I did the SENA 9 month program for Volunteers Colombia through Greenheart travel. The Greenheart travel organization can be hard to deal with and it depends on who you get as your coordinator. I thought the long training and orientation was unnecessary. However, I had a great time in Colombia. The country is absolutely gorgeous with lush rolling green hills. The people are also so sweet and welcoming. Our landlady immediately wanted to be my friend and I’s madre colombiana. Also, teaching at SENA is fun. The students love doing games and activities. They will get very involved in whatever you give them. I found that they all had a desire to learn English and tried in class. I also liked my coteachers and I had a positive experience working with three different coteachers. It is easy to make friends. Students will want to hang out with you as well as other teachers. In my city we had an English/Spanish night at the local university and students from the university as well as the volunteachers would meet up to practice each others’ languages. Additionally, the monthly stipend we received was enough to live on. A high wage in Colombia is $1000/month and we made half of that. I spent all of my money there because I wanted to make sure I supported their economy. Once you are in Colombia you won’t want to come back. I miss it everyday and am planning another trip back.

How can this program be improved?
Some coordinators were not very helpful when it came to housing and other situations. Also, the training was repetitive.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Isobel
9/10

My experience

I spent ten months in Neiva teaching English at SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje, a network of free, nationwide, vocational training colleges in Colombia), on a co-teaching programme organised by Greenheart Travel in collaboration with an organisation called Volunteers Colombia. I studied Spanish at university, partly because I had always wanted to go to Latin America. The programme allowed me to make that happen with the security of a job, a Regional Coordinator to direct any worries or questions to, and a monthly stipend. They provided lots of help with visa documentation and other heavily paperwork-based tasks such as getting a bank account, which was much appreciated as it was my first time having to do all that (I am British, and had previously only lived abroad in Europe). Neiva is a small, not particularly well-known city, which I liked as it was easy to feel at home in a short time, and hardly anyone spoke English. I loved it because it is hot all year round, and there are interesting places to visit nearby, most notably the Tatacoa Desert (highly recommended). Living there was a world of new experiences and insights in to Colombian culture, as well as a lot of staring at my blonde hair and tall frame, which stemmed from curiosity as to why I was there. I think it's important to be open to being placed anywhere, and to remember that there are pros and cons to each city/town. I probably wouldn't have been able to fund weekend trips with my stipend so easily if I had been placed in a bigger, more expensive city. At SENA I taught young people and adults who were training to work in accountancy and business, subjects which I know almost nothing about, but that was OK because most of the English classes we gave were basic, general English. Occasionally we would do a subject-specific class or activity, and I would have to do my research in advance! I was lucky to work with really supportive and enthusiastic teachers, who understood the co-teaching model (ie. they didn't usually leave me to teach the class alone, or not include me in their lesson planning). Your experience can depend a lot on who you work with, but you shouldn't let that put you off. The most important thing I learnt was how to be flexible and open to last-minute changes of plan, which happen a lot in Colombia.. I fell in love with the country and I am still here more than a year later, now working in Pereira on a different educational project. I would definitely recommend Greenheart programmes as an accessible way to move abroad and experience something new, with support when you need it.

How can this program be improved?
There were some initial issues regarding the provision of information about our start date; I had to book my flight from the UK to Colombia with only two weeks' notice, which was not ideal. However I recognise that this stemmed from the programme's dependence on the government (as SENA is a public institution) and I had the impression that they were doing what they could to help us. I was lucky in that I was one of the only ones that was granted the shorter contract; most people who had applied for it were told they could only join the programme if they opted for the longer contract (in the end I actually ended up extending and doing 10 months anyway). I feel that the programme could have been more transparent about this issue.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Laura
8/10

Challenging but rewarding experience

If you are looking for a comfortable and fun experience making an extreme impact easily, this one is not for you. If you are looking to go out of your comfort zone, struggle but learn from it, change your perspective on many things, and put in a ton of work to make small impacts then this is a great program. You need to be very flexible as several important factors (dates and times for important events, daily schedule, placement city, school, etc.) are not revealed until the last minute and often change. This is a co-teaching program which presents a whole new set of necessary skills. You need to put cultural differences aside and work with Colombian co-teachers to find the best way to teach your students as much as possible without stepping on any toes. I have found in speaking with others that your satisfaction with the program is highly dependent on things that are out of your control (ex. school, co teachers, placement city). In my personal experience, I had a lot of challenges in adjusting to the new living situation (not having several things that I once considered necessities such as hot water) and the school environment which lacked resources and comfort. However, I have grown so much as a person and learned a great deal that will help me throughout the rest of my life. Therefore, I have no regrets. I recommend going into this program with an extremely open mind and always trying to see other perspectives. Be aware that "different" isn't always bad.

How can this program be improved?
Getting information (dates, placement cities) finalized and organized faster. Giving the co-teachers an orientation.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Aly
9/10

Teaching in Colombia

Teaching in Colombia as part of the Ministry of Education English Fellowship Program is one of the coolest and most unique experiences of my life. First off, nothing can really prepare you for how different life is in Colombia. When preparing to apply, and researching the program, Greenheart manager Sara was most helpful, and answered all questions promptly. She ensures you have all your documents completed properly by the required deadlines and makes the whole process a lot easier. Once you arrive in Bogota, the week-long orientation is really well organized, and go will attend full days of pedagogy sessions on techniques and skills required for working in the Colombian classroom. The orientation includes 3 daily meals and hotel lodging, but is tightly scheduled with little to next to no free time for exploring Bogota. As soon as orientation ends, you will be flown to bused to your placement city where all the adventures begin. Your regional coordinator in your placement city will act as a big support to you in terms of finding housing, navigating your new city, and helping arrange social outings. Overall it is a really wonderful program, but you need to be flexible and willing to adapt to Colombian culture and school system (which is very different than in North America). As long as you stay motivated, and bring the best version of yourself to this program, you will succeed! The kids and teachers are really lovely, and you will truly be immersed in the local culture. They are also really excited to meet you, and hear all about your culture (so make sure to bring some items from home to share with them). This is an experience that will change your life, and leave you feeling very grateful.

Yes, I recommend this program
Rashad
10/10

A great experience

It was an experience full of fun and learning. Our employers and recruiters (Greenheart Travel) were very organized and supportive.

Apart from not choosing your own city, definitely you will meet smart and enthusiastic kids who are eager to learn.
You will teach and you will learn more from them. Regional Coordinators are always around to help and support. The orientation sessions in Bogota is essential and necessary.

Greenheart Travel is an amazing partner in facilitating the process.
Expect though a lot of paperwork, before, during, and after the program.

Happy teaching!

Yes, I recommend this program
Angela M. Bey - Making a Difference in the World
Angela
10/10

Teaching Abroad in Barranquilla Colombia: An Amazing and Experience!

As in all experiences learning and growth goes hand in hand. It is in learning about the unknown, and fortifying yourself with the knowledge obtained, that true growth is awarded. Teaching abroad in Colombia through the Volunteers Colombia program has granted me the opportunities I desired three fold: (1) To teach ESL on a global level receiving and conferring a cultural exchange of knowlege; (2) To immerse myself in a Spanish speaking community to strengthen my language skills; and (3) To become a valid part of the World Community and help uplift/enrich the lives of our children.

Teaching abroad in Barranquilla Colombia has truly enriched my life. To have the opportunity to be a part of an amazing program geared towards the health and welfare of children is fortifying. It is an opportunity to make a difference by helping to build a better world through educating its new leaders -- the children.

On the other hand, I have learned so much from my students and the people of Colombian. The outreach of support you receive in learning about Colombian Culture is truly wonderful. Everyday my students would bring in books, toys, picutres, stories, letters, etc helping me to learn about life in Colombia. In addition, my students are incredible Spanish teachers; from quizing me on my vocabulary, to showing the proper way to position my tongue to roll the letter R. And, for every word or phrase they want to teach me, I eqaully share its translation into English. What a great exchange!

Living in Colombia has been wonderful. I live in Salamanca, in Soledad which surprisingly many people in Colombia, outside of Soledad, have said that it is not a good place to live; however, I beg to differ! I love the closeknit family atmosphere, and the flavor of their Costal way of life. No matter where you go in Soledad, you are greeted with, ¨Buenas¨! In the begining, I thought that missing my family was going to be my hardest challenge, but everyone in Soledad welcomed me with open arms, embraced me as one of their own, and became apart of my family.

And do not get me started on the food! I originally thought it was going to be a difficult task to find good things to eat, since I am vegetarian; however, it was not. There is nearly a tienda with vegetables and fruits on every corner, and my favorite guilty pleasure -- the Panandaria. This is where I purchase the most delicious sweet bread at the end of every week!

In any new place, the element of different is present. Yet, the most amazing part of the adventure is to immerse yourself in the experience! Stay active, volunteer at community events, learn new things, and get to know your city by engaging in all its cultural activities! While in Barranquilla, I joined a local gym in my neighborhood where I workout 3x a week, I practice Muay Thai at Barranko, and take Zumba lessons at Fusion! I´ve read extensively, visited many museums, art shows, and cultural events within the city. In addition, I´ve had the honor of volunteering in Charitable Community events.

How can this program be improved?
The one trying part of my new venture, was finding a place to live when I first arrived in Barranquilla. To alleviate the stress this could cause, I think it would be good, if Volunteer Colombia could possible establish its own hostel or rent out a few multi-occupant apartments where it´s volunteers can stay until they get settled in a residence of their own. Being a multi-living situation, it would be cost effective for volunteers as we are required to support ourselves financially for the initial month.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Joe
10/10

Dream come true

Being part of this teaching programme has literally made my dreams come true! Right from the beginning it has been a positive and enriching experience. I applied for the programme in January but was told it was full. However I was contacted a couple of months later and offered an opportunity to join the programme in July. From that point the correspondence and support I received was excellent. Sara has been really helpful the whole time, always checking in, and the rest of the greenheart team have been amazing.
It has given me an opportunity to get my first insight into teaching whilst still feeling supported the whole time and my plan is to return to Colombia next year to be part of the programme again. If you like a challenge, making a difference, happy people and dancing apply now! It will change your life!

Yes, I recommend this program
Megan
9/10

Volunteers Colombia, SED Barranquilla 2017

This program is an excellent way to immerse yourself and gain appreciation for another culture, I definitely fell in love with my school and the country as a whole.

My experience teaching in my school was incredibly challenging to say the least, my co-teachers wear microphones to school just to cut through all the noise. The behavioral problem was so broad and so deep it just couldn't be solved, merely worked around. I'm sure this isn't true for all schools, but its not rare either. As long as you're willing to work in trying circumstances with limited resources you can still be successful. For me it actually made the work more fulfilling because it didn't come easy. Anyone wanting to teach in this country should be aware that this situation is a possibility.

How can this program be improved?
I am concerned with the fact that in order for schools to participate in the program they had to cut two hours each week away from Spanish language and mathematics classes. These are primary school students in a Spanish speaking country and while improving English education is great it shouldn't come at the cost of Spanish and Mathematics. I hope the program can be implemented in such a way that it does not jeopardize these core subjects in the future.

This is my main concern. Compensation and staff support were both more than enough, I was very well taken care of.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jill
9/10

The best provider

The Colombia program has several different agencies who all recruit for the same program, but Greenheart is definitely the most helpful and supportive recruiter to use. There is a Facebook page full of information from current and past Fellows, and Sara is excellent at giving specific information on what you need to do. Her help with the visa process and general program changes really has made the program as stress-free as possible. There will always be some last minute changes and information doesn’t always come as soon as you would hope, but the Greenheart team really does their best to help keep Fellows and applicants in the loop as much as possible. In general, the program is a really amazing opportunity. As other reviewers have said, everything will vary greatly based on your city placement, attitude, and your school environment. I’m currently placed in a medium-sized city in the coffee triangle and it is definitely possible to live on the stipend. My students and co-teacher have been amazing and I have learned a lot about teaching from this position. This program is a great experience for people who are really excited about getting to live abroad and teach English, as long as you are prepared for last minute information and some uncertainty that comes with the government-based program!

How can this program be improved?
Changes to the pedagogy training
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Brittany
10/10

Fantastic Experience

I've loved doing this program. It's a fantastic opportunity to immerse oneself in Colombian culture. The program is well organized and there's a good network of support within the program. Special shout out to Sara from Greenheart Travel. There is a fair amount of paperwork to do and she was always organized and very responsive to any questions or concerns I had. I couldn't have done the process of applying for the Visa without her help.

How can this program be improved?
It's great
Yes, I recommend this program
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Valérie
10/10

A different life

A year ago I decided to apply through this program to go to Colombia. I was scared but mostly excited. I never knew my life would change that much. This experience in Colombia has been the BEST of my life. I have never felt so happy and fulfilled. The joy that those students bring to me is incomperable. I owe it all to Greenheart travel. Without them, I probably wouldn't be here today. Sara was helpful every step of my preparation to come here.
I came here and it was easy to meet people, to make friends and to feel at home. Colombians are so welcoming that I never felt homesick. My students are chaotic but have the biggest heart and will do anything for you.
Coming here, I was mostly scared that I wouldn't connect with the students because of the language or cultural barrier. But that wasn't the case. Colombia will always be home away from home.

How can this program be improved?
This program is amazing.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Amy
9/10

Love, love, love!

Loving my time in Colombia and super thankful for Greenheart's/ Sara's part in this experience! Greenheart/Sara are so well organized and helpful while preparing for my travels and gathering documents! This is especially impressive considering that things on the Colombian side are not always the most clear or well organized! One more perk about applying with Greenheart is that you're encouraged to join their super helpful facebook group which has lots of awesome advice! Although co-teaching has its ups and downs, I have really enjoyed this experience and learned a lot! Very thankful that I made the trip to this beautiful country with the help of Greenheart!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Daniel
8/10

Semester in Colombia

I have been teaching and living in Palmira, Colombia and finish November 2017. Overall, things are going smoothly and I have no major complaints. Depending on what part of Colombia you are placed in and what school you are assigned, the experience will vary. Other fellows I talk to are having a very positive experience like I am, and some not as much. It depends on how you make it and it is important to remember you are here to help the youth and their community as best you can.
I can say I am learning more about myself as a teacher and education in general through this program. My school doesn´t have as much resources as one would like, but it challenges me to be resourceful and work more with less.

How can this program be improved?
People with a TEFL or fellows with extensive teaching experience shouldn´t have to do as much orientation training.
Yes, I recommend this program

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About Greenheart Travel

Greenheart Travel is a 501(c)3 non-profit, mission driven organization based in Chicago, USA. We are passionate about providing immersive cultural immersion experiences for teenagers and adults in countries all over the world.

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