Teach English in Colombia on a One or Two Semester Contract with Greenheart Travel
93% Rating
(37 Reviews)

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

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
Locations
South America » Colombia
Length
3-6 Months
6-12 Months
Salary / Benefits
--Full time teaching placement in Colombia
--Monthly stipend to cover living expenses: 1,500,000 Colombian Pesos per month
--Visa paid for by the Colombian government
--Colombian national EPS health insurance
--Domestic flight from Bogota to placement city (domestic baggage fees are not covered if you have more than 23 kg of luggage)
--Accommodation during orientation is included in shared rooms.
--Assistance finding housing in your placement city from program regional coordinators, who know the cities and can help communicate with landlords
--Support and guidance from your Greenheart Travel program manager
--Airport Pickup
--1- 2 week orientation upon arrival in Bogota, including accommodation at a hotel and meals (orientation at the beginning of the school year is 2 weeks, for second semester it’s 1 week)
--In-country support from your regional coordinator
--24/7 Emergency Line
--“Culture Smart” Colombia Customs & Culture Guidebook
Qualifications
At a minimum, a degree equivalent to a U.S. 4 year bachelor’s degree
Age 20-50
Citizen of the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand
Native English Speaker
No Criminal Record, including underage drinking or DUI
Weekly Classroom Hours
25
Classroom Audience
Adults
Children
High School
Middle School
Pre-School
University Students
Accommodation
Apartment
Inclusions
Domestic Airfare
Some Accommodation
Some Activities
Some Meals
Visa
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
This program is free.

There will be a $400 (USD) deposit upon acceptance to the program, but this will only be required after both interview rounds, after you have been accepted.

The deposit will be returned to you only when you complete your full program and contract term, along with your end of contract bonus. This deposit is your official commitment to participating in the program and is non refundable if you cancel or withdraw from the program at any time, for any reason. This deposit will be refunded in Colombian pesos along with your last paycheck and completion bonus, at a fixed exchange rate outlined in the Participant Agreement each teacher will sign after acceptance.

Questions & Answers

No it doesn't. It offers opportunities to co teach alongside Colombian teachers in different settings
This program is not an “exchange” per say. No teachers are sent from Colombia to the US and no credit is received for the training/work we do. Technically, we are volunteers and while it’s a great experience and it provides nearly 40 hours of TEFL training I don’t think it could serve as an exchange for anything in the US unless you worked something out on your end.
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 t...
Technically your not allowed to do that, they said if they caught you they could remove you from the program

Program Reviews

  • Benefits
    90%
  • Support
    93%
  • Fun
    92%
  • Facilities
    76%
  • Safety
    89%
  • Instruction
    100%
  • Support
    100%
  • Value
    100%
  • Difficulty
    70%
  • Job Assistance
    100%

Program Reviews (37)

Default avatar
Aly
Female
28 years old
Monteria
University of Manitoba

Teaching in Colombia

9/10

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.

Rashad
Male

A great experience

10/10

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!

Angela M. Bey - Making a Difference in the World
Angela
Female
49 years old
Philadelphia, PA
Arcadia University

Teaching Abroad in Barranquilla Colombia: An Amazing and Experience!

10/10

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.

Default avatar
Joe
Male
29 years old
Barranquilla
University of Huddersfield

Dream come true

10/10

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!

Megan
Female

Volunteers Colombia, SED Barranquilla 2017

9/10

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.

Default avatar
Jill
Female
22 years old
Armenia, Colombia
University of South Carolina

The best provider

9/10

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

Default avatar
Brittany
Female
21 years old
Colombia
University of Melbourne

Fantastic Experience

10/10

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

Default avatar
Valérie
Female
24 years old
Canada
University of Ottawa

A different life

10/10

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.

Default avatar
Amy
Female
22 years old
United States
University of California- Davis

Love, love, love!

9/10

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!

Default avatar
Daniel
Male
25 years old
California
San Francisco State University

Semester in Colombia

8/10

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.

Default avatar
Shannon
Female
24 years old
Colombia
University of California- Irvine

Greenheart Travel, Sara Dorsey Thacker & Colombia

9/10

Switching over from another agency that I didn't find very helpful, Sara welcomed me with open arms. I found her extremely efficient, and always willing to answer any questions no matter what they were. I was very, very intent on being in the SENA program as it was my main draw to the program and she honored this preference of mine. Although there were a lot of ups and downs with whether or not I would be able to be in the program, it really wasn't the fault of Sara or Greenheart, but the unpredictably of the Colombian agency. Everything that Sara/Greenheart could have possibly done for us, they did, and even all my friends that are here with Greenheart are unanimously happy with their experience.

For those of you who are considering this experience, I can't speak highly enough of it. I absolutely love my placement city (which was completely random, and I had never even heard of it). I did so much research prior to arriving but I feel completely at home here only after 3 months and love my students and the experience of teaching them. I would highly, highly recommend this country and teaching with SENA !

Stephen
Male

Greenheart Grade: A

8/10

Greenheart is really a flawless program - they are super organized and prompt with everything that they do and (Sara, especially) made sure I was fully prepared both mentally and physically for my journey to Colombia. The stipend is definitely adequate for where I'm living, though I'm sure would be a lot tighter in major cities like Bogota or Medellin. I haven't really reached out for support from them because frankly, I haven't needed it. But if I do eventually reach out, I'm confident they would respond warmly and quickly.

Default avatar
Chiara

Challenges and Triumphs

9/10

With the disclaimer that I am still in the midst of my first semester with the program (over two months to go - don't rush me!), I will say that my experience with Greenheart Travel has been mostly a positive one. The real strength of Greenheart is the preparation and support they offer ahead of time. Sara was so on top of responding to questions, sending information, and making sure I felt comfortable as a participant (as I'm sure she does for all participants). I was able to e-mail her frequently, with the expectation of prompt, precise responses. She was even available by phone. That being said, the network of organizations involved in this program (Greenheart, Heart for Change, Ministry of Education) made for quite a few information gaps and crossed wires. Transition into the program was a little choppy, despite all the pre-work that Greenheart did (and let me reiterate, they do a wonderful job, pre-departure!). Some of the tangles, I'm sure, couldn't be avoided, but it did make for a decent amount of confusion. There's a lot of individual and peer navigation that has to be done, since answers from the administration were not always clear or applicable. I do really appreciate the fact that Sara checks in with all participants once we are settled. That made me feel like I could go to her and Greenheart if I was having significant issues adjusting. Thanks so much, Sara and Greenheart Travel! If you are thinking about doing this program, I would say Greenheart is the most helpful in navigating the certain challenges you will face!

How can this program be improved?

If all programs and organizations involved could sync their information, that would be really helpful. I often encountered situations where other participants from other programs were receiving different information.

woman on boat
Sav
Female

It depends...

10/10

That's what you will here from every regional coordinator/director on this program, but it's true. You can get placed all over Colombia, which is a very diverse and amazing place. THat also means there are many factors that determine your experience here. I'm in a medium sized city (400,000 people and NO tourists). It's SUPER hot here but the cost of living is quite cheap. I am lucky enough to have the best school in the area, but this can also greatly vary. There are not many resources at some schools and many people struggle with the English level of their co-teachers. If you are prepared for these challenges, however, there are many rewards and incredible experiences available to you here. The pay is livable and as long as you are open to a challenge and care about teaching a new generation of people in a changing country, this program is ideal. There is a lot of support from the Heart for Change team and Greenheart as well. I recommend this experience whole heartedly, but if you are just looking for a vacation or just an adventure, this may not be your best option.

How can this program be improved?

Greenheart has done a great job. Much of the improvement needed comes from within the program and the Ministry of Education itself, which is complex to and difficult to maneuver because it's the Colombian government's area. There probably needs to be more change within the schools themselves in how they receive fellows and utilize them to their fullest potential. Some of the training seemed like a waste of time as well. It would be more helpful if we left with some sort of TEFL certificate.

Default avatar
Shayne

Sara Thacker Review (Greenheart Travel)

10/10

This is a great program for someone who has never been to another country before or for those looking for a legitimate and well organized employer. The head of the program Sara Thacker will assist you through every step of the process with her amazing support team. Sara is a very understanding and compassionate human being who loves her job and will welcome you to the team with open arms! The program has assisted me from the moment I said I was interested in the program to the second I landed in Bogota for orientation.

How can this program be improved?

Provide some more insight into regional locations. Teaching resources and school conditions are vastly different from region to region.

Default avatar
Richard Mark
Male
49 years old
Bucaramanga, Santander Colombia
University of Southern Mississippi

An Amazing Adventure in Colombia

9/10

My time teaching and living in Colombia has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Tired of my same old day to day life, I decided in my late 40's to pursue my lifelong dream of living abroad. I didn't want to wait until I retired. Life if for living now!

Teaching English in Colombia was definitely an opportunity for me to experience a totally new life and to finally learn some Spanish (out of necessity). My day to day in the USA consisted of getting up at 4:30 am, going to work, and getting home at 6:00 pm. This busy schedule left little time for friends, adventure, travel, relaxation and to actually live my life.

My new life in Colombia has been very different. I'm still up early, but my work day is much more relaxed and much shorter. The culture here in Colombia is very laid back. This is a pace I've been wanting for years. My work day is done by 12:30, and I have the afternoons free for hiking, biking, practicing my Spanish or just hanging out with some of the locals. You can buy some of the freshest, cheapest produce right here in Colombia. In fact, there are always street vendors set up just outside my apartment with delicious street food, exotic fresh fruits and amazing vegetables.

Most everything in Colombia is much less expensive than it is back home in the USA. The only thing I have found perhaps more expensive would be clothes. So, my advice is to take plenty of time when thinking of what to pack. Don't over pack, but don't think you will be able to just buy some inexpensive clothes here in Colombia if you don't bring them. I would also encourage anyone coming to Colombia to remember this is a different culture. As every place has their own unique way of doing things, we have to remember we are guests here. Different is just different. Different is wrong.

I had lots of concerns about leaving my stable, busy life back home. Yes, the majority of people teaching English are in their 20's. However, there are many of us 30 and 40 somethings out here too that were just ready for something new, exciting, challenging and different. I have not for one second regretted my decision to teach English in Colombia.

How can this program be improved?

There was an issue with my paper work in Bogota. However, this was not the problem of Green Heart. This was a problem with Colombia. I like check lists. A packing list would be great and a little better understanding of what to expect during orientation would also be helpful. I think Green Heart has done an outstanding job and will highly recommend them to anyone I know thinking of teaching or traveling abroad.

Default avatar
Kevin
Male
24 years old
Colombia
University College Dublin

Teach in Colombia and Sara Thacker

7/10

Teaching in disadvantaged schools obviously means limited resources and potentially dangerous areas so I had anticipated this. The Greenheart staff, however, were a phenomenol resource in terms of providing support and assistance. They provided some much appreciated structure to the otherwise chaotic nature of Colombian culture. I dealt with Sara Thacker, which was absolutely my pleasure. She deals with a lot of difficult situations and always, always responded to me promptly and politely with as much help as possible. I could not believe her patience. Also she sent me a copy of my passport in an emergency situation within five minutes of me asking for it.It is a huge relief to know she is available for your support.

Default avatar
Samantha
Female
27 years old
United States
Champlain College

Teaching in Colombia

10/10

The first time that I went through Greenheart was in Thailand, so Colombia was the second time that I used them. Although there was a delay in the announcement of the start date due to MEN, Sara Dorsey would send updates with the latest information provided. She's always organized and answers any questions quickly! If you're ever confused about the process, she's there for support. Getting a book about the country was also helpful to know what to expect upon arrival. Being part of the GH community and having the support from other participants and alumni is another bonus :)

I taught for a semester in Armenia, Colombia. There were a few challenges with co-teaching, but the students were great to teach. The people of Colombia are friendly, and the country is beautiful and naturally diverse. I never felt unsafe during my time there. Overall, I had a great experience. If you're looking to take the leap, I would recommend Greenheart!

Default avatar
Chelsea
Female
27 years old
Medellin
University of Texas- Austin

When things got confusing, Sara & Greenheart provided clarity

9/10

Sara Dorsey and the Greenheart travel program are amazing resources if you're thinking about teaching English in Colombia.

This year may have been a special case, but the Colombian government and the SENA program had issues with funding this year and thus communication about our start dates and placements were extremely delayed. While it was very frustrating and made things very difficult for those of us in the program who were literally sitting and waiting for news on when we would leave for Colombia, Sara and Greenheart did their best to continue communicating with us every step of the way, and were very understanding about our frustrations.

As with most government institutions, the SENA program has had its fair share of disorganization. I don't know if I would have continued with it if it hadn't been for Sara's empathy and constant communication. She also followed up with us after we arrived to Colombia and even months later after we settled in, even though her job was already done.

I have loved my time in Colombia and highly recommend going through Greenheart to get here easily and with great support from Sara.

How can this program be improved?

Perhaps they can have better communication between SENA and Greenheart, as the Colombian government didn't provide them with much information about the funding issue, and it appeared as though Greenheart didn't know anything even though it wasn't their fault.

Default avatar
haley
Female
Texas
University of Texas- Austin

Colombia

10/10

I had a great time teaching English in Colombia. I traveled all over the country and saw so many things but teaching the students was definitely the best part. I definitely recommend doing this and have no complaints about any of it. The question I was asked most about going or when I came back was whether or not it was safe. I am a very young looking female and I traveled all over alone and I never had any issues nor did I feel unsafe. I can also be paranoid too, so I always paid attention around me and didn't do any obvious touristy things.

How can this program be improved?

Once you get to Colombia the program there is very disorganized which caused a lot of frustration.

Ben
Male

Good experience for a short time with a few issues

7/10

The application process and communication from everyone involved with onboarding was excellent, from our first application we were sent heaps of information and given a lot of support along the way.

On arrival to Colombia the team and lessons during training were good. They were not particularly targeted to those who'd been through similar before or spent time in South America. More could be done to assist those that want to know with those that already do so that everyone gets more out of it.

Our small town was tiny but we made the most of our time working on our own projects and meeting the locals. Not a lot of social events were planned by our Regional Coordinators that we could attend so I did feel isolated. I feel the feeling of being disconnected is an ongoing feeling with other fellows who aren't in the cities. It's all about making the most of where you are so for us a lack of social events or contact with other gringos was ok, but more definitely would have been good.

The schools themselves were chaos from start to end. The kids are amazing fun and come with their own personalities and challenges to teach, especially being asked not to speak Spanish in a classroom of kids who just want to talk with you in Spanish!
There's definitely a lot of adjusting required and the lack of classrooms, boards, pens, paper and books was a daily challenge that made any sort of routine impossible. Our stipend definitely didn't cover as much as I wanted to buy so I could teach effectively. As it happened we were part of Carnival on the coast (incredible to travel to!) and then the 2 month strike at the end of term which meant our amount of time teaching was much shorter than some others experienced. With longer actual teaching time I hope others were able to make more of this part.

Not being able to leave the small town for fear of missing classes if the strike suddenly ended was a really strange move by the program, especially after it had been going on for several weeks. Without school or access to anyone else in the program (due to our isolation) we were happy when the term ended and definitely ready to leave.

Overall the organisation of the program itself is very good and within the country the experience of living a local life and teaching in Colombian conditions was a rewarding challenge. Would I do it again? I don't think so. Small towns without much contact to to the wider teaching community is fine for a short time, but after 6 months it was definitely enough.

It is definitely an experience I will never forget - even if my memories are based more in Carnaval and the long strikes. I realise it was a lot different for us so I hope others have a more fulfilling teaching experience.

How can this program be improved?

For this program specifically I don't think it has much to improve on. The application and external support is fantastic and always there. The people involved are great and really doing what they can to make your time as memorable as possible.
The co-teachers and regional co-ordinators were also great however they were stretched thin so we didn't spend much time with them.
Involving the people who are more isolated would be a great way of staving off the stir crazy that comes with tiny towns.

Colombia
JoJo
Female
28 years old
Kean University

The best 6months yet

10/10

I have been teaching in Colombia for over six months and I love it. Sara and Greenheart have been present along the way, always checking in and wanting to know more about my experience abroad. The application process was not difficult and also very informative. Sara helped with any questions or concerns I had as well as reassuring that while moving abroad might seem a lot more difficult than it is there is an entire team in Colombia who will walk you through the first steps of getting acclimated to your new home.
Moving abroad not only has changed my perspective on traveling/home country/ideas but it also helped me figure out what is truly important to me and what career path I'd like to take in the near future. I have met wonderful people and made life-long friends while in Colombia. If you are thinking about moving abroad the only advise I have is to "JUST DO IT" you will not regret it and also take the experience for what it is and don't have any expectations.

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Kathryn
Female
24 years old
Colombia
Oglethorpe University

Santa Fe de Antioquia Colombia

10/10

I came to Colombia for my first time to teach English for 9 months. I have loved my experience so far. The pay is enough for living and the people are super nice. Also it helps improve your second language as Spanish. The safety is great in this town. I feel comfortable waking around by myself during all days and also at night. I have found a great church that is fun to assist and spend time at. I have felt like a part of the family of many people that I have met here. The culture is super friendly, so it is normal that people invite you over and on vacation with them. People also really want to learn Wnhlish, so that's another great way to meet people. I was afraid that I was going to feel alone living in another country as a foreigner, but I have found that I do not feel alone because I have found so many great people willing to share friendships with me. I would definitely recommend this program and location for others.

How can this program be improved?

It is really great how it is!

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Jonathan
Male
30 years old
Quibdó, Chocó Colombia
Temple University

Quibdó, Chocó, Colombia

10/10

Currently I have been working for Volunteers Colombia with SENA for two months in Quibdó, Chocó Colombia. I have two highlights which will consist of talking about greenheart then my experience thus far with SENA/VC and Colombia.

First, I want to give the upmost applauds to Sara and Greenheart travel. Sara was so helpful and there for me during ever step of the way. She is someone who provides communication as quick as she can and as transparent as it comes. I really respect her diligence and the support I received was so warming and thorough. The whole process was very seamless from recruiting, to placement then now to my time in Chocó. Greenheart is a very wonderful platform and I would recommend using them a resource with the SENA/VC program.

Next, wow. Colombia in general is a place that is extremely diverse so depending on what you want, big city, beaches, mountains, rainforest... it is very diverse. I am very privileged to be in Quibdó, Chocó because the place is unlike anywhere in Colombia. We have four exotic fruits that are only found in Chocó that are delicious (Borojó is my favorite), the people here are some of the most generous and happy people I have met and they are so welcoming. Moving along, the SENA experience has been great thus far. Every Volunteacher has a mentor at the placement city and mine, a women by the name of Karen is excellent. She has been with me also pretty much every step of the way making sure we are doing well here. Her support is incredible. The students are a joy as well. They are so motivated to learn English and I can honestly say that I have no horror stories about the students. Even though I am only two months in, I already can see the change in my life of how rich of an experience this is. If you want to make an impact somewhere and always live in a beautiful diverse country that will change your life forever... then choose Greenheart and go to Colombia. Cheers!

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Evan
Male
27 years old
Wheaton, IL

Change your life, advance your career

10/10

I reached out to Greenheart Travel following my return to the US after a year of teaching and traveling in Thailand. In that year, I had the fortune of running across a handful of Greenheart teachers. In the Land of Smiles, they were no exception; each of them were placed carefully, taken care of financially, and afforded constant support from their program managers. When it came time to move to Colombia, Greenheart was the obvious choice.

I was one of Greenheart's initial Fellows to teach in Colombia via their partner organization, Heart for Change. From the interview to the traveling, and the orientation to the placement, I was taken care of every step of the way. I taught at SENA Centro Agroindustrial in Armenia for six months and had one of the best personal and professional experiences of my life - one that I still draw upon in my career today. It was not always easy, dealing with language barriers and overcoming philosophical differences cross-culturally never is. Yet the strength of the partnership and the genuine in-country support was there to help whenever I needed it. By the end of the first semester, the TEC program was experiencing so much growth that they began to offer interviews for regional coordinator positions to program Fellows. By my 7th month in Colombia, I was speaking and working in Spanish, monitoring and evaluating program progress, and conducting professional development training for new Fellows. My career had begun to take flight.

Fast forward another six months and I was asked by Heart for Change and the Ministerio de Educación Nacional to manage the nation's first Colombia Bilingüe Immersion program. As Immersion Director, I was managing every aspect of Colombia's initial effort at capacity-building for 130 Colombian English Teachers, 25 Fellows and Regional Coordinators, and an entire hotel staff. None of this would have been possible without Greenheart Travel. Their commitment to fostering trust with their partners in Colombia and their high standards for program success streamlined the often difficult, transitional stages of teaching and living abroad. All Greenheart Travel programming, not just the TEC, is designed consciously and carried out with integrity by their entire staff. This is one of the best career advancement programs out there.

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Renee
Female
24 years old
Tempe
Colorado State University

Thank you, Greenheart!

10/10

I have just arrived home after a year and a half in Colombia thanks to Greenheart. I can honestly say that Greenheart has gone above and beyond exceptions and support both before my placement in Colombia and during my time there. Their staff takes a personal interest in all of their participants, and they continually reach out and help all along the way. Reflecting on the Colombia program is hard because there are multiple organizations at work. Greenheart manages their side with extreme professionalism and care, but they often are working with other organizations that are less organized than they are. They are a huge reason that I extended my contract twice to stay longer. They have been a fantastic support in everything from providing grants for an English Olympics project I jointly planned to helping me sort out visa issues when it seemed like the process was confusing and not straight forward. I would 100% recommend traveling with Greenheart and would love to do so again! Big thanks to everyone at Greenheart Travel!

Lauren
Female
27 years old
Bogotá

Uncertainty

2/10

There is a lot I'd like to say about my experience with Greenhearts. I would like to first indicate that I do feel that the Greenhearts employees with whom I interacted have good intentions. I also believe that my experience is not indicative of all experiences with them. The most frustrating aspect of my experience have been due to disorganization with the partner organization in Colombia, Volunteers Colombia. However, at this point I can confidently say that my decision to travel with Greenhearts has been a complete failure for me. It has been one of the most frustrating and discouraging experiences traveling.

I applied to leave with a SENA position in 2017. In August of 2016, my boyfriend and I had both been accepted (a process that was confusing and, at points quite frustrating, as I was accepted and asked to submit my deposit or else be dropped multiple times before my partner had even had his second interview/was invited to join the program-an interview that didn't happen for a month after it was supposed to happen). Sometime shortly after submitting our deposits and committing to the SENA 2017 program, our Greenhearts recruiter informed us that there was a program beginning in early September that still had a few spots open. We were ready to go abroad and we agreed to leave on September 9th. However, a week before departing, after quitting our jobs and moving out of our apartment, we were informed that the program had been pushed back by 3 weeks. I spent a good amount of saving meant for travel on unexpected living expenses in the U.S. in that time and fronting the fee to change the flight. The new departure date was supposed to be October 2nd.

A week before October 2nd, we were informed that the program had been pushed back another week to October 9th (we fronted fees to change flights again). Then, a week before we were supposed to leave for this latest start date, we were told that the program had been outright cancelled. We were homeless, jobless, and we had eaten through a significant portion of our savings in the month we spent jobless in the U.S.

We felt that we didn't want to continue to trust Greenhearts to get us jobs, however, given the hole we were already in due to placing our trust in them in the first place, we felt our best option was to hope they got us different positions as soon as possible. They got my boyfriend a SENA position in Bogotá (not the city we were initially supposed to go to, but completely acceptable). They said that I would be working in one of their 'other' placements. This meant a private institution not affiliated with SENA. However, the position was one that Greenhearts' partner in Colombia, Volunteers Colombia had placed volunteers before.

We arrived in Bogotá on October 9th. My partner got his visa with no problem on October 10th and has mostly enjoyed his time teaching in a SENA center in Bogotá. However, my application for a volunteer visa was rejected by the visa office, despite the 10 hours I spent there over 2 days. And despite that there are already two Greenhearts/Volunteers Colombia participants already working at the same University with the visa for which I have applied.

The person assigned to support me at Volunteers Colombia told me that he would keep me updated as VC corresponded with the manager of the visa office about my visa. He said that if I couldn't get the proper visa, I could be reassigned to a SENA position (and sure to get a visa if in a SENA position). He informed me of meetings and letters, but that very little came of them. Recently, he said I could apply for SENA positions in early 2017 and would be sure to be placed in Bogotá. He did not outright say that they were giving up on getting me a position/visa this school year, but it has been a month. He strongly implied in my last correspondence with him that VC has given up on getting me a job/visa for this school year. This means that I quit my job in the U.S. and traveled to Colombia around 6 months before I will even get a chance to teach here in Colombia (as SENA 2017 classes don't start up until March 1st).

Without a visa before the end of the year, I will be required to leave the country in January when my tourist visa expires. I was assured before I left that if I wanted to continue teaching in 2017, I could renew my visa and not have to leave the country (as I cannot afford it since the unexpected joblessness and living expenses in the U.S. for a month). Also, without a visa, I will not have access to the health care I was promised with this program. I had canceled my health insurance in the U.S. beginning in December, as I had intended to stay in Colombia and teach next year. I now have to afford three additional months of health insurance with my provider in the U.S. which is not realistic on the stipend I am being paid.

I am out of money and patience. I feel like from the very beginning, I was treated very poorly by the Volunteers Colombia (Greenhearts' partner here in Colombia). I feel that it is only getting worse now that I am here. I don't think this is Greenhearts' fault, however, the non-profit with which they are partnered here in Colombia is a mess.

I would absolutely not recommend anyone do this program. Find a different way to apply for SENA if teaching adults appeals to you. I am so frustrated and feel very much abandoned by Volunteers Colombia.

Response from Greenheart Travel

Hi Lauren,

Thank you for your feedback, and we completely understand your frustration. As you know, this was an unprecedented issue with your visa being denied, which has never happened before in this program. However, we know that fact does not make this an acceptable situation, and this is not something we take lightly. Since you made me aware of this issue on November 8th, we’ve been in frequent communication with you and our partner. We are also making sure it won’t happen again in the future.

We aim to support our teachers in every way we can, and we appreciate you coming to us as soon as this issue arose so that we could address it head on. As of now, we hope you feel like the situation has been resolved as much as possible considering the circumstances. Please continue to reach out to me directly should you need any more support or assistance moving forward.

Best,
Sara and Greenheart Travel

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Ama
Female
28 years old
North Carolina
Salem College

Greenheart is the way to go!

10/10

I have made lots of friends in the Colombia Bilingue program, some of whom came to Colombia through other recruiters. After talking extensively about our different recruitment processes, we have come to the conclusion that Greenheart was the way to go. My friends can't believe how responsive Sara Dorsey was, and how much pre-departure support and information I received. I came to Colombia feeling ready, because Greenheart answered all of my questions and did all that it could to make sure I was prepared for the experience and knew what to expect.

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Evan
Male
25 years old
New Jersey
Tulane University

Five stars for Greenheart Travel

10/10

I definitely made the right choice to teach English in Colombia using Greenheart Travel as my recruiter. Sara Dorsey, who is in charge of the logistics, is fantastic - she is well-organized, extremely prompt in responding to questions, and made the overall process smooth and seamless. I am currently teaching in Cali, Valle del Cauca am enjoying my time here. Thank you Sara and thank you Greenheart Travel!

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Joelle
Female
27 years old
Medellín, CO
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Greenheart Travel is the way to go

10/10

First of all, the program in Colombia is absolutely amazing. I had just done the Ministry program in Spain, and the two don't even compare. They provide you with a 9 day orientation in Bogota with all expenses paid for. They help you with the entire visa process, obtaining a bank in Colombia and the ID card. They also teach you how to teach English taught by professionals. I could not believe the support, professionalism and resources that this program has provided. Second of all, if you are going to this program, absolutely do it with Greenheart Travel. They were so incredibly organized and help you with every step of the application process. I also got placed in my first choice city which is a huge bonus. I have absolutely zero complaints and I would recommend Greenheart and this program in Colombia 100%. Just do it!!

How can this program be improved?

I would split the meal times into two groups during the meals of orientation in Bogota.

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Greenheart Travel is excited to provide authentic cultural immersion experiences for teenagers and adults in countries all over the world. Our programs include volunteer opportunities, short and long term teaching contracts and work and internship positions abroad. We also offer TEFL certification, high school study

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