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

Video and Photos

An Uplifting Act in Barranquilla!
An Uplifting Act in Barranquilla!
Teach, Learn and Live in Barranquilla!
Teach, Learn and Live in Barranquilla!
Staying Active Barranquilla Style!
Staying Active Barranquilla Style!
Classroom photo
Classroom photo
Students
Students
Students
Students
With 9B, crazy and fun as always
With 9B, crazy and fun as always
El Nevado de Santa Isabel
El Nevado de Santa Isabel

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

Hi Mark. This program is no longer offered, sorry!

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.

Reviews

93%
based on 45 reviews
  • Benefits 9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.1
  • Facilities 7.5
  • Safety 8.7
  • Instruction 10
  • Support 10
  • Value 10
  • Academic Rigor 7
  • Job Assistance 10
Showing 16 - 30 of 45
Default avatar
Valérie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
This program is amazing.
Default avatar
Amy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

Default avatar
Daniel
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
People with a TEFL or fellows with extensive teaching experience shouldn´t have to do as much orientation training.
Default avatar
Shannon
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Greenheart Travel, Sara Dorsey Thacker & Colombia

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
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Greenheart Grade: A

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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenges and Triumphs

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It depends...

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Shayne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sara Thacker Review (Greenheart Travel)

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Provide some more insight into regional locations. Teaching resources and school conditions are vastly different from region to region.
Default avatar
Richard Mark
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing Adventure in Colombia

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teach in Colombia and Sara Thacker

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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Colombia

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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

When things got confusing, Sara & Greenheart provided clarity

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Colombia

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Once you get to Colombia the program there is very disorganized which caused a lot of frustration.
Ben
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good experience for a short time with a few issues

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best 6months yet

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.