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

Video and Photos

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
  • Academic Rigor 7
  • Job Assistance 10
Showing 16 - 30 of 42
Default avatar
Shannon
9/10

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 !

Yes, I recommend this program
Stephen
8/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Chiara
9/10

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!

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
woman on boat
Sav
10/10

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.

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Shayne
10/10

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.

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Richard Mark
9/10

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.

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Kevin
7/10

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.

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
Samantha
10/10

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Chelsea
9/10

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.

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
haley
10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
Once you get to Colombia the program there is very disorganized which caused a lot of frustration.
Yes, I recommend this program
Ben
7/10

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.

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.
No, I don't recommend this program
Colombia
JoJo
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Kathryn
10/10

Santa Fe de Antioquia Colombia

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!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jonathan
10/10

Quibdó, Chocó, Colombia

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Evan
10/10

Change your life, advance your career

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.

Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

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.

Teach English Abroad |...