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

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About

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

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

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

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

Questions & Answers

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

Reviews

92%
based on 42 reviews
  • Benefits 9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9
  • Facilities 7.5
  • Safety 8.7
  • Instruction 10
  • Support 10
  • Value 10
  • Difficulty 7
  • Job Assistance 10
Showing 31 - 42 of 42
Default avatar
Renee
10/10

Thank you, Greenheart!

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
Lauren
2/10

Uncertainty

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

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

Greenheart is the way to go!

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.

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

Five stars for Greenheart Travel

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!

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

Greenheart Travel is the way to go

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

Sara Dorsey is the best!

I couldn't be happier with Greenheart Travel. I entered into the English Teaching Fellowship Program in Colombia and was recruited by Greenheart Travel. While things work a little differently in Colombia (everything last minute and changing), I felt confident that Greenheart was keeping me as informed as possible and I never felt hesitant about asking them questions. Sara Dorsey, who I was in communication with most during the recruitment process, is professional, solutions-oriented, and super prompt in all communication when it comes to questions and concerns. I honestly don't know how she does it. What I love most about Greenheart is that even after I was already recruited and in the program, they continued to keep in communication with us (even though they don't have to and are not really expected to). We all are on one facebook group and it really helps maintain the awesome support network we have here in colombia.

How can this program be improved?
I have no complaints about Greenheart Travels side. The only thing I got worried about when applying was how last minute things are but now that I am in Colombia, I realize that this was due to how things are in Colombia rather than by fault of Greenheart.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ella
9/10

Couldn't be happier!

I've been living in Colombia for the past five months or so and I really couldn't be happier with my life here. Greenheart Travel did an excellent job in all matters pre-departure relate; from the interview process to visa application, Sara Dorsey and the Greenheart team were nothing but helpful. Anytime I had a question, they would answer in detail within a matter of hours. As a result, I never once felt uneasy or uncertain about the application or pre-departure process and could focus on feeling excited instead!

I've been teaching with the Ministry of Education in a public high school in Pereira. While there are certainly challenges, it has overall been an immensely positive experience. I've formed great relationships with my students, have gone from knowing zero Spanish to being conversational, and have made quite a few friends. After five months, Pereira feels like home, which is why I've extended my contract until December 2016.

I love Colombia and feel incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to live and work here. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to live in a different country, to learn a language, or to try something new!

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

Me encanta

I could not be more happy with my decision to teach English in Colombia. From the moment I started the application process, Greenheart and Volunteers Colombia have made me feel like I am an important part of something so much bigger than myself. I highly recommend SENA, disorganized though it may be, every day teaching is a blast. Not to mention, Colombia is the most beautiful country in the world, visually and in its spirit. Plenty of three-day weekends give you more than enough time to explore this magical country. If you are looking to experience a whole new world, please consider this program!

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

Loving life in Colombia

This is the second program I have done with Greenheart Travel. About 2 years ago I taught English in Thailand and I have been in Colombia teaching English for about 2 months now. Greenheart was beyond helpful in preparing me for both trips. Deciding to move abroad was a big decision for me so I really appreciated how helpful Sara and the Greenheart team were in making me more comfortable throughout this whole process. There was never a question or concern that went unanswered.

I am teaching English at Sena in Cartagena and my experience so far has been incredible. The best part of it all is my students and how much fun I'm having teaching them. Everyone at our school has been so warm and welcoming and has made us feel at home since we arrived here in Cartagena. My favorite part about living in other countries is when they finally start to feel like home because that's when you truly start to feel like a part of the community that you are living in. Colombia has officially began to feel like home and I'm really looking forward to what lies ahead these next 8 months. Through greenheart I have become more confident in my travels, I have met amazing people that I will have in my life forever, I have learned so much about myself and the world that we live in, and I have had the chance to be a teacher and a student both inside and outside of the classroom. Not only is Greenheart so helpful with all of the logistics but they continue to follow your journey throughout your whole experience which is pretty awesome :)

How can this program be improved?
n/a
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Amy
10/10

Absolutely worth it!!!

GreenHeart is a fantastic company!! They were recommended to me by another travel friend and it was a good recommendation. They were super informative and thorough in their application process so I knew I was working with a professional company.

Prior to my departure, they were super helpful and preparing me as well as answering ALL my questions. I don't know how Sara does it, but I would receive an email response within an hour every time.

They even met us personally at our orientation and gave us free shirts. :) I feel like I have an actual relationship with my recruiters and I still communicate with them even though I'm settled and working.

If you're considering Greenheart-- do it. You won't be disappointed. I've talked with others who came through different recruiters and it seems that Greenheart was by far the best choice.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly have no complaints about this program. I feel like they did everything right and I am completely satisfied with my experience.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Caroline
10/10

Fantastic recruiter, fantastic program.

Fantastic program. Colombia itself is a hugely diverse country with plenty to explore, and the program is extremely fulfilling. Greenheart did an amazing job of preparing its participants. I met volunteers who came through several different organizations, but the Greenheart participants were consistently the most satisfied and most informed. There was plenty of available information, responses were instantaneous, and the whole preparation process was as painless as it could be. Once in Colombia, Greenheart continued to stay in touch with their volunteers (even though technically their job was done!). Although I was in a new country with completely new people, I felt very well taken care of by both Greenheart and their partner organizations within Colombia.

How can this program be improved?
n/a
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Helena
10/10

Cartagena, Colombia

My experience in Colombia has been nothing short of amazing. I find that as the weeks go by I am learning so much about this diverse country that I would never have expected. The two week orientation program in Bogota was a great way to get adjusted to a new country while also preparing me to teach English as a foreign language. Once at my placement site in Cartagena I have continued to meet nothing but warm and welcoming people. The other teachers at our SENA site are wonderful as well and I love my students. Having never taught English in the states or abroad I had no idea what I was getting into, but I am so thankful I decided to put my life on hold and go on this adventure. Hopefully the next couple months don't go by to fast!

How can this program be improved?
The only change I would make would be the communication during the application phase. I do realize that this is the first year of this program so I know a lot of it is just growing pains. In the future I would make sure participants had all of the program details up front.
Yes, I recommend this program

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About Greenheart Travel

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

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