TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
What is your citizenship?
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
Some international travel with friends, family, business, etc.
If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I was looking for a change of career and a way to fully explore and learn about a single country.
What were some of your concerns before teaching English abroad?
My primary reservation was whether or not I'd have difficulty as someone who is not a fluent Spanish speaker.
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching English abroad?
Some were supportive, others weren't. I didn't let the naysayers stop me.
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
TEFL certification opens doors to teaching positions. I chose International TEFL academy because of their accreditation.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
I took the online TEFL certification course.
How did you like your Chicago TEFL certification course?
I loved it. Grammar after all these years was a bit tough but it really prepared me for the classroom.
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
Yes. Especially the grammar training.
TEACHING ENGLISH IN VALPARAISO, CHILE
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
Valparaiso, Chile. I've been here before and believed it would give me the greatest chance of success.
How long have you been teaching English in Chile and how long do you plan to stay?
I've been here 6 months and plan to stay another 6 or 7 months.
How did you secure your English teaching job in Chile?
I found the school online and contacted them through email. I was able to secure my job before I arrived in Valparaiso.
What school, company, or program are you working for?
How did you get your work visa for teaching Enlish in Chile?
In Chile you travel to the country on a tourist visa, get a job, then apply for the work visa. Mine just came after four months of teaching.
Tell us about your English teaching job!
I work about 25 hours per week and make around $100,000 CLP per class. I teach 4 classes. I am only able to save because my wife also teaches down here, otherwise I would probably break even. I work for the Chilean Naval Academy and my students are cadets training to be naval officers. I get 3 weeks off this month, 1 week in September and I'll be finishing in December.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like?
My wife and I found an apartment through an expat real estate agent. Housing is very often found by word of mouth here.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain your countries cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc.
THE PEOPLE OF CHILE - Chilenos are a proud people who believe theirs is the best country in South America. Family is still very important here. Traditional values seem to be fading into history.
GETTING AROUND - We get everywhere on public transportation. You can get almost anywhere by bus.
THE CITY OF VALPARAISO - Valparaiso is the place to be for a bohemian lifestyle. There is a fairly active expat community in Viña del Mar.
FOOD - Food is kind of boring here, Chilenos as a rule don't like spicy food.
TRAVEL - Travel opportunities are abundant. We've been to Easter Island and am going to Peru this week.
To anyone seriously considering teaching English in Chile, I'd say: Just Do It!
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
In a typical non-travel month, my wife and I together spend around $1700. As for our exact expenses, we spend about:
$650 on rent
$580 on food
$110 on social Activities
$110 on transportation
$40 on our phones - there is a free texting utility in Chile
Note that above dollar amounts are for two people and in USD.
How would you describe your standard of living?
The cost of living in Chile is slightly lower than in the US. Not having a car limits mobility to a more carefully planned schedule, but it also saves a lot of money.
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn to live comfortably?
As a couple we live comfortably on $1,700 per month. We have our own 2 bedroom apartment in a very nice area. I believe a single person could live on much less if they rented a room or had roommates.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching English in Chile?
Be prepared for a different life and do not expect all the comforts of home. You are living in a foreign country with a different culture and expectations. Chile is a good place to teach and jobs are plentiful.
Make sure to also check out Kent's great article about his move to Chile: A New Life - Teaching English in Valparaiso, Chile
Kent and his wife's blog: http://woolyandraeski.com/