Welcome to the Cidade Maravilhosa, the marvelous city of Brazil. The spirit felt in February’s world-renowned carnival lives in the city year-round as imbibing locals and visitors alike are filled with creative energy that pulsates through the floors of samba clubs, and the waves of the South Atlantic. As the number of English speakers grows each year, the demand for teachers rises as well. If you’re looking for a place to feel the rhythm of life, teach abroad in Rio de Janeiro and peel back the layers of city’s famed mystique.
Popular Ways to Teach Abroad in Rio De Janeiro
Over 6 million Cariocas abide in Rio de Janeiro. Recent years have seen a surge in their economy as the world recognizes its rightful place as a center of culture, commerce, tourism, and education. It boasts one of the largest job markets for teaching English in Brazil.
Public schools vs. universities vs. tutoring centers. Brazilian English-learners overflow with enthusiasm and curiosity. They work hard and radiate a desire to speak and learn. For newbie teachers, this makes your entrance into the world of ESL teaching as smooth as sailing the waters around the Copacabana. Teaching jobs in Rio de Janeiro are in high demand so even complete novices are likely to find work in private language schools, tutoring centers, and even with private students. Experienced teachers can show their aptitude in public schools and universities, though those positions will likely require a degree and several years of experience.
Short-term vs. long-term teaching jobs. Summer programs tend to either add on to a student’s existing curriculum, or serve as a quick introduction to structured language learning. Either way, the emphasis is on fun, and the bonding is real! Longer-term positions are more the life you can create for yourself while abroad. The thrill of a new place will wear off and the routine of daily life will set in. Fortunately there is no shortage of magic to be made in Rio. Living overseas will test you and the rewards will be innumerable.
Teaching English vs. teaching other subjects. Teaching English in Rio de Janeiro is by far the most prominent job available to foreigners looking to live in Brazil. Within the ESL world, you can specialize in areas like medical English, legal English, or English for tourism. These niches often come with higher pay, so if you have a certain skill, market it, and then teach! This is true for any expertise you might have: Math, dance, writing, art, and even cooking since Brazilians love to eat!
Life in Rio de Janeiro for ESL Teachers
While life in Rio de Janeiro can often be a whirlwind of new sights, sounds, and smells, there is one thing that remains a constant: the beach. High level executives and penniless students all find release in the water sports, food, and the relaxation found at Brazil’s shoreline. The flexible nature of ESL teaching means that you can essentially set your own hours, or at the very least choose a fixed schedule that works for you, thus allowing you plenty of time to enjoy Rio’s active lifestyle.
Apart from beach activities, there is hiking in the Tijuca rainforest, cycling on lakeside paths, rock climbing, and hang gliding in nearby forests. You can then join your new friends and refuel with savory barbecued picanha. One of the biggest things to factor in when planning your schedule is that transit times are often long given the huge size of Rio. If you have classes in an academy on one end of the city, try to get private classes near there so you don’t waste precious Brazilian time on the bus. There are dozens of options for work and play, so just take the time to pick what actually works for you!
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for foreign teachers in Rio de Janeiro
While daytime beach tennis and nighttime bossa nova with a side of pão de queijo (cheese pastry) may sound idyllic, there are a few things to keep in mind when planting your roots into the sandy soils of Rio.
Brazilian bureaucracy, for example, notoriously moves like an Amazonian sloth. What should be a simple afternoon of getting an ID card, cell phone, or bank account could actually involve days or weeks, and even several site visits to get around the tangle of the “red tape.” Just be patient and know that it’s essential for the course and is also a great opportunity to practice your Portuguese!
Cariocas are beyond friendly, but flakiness doesn’t hide far below the surface. “Vamos marcar! (let’s meet!)” is thrown around significantly more than plans are actually inked in. Even when set, expect last minute cancellations due to anything from rain to a better offer. The secret is to not take this personally, and recognize that they are people who love to keep their options open with various experiences. If you can hang, you’ll be in for the time of your life!
Rio de Janeiro is a dynamic mix between the sultry Miami beach and the vivacious Buenos Aires. The hype is real, the scenery is out of this world, and the friendships you’ll form will stay in your life forever (well, at least on Facebook). Take the opportunity to teach abroad in Rio de Janeiro and with any luck you won’t just see the girl from Ipanema🎶… you’ll be her (or him!).
Looking elsewhere to continue the Rumba? Read our comprehensive guide on teaching abroad in Brazil.