TEFL Courses in South America

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A Guide to Earning TEFL Certification in South America

If you aren’t in South America or planning to go soon, then it is time to ask yourself, “What am I doing with my life?!” South America, though placed on the back burner for many years, so to speak, is beginning to heat up. For businessmen, South American cities are becoming technological hubs of innovation. For writers, nothing can inspire quite like a tour through the Andean mountains. But of all the career choices, up and coming teachers can do no wrong in becoming TEFL certified in South America. English language skills are in high demand throughout the region, so it is time for you to take your ESL training and teaching abilities to South America. 


Though there are many incredible countries to choose from, there are a few more popular destinations for TEFL courses in South America than others. If you choose to acquire your TEFL certification in South America, then it is likely you will find the most variety and quantity of courses in the following countries:

In Peru, you can earn TEFL certification in the Colonial town of Arequipa, for a more unique experience of the country than Lima and Cusco, which is nestled in a valley between the Andean Mountain range and beautiful volcanoes. Though somewhat rural, Arequipa acts as a springboard for sightseeing, as it is easy to travel to not only the coast of Peru but also deeper into the South American continent for more adventures.

In Argentina, you may find the city life more to your liking, and many aspiring TEFL teachers choose to take TEFL courses in Buenos Aires. Like many large South American cities, Argentina’s major cities offer quite a variety of cultural and historical influences; TEFL students will witness the shadow of colonial architecture seamlessly mixed with the modernization of a highly internationalized city throughout Argentina.

In Brazil, individuals will find perhaps one of the most iconic cities of this century: Rio De Janeiro. Much like Buenos Aires, Brazilian city life may be more attractive than the rural areas when it comes to TEFL courses in Brazil. If you time your TEFL certification in Brazil right, you may even be able to enjoy the 2016 Olympics in Rio too!

Chile offers another handful of wonderful urban environments for TEFL certification abroad. Individuals often choose to take TEFL courses in Santiago, which is one of the most economically developed cities in all of South America, and also centrally located, which makes it a great home base for traveling throughout the country (or region). 

TEFL Courses in South America

Depending on the TEFL certification program you choose, your TEFL courses may be provided online by an accredited organization or in person at your destination of choice.

Most English teaching jobs abroad around the world prefer (or require) that teachers have accomplished a TEFL certification program of at least 100 hours of coursework and at least six hours of in classroom practicum work, so this is something that is very important to consider when browsing through TEFL programs in South America. Although quick and intense, a typical TEFL certification in South America lasts around four weeks.

No matter where you choose to earn TEFL certification, you should always be sure that your TEFL certification program is accredited, in order to make your training as valuable as possible. By choosing an accredited TEFL course in South America, you will prepare yourself for TEFL jobs not only in South America but all over the world.

The good news is: you don’t have to have previous teaching experience to become a successful ESL teacher abroad. But, if you don’t have professional teaching experience, your TEFL certification will become even more essential. Aspiring TEFL teachers should possess qualities such as: self-discipline, openness to new ways of living, and cultural sensitivity; these three qualities, along with a host of classroom management skills and teaching strategies, will set you up for success as an international TEFL teacher. 

Costs & Affordability

Before deciding on a TEFL certification program in South America, you should most definitely consider the cost living and the cost of TEFL programs in each country. TEFL programs in South America generally range from $1,500 to $2,000. These costs generally cover tuition as well as lifetime career guidance and support in finding TEFL job placements not only in South America but all over the world. 

Accommodation & Visas

Most TEFL students will be responsible for finding their own housing. Although, some TEFL program providers in South America will supply students with housing for a set amount of time at the beginning of the program. It is typically cheapest to find housing with other TEFL students or teachers in your host city, since shared housing will help you cut down costs (especially while you are still earning your TEFL certification and not making a steady income). It is also ideal to find an apartment near to where you will be attending TEFL courses, to significantly cut down on transportation costs, or even eliminate them entirely if you can walk to and from your courses.

In most of South American countries, TEFL students will have to obtain a tourist visa, and a work visa upon TEFL certification when they begin searching for TEFL jobs in country. Keep in mind that many TEFL program providers do not assist students in obtaining the appropriate visa to attend courses and eventually teach in South America. Once you decide where you want to earn your TEFL certification in South America and what organization you want to take courses through, you should determine if you will need to arrange your own visa or if they will assist you through the process.

If you are lucky, you may not need a visa at all! In some South American countries it is possible to earn a TEFL certification and stay in-country without earning an income on a tourist visa for up to 90 days. 

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Future Possibilities. Earning your TEFL certification in South America will give you the power to dictate the rest of your life! TEFL certification can act as the catalyst to unlocking a future full of numerous accomplishments, international experiences, and overflowing self worth (how’s that for a souvenir?!). Completing TEFL courses in South America will make you a more attractive applicant for future ESL jobs abroad, as it will show your commitment and dedication to the field of education.

Market Needs. The demand for a TEFL certified English teachers is HUGE! This is caused by a high turnover rate of international English teachers from semester to semester, since many teachers return to their home countries after a year or even less of teaching English abroad.

Potential Barriers. The most difficult cultural barrier you will likely face while earning your TEFL certification in South America is simply the local language. Thankfully, South Americans are extremely patient and willing to help foreigners who make a concerted effort, so go out there and be friendly (even if your Spanish or Portuguese is not up to par)!

Remember that you could easily earn your TEFL certification anywhere in the world, or even from the comfort of your own home. BUT, by choosing to complete a TEFL program in South America, you will be choosing to receive indispensable training and gaining actual international teaching experience. Not to mention, earning a TEFL certificate in a region that has such immense diversity, both geographically and socially, will satisfy any interest or curiosity you could dream of! 

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A Guide To
Earning TEFL Certification in South America


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