Teach English in Latin America and Learn Spanish at the Same Time

Feel like adding a bit of spark to your life and broadening your horizons? Why not consider teaching English in Latin America and learning Spanish at the same time? There are multitudes of locations all around Latin America that offer programs where you can teach English to locals while becoming a Spanish speaker.

If you would love to be able to chat away in Spanish and not sound clumsy, then the only way to do it is through immersion. By living and breathing the Spanish language and Latino culture for an extended period you can become truly fluent and have an incredible experience to boot.

All throughout Central and South America there are places crying out for English teachers and you can visit for just a few weeks or extend your stay. From teaching business executives to street children, there are programs and schools that would love to have you working with them.

When coming to Latin America to teach English and learn Spanish you have two possible plans of attack. The first is to enroll in a volunteering program: these are generally all inclusive. They will organize home stays or accommodation; food, training, a teaching position and Spanish language classes. Basically they do all the complicated stuff and leave it up to you to enjoy your experience. The downside to these programs is that they are often quite expensive and you do not earn much of a wage from your teaching work.

Some well known organizations that run teaching programs around Latin America include: World Teach www.worldteach.org; Alliances Abroad www.allianceabroad.com and Global Vision International www.gvi.co.uk. Global Vision International also has a six month program that takes volunteers to work and learn in Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and Peru.

In addition to these very well organized and well-connected programs, there are also many small programs looking for volunteers to teach in poor areas. The little guys rarely have the resources for fancy websites, but have very valuable grassroots programs happening. These can generally only be discovered once you make it to Latin America and start scouting around.

The second option is to DIY. Start by working out where you would like to go, and then pack your rucksack and start knocking on doors of language schools when you get there. After you have found a job and a place to lay your head, you can organize yourself some Spanish lessons. This option will probably result in more of a living wage for you and lower costs, but if you do not speak Spanish it may be tricky to organize things like accommodation.

Many enthusiastic travelers to Latin America send out resumes and CVs hoping to line up a teaching job before they arrive. In reality, this almost never works. You are much more likely to land a job by knocking on doors and presenting yourself in person. Forums on websites such as www.daveseslcafe.com and www.tefl.com can help you to make some valuable contacts and get great advice about where the jobs are.

You may be wondering how you can teach English if you do not have any qualifications, but most volunteer programs offer some basic training and materials before you make it to the classroom. Many language schools in Latin America will also accept you if you have a university qualification – although you will most likely be working there illegally. International and bilingual schools may also be an option. They are unlikely to hire you as a classroom teacher, but they are often looking for native speaker class assistants.

Teaching English while immersing yourself in Spanish language and Latin culture is a surefire way to become fluent in no time. Not only that, but you will make lifelong friends and have endlessly fond memories of the hectic and noisy, but warm and friendly place that is Latin America.

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