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Country Profiles

Latin America Overview

We invite you to immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the Latin American culture. Look beyond the salsa, the sombreros, and the tequilla and take a worldwind tour along the route of the Conquistadors to visit Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Discover the colourful colonial neighborhoods of Bogota and soak in the dramatic views of Machu Picchu. From the quiet haven of Lake Titicaca to the madness of Lima's street, Latin America is a captivating region where time goes by quickly. It is an immense and diverse area with endless trekking opportunities, astounding cloud-covered rainforests, breathtaking lagoons, ancient ruins, and jungles bursting with wildlife. Every village, town, valley, or hillside tells a story. Amongst its colourful architecture travellers will discover kind-hearted people, music that touches the soul, and memories that will last a lifetime.

Prospects for Teachers

Latin America provides an abundance of English teaching opportunities in private language institutes, business classes and summer camps, so prospects for teachers are very strong. But, securing a job in advance may be a bit off-putting as most teaching vacancies are rarely advertised internationally. Teachers may be left with the impression that little work exists as most Latin American schools prefer face-to-face interviews and typically recruit from the available pool of teachers already present in Latin America. Although contacting schools before arriving is never a bad idea, teachers should be aware that employment contracts are very rarely provided overseas. Once on Latin American soil, however, English language teachers can easily pick up work. Due to the current increase in trade across the Americas, North American teachers have a slight upper hand, as many employers prefer the North American accent.

Featured Testimonial - Bolivia

In 2006, I taught English in Bolivia for nine months. I worked at a private language school that had a good mixture of adults and adolescents and an equal number of younger children.

Bolivia is changing in very interesting ways at the moment, as the indigenous people become more confident and their culture is becoming the official culture of Bolivia. Previously, Bolivia was ruled and governed by the descendants of Spanish settlers. It is very interesting to see more indigenous people come into the classroom, but it is also a bit of a challenge to make it interesting for them. For example, people are not that interested in Brittany Spears as you might think (I know, this is a real culture shock).

In the classroom, don't be afraid to try new things. The students might be different from other students you have meet, or even from each other, but if you bring in their culture and ask them about it, you will see things to do and talk about.

As for tips and advice, I would say just enjoy! There are lots of street celebrations and festivals. Day to day living is cheap. People are very laid back and friendly (you may have to wake people up at street stalls). Be a little bit careful with your things. You will have to be patient. Things will not work as well as in the west or maybe, will not work at all. Manana is the first Spanish word you'll need to know!

-Garreth Keating, Dublin Ireland