If you’re doing it for the love of Latin America
Mexico, Brazil & Colombia
Most Latin America teaching jobs are at adult private language schools and don’t pay as well as some Middle Eastern and Asian countries. In Brazil, which has major demand for English language teachers following the World Cup and Olympics, average salary and the cost of living are equal; Popal suggested applying for a Fulbright teaching fellowship if you’re set on teaching in the region.
Jeff Moran, a PhD student at University of California-Davis and a community college teacher, received a Fulbright grant that funded his teaching on the Caribbean coast, in Cartagena, Colombia. “I absolutely loved my time there, after getting acclimated to the 95-degree heat and 85% humidity,” Moran said. “I could not recommend living and working in Colombia enough! It is such an immensely beautiful country and the people, particularly mis caribenos, are so loving and generous.”
With Colombia’s drug wars now past, the country’s among the fastest-growing economies in Latin America. Still, living in the region comes with risks. “Be aware that times are somewhat tumultuous -- as they are all over the globe,” Moran said, noting that Colombia shares a huge border with Venezuela, which is suffering an economic and governing crisis. “These issues are of most concern when traveling along the borders of Colombia, both east and west. However, in major urban areas like Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Cali, Colombia is a beautiful and peaceful place to live.”
If you want to teach in Mexico, Popal noted: “There is no money. If you have money and want to spend it and feel good about it, it’s a good place.” The cost of living is low, as are average salaries, so come prepared with savings to experience the enormous amount of underrated destinations Mexico can offer.
And if money isn't your first concern? You can always simply enjoy the culture. "I would 100% recommend teaching in Mexico," said Molly Mosher, who left a drab job at a Brooklyn real estate office to take a contract teaching English there. "The country has warm weather, warm people, and warm delicious homemade food you'll never forget. There's so much to enjoy there."