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Cultural Embrace by API  (CE by API) is working together with Colombian government-sponsored and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide conversational English training in job training centers and programs. Student ages range from sixteen to fifty years old, with varied language skills. English training is an important step to help locals do better in school, find better jobs, and improve communication in the global market. Colombian students typically study English from 1st to 12th grade, however, they feel least comfortable conversing in English. It is estimated that only 10% of approximately 15,000 English teachers are fluent in English. Thus, Colombia's Ministry of Education and NGOs have asked CE by API to recruit and place fluent English speakers (without any foreign accent) in teaching positions where they make a positive impact on the English fluency of Colombians. 

One semester (5 months) teaching opportunities are available. Our placements are based upon the needs and availability of the partner programs in various cities in Colombia. Volun-teachers with education degrees and/or classroom/ teaching experience and basic knowledge of Spanish are preferred, but not required. 

CE by API  includes a comfortable monthly stipend of US$500 with included housing or US$800 without housing included. Participants will also receive a bonus of US$250 each semester completed. Any participant that does not have an education degree or classroom teaching background is strongly encouraged to take a TEFL/TOEFL/TESL prior to departure. 

Participants will have an orientation in Bogotá, including a shared room, meals, cultural training & country information, excursions, and cultural activities. Afterwards, they will receive an in-country TEFL training as well as a period of classroom observation. Placements are available in various cities in Colombia (a domestic one-way flight from Bogotá to your host city is included if you are not placed in Bogotá). 

Volun-teachers are required to teach about 20-25 classroom hours per week, plus an additional 15-20 hours per week of classroom prep, grading, office hours, and staff meetings. Discover and be a part of Colombia's growth. Learning transformed. Life transforming.

The information above describes our 2014 program. Check back in fall 2014 for information regarding the January and July 2015 programs. Applications for January 2015 will open in fall and close on November 3rd, 2014. More information coming soon!

Download Cultural Embrace by API's Teach in Colombia flyer

Photo Credit : Daniel Alverez/Shutterstock

Program Highlights and Benefits

Teaching in Colombia Offers:

  • Satisfaction in helping others
  • A broader perspective on world views
  • An economical way to live and travel abroad
  • Opportunity to learn other foreign cultural activities (ie: language, music, cooking, etc)
  • Memorable experiences while traveling and seeing exotic sites
  • Lifelong friends from all around the globe
  • Valuable work experiences that strengthens your resume
  • Support and development of self-confidence and personal skills

Cultural Embrace by API Offers: 

  • Guaranteed Teaching Position Prior to Departure
    CE by API pre-arranges and guarantees your teaching placement before you leave home to ensure an easy and hassle-free transition to your new life abroad.
  • Monthly Stipend
    You will receive a monthly stipend of US$500 with housing included, or US$800 without housing included
  • Housing
    CE by API can arrange a room in a pre-screened house or apartment with Colombians for voluntearchers who choose to opt in to program-provided housing. 
  • Semester Bonuses 
    Participants will receive a US$250 bonus upon completion of each semester. Participants that teach a full academic year (10 months) will receive an additional US$500 bonus at the end of the second semester completed. Thus, there is a US$1000 total bonus for participants who complete an academic year!  
  • Orientation/Training
    One-week, all-inclusive orientation in Bogotá, Colombia. Shared rooms (2-4 people) and meals included, during this training to prepare you for the program, Colombian culture, people, education system, working & living in Colombia, and more. Excursions and cultural activities included. In-country basic TEFL training will be included prior to your teaching, there will also be a period of classroom observations. 
  • TEFL Certification
    Participants teaching for one academic year (10 months) will have an included 20 unit online TEFL course. This course requires approximately 100-120 hours of attention and must be completed prior to departure. Partcipants that are teaching for 5 months that do not have teaching experience or education degree, are required to show proof of TEFL/TOEFL/TESL certification. You may opt to take CE by API's affiliated online course for US$295.
  • One-Way Domestic Transfer to Host City Placement (Placements other than Bogota only)
    Upon completion of the one-week orientaiton, a one-way domestic flight from Bogota will be included to all participants that are placed to teach in cities other than Bogota. A return flight back to Bogotá is not required nor included at the end of your program.
  • Visa Assistance
    CE by API will provide you with the proper paperwork needed to obtain a visa, but we have no control or the ability to guarantee government issuance and/or visa availability.
  • Arrival Assistance
    Airport pick-up and transfer will be included in Bogotá, for the orientation, as well as for your host city placement (if applicable).
  • Medical, Life, and Travel Insurance
    Medical and life insurance is provided for all paticipants during the program term. This insurance coverage includes medical evacuation and repatriation, as well as 24-hour support services for medical and travel issues. 
  • Cultural Embrace by API Cultural Kit:
    Useful tips, advice, and information to prepare you for the amazing adventure of living and working abroad, as well as advice on teaching English in Colombia.
  • Full-time Representation
    CE by API provides representation in the United States and Colombia prior to, during, and after your placement. 
  • TOMS Shoes, a One for One™ Giving Product 
    Upon completion of your program and online evaluations, you will receive a pair of TOMS Shoes. With every product purchased, TOMS will help a person in need.  One for One™. Giving back is part of our ethos. We share the vision of the TOMS mission - to help contribute to making a positive impact abroad by providing a pair of shoes to a child in need. 
  • Certification
    If you wish to receive a certificate detailing your teaching experience, please let us know and we will provide the necessary documentation.
  • Optional international mobile plan with data coverage
    Opt for an AT&T mobile plan that offers low international rates, no roaming charges in over 150 countries, and bundled data and text. Current AT&T customers may simply add the coverage to their current plan and billing. Non-AT&T customers may use their own phone and swap with an AT&T SIM card.

Other suggested programs that are similar to Teach in Colombia: Volunteer in Latin America (1-52 weeks), Paid Teach in Mexico.

Program Requirements

Paid Teach in Guatemala

  • Good command of the English language; must speak without a foreign accent (Spanish knowledge helpful, but NOT required)
  • Bachelor's degree in any discipline; Education majors and classroom experience preferred but not required
  • Enjoy leading groups and teaching young adults and/or professionals
  • Good lesson planning and organization skills
  • Attendance at staff meetings
  • Open to foreign cultures and living abroad
  • High level of responsibility
  • Dedication to the full term of commitment 
  • A criminal background check may be required by some schools and positions

2014 Program Fees

Download the Teach in Colombia flyer for more details.

Date/Duration Cost
   (in US$)       
 5-month Semester
Early-July to Mid-December or Early January to Mid-June
10 month Academic Year
Early-July to Mid-June or Early January to Mid-December

*5 month placements require no further payment after the $150 Application Deposit

**Can$, Aus$, Br£, Euros€ can be accepted with an additional service charge for currency conversion. 

Final program dates will be determined in 2014.

Click here for quick tips on how to make a smooth and successful placement. Click here to view C.E.'s 2014 catalog.

How to Apply

1. Obtain the CE by API Preliminary Application in one of three ways: 

(a) Download the Preliminary Application (pdf).
(b) Fill out an online information request form and specify that you would like to be sent an application. 
(c) Call Cultural Embrace by API at 1-512-469-9089, US/Canada toll-free 1-800-844-4124; or Skype: Cultural.Embrace to have the forms mailed to you in 3-5 days.

2. Read the instructions carefully and submit:

a) Preliminary Application Form

b) Resume/CV 

c) US$150 Applicaiton Deposit (credited towards your program fee) to: 

301 Camp Craft Road, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78746 USA 

or email your application form, resume/CV, and payment (credit card payment form is attached to application) to apply@culturalembracebyapi.com

Application and Post-Acceptance Process

The July 2014 program is currently full, though we are accepting applications on a wait-list basis until May 5th, 2014. Applications for the January 2015 semester will open in Fall and close on November 3rd, 2014.

Upon receipt of your application, a Cultural Embrace by API coordinator will contact you for a 20-30 minute phone or Skype interview to learn more about your skills, experience, needs, and also to discuss the program details and expectations. Prior to your interview, you will receive an online placement preference form that you will need to complete beforehand. 

If you are accepted into the program, you will receive a billing statement (10 month program only; 5 month placements require no further payment after the $150 application deposit) and a list of required supplemental materials after your interview. The required supplemental materials include: signed program agreement form, copy of your passport info page, cover letter explaining your motivation for going on this program, one letter of recommendation, doctor's note certifying that you are in excellent physical and mental health, police background security check, two passport-sized photos.

Half of your program fee (10 month placements only) and all of the required supplemental materials will be due two (2) weeks following your interview. Once we have received these things, we will be able to send your information to our partners abroad to begin the placement process. After we have received your program fee in full, you will receive your placement confirmation and details, pre-departure information, arrival details, and your insurance card.

*Expedited applications may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Cultural Embrace by API requires an additional expediting fee of US$180 if your complete application is received less than eight (8) weeks prior to your desired date of departure. If you do not have all the application materials readily available, we recommend that you begin the application process as soon as possible and submit as much information as early as you are able. 

To follow and know what our current and past participants have experienced abroad, join our FacebookTwitterYouTube, and CE BLOG community. For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@culturalembracebyapi.com or you may call us at 1-512-469-9089 or Skype: Cultural.Embrace.


1)  Why should I pay to teach abroad, and where does my money go to with Cultural Embrace by API?

CE by API and our local partners in Colombia specialize in arranging a guaranteed teach placement, housing, orientation, and insurance prior to your departure. This will alleviate the troubles and stress of getting everything organized in a new country, so you will have more time and energy to spend on your teach placement and living abroad. Your time abroad will still be an independent and memorable one, but we are here to guide you to a  safe, healthy and comfortable  experience before, during,  and after your adventure. 

You will be assigned an experienced Program Coordinator from our Austin, Texas office. He/She will provide personalized attention to help pre-arrange your teach placement, housing and travel needs. Our Program Coordinator will work with our local representative to match your requests and background skills with the availability and needs of the local organizations and institutions. Once you go abroad, you will be assisted by our local representative, and will usually have a direct supervisor (the organization or institution's English program supervisor) for your teach placement, as well.

Your program fee of only US$150 (for 5 months placement) or US$250 (for 10 months placement) includes a guaranteed teach placement, housing for at least the first month upon arrival then a monthly stipend of US$500 with housing included or US$800 without housing, semester bonuses of US$250 at the end of every semester and an extra US$500 bonus for participants that complete the full academic year (a total of US$1000 bonus!), one-week, all-inclusive, in-country training in Bogotá, airport pick-up/transfer, medical, life & travel insurance including evacuation and repatriation, and all of the administrative and logistical costs to set up your placement in the States and Colombia. Participants teaching for 10 months will receive an included 20 units online TEFL course that needs to be completed prior to departure; and 5 month participants that do not have an education degree or classroom experience will be required to show proof of a TEFL/TOEFL/TESL cerfiticate prior to departure. You may opt to take our affiliated online TEFL course for US$295. 

2.) Where are the teach placements located and can I choose where I will be placed?
Teach placements are available in various cities in Colombia. You will be able to rank your city preferences once you've been accepted into the program, and we will do our best to match your preferences. We work with government associations and NGOs that manage job-training programs throughout the country. CE by API have selected working with these agencies to help Colombian workers to increase their job skills in a wide variety of areas; and selected these cities for the community's need, as well as the safety and appeal for our volun-teachers.
3.) Why is this program so inexpensive?

Our program is being subsidized by the Colombian governmental organization with whom we are working so that the program can be more affordable to native English speakers who would be interested in teaching in Colombia. 

4.) Will I lose my application deposit if I am not accepted into the program?

While the $150 is nonrefundable, the only reason you would not be accepted into the program is if you did not meet the requirements listed above or if you failed to submit your required supplemental materials (police background check, doctor’s note, etc), or if these materials did not prove to be satisfactory. 

5.) How long can I teach in Colombia? What are the dates?
Teaching placements are available for an one semester (5 months) or one academic year (10 months) contract. Semester dates for 2014 are: January 12-June 30 and early-July to mid-December. If you are interested in a placement longer than one academic year, please contact CE by API. Participants will receive a bonus of US$250 at the end of each semester completed. Participants that teach for a full academic year will receive an additional bonus of US$500. That's a total bonus of US$1000 upon completion of an academic year! If you are looking for a short-term placement anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months, check out our Volunteer in Latin America program where you can teach English at schools and orphanages for short periods of time. 
6.) What type of visa assistance does Cultural Embrace by API provide?
All teachers to Colombia travel on tourist visa which is granted upon entry. Your local employer and coordinator will help you to extend or apply for a work visa once in country. You will be informed in your pre-departure materials of the necessary documents to obtain a work visa. 
7.) What is the application process like, and when will I have confirmation about my placement?
After CE by API receives your completed preliminary application, resume/CV, and non-refundable $150 application deposit (credited towards your program fee/full cost of 5 month program), you will be contacted by a Program Coordinator who will work with you before, during, and after your placement. S/he will conduct a 20-30 minutes phone/Skype interview (or in person, if applicable) to discuss your background, goals, and expectations of your time abroad. Prior to this interview, you will need to complete the online placement preference form that needs to be sent to your Program Coordinator no later than two hours before your scheduled interview.
Upon acceptance to the program, you will receive a statement with half of your remaining program fee (5 month placements will not have an additional fee after the $150 application deposit) and a list of required supplemental application materials. The required supplemental materials include: signed program agreement form, copy of your passport info page, cover letter explaining your motivation for going on this program, one letter of recommendation, doctor's note certifying that you are in excellent physical and mental health, police background security check, and two passport-sized photos. All of the required materials and at least half of your program fee need to be submitted 14 days following your interview for your placement process to begin. Confirmation of your placement and final details of your international insurance, pre-departure materials, and t-shirt are provided upon receipt of the full program fee.
Your remaining program fee payments may be paid in full, or in two installments. We accept checks, money orders, electronic bank drafts, or wire transfers. If you wish to pay by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover), there is a 2.9% convenience fee. Please contact your Program Coordinator for any payment forms or wire transfer details.
8.) What are the working conditions like?
Your work schedule will be assigned by your employer, but participants will be responsible for 20-25 hours per week of classroom teaching to students, and approximately 15 hours per week for staff meetings, student appointments, grading, and classroom preparation. This is a full-time position, and will require participants to be committed to their duties and responsibilities for the contract duration. Each employer has its own working and schedule arrangement that you should be willing to accept. Of course you are encouraged to travel, but please consult with your employer to see if you can organize a schedule that will be ideal for all parties involved.  Most institutions allow 1-2 days off per week, but please note it may not be consecutive days nor weekends, as some of these schools require evening and weekend training. Please note, scheduling is up to each school’s discretion.  
9.)  Do I have to bring specific clothes?
Yes, you will need to dress professionally and appropriately for your teaching position.  We recommend that you dress with a “smart casual” attitude. However, we will provide you with more details in your CE by API pre-departure kit regarding your placement and your packing list.  
10.) Can I teach and/or live with a friend or partner?  
Definitely, and we encourage it! We will place people together upon request. If for some reason there aren't positions or housing available for multiple placements, we will enusre that you are at least placed in the same city/vicinity. 
11.) How long will it take to make my placement? 
We ask that you apply at least 8 weeks in advance of your desired start date. We do recommend applying as early as you can, though. Placements may take less time than this, but we want to ensure that we have enough time to find the best possible position for you and that you have sufficient time to complete the on-line TEFL course and to obtain the proper visas documentation etc. As mentioned above, there are additional administrative fees if you apply less than 8 weeks in advance, and we do not contact our local partners with your application materials until we receive at least 50% of the program fee. 
12.) When should I buy my plane ticket(s) and does CE by API provide any resources to help with plane tickets?
Plane tickets should not be purchased until after your placement has been confirmed. CE by API works with consolidators and discount travel agencies that can help find cheaper tickets than those that are available to the general public. We have a partnership with STA Travel (1-877-236-1048) for great teacher/youth rates, and they have a very nominal service fee if you need to make any changes before or during your travels. Discounted STA Travel rates require that you have an International Student ID Card (ISIC), which can be obtained on the STAtravel.com website.    
13.) What do I do if I have a problem or complaint with my teach placement?
You must speak to your employer or school director to give them an opportunity to explain or investigate the situation. If you feel the problem or complaint is not sufficiently addressed, then please contact your local representative in Colombia as well as CE by API (Austin office) so we can mediate on your behalf.  Please note that you will be assigned a local representative that will provide you with a placement report and the end-of-program evaluation. 
14.) How much will I get paid? 
The monthly stipend is US$500 with housing included, US$800 without housing included. There are semester bonuses of US$250 at the end of each semester, and an extra US$500 for participants that complete a full 10-month academic year. This will be enough for your basic daily commute to work and groceries. If you plan to travel and try various activities and excursions, we recommend setting aside separate savings. Please note that teachers do not get paid during semester or holiday breaks. Thus, if you are teaching for an academic year, your stipend will be pro-rated based on the hours and days you teach before and after semester breaks.
15.) Where will I live?

After the week-long, all-inclusive orientation in Bogota, our local coordinator will place participants who opt in to program-provided housing in a house or apartment with Colombians. You will receive a private room and have access to the home's amenities (ie: kitchen, refrigerator, laundry facilities, family and bathroom, etc). Participants who opt in to provided housing will receive a stipend of $500/month, whereas those who opt out of provided housing and find housing on their own will receive a stipend of $800/month.
16.) Is there someone I may speak to about their experience on this program, and being abroad? 
Because this is the inaugural year of our Colombia program, we do not yet have teachers who have returned from their time in Colombia that would be able to speak with you about their experience. However, we do have a network of current and past travelers from our other teach, work, volunteer, and intern programs that would be happy to communicate with you about their experience with our organization. Due to confidentiality, please contact our Austin office to receive a list of names and contact information of participants and alumni that have agreed to be contacted by others. Additionally, we encourage you to check out, use, and get involved with our social media community. These  community sites will provide great insight of what you should expect on your adventure abroad. Plus, we provide additional discounts to our community members! 
17.) May I take my child(ren) or pet(s) with me? 
Minors under the age of 18 are not allowed on our individual programs (volunteer, intern, work, teach). However, we are able to accommodate families to travel on our group trips.  Please contact CE by API if you wish to tailor a program for your family. If your program accommodations include staying with a host family or in shared housing, pets are prohibited. If you arrange your own accommodations, your host destination’s immigration laws may require your pet(s) to go through quarantine.

18.) What is the carbon offset program I read about on the website?

CE by API wants to positively impact our world. We have partnered with Carbon Clear, one of the largest providers of carbon offset credits, to address the environmental effect of their travels abroad. CE by API has chosen projects that participants may elect to sponsor for US$15. Past projects include: methane capture landfill project in Valparaiso, Chile; energy efficient railways in Delhi, India; and a biomass cogeneration project in Sao Paulo, Brazil. For more details about this program, follow this link: http://www.apistudyabroad.com/about/green/.

19.) How and why are CE by API collaborating with TOMS One for One™ movement?
We share the vision of the TOMS mission – to help contribute to making a positive impact abroad by providing a pair of shoes to a child in need. Thus, to keep the movement going even after you finish your CE by API program, we will gift you a pair of TOMS shoes upon completion of your online evaluations and program.