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Mid-June semester start date applicaiton deadline extended to May 11, 2015!!  Apply now!

Teach in Colombia

Cultural Embrace by API  (CE by API) and our local partners are proud to work with the Colombian government to meet their goals to make Colombia bilingual. 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 in Colombia are fluent in English. Thus, Colombia's Ministry of Education and Colombia's National Training Center, SENA, have asked CE by API to recruit and place native English speakers in teaching positions where they make a positive impact on the English fluency of Colombians. 

CE by API is seeking volun-teachers for the mid-June to end of November/mid-December, 2015 term. Applicants should be fluent English speakers with a bachelor's degree. T
eaching/tutoring or classroom experience, and basic Spanish knowledge are preferred, but not required. Any participant that does not have a bachelor's degree, must have a minimum of five years of full-time professional work. Any participant that is not a native English speaker must demonstrate being fluent in the English language with a C1 or higher level of English, and by forwarding a video recording with your application. 

Participants will have a two-week orientation in Bogotá and one-week orientation in their host city. Orientation will include shared accommodations, 3 meals per day, cultural training & country information, safety/health information, excursions, and cultural activities. During this orientation, the participants will receive an in-country TEFL training as well as a period of classroom observation. Placements are available in various cities in Colombia, and domestic one-way flights from Bogotá to your host cities are included, if placements are not in or near Bogotá.

Following orientation, participants will be paid a monthly stipend of CP$1,500,000 (~US$590*). Shared housing in a hostel is also included during the first month following Bogota's two-weeks orientation while participants get oriented to their host cities. Participants will also receive CP$500,000 (~US$210*) bonus after completing a term. Stipends and bonuses are paid in Colombian Pesos.

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. All visa and work permit expenses are included and will be provided for each participant. There are two options that volun-teachers may select for the mid-June to end of November/mid-December, 2015 term, based on your classroom and student preference. All terms and benefits of the program are the same regardless of what program you choose.

Ministry of Education placements are opportunities for participants to co-teach with a local Colombian teacher in the public schools from 9th to 12th grade. Student ages average 15 to 18 years old. In 2012, only 25% of Colombian English teachers tested at a B2 level or higher, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in English, while another 25% tested A1 or lower. As a volun-teacher on this program, you will be co-teaching with a Colombian teacher and helping to improve the English levels of Colombia's students and teachers! The orientation arrival date to Bogota is Sunday, June 21, 2015, and semester end date is November 26, 2015.

SENA placements are opportunities for participants to be the lead classroom teacher at one of SENA's centers. SENA provides free education and technical training for Colombian young adults that are unequipped to get a higher education. Student ages typically range from 16 to 30 years old. SENA provides social and technical development for Colombian workers in a wide variety of fields. Past C.E. by API volun-teachers have trained students in the agricultural, aeronautical, customer service, business administration,  hospitality/tourism, jewelry making, welding, and computers/IT, and much more. Volun-teachers are not required to have a background in these vocations, however, if you have a specific field of expertise, we will try to place you within your interest. Theorientation arrival date to Bogota is Sunday, June 21, 2015, and semester end date is mid-December (date varies based on each center).

Be a part of Colombia's change. Learning Transformed - Life Transforming!

* approximate conversion as of 4/13/2015

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 CP$1,500,000 per month (~US$590). All stipends are paid in Colombian Pesos.

  • Housing
    Participants will have housing arranged and included in their program during the two-weeks orientation in Bogota, and their first month on site in their host city. Housing will be in shared hostels. Participants will be responsible to arrange their own housing for the remainder of the program. Most volun-teachers rent a private or shared (with other volun-teachers) room or apartment from a local Colombian family. Past teachers' rent ranges from US$150-$400, depending on location and amenities. Our partner's regional coordinators will be able to assist you to determine the ideal areas to live in your host city. 

  • Completion Bonus 
    At the end of your term (~end of November/mid December), participants will receive a bonus of CP$500,000. End dates vary depending on location.

  • Orientation/Training
    Two-week, all-inclusive orientation in Bogotá, Colombia. Shared rooms (2-4 people) and three meals per day are included during this training to orient you to Colombian culture, the educational 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. Participants will also have a one-week orientation at their host city to learn more about their classroom and host location. Shared accommodations and three-meals a day are included during this one-week orientation.

  • One-Way Domestic Transfer to Host City Placement (Placements other than around Bogota)
    Upon completion of the two-week orientation, a one-way domestic flight from Bogota will be included to all participants that are placed to teach in cities other than in or near Bogota. A return flight back to Bogotá is not included at the end of your program.

  • Arrival Assistance
    A set date and window of time for 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
    International medical and life insurance is provided for all participants during the program term. This international insurance is required for all foreign volun-teachers, and C.E. by API includes it for all our participants. This international insurance coverage includes medical evacuation and repatriation, as well as 24-hour support services for medical and travel issues. You will also receive Colombia's EPS national health insurance that is included and paid for by your employer.

  • TEFL Certification
    Participants may opt to take CE by API's affiliated online TEFL course for US$295. This course provides approximately 100-120 hours of online instruction to prepare for English-teaching classrooms.

  • Visa Assistance
    Volun-teachers will receive the proper invitation documents needed to obtain a visa. During the orientation in Bogota, volun-teachers will go to the consulate to get their work visas approved and receive their national identification card (cedula). The ~US$250 visa fees will be included.  

  • Cultural Embrace by API Cultural Kit:
    Useful tips, advice, and information to prepare you for the amazing adventure of living and working abroad 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

Preference will be given to applicants with the following attributes:

  • Native English speaker (or demonstrated fluency)
    For non native English speaking applicants, a short video explaining why you want to teach in Colombia, as well as a certificate verifying that you have an English level of C1 and higher, will be required. 
  • Teaching/tutoring or classroom experience
  • Basic Spanish language skills (not required, but helpful)
  • Bachelor's degree in any discipline (or minimum five years full-time professional experience without a BA degree)
  • Enjoy leading groups and teaching teens, young adults and/or professionals
  • Lesson planning and organization skills
  • High degree of professionalism and flexibility
  • Open to foreign cultures and living abroad
  • Dedication to the full term of commitment 
  • A criminal background check 

2015 Program Fees

No program fee! You only have to pay the application fee*.

*The application fee for teach programs is US$400. This includes the required international traveler's insurance!
The applicaiton fee is non-refundable unless we are not able to place you after acceptance, in which you will receive the full US$400 refund. 

2015 Dates:
Extended Application Deadline: May 11, 2015
Program Dates: Ministry of Education: June 21, 2015 to November 26, 2015**
                          SENA: June 14, 2015 to mid-December, 2015**

Opportunity to extend through 2016 will be available in-country (at no additional cost).

2016 Academic Year:
We are accepting pages 2 & 3 of the preliminary application for the 2016 term (no need to submit the $400 application fee nor resume/cover letter)!  However, SENA and Colombia's Ministry of Education have not confirmed their 2016 terms yet. As soon as we receive more details for 2016's 10-month placements, we will contact you so you may decide whether you want to proceed and submit the application fee, resume, and cover letter. We anticipate their 2016's 10-month school-year to begin in January/February, 2016. 

*End date varies depending on each center's schedule
**Program dependent and dates are subject to change

How to Apply

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

(a) Download the Preliminary Application (pdf).
(b) 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$400 Application 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

Application deadline for July, 2015 term ends on May 1, 2015, however, we recommend that you apply as early as possible since each location has a limited number of placements, and are filled on a rolling basis. All applicants will be interviewed by our Austin Program Coordinator and the directors in Colombia, whom will make the final decision of the teachers they want. 

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. 

If you are accepted into the program, you will receive a billing statement 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.

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 review process. You will have at least one Skype interview with representatives from Colombia to determine if this is going to be a mutually beneficial placement. Upon acceptance and placement confirmation, we will send you pre-departure information, arrival details, your international insurance card, and details needed for you to buy your airfare to Bogota. 

*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 is this program so inexpensive,and what is the $400 application fee for?

This teach program is being subsidized by the Colombian government organizations 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.

The US$400 application fee includes international traveler's and medical insurance with medical evacuation and repatriation benefits. Please note that all foreigners are required to have additional international insurance while teaching in Colombia, so C.E. by API pre-arranges and prepares this insurance for you. CE by API and our local partners in Colombia specialize in arranging a guaranteed teach placement, orientation and training. 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 includes a guaranteed teach placement, airport pickup and transfer, two weeks orientation with TEFL training in Bogota with shared housing and meals, a monthly stipend of CP$1,500,000; plus term completion bonuses (CP$500,000 after first term); 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. 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.) Will I lose my application deposit if I am not accepted into the program?

While the US$400 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. If we are not able to place you after acceptance because of the program being full, we will refund your US$400 application deposit.

4.) How long can I teach in Colombia? What are the dates?

We are currently accepting applications for the July to December, 2015 term. We are confident that this program will continue for semesters to come, however, the Colombian government has not confirmed the terms, benefits, and conditions for the 2016 academic year (Jan./Feb. to Dec., 2016). As soon as information is made available, we will update our website. Please note that many teachers extend and renew their teaching contract, and do not need to re-apply and submit another application fee.

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. Or, other paid teach programs in Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Or, a teacher's assistant placement in beautiful Piemonte, Italy, in exchange for room and board. 

5.) What type of visa assistance does Cultural Embrace by API provide?

All teachers to Colombia travel on a tourist visa which is granted upon entry. Your local employer and coordinator will help you to extend or apply for a work visa during the Bogota orientation. You will be informed in your pre-departure materials of the necessary documents to obtain a work visa. 

6.) 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 US$400 application fee, you will be contacted by our Austin based Program Coordinator, and a Coordinator from Colombia; 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.

Upon acceptance to the program, you will receive a list of required supplemental application materials. The required supplemental materials include: signed program agreement form, copy of your passport info page, one letter of recommendation, doctor's note certifying that your are in excellent phsyical, mental, and emotional health, police background security check, and two passport-sized photos. All of the required materials need to be submitted prior to placement confirmation. 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.

7.) What are the working conditions like?

You have the option to apply to teach at SENA, Colombia's free vocational training centers for adults; or to co-teach with a local Colombian teacher for the Ministry of Education's public school 9th to 12th grade classrooms. 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.  

8.)  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.  

9.) 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. 

10.) How long will it take to make my placement? 

The July-December, 2015 academic term application deadline is April 15, 2015; however, we recommend that you apply as early as possible. Since July is the second term of the academic year, vacant positions are limited; and positions will be filled on a first-come, first-approved, first served basis. Your C.E. Program Coordinator will be able to confirm your placement soon after you have submitted your completed supplemental application materials. 

11.) 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/Teacher ID Card (ISIC/ITIC).
12.) 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. 
13.) How much will I get paid? 
The monthly stipend is CP$1,500,000 (~US$630). Additionally, shared housing will be included during the orientation in Bogota, and the first month in your host location. Your stipend will be enough for your basic living, and daily commute to work. If you plan to travel and try various activities and excursions, we recommend setting aside separate savings.

You will receive a CP$500,000 bonus upon the completion of each term. This bonus will be paid in mid-December; and will be paid in Colombian Pesos.
14.) Where will I live?

After the two-week-long, all-inclusive orientation in Bogota, you will move to your program site. We will arrange housing for everone in a shared hostel for the 1st month on-site, while you look for housing on your own. Your regional coordinators will be able to assist you to find safe and affordable housing options.
15.) What cities do you have placement and are they safe?

Cities that we are currently sending teachers to, but not limited to are: Medellin, Itagui, Caldas, Baranquilla, Cartagena, Villa de Lyva, Tunja, Manizales, Pereira, Popayan, Valedupar, Bogota, Neiva, Santa Marta, Villavicencio, Pasto, Armenia, Bucaramanga, Piedecuesta, Floridablanca, Giron, Ibaque, Espinal, Palmira. All of these cities have been approved by the U.S. State Department's Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) and Cultural Embrace by API.
16.) Is there someone I may speak to about their experience on this program, and being abroad? 

We have a network of current and past travelers from that would be happy to communicate with you about their experience with our organization and the teach in Colombia program. 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, 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.