I want to share with you guys how easy it was for me to get my online TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate and land a job teaching English in Peru.
During my travels in South America in 2015-2016, I based my self in Arequipa, Peru, for quite some time. Arequipa is the second-largest city in Peru, second to Lima, and is located about 1000km south of the Capital City.
I was working in the bar of a party hostel in exchange for free accommodation and decided that I would utilise my spare time and get certified to teach English to get a paid job during my travels.
Online course or language institution?
I did a bit of research into the differences between taking an online TEFL course and taking a classroom course through an institution. Firstly, the difference in price was enormous. To undertake a 120-hour online TEFL course, it was about $150 – 200 Australian Dollars from memory. But if I was to take the TEFL course through an institution or language school, it was about 10x the price, at around $1500 -2000 Australian Dollars! Allegedly, if you take the classroom course, your chances of gaining employment are much higher, and with more well recognised and higher-paying schools and institutions. It’s probably true for the most part, but this wasn’t my experience.
I decided that I didn’t want to fork out $2000 of my travel fund and I opted to take the 120-hour online TEFL course through LOVETEFL (now known as i-to-i) and take my chances at getting a job with my online certificate.
It took me a little under two weeks to complete the course, which surprisingly, taught me a lot about the English language that I had forgotten.
As soon as I had the electronic copy of my completed certificate, I began my job hunt in Arequipa.
There are quite a few English schools in the city, with the most popular two being Extreme Learning Center and Brittany Group. So I tried my luck with Extreme Learning Center first, as I’d heard from one of the local girls that I worked with at the hostel, that Extreme was a great place to teach and they paid the best rate.
So off I went to pay a visit to Extreme. Luckily for me, the Manager of the centre was around, and I was ushered straight into an interview with him. He recommended me straight away to the Education Manager, and two days later, I was in a classroom presenting my trial lesson plan to him.
I passed the interview process, and they hired me to begin teaching in the next month’s timetable. It was that simple.
Teaching in Peru
I spent three months teaching English at Extreme Learning Centres in Peru before I set off on my travels again. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so easy and so fun. I taught all levels from beginner through to advanced, with my students ranging from young children to adults. My Spanish at the time was next to none, which wasn’t a problem as there was a ‘No Spanish’ rule imposed in the classroom.
I found that I was more comfortable teaching the more advanced classes with older children and adults, rather than the kid’s classes. But that’s just my personal experience; everyone is different.
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I was so happy that the whole process was so easy for me. I read numerous blogs from people saying that it’s a lot more challenging to get a teaching job without a bachelors degree and classroom TEFL. But, I can confidently say my experience was the complete opposite. I was able to get a job at the top English School in Arequipa, without a bachelors degree, and with only an online TEFL. I’m not saying it will be this easy for everyone, but it could be.
Have you taught English abroad in a foreign country?
Tell me about your experience the comments below!