brightly coloured painted houses with hanging baskets and cobble stone street
You can use your spare time to travel and see new sights. Photo  ©

gustavo9917 used under licence and adapted from the original.

Am I eligible for a placement in Colombia?

To be a Language Assistant in Colombia, you must:

  • fulfil the general eligibility criteria
  • have B1-level Spanish
  • be aged over 20 by the time your placement starts
  • have some teaching experience
  • be studying/have studied languages, literature or Latin American studies at university level

Please note that you cannot apply if you hold dual nationality with Colombia.

When will I start my placement?

Posts in Colombia run from July 2020 until May 2021.

Assistants should arrive towards the end of July in order to attend a compulsory induction in Bogotá, ready to begin their placement the following week.  

The dates of the induction have not yet been confirmed for 2020, however in 2019 this took place during the week of 22 July and it is likely that the 2020 induction will take place at a similar time. Confirmed dates will be passed onto the successful candidates once they have been made available.

Will there be an induction course?

All candidates going to Latin America will be invited to a one-day pre-departure briefing in London in June. The date is subject to change, but is expected to take place during the week beginning 22 June 2020. You will be expected to cover your own travel costs to and from the briefing. 

A compulsory induction course will be held for all assistants by the employing organisation, ICETEX, our educational partner in Colombia. 

British Council Colombia may also attend this induction and will provide further details before you travel.

How many hours will I work per week?

Language Assistants in Colombia can expect to work approximately 12-18 hours per week. Please be aware that the number of hours and your specific timetable and working pattern can vary depending on the region and institution that you are allocated to.  

How many posts are available in Colombia?

Every year there are approximately 30 posts available in Colombia. The strongest applicants for a post in Colombia will have a minimum of six months of teaching experience.

What type of institution will I be working in?

The majority of placements in Colombia are at university level, teaching English to students who are eager to develop their proficiency in the language. 

You may also be offered opportunities to take on more responsibility in the classroom, which will add to your professional development.

Your pupils will likely be young adults who are students at your allocated university. 

How much will I be paid?

Assistants can expect to earn around COP $2,484,000 per month.

Please note that our overseas partners and employing institutions are ultimately responsible for setting the salary of language assistants and this amount should therefore be treated as indicative and may be subject to change.

Will I need a visa?

Assistants going to Colombia will have to apply for a courtesy visa to cover the duration of their time in Colombia.  Our educational partners in Colombia, ICETEX, will provide you with a letter to do this and you will be alerted to when you should begin visa proceedings. 

Please check the expiry date in your passport and ensure that your passport does not require renewal until at least six months after you would return to the UK. If necessary, we strongly recommend that you apply for a new passport immediately or you risk delaying your visa process. You will be required to provide a colour copy of the photo page of your passport in order to receive your visa letter.

The consulate will issue visas electronically; however you may be required to visit the consulate in London in order to have this officially stamped into your passport. 

Successful candidates will also have to provide a CV in Spanish to their host institution. Please ensure that you have this prepared and will be able to provide this quickly when requested in April/May time.

Please note that visa requirements can change at short notice, and the British Council cannot be held responsible for any changes to the visa process.

What holidays will I have?

In Colombia the academic calendar is divided in two semesters. The first semester runs from the last week of January to the last week of May. The second semester runs from August to the first week of December.

Typically, assistants can expect to receive the same school and national holidays as their institution.  

Holidays often vary by region and sometimes institution, however as an indication, it is likely that you may receive: 

  • between two and four weeks during December-January
  • recess week in October
  • Holy week during Easter celebrations

Please note that these dates are not confirmed, but have been provided to help give you an idea of what the academic calendar may look like. Your institution will give you full details of your term dates when you begin your post, but you should be aware that some institutions will have longer holiday periods than others.

You may also wish to view the calendar of national holidays in Colombia.

Where can I go in Colombia?

The location of the posts available in Colombia varies from year to year and it is therefore not possible for applicants to state regional preferences within Colombia. You will however be asked to provide some environmental preferences, such as ‘coastal region’, tourist area’, ‘mild temperature’ etc.

It is important to note that we cannot guarantee that it will be possible to place you in your preferred area. Applicants must therefore be flexible and willing to accept a placement in an area they may not have considered. 

As an indication, in 2019-20, assistants were allocated to posts at universities in the following cities:

  • Barranquilla 
  • Bogotá
  • Bucaramanga
  • Calí
  • Cartagena
  • Manizales
  • Medellín
  • Sincelejo
  • Tunja
  • Villavicencio

Please note that this list is indicative and may change for the 2020-21 academic year.

I'm worked as a Language Assistant in Colombia – can I apply again?

If you are currently working as an English Language Assistant in Colombia, you can apply for a consecutive year. For more information and to find out how to apply please see our returning applicant's guidance page.