For more general information on posts across Latin America please see English Language Assistant placements in Latin America.
How does the programme operate in Colombia?
The Language Assistants Programme is a bi-lateral mobility programme. We work with our partner organisation, ICETEX, to send English Language Assistants to schools and Universities in Colombia.
ICETEX administer the programme in Colombia and manage the relationship with the Host schools and Universities on our behalf.
As part of our processes, we will be sharing the information you include in your application with ICETEX and the schools and Universities that they work with. By submitting an application, you are agreeing to us sharing the information included in the form with all parties listed above.
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
- have a minimum of 6 months teaching experience
- have studied languages 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 2023 until May 2024.
Will there be an induction course?
ICETEX will organise an induction before the posts begin either virtually or in person. If it is to be hosted in person ICETEX will invite the ELAs to arrive in Bogotá, Colombia in late July to complete the induction and to take up their posts in August.
How many hours will I work per week?
Language Assistants in Colombia can expect to work approximately 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. You may be expected to work in the evenings, at weekends and some of your hours may be online.
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 $3,000,000 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 preferences on location. Typically posts available will see several located in Bogotá, and then 1-2 places available in cities and towns around the country. Posts will not be offered in unsafe areas of the country following a risk assessment between the British Council and ICETEX.
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 previous years, assistants were allocated to posts at universities in the following cities:
Medellín is a highly popular destination. Unfortunately, there are usually very limited places available here and so applicants need to be willing to include other locations as alternatives.
Please note that this list is indicative and may change for the 2024-25 academic year.
What are the costs involved?
Applicants should also be aware that there are significant costs associated with the visa process and moving to Colombia. However, these costs should not come all at once as they will occur at different stages of the process, from visa application to arrival in Colombia. Costs are likely to include:
- International Child Protection Certificate (£75)
- Visa application including administrative fees (The curtesy Visa is free although this is subject to change)
- Travel costs to placement location (£160- £300)
In post (before receiving first payment)
- Accommodation costs including initial temporary accommodation and deposit for permanent accommodation in Colombia (£160- £300)
- Residency permit costs on arrival (£ 60)
- Costs for initial few months – You may not receive your first payment until late August, so you will need sufficient funds for this time. Previous assistants have recommended budgeting for at least two months without pay (£500-600)
We encourage you to read more about the monthly allowance and how much money we recommend budgeting for Colombia in section 9 of the destination guide (available to downloaded from the bottom of this page).
Where can I get information about my placement from?
The guide for Language Assistants in Colombia 2023-24 is available to download in PDF format below. This information has been provided for reference and is subject to change each year. Updated guidance for Assistants going out on placement in 2024-25 will be available in summer 2024.
I've 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. Language Assistants are not able to participate in the program in Colombia for more than two school years, consecutive or not. For more information and to find out how to apply please see our returning applicant's guidance page.