turquoise car in front of pale orange wall with doors
Each country offers a wonderful opportunity to discover the Latin American way of life. Photo ©

Dan Gold used under license and adapted from the original.

Assistants interested in a post in Latin America may choose from five available countries; Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. Each country offers a wonderful opportunity to discover the Latin American way of life, as well as plenty of time to travel across the continent.  

Before applying, consider the following

 

How do posts in Latin America differ from those in Europe?

The main difference between a post in Latin America and a post in Europe is the level of responsibility you may be expected to assume when teaching. Assistants in Latin America often have a bit more autonomy in the classroom: approximately 60% of former assistants stated that they would take the role of lead teacher, rather than an assistant. However your experience will largely depend upon your institution and fellow colleagues.

Another main difference is that nearly all posts in Latin America are at universities or teaching training institutions. Therefore, if you feel you would be more suited to working with young adults rather than children and teenagers, you may prefer a post in Latin America. For posts in Latin America you will need to be mature, open-minded, adaptable and tolerant.

It may seem obvious, but it is worth remembering that a post in Latin America is further from home and is likely to present more of a culture shock. It may take you slightly longer to adapt to a new way of life. Former assistants often speak of the challenging yet highly rewarding nature of a placement further afield.

How should I choose which country I want to go to?

You may wish to consider whether you would prefer being near other assistants, have a particular interest in a certain type of Spanish vocabulary or accent, and when you would be available to start your assistantship. 

Your experience will depend hugely on the activities you get involved in, the friends you make, and how willing you are to adapt to the way of life of your host country

Eligibility requirements

  • Only holders of a UK passport may apply to Argentina
  • only holders of a UK or Irish passport may apply to Chile
  • applicants to Colombia must be studying/have studied languages, literature or Latin American studies at university level, and also have some teaching experience
  • start dates vary by country and your availability over the summer, when the majority of placements start, may affect your choices. Ensure that you would be available for the assigned start date and if relevant, the compulsory induction course (all countries except Chile where there is some variation and therefore flexibility in start date). You should not apply for a country if you know you are unable to start on the assigned starting date
  • your knowledge of the Spanish language will be assessed using the details provided in your application in the ‘languages’ and ‘education’ sections. If it is unclear from your application how you have obtained the stated level, we will contact you directly to confirm this.

Do I need to have teaching experience?

Placements in Latin America often demand a greater level of responsibility. Applicants who are most likely to be allocated to their first choice of country will have some form of teaching experience. However, applicants without formal teaching experience will still be considered. It is beneficial, but not essential, to have experience such as offering private tuition, assisting at after school clubs or holding conversation clubs. 

Our overseas partners in Colombia have requested that applicants have some teaching experience. We therefore advise that the strongest applicants for a post in Colombia will have a minimum of six months of teaching experience.

Do I need to do a video interview?

If you are successful in the initial application stage, all applicants to Latin America will be required to complete a short video interview. You will receive a link via email to complete your video interview. This will last approximately 20 minutes and will consist of a series of questions surrounding your motivations to be an assistant, your adaptability and relevant experience to the role.

Applicants not selected for a further assessment stage might be offered a transfer to another country as long as their application is of a high enough standard and meets the relevant country requirements.

What happens if I am placed on a waiting list?

Places are allocated in order of the highest scoring candidates based on video interview assessments. If all posts have been filled, you might be placed on a waiting list. In the event of a post becoming available, the first candidate on the waiting list is contacted. You should be aware that, if contacted, you will have a tight deadline (approx. 24 hours) to decide if you would like to accept a post and should look out for emails and calls from our team.  If, by mid-summer, you are still on a waiting list, you will be offered a transfer to another European country if eligible.

Who will support me in country?

Every Assistant will be assigned a personal mentor teacher at the institution in which they will be working. Your mentor will be your first port of call who can help you with all matters that arise during your assistantship, from teaching advice, to local knowledge and welfare support.

In addition, assistants in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico will be supported by the in-country British Council teams who may run a welcome induction, and occasionally additional training or feedback sessions throughout the year. Assistants in Ecuador will be supported by the language department at the university in Ambato.

Application scenario

If you want to do a placement in Latin America you must state it as your top country choice. If you do not you will not be considered for a post in Latin America. 

If you would like to go to Ecuador, you should state this as your first choice and understand that under no circumstances may you withdraw from your post as this would harm relationships with the university in Ambato.  

You should only list countries where you have a genuine intention of accepting a post, if offered. Candidates who are not offered a place in Latin America will be placed on a waiting list, or offered a transfer to another country in Europe such as Spain, where there are more places available. 

The following examples may help you when selecting your country preferences:

Scenario 1

A history graduate makes the following choices:

  1. Argentina
  2. Ecuador
  3. Colombia.

This candidate is unlikely to be allocated to Argentina as they are not an undergraduate. All places to Ecuador may have already been allocated to other candidates listing it as their first choice. They are ineligible for a post in Colombia as they have not studied languages, literature or Latin American studies at university level. They may wish to consider listing Chile, Colombia, Mexico or Spain where they are more likely to be allocated a post.

Scenario 2

An undergraduate needs to secure a full year placement for their compulsory year abroad and wants to go to Latin America. They make the following choices:

  1. Mexico
  2. Chile
  3. Colombia.

This candidate’s priority is to be placed in Latin America, and therefore chooses the three countries with the highest number of posts available. They may not be allocated to Mexico as there are fewer places available and it is typically very popular, but would be happy to accept a post in either Chile or Colombia. If they did not score highly enough on the video interview, they may be offered a post in Spain, therefore securing a place for their year abroad. 

Scenario 3

An undergraduate with some teaching experience is attracted by the option of Ecuador, but no other country in Latin America. They list their choices as:

  1. Ecuador
  2. Spain
  3. No preference.

This candidate is likely to be placed in Ecuador if they have proven examples of independence and teaching experience. If posts in Ecuador were oversubscribed, they would be considered for a placement in Spain.