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Everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Colombia

International teachers

Working and living in Colombia as an international teacher combines the fulfillment of making a positive impact on education with the joy of embracing a lively and welcoming culture.

Beyond the classroom, international teachers can explore Colombia’s rich history, vibrant festivals, and diverse ecosystems, from the Andean mountains to the Amazon rainforest.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Colombia, including visa requirements, cost of living, healthcare, cultural expectations and norms, and expat communities.


Visa requirements for international teachers in Colombia

International teachers who wish to live and work in Colombia must obtain a work visa. To begin the process, you’ll typically require a job offer from a Colombian educational institution. Once the job offer is secured, you can initiate the visa application process through the nearest Colombian consulate or embassy in your home country.

Required documents often include a valid passport, the job offer letter, proof of educational qualifications, a completed visa application form, and sometimes a health certificate. The process may also involve obtaining a background check.

Upon arrival in Colombia, you’ll undergo additional steps to obtain a cédula, the national identification card, and formalise your residency.

For detailed information, visit the Colombian government website.


Cost of living for international teachers in Colombia

While Colombia’s cost of living can vary depending on the city, international teachers often find that expenses are more affordable than in many Western countries. Housing costs, including rent and utilities, are generally reasonable, especially in smaller cities and towns.

Groceries and dining out are also budget-friendly, with a variety of fresh and locally sourced produce available at affordable prices. Public transportation is accessible and affordable, contributing to the overall cost-effectiveness of living in Colombia.

Salaries for international teachers, although lower than in some developed countries, are often sufficient to cover living expenses and allow for discretionary spending. The availability of quality healthcare services at reasonable costs further enhances the overall affordability of living in Colombia.

Teachers who embrace local markets, street food, and engage in community activities can experience a high quality of life without breaking the bank.

Cost of living in Bogotá (USD)

Rent for one-bedroom apartment in city centre – $405 per month
Rent for one-bedroom apartment outside city centre – $305 per month
Loaf of bread – $1.30
Litre of milk – $1.25
12 eggs – $2.20
Takeaway coffee – $1.50
Meal for two at mid-range restaurant – $23.40
Meal at inexpensive restaurant – $3.95


Healthcare for international teachers in Colombia

The healthcare system in Colombia combines both public and private sectors, providing options for expatriates. While the public healthcare system is available to residents, many international teachers opt for private healthcare due to its efficiency and additional amenities.

Private hospitals and clinics in Colombia, particularly in major cities like Bogotá and Medellín, are well-equipped with modern facilities, English-speaking medical professionals, and a high standard of care.

International teachers are encouraged to research healthcare providers in their specific region and obtain health insurance coverage to enjoy a worry-free and positive healthcare experience during their time in Colombia.

Many international schools in Colombia offer health insurance as part of their employment package.


Cultural expectations and norms for international teachers in Colombia

Colombians are known for their warmth, friendliness, and emphasis on personal relationships. Building connections with colleagues, students, and community members is highly valued.

Respecting hierarchy and authority is essential in Colombian culture and addressing colleagues and superiors with appropriate titles underscores professionalism. Punctuality is appreciated, though there may be a cultural flexibility that allows for a more relaxed approach to time.

Colombians often express themselves through gestures, facial expressions, and lively conversations, reflecting their passionate and expressive nature. Teachers who engage with the local culture, participate in community events, and show genuine interest in Colombian customs and traditions are likely to be warmly received.

Moreover, understanding the significance of family and community in Colombian culture is crucial. Family gatherings and communal events are central, and teachers who embrace and participate in these activities foster stronger connections within the community.


Expat communities for international teachers in Colombia

Cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena host thriving expat scenes, providing teachers with ample opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals from various cultural backgrounds. These communities often organise social events, cultural outings, and networking opportunities, fostering a sense of camaraderie among expatriates.

International teachers can find valuable resources and practical advice within these communities, aiding in the navigation of local customs, housing options, and educational opportunities for their own children.

Online forums and social media groups dedicated to expatriates in Colombia further facilitate connections, allowing teachers to share experiences, seek advice, and build a network beyond their immediate surroundings.

The welcoming nature of Colombia’s expatriate communities goes beyond socialising, often extending to professional support. Networking events and collaborative initiatives create opportunities for career development and collaboration.


Schrole international schools in Colombia

Ready to find out what Colombia has to offer you? Explore Schrole international schools in Colombia now:

Colegio Nueva Granada

Full access

To career opportunities across the globe

$50 USD per year
Paid membership
  • Ability to create a unique educator profile that holds your references and important documents, such as teaching qualifications, all in one location.
  • Access to our entire database of 400+ international schools representing 100+ countries.
  • 5,000+ teaching vacancies every recruitment season.
  • Unlimited number of job applications.
  • Custom alerts so you’re the first to hear when your preferred roles are posted.
  • Access to virtual and in-person recruitment events with school leaders and recruiters.

Limited access

To career opportunities across the globe

Free membership
  • Ability to create a unique educator profile that holds your references and important documents, such as teaching qualifications, all in one location.
  • Access to our entire database of schools to discover your next teaching role.
  • Submission of three job applications.

I cannot stress enough the impact Schrole has had on the overall quality of educators we have recruited. By leveraging its powerful search capabilities, comprehensive candidate profiles, and advanced tools, we have successfully identified exceptional teachers who have had an immeasurable impact on our student's lives. Their passion, dedication, and innovative teaching methodologies have elevated the standard of education at our school and ignited a love for learning among our students.

Daiju Vithayathil Secondary School Principal
Panyaden International School

Panyaden International School