South America has something for everyone. From ancient history relics in all corners of the continent to sprawling beaches and deep blue waters, South America is so inviting that you’ll want to stay forever. The good news is that, as an educator ready to take your skills abroad, you can if you choose South America as your new homeland.
It isn’t just the climate and rich history that makes South America great for teachers. The demand for K-12 international teachers and ESL/EAL teachers has grown significantly in recent years, giving all educators a chance to jump at one of the many teaching opportunities the continent offers.
Regardless of your teaching style or choice of subject, there is a place for everyone looking to share their newfound love of teaching with students eager to learn in South America.
What are the best countries to live in South America and teach abroad?
Argentina offers one of the best climates in the world, where it’s never too hot or cold. Alongside its livable temperatures is its sprawling naturalistic scenery across the entire country. When you’re not on the job, you can explore their intricate delicacies and collection of waterfalls or one of their 35 impressive Holocene volcanoes.
Teaching in Argentina grants you the best of both worlds: a vacation lifestyle alongside a stable and well-paid career. While most of the teaching jobs in the country are situated in Buenos Aires, the country’s bustling capital, there are plenty of smaller cities to escape to on the outskirts.
The only caveat to teaching in Argentina is that the salary is lower compared to other places. That said, the cost of living in the country is manageable enough that you aren’t likely to notice the smaller paycheque. Another great thing about living and teaching in Argentina is the level of safety. It is considered one of the safest places to live in South America.
If you’re considering teaching English as a foreign language, Brazil should definitely be on your list of options.
Brazil is a melting pot of cultures influenced by Portuguese, African, and indigenous traditions. By teaching abroad in Brazil, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in this rich and diverse culture. You’ll be able to learn Portuguese, taste traditional Brazilian cuisine, and experience vibrant music and dance.
Brazil is one of the largest countries in the world, with a population of over 200 million people. English is becoming increasingly important in Brazil, particularly as the country prepares to host major international events like the Olympics and World Cup. As a result, there is a high demand for English teachers in Brazil. This means that you’ll have plenty of job opportunities to choose from.
Brazil has a relatively affordable cost of living compared to many other countries. Accommodations, food, and transportation are all reasonably priced, which means you’ll be able to live comfortably on a teacher’s salary.
Peru is home to one of the most coveted landmarks in the world: Machu Picchu. The country also has sprawling nature scenery and friendly residents among their well-maintained relics from years past. Endless exploration calls to you from outside the walls of your future classroom, with the Sacred Valley and Nazca Lines at your fingertips. It’s one of the best places to teach in South America because it offers you everything you’ll need to enjoy a new phase of your life.
The entire country is also looking for well-educated teachers, so when looking at which city to choose, you’ll have many different options. Many of the locals in Peru are also raring to learn English, as it can help them secure better jobs in the bustling tourism industry, making it easy to find TEFL positions everywhere. The salary, like other places in South America, is much lower than you would see in North America or other sites across the world. But with a low cost of living, what you’ll need to spend will align with what you earn.
The only thing you’ll need to consider is the crime rate in Peru. While there are many lovely places, people are often advised to avoid certain areas of the country because of petty crime in public areas such as hotels and restaurants.
Chile leads the pack in teaching abroad anywhere in the world, so it’s no wonder it also earns its spot on the list of best places to teach in South America. Teachers looking to head down south to share their abilities to teach can experience learning of their own. With Spanish as the primary language, educators looking to teach various subjects or even TEFL can brush up on their own studies and experience what it’s like to sharpen their language skills by adding a new one to their roster.
When you’re not in the classroom, you can explore everything the country offers, including the Andes mountains, the Atacama Desert, the infamous Easter Island, and much more. Being engulfed in Chile’s unique culture is given when teaching abroad in the country, and safety is unmatched because of the level of development.
Salaries can range, but with the same low cost of living found elsewhere on the continent, it’s enough to have you living comfortably.
Uruguay is another country known for its safety and has one of the lowest crime rates in South America. It is a perfect choice for LGBTQ+ teachers out of all the locations on this list because the country has protections in place and does not tolerate discrimination against those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Aside from the added safety measures, the country also offers educators the chance to bask in South American luxury and comfort offered to travelers while exploring the local scene equipped with fancy beaches, rustic wine regions, and reliable power, water, and garbage services. The fresh food options are in a league of their own, so you’ll know what you’re eating will serve your body for yet another day as a teacher living abroad.
Educators teaching in Uruguay can also live relatively comfortably on their monthly salary as it aligns with the cost of living.
Colombia offers a mixed bag of things to do and see, including vibrant and bustling cities home to cuisine to die for and a diverse culture to get lost in. The country also offers prospective teachers the chance to live and work in a place with changing climates, wildlife you’ve only ever seen in magazines, and never-ending outdoor activities. It’s one of those exciting and beautiful countries that will keep you off the couch and away from the TV when you’re not focused on your curriculum.
The cost of living is well below that in North American countries, and the monthly salary for teachers in Colombia offers them enough to live comfortably.
School recommendations in Colombia:
- Colegio Hacienda Los Alcaparros in La Calera, Colombia, is currently hiring K-12 teachers
- Colegio Albania in Albania, Colombia (check back for new opportunities on the way!)
Check for opportunities on our job board if you’re looking for more K-12 and ESL/EAL teaching jobs in South America.
Overall, there are many reasons why living and teaching in South America can be a rewarding and life-changing experience. So if you’re looking for a new adventure and a chance to make a difference in the world, consider exploring the many opportunities that this amazing continent has to offer.
Teaching in South America is a great way to expand your professional and personal horizons. Your only problem now is choosing which wonderful country to teach in!