Updated for 2024 by Munira Maricar
Latin America spans 7.4 million square miles and features verdant rainforests, breathtaking mountain peaks, and sunny coastlines. From Cusco, the ancient seat of the Quechuans’ (Incas’) power and home of Machu Picchu (where selfie sticks are banned!) to the Galapagos where ancient tortoises and Darwin’s birds still roam, Latin America holds endless treasures and can be a rewarding landscape for those seeking to teach English abroad.
In recent years, the rise of remote work and the trend of English-speaking countries outsourcing to Latin America have further heightened the demand for English proficiency in this region. This shift has made English language skills increasingly essential for local communities aiming to engage effectively in the global digital economy and international business, as well as boost their economic earning potential. As a result, teaching English in Latin America now offers an opportunity to make a profound impact, equipping students with vital skills for a changing world.
Teaching abroad is a perfect blend of experience, volunteerism, and adventure. Through teaching, you can forge valuable relationships, help local communities, improve your own language skills, and more.
Finding the right teaching experience for you can be difficult, so we’ve put together a list of some of our top organizations and teaching programs for you to explore. Happy traveling!
Founded in 2003 in Cusco, Peru, Maximo Nivel has since expanded to Costa Rica and Guatemala, becoming a leader in Spanish language immersion and TEFL certification in Latin America. Serving over 5,000 individuals annually, they offer a range of programs including volunteering, internships, and study abroad. Recognized globally, they’re accredited by Ministries of Education in Guatemala and Peru and are members of NAFSA – the Association of International Educators and the Association of Language Travel Organizations (ALTO).
Volunteering with Maximo Nivel is very affordable, with trips starting at $685 per week. Included in your program fee is airport pick-up, housing, breakfast and dinner each day, field support, event programming, and much more.
Start a teaching journey with Maximo Nivel’s TEFL certification programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. These programs offer more than just an internationally accredited TEFL certification; they immerse you in a hands-on teaching experience in real ESL classrooms across Latin America. Participants gain invaluable practical skills by teaching actual English classes, and this direct classroom involvement, guided by seasoned professionals, not only enhances teaching abilities but also significantly increases job prospects in vibrant ESL markets across Latin America. The programs are designed to thoroughly prepare and empower aspiring English teachers for a successful paying career in diverse educational settings.
Participate in Maximo Nivel’s impactful English teaching volunteer projects across Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru, and contribute to bridging the language gap in public education systems. As a volunteer, you’ll receive an ESL Crash Course, equipping you with effective teaching techniques for real impact in local schools, community centers, and after-school programs. Embrace the role of an English teacher, creating lesson plans, conducting classes, and organizing educational activities, while working in settings that vary from underprivileged schools to shelters for street children. This experience not only aids communities but also hones your teaching skills, making a significant difference in lives where English opens doors to new opportunities.
Your duties can include:
- Creating lesson plans
- Teaching classes
- Giving one-on-one tutoring
- Organizing educational games and activities
- Cleaning and fixing up classroom areas
- Collection donations of books and other educational materials
Program fees include airport pick up, break and dinner, and staying with a host family who can help you improve and practice your Spanish, teach you about local culture, and become lifelong friends. For more details, click here.
Maximo Nivel offers enriching education internships in Latin America, providing a unique international setting for professional growth as an educator. Interns can choose placements across early childhood to high school levels in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. These internships involve working alongside professional teachers, assisting in instruction and classroom management, and directly planning and teaching lessons. They offer practical experience in student assessment, leading educational activities, and developing teaching techniques. These internships are ideal for those looking to gain a deeper understanding of different educational systems, curricula, and classroom leadership, preparing them for a successful career in teaching.
The International TEFL Academy (ITA), certifying over 6,000 students annually in more than 80 countries, offers transformative TEFL courses in Latin and South America. With small class sizes and university-level instructors, ITA provides intensive training, including over 100 hours of academic work and practical teaching experience. Their internationally accredited courses, coupled with lifetime job support and a global alumni network, equip aspiring teachers with essential skills for a successful English teaching career, ensuring both personal growth and professional opportunities worldwide.
Start on an educational adventure with the International TEFL Academy in Guadalajara, Mexico, a vibrant hub of culture and commerce. This 4-week intensive TEFL course, accredited by the Mexican Government and led by university-level instructors, offers an immersive experience in teaching English as a foreign language.
The program includes 120 hours of content input sessions, 11 hours of observed teaching practicum, and additional hours observing veteran teachers. Daily classes run from 9 am to 6 pm, combining theoretical input sessions with guided lesson preparation and live teaching practice. Graduates receive lifetime job search guidance, both in Mexico and globally, preparing them for a successful career in teaching English abroad.
This rigorous yet rewarding course is designed to provide both the skills and qualifications needed to excel in English language instruction. For details of cost and starting dates, click here.
Embark on a TEFL/TESOL certification journey in Arequipa, Peru, with the International TEFL Academy. This 4-week, 120-hour course taught by university professors includes 100 hours of academic coursework and 20 hours of practical teaching observation. Located in a historic city, the program offers extensive training with live practice teaching to local ESL students, ensuring a robust learning experience. Graduates receive lifetime Job Search Guidance, aiding employment opportunities in Peru and globally. The course fosters skills in classroom management, grammar, lesson planning, and more, preparing you to excel in diverse educational settings worldwide.
The TEFL/TESOL certification course in Heredia, Costa Rica, offers an immersive educational experience for aspiring English teachers. Located just outside of San Jose in the historic “Ciudad de las Flores,” Heredia provides a serene backdrop with its stunning colonial architecture and reputation for safety. This 4-week intensive course, taught by seasoned professors, includes live teaching practice with local ESL students, ensuring practical experience. With classes ranging up to 22 students, personalized attention is given to foster skills in teaching basics, grammar, classroom management, lesson planning, and the use of teaching aids across various student levels.
The TEFL/TESOL Certification Course in Quito, Ecuador, presents an exceptional opportunity for teaching English both locally and globally. Quito, as the country’s economic, educational, and cultural hub, offers an enriching backdrop for educators to gain their certification. This intensive 4-week program is led by skilled instructors and provides a comprehensive curriculum that includes professional-level English teaching skills alongside a globally recognized teaching qualification. For more information, click here.
Teaching abroad with International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) offers an impactful and affordable way to contribute to global education. IVHQ’s global teaching programs empower volunteers to aid in educational development across 31 destinations, in line with the UN’s Goal #4 for quality education.
Volunteers, irrespective of prior experience, can teach in diverse settings, from schools to special needs centers, enhancing literacy and vocational skills. IVHQ also offers an online TEFL course for those looking to prepare adequately.
Volunteering with IVHQ also opens up the possibility for academic credit, further enriching the volunteer’s professional and educational journey. By participating, volunteers not only contribute to reducing the global education gap but also experience personal growth and build global awareness.
The Teaching English Volunteer Program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a platform for volunteers to teach English to local children in community centers. This enriches both the educational prospects of the students and the professional experience of the volunteers. With volunteers able to join every first and third Monday of the month, the program fee includes accommodation, breakfast, airport pickup, orientation, and constant on-ground support, all set against the vibrant backdrop of Rio’s culture. Volunteers, 18 or older, contribute to the community’s growth while immersing themselves in Brazilian life, with optional Portuguese lessons available to enhance their stay.
Volunteers in the Teaching English Project in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, contribute to the community by enhancing English literacy among local students. This engagement directly supports the tourism-driven economy by equipping residents with vital language skills. Volunteers immerse themselves in the rich culture, participate in homestay experiences, and explore the biodiversity of this coastal paradise while assisting in classrooms and community centers.
Your duties will include:
- Tutoring local students
- Assisting local teachers
- Organizing educational games and activities
- Setting up small English workshops
You’ll be provided with a TEFL “crash course” by the on-the-ground IVHQ team and given educational materials to help you get going.
Volunteers typically work a 2-4 hour shift each day, with weekends off. When you’re not working, you are free to explore the area, hang out on a local beach, or spend time with your homestay family. You’ll share breakfast and dinner with your homestay family each day. Homestays offer a valuable opportunity to practice your language skills, learn from locals, and forge lifelong friendships.
The Teaching English Volunteer Program in Lima, Peru, provides a vital opportunity for volunteers to teach English in local schools and community centers. Volunteers, especially fluent in English, enrich students’ learning experience with their knowledge and skills. Set in the vibrant city of Lima, volunteers immerse in Peruvian culture, explore stunning landscapes, and contribute to improving local education. The program suits those interested in education, comfortable leading a classroom, and willing to engage in cultural exchange while gaining valuable teaching experience. Volunteers stay in communal or homestay accommodations, fostering deeper connections with the community and culture. For costs and more details, click here.
Volunteering to teach English with GoEco is a fulfilling way to contribute to global education. Lack of educational resources worldwide makes volunteers vital in sharing knowledge and fostering development. GoEco offers diverse programs in various countries where English teaching standards can be improved. Volunteers engage in various activities, from conducting dynamic English classes to organizing extracurricular activities. They play a crucial role in enhancing students’ confidence and proficiency in English, which is essential for their future success.
Volunteering as a Teaching Assistant in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, offers a unique experience of working in local schools and community centers, helping to provide English education. This program empowers local students with language skills, enhancing their future opportunities. Volunteers engage with children and teenagers, implementing their own lesson plans and assisting teachers. The stunning Galápagos setting offers incredible wildlife viewing and cultural immersion, making weekends ideal for exploration and relaxation. Volunteers contribute meaningfully while gaining invaluable teaching and childcare experience in a remarkable location.
Teaching English abroad with Projects Abroad allows impactful contributions in resource-limited countries. Initiated in the 1990s, it welcomes volunteers from diverse backgrounds to teach in various educational settings. The program, recognizing education’s role in combating poverty and inequality, offers hands-on experience alongside local educators. Suitable for anyone passionate about education, it promotes personal and professional growth. Projects Abroad ensures ethical, well-supported experiences, emphasizing a comprehensive Child Protection Policy for the safety and well-being of children, and conducts regular reviews for community and volunteer benefit.
This program offers a unique chance to help children and adults enhance their English skills. Based in Cordoba, volunteers can work in secondary schools, language institutes, or universities, either assisting or leading classes. The program also allows teaching French. Living with a host family, volunteers immerse in local culture and explore Cordoba’s vibrant mix of historic and modern influences. Suitable for those seeking teaching experience, the program involves lesson preparation, teaching, and creating educational resources, and it’s open to anyone over 16, regardless of prior experience. Read more and apply here!
The Volunteer Teaching Project in Mexico offers an enriching experience teaching English in schools or universities in Guadalajara. This project enhances students’ conversational skills, improving their career prospects. Volunteers plan classes and activities, working alongside local teachers. The program, suitable for those seeking teaching experience, helps develop skills in leadership, planning, and management. Living with a host family provides cultural immersion, and volunteers can explore Guadalajara’s rich heritage, including mountains, beaches, and ancient ruins, during their free time.
The Volunteer Teaching Project in Peru, based in the historic city of Cusco, offers an opportunity to teach English as an assistant in elementary or high schools. Volunteers work with a set national curriculum, helping students and teachers improve their English language skills, which is vital in Peru’s thriving tourism industry. No experience is necessary, as guidance is provided. Volunteers can explore Cusco’s rich Incan heritage, including Machu Picchu, during their free time. Basic Spanish is needed for elementary school teaching. For more information, click here!
IVI, a highly-rated organization with over 33 years of experience, offers affordable, impactful, and flexible volunteering opportunities. They are a charity and non-profit focused on making a lasting difference in communities. IVI provides teaching abroad programs across various countries, focusing on classroom experience and community development. Open to all, regardless of teaching background, these programs emphasize creativity, and cultural sensitivity, and are typically in underprivileged, low-income areas. Volunteers gain valuable experience and make a significant impact on students’ futures while adapting to diverse customs and beliefs.
For those interested, IVI recommends completing a TESOL course to gain confidence and skills for teaching English abroad, although it’s not a requirement for participation. This approach allows volunteers to immerse themselves in different cultures, develop teaching skills, and make a real impact in global education.
Join the Kindergarten Teaching program in Costa Rica and make a difference in young children’s lives. Bring your energy and creativity to assist local teachers in childcare facilities, community centers, and schools in Manuel Antonio and San Jose. Volunteers will teach basic English through fun, interactive methods like games, art, and music, helping boost children’s confidence and skills. This project is ideal for aspiring teachers or those passionate about child development. Volunteers can immerse themselves in Costa Rica’s vibrant culture and biodiversity while contributing to the education of children from underprivileged backgrounds.
The English Teaching project in Antigua, Guatemala, offers volunteers the opportunity to teach English in government-run schools and unique locations like fire rescue stations. After completing an ESL introductory course, volunteers teach English and other subjects to both children and adults. This involves creating educational games, teaching basic grammar, reading, writing, pronunciation, and spelling, and enhancing conversational skills. Volunteers develop daily lesson plans for group and individual learning, staying in homestays to immerse in local culture. This project is ideal for those seeking teaching experience, particularly in ESL or TEFL, in a UNESCO World Heritage city known for its colonial buildings, ancient ruins, and vibrant community life. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, with younger participants accompanied by a guardian.
In the English Teaching project in Cusco, Peru, volunteers can make a significant difference by teaching English to kids, teens, and adults in government-run schools and other local facilities. Before beginning, volunteers receive an ESL crash course to prepare for classroom teaching, including creating lesson plans and educational games. This program offers a chance to support the community in Cusco, a city renowned for its ancient civilization and rich culture. Volunteers work closely with local staff, engaging students in learning English and other subjects, and assisting in various activities like playtime, homework, and hygiene education. Accommodation is provided in homestays, offering an immersive cultural experience. This project suits those interested in teaching and providing care, regardless of their teaching background. Volunteers are expected to dress modestly and have a criminal background check for childcare placements.
Volunteering Solutions (VolSol) offers a variety of teaching volunteer abroad programs worldwide, enabling significant contributions to children’s education. These programs are available year-round with flexible durations. Volunteers engage in various activities, including improving students’ vocabulary and spoken English, assisting with other subjects, and participating in school renovations and extracurricular activities. No professional teaching experience or TEFL Certificate is required, just a good command of English and a creative, adaptable approach.
In Santa Barbara De Heredia, Costa Rica, the Volunteer Teaching English program provides a vital service teaching English to primary and middle school students in schools, community centers, and childcare centers. Volunteers work alongside local teachers, plan and deliver lessons, and engage children in interactive activities, significantly contributing to their future career prospects. The program includes assisting with general classroom activities, promoting good hygiene, and reading to children in English. Weekends offer opportunities to explore the beautiful region of Heredia and nearby San Jose. This program suits those passionate about child education and looking to make a meaningful difference while immersing in Costa Rican culture.
In Cusco, Peru, the Volunteer Teacher Assistant program in kindergartens provides an enriching experience for those good with kids and passionate about teaching. Volunteers assist local educators in rural settings, contributing to the cognitive, motor, affective, and social skills development of children aged 3 to 5. Responsibilities include assisting with homework, organizing activities, and classroom maintenance. This rewarding role requires patience, focus, and initiative. Volunteers, working in underprivileged areas, prepare children for elementary school. Accommodation is with local host families, offering cultural immersion and opportunities to explore Cusco’s rich heritage during free time.
The Volunteer Teaching English program in Cusco invites participants to teach English to students of various communities and age groups. Volunteers assist local school teachers and lead classes to enhance students’ English pronunciation and skills. This program is an excellent opportunity for those who enjoy interactive teaching and have a lot of patience. Volunteers work with students aged 13 to 45, not divided by age but by English proficiency. In addition to teaching, volunteers can engage in local culture and explore the historic city of Cusco and its surroundings during their free time.
Do I Need to Know Spanish to Teach in Latin America?
While knowing Spanish is not a strict requirement for teaching English in Latin America, it can significantly enhance your experience. A basic understanding of Spanish can help you connect more effectively with your students, understand their needs better, and navigate daily life more comfortably. It aids in building rapport with the local community and allows for smoother classroom management. However, many programs offer support and resources for those who are not fluent in Spanish, ensuring that the language barrier does not hinder your ability to teach effectively. Ultimately, while not mandatory, having some level of Spanish proficiency can enrich your teaching journey and overall cultural immersion in Latin America.
Ready to Travel?
Teaching English abroad, particularly in Latin America, offers an enriching journey beyond the classroom. This region, a mosaic of vibrant cultures and stunning landscapes, provides a unique backdrop for educators. By teaching English here, you’re not just imparting language skills; you’re immersing yourself in a world where every corner has a story to tell, every community has a different tradition to share. It’s an experience that interweaves cultural exploration, personal growth, and the joy of unlocking new opportunities for students, making Latin America an ideal setting for kickstarting your adventure in teaching abroad.