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Teach English in Medellin, Colombia

Nestled within the Aburrá Valley and surrounded by green mountains, Medellín, once infamous for its violent past, has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent decades. Dubbed the "City of Eternal Spring" due to its temperate climate, Medellín is now celebrated for its innovation, culture, and the warmth of its people, the Paisas. The city's cable cars and modern metro system stand as testaments to its progress, while the colorful buildings of Communa 13, once a no-go zone, are now adorned with murals and street art, illustrating the city's journey of resilience and rebirth. For educators looking to embark on a new adventure, Medellín offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity, creating an enriching environment for both teaching and learning.

Reasons to Teach English in Medellín

  1. Emerging Demand for English Education: As Medellín continues to modernize and attract international businesses, the demand for English proficiency has surged. Teaching English here means you're directly contributing to the city's global aspirations.

  2. Affordable Cost of Living: Compared to other major cities, Medellín offers a relatively low cost of living. This allows teachers to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while also having the opportunity to save.

  3. Cultural Immersion: Medellín is a melting pot of Colombian traditions. From the vibrant Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival) to its pulsating salsa clubs, there's always an opportunity to dive deep into Colombian culture.

  4. Pleasant Climate: Known as the "City of Eternal Spring," Medellín boasts a year-round mild climate, making it a delightful place to live and explore.

  5. Natural Beauty: With its proximity to the Andes, there are plenty of hiking trails and natural parks for outdoor enthusiasts. Weekends can be spent exploring the lush greenery of Arví Park or taking a short trip to nearby picturesque towns like Guatapé.

  6. Safety and Progress: Medellín's efforts in urban planning, public transportation, and community-driven projects have made it safer and more accessible for both residents and visitors.

  7. Warm and Welcoming Locals: The Paisas, locals of Medellín, are known for their hospitality and friendliness. As a teacher, you'll often find students and their families eager to show you the best of their city.

  8. Opportunity to Learn Spanish: Immersed in the daily life of Medellín, teachers have a perfect opportunity to learn or hone their Spanish skills, adding another layer to their professional and personal development.

  9. Diverse Teaching Opportunities: From private language institutes and public schools to corporate training and private tutoring, the range of teaching jobs available caters to different preferences and specializations.

  10. Influence Positive Change: Given its history, Medellín has a resilient spirit. Educators have the chance to be part of the city's ongoing transformation, leaving a lasting impact on their students and the community.

Understanding Medellín's Education Landscape

Medellín's commitment to reinventing itself extends deeply into its education system. Over the past years, the city has made significant investments in improving infrastructure, resources, and curricula across its schools and universities. English language instruction is now a fundamental part of this system as Medellín seeks to integrate itself further into the global community.

Private language institutes have proliferated throughout the city, catering to both young learners and adults seeking to improve their professional prospects. These institutes often cater to a more affluent clientele and have the resources to hire foreign educators, often preferring native speakers.

On the other hand, public schools, particularly in more disadvantaged areas, might not have the same resources but provide a more grassroots teaching experience. The Colombian government, recognizing the importance of English in today's world, has initiated several programs aimed at improving English proficiency nationwide, leading to opportunities for foreign teachers to make a difference in these settings.

Moreover, universities in Medellín, some of which rank among the top in the country, also offer English programs. These institutions often seek teachers with advanced degrees and prior teaching experience.

Eligibility and Requirements to Teach English in Medellín

The requirements to teach English in Medellín will be similar to the standard requirements for teaching English in Colombia. However, here are the specific requirements for Medellín:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree: Most institutions require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, although the field of study is typically not specified.
  2. TEFL/TESOL/CELTA Certificate: A certification in teaching English as a foreign language is usually mandatory, especially for those without prior teaching experience.
  3. Native English Speaker: Being a native speaker from countries such as the USA, UK, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, or Ireland can be advantageous. However, non-native speakers with strong proficiency and the right qualifications can also find opportunities.
  4. Background Check: To ensure the safety of students, schools may require a criminal background check.
  5. Experience: While not always mandatory, prior teaching experience can be a significant advantage, especially for positions in universities or higher-paying jobs.

Salary and Benefits for Teaching English in Medellín

The salary for English teachers in Medellín can vary depending on the institution, qualifications, and the teacher's experience.

  1. Salary Range: Typically, teachers can expect to earn between $1,000 to $1,500 USD per month. Those with advanced degrees or considerable experience might earn more, especially in university settings or private institutions.
  2. Work Hours: A standard workweek is around 20-25 teaching hours, not including prep time. Some institutions might require weekend classes, especially language institutes catering to working professionals.
  3. Vacation: Teachers can expect national holidays off, with longer breaks often coinciding with school vacations. Some institutions might offer paid vacation after a certain period of employment.
  4. Health Insurance: Health insurance is typically provided, especially in formal teaching settings.
  5. Contract Duration: Contracts usually last for 12 months, with possibilities for renewal.

Remember, while the salary might seem modest by Western standards, the cost of living in Medellín allows for a comfortable lifestyle. Additionally, the experience of teaching in such a vibrant and evolving city is invaluable in itself.

Living in Medellín

Medellín, known as the "City of Eternal Spring" due to its pleasant climate, is Colombia's second-largest city and a place teeming with culture, innovation, and natural beauty. It's a city that has transformed itself from having a troubled past to being a model for urban development and social innovation in Latin America. If you're considering teaching English in Medellín, here's what life in this vibrant city might be like:


Medellín boasts a temperate and consistent climate year-round, with temperatures generally hovering between 64°F (18°C) to 82°F (28°C). This pleasant weather allows residents to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year without the worry of extreme seasonal changes.

Cost of Living

Medellín offers a cost-effective lifestyle compared to many Western cities. While prices have risen due to its increasing popularity among tourists and expats, you can still expect to live comfortably on a teacher's salary. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center might cost between $300 to $600 USD per month, depending on the area and the amenities.

Culture and Lifestyle

Medellín's cultural scene is lively and diverse. The city hosts numerous festivals, like the renowned Flower Festival, where locals showcase elaborate flower arrangements. Additionally, Medellín has a burgeoning art scene, exemplified by places like the Museo de Antioquia, which houses works by the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero.


Medellín offers a plethora of culinary delights. Local dishes such as "bandeja paisa" (a hearty platter consisting of beans, rice, ground meat, plantain, and more) are a must-try. Moreover, the city's growing international community ensures a variety of global cuisines.


Medellín has made remarkable strides in terms of safety over the past few decades. Neighborhoods like El Poblado and Laureles are popular among expats and are generally safe. However, like any major city, it's crucial to be aware of your surroundings and exercise common sense, especially during nighttime.


The city boasts an efficient metro system that connects significant parts of Medellín, making it easy for teachers to commute. Additionally, there are buses, taxis, and app-based ride services available for convenience.

Outdoor Activities

Surrounded by mountains, Medellín offers a range of outdoor activities. Whether you're hiking in the local hills, taking a day trip to nearby towns like Guatapé, or exploring the lush botanical gardens, there's no shortage of ways to embrace nature.

Teacher Stories

Sarah from Australia

"When I first landed in Medellín, the vibrancy of the city struck me. Every corner seemed to tell a story. Teaching English here has been an eye-opening experience. My students are passionate and eager to learn, often sharing with me snippets of local culture and tips on the best 'arepas' in town. On weekends, I explore the nearby coffee regions and vibrant local markets. Medellín isn't just a place to teach; it's a place to live, learn, and grow."

Jake from the USA

"I initially chose Medellín because of its reputation as the 'City of Eternal Spring', but the city has offered so much more. The local 'paisas' are incredibly welcoming, and my school has a community feel. We often hang out after classes, exploring local eateries or hiking in the surrounding mountains. Teaching in Medellín has provided me a second home."

Niamh from Ireland

"Coming from the green landscapes of Ireland, I was curious about life in Medellín. The city surprised me with its lush greenery and innovation. As a teacher, I've had the chance to shape young minds and share stories from back home. The mix of traditional and modern, the music, and the warmth of the people here have made my teaching journey truly unforgettable."

Sipho from South Africa

"Medellín's transformation story resonated with me. While it has a history, the city is forward-looking, just like Johannesburg. My students are curious about Africa, and I always have anecdotes to share. Beyond the classroom, the rhythm of salsa, the colorful streets, and the local delicacies have enriched my life in ways I hadn't imagined."

Moving Towards Teaching English In Medellín

Medellín, with its blend of history and modernity, offers an unparalleled experience for English teachers. Beyond the traditional role of an educator, teachers in Medellín often find themselves as learners, absorbing the rich culture, traditions, and stories of this dynamic city.

If you're considering a move, know that Medellín awaits with open arms, ready to offer experiences that go beyond the classroom walls. Whether it's the joy of seeing a student grasp a new concept, the thrill of dancing to local tunes, or the simple pleasure of a coffee in one of its many vibrant plazas, Medellín promises a chapter filled with unforgettable memories. As many teachers will attest, choosing Medellín isn't just about teaching English; it's about embracing a new way of life.