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Teach English in Santiago, Chile

Nestled amidst the sprawling Andes Mountains, Santiago, the capital of Chile, is a vibrant urban center that boasts a unique blend of colonial-era architecture and gleaming modern skyscrapers. Known for its pleasant Mediterranean climate, rich cultural heritage, and a strong focus on education, Santiago serves as a beacon to aspiring English teachers from across the globe. As the economic and cultural heart of Chile, Santiago offers expatriates a unique opportunity to experience South American charm combined with a sophisticated urban lifestyle. The city's scenic beauty, from the snow-capped Andes to its lush city parks, provides a serene backdrop for those looking to embark on a teaching journey.

Reasons to Teach English in Santiago

  1. Growing Demand for English: With Chile's thriving economy and Santiago's position as a hub for international business, the demand for English learning has surged. Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of English communication in global markets.

  2. Cultural Exchange: Teaching English isn't just about imparting language skills. It's also about cultural exchange. Living in Santiago will give you a deep dive into Chilean customs, festivals, and traditions.

  3. Attractive Lifestyle: Santiago boasts an array of attractions—from museums and theaters to restaurants serving mouth-watering Chilean delicacies. Plus, with the Andes right on your doorstep, weekend getaways to the mountains are easily accessible.

  4. Competitive Salaries: While South America might not be known for high ESL salaries, Santiago stands out. With its booming economy, teachers can expect competitive wages, especially if they have qualifications and experience.

  5. Warm and Welcoming Locals: Chileans are known for their warmth and hospitality. As an English teacher, you'll find students and local colleagues eager to interact, learn, and share their own stories.

  6. Opportunity to Learn Spanish: Immersing yourself in Santiago gives you a golden opportunity to pick up Spanish. While teaching English, you can also enroll in Spanish classes or simply practice with locals.

  7. Modern Amenities with Historic Charm: Santiago is a city where you can walk from historic neighborhoods with colonial architecture to ultra-modern business districts in just minutes. This blend offers a unique living experience.

Understanding Santiago's Education Landscape

Santiago, as the capital of Chile, is home to many of the country's most prestigious educational institutions. The education landscape here is diverse, encompassing public schools, private institutions, international schools, and numerous language academies and institutes dedicated to teaching English. With globalization and the importance of English in international business, there's a growing emphasis on English education. This has led to a surge in bilingual schools and institutions that integrate English as a primary language of instruction.

In Santiago, students begin learning English at a young age, often in primary school. Additionally, many adults enroll in English courses to enhance their professional skills. As a result, the city presents a plethora of opportunities for English teachers, from teaching young learners to business English for professionals.

Eligibility and Requirements to Teach English in Santiago

The requirements to teach English in Santiago will be similar to the standard requirements for teaching English in Chile, however, here are the specific requirements for Santiago:

  1. Bachelor's Degree: Most schools and language institutes require teachers to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in any field.
  2. TEFL/TESOL Certification: A TEFL or TESOL certification is highly recommended and, in many cases, required. It's especially essential if you don't have a background in education.
  3. Experience: Some of the top schools and language academies prefer teachers with prior teaching experience, but there are opportunities for newcomers as well.
  4. Native English Speaker: Many institutions prefer native speakers from countries such as the USA, UK, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland.
  5. Spanish Proficiency: While not a strict requirement, having a basic understanding of Spanish can be beneficial, especially in public schools or when communicating with parents and staff.
  6. Work Visa: To work legally, you'll need to secure a work visa. Many schools assist in this process, especially if they're hiring from abroad.

Salary and Benefits for Teaching English in Santiago

Salaries in Santiago vary based on the institution, qualifications, and experience. On average:

  1. Public Schools: Teachers can expect to earn around $800 to $1,200 USD per month.
  2. Language Institutes: These typically offer hourly wages ranging from $10 to $20 USD per hour, with opportunities for private tutoring on the side.
  3. International Schools: These establishments offer the highest salaries, sometimes reaching up to $2,500 USD or more per month, depending on qualifications and experience.


  • Health insurance is typically provided by employers.
  • Contract completion bonuses are not uncommon.
  • Opportunities for professional development, including workshops and training sessions.

Living in Santiago

Santiago, the sprawling capital city of Chile, nestles in the central valley, surrounded by the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. As the largest city in Chile, it is the cultural, political, and financial center of the country. Living in Santiago offers a unique blend of modern urban living complemented by the breathtaking natural beauty that Chile is famous for. Here's what life is like in this vibrant metropolis:

Cultural Blend: Santiago is a melting pot of cultures, where historical architecture stands side by side with modern skyscrapers. The city boasts numerous theaters, galleries, and museums, such as the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. Events and festivals, celebrating everything from cinema to jazz, keep the city's cultural heartbeat pulsing all year round.

Natural Beauty: While Santiago itself is a bustling urban space, nature is never too far away. The city offers green spaces like Parque Forestal and Cerro San Cristóbal. For those who crave weekend getaways, the Andes mountains are a short drive away, providing opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and mountaineering.

Cost of Living: Living in Santiago is relatively affordable compared to major cities in Europe or North America. Housing, transportation, and food are generally less expensive, though prices can vary based on the neighborhood. Areas like Providencia, Las Condes, and Vitacura are among the more upscale neighborhoods, while places like Ñuñoa and La Florida offer a more middle-range cost.

Transportation: The city boasts an efficient public transportation system. The Santiago Metro, with its extensive network, makes commuting easy and convenient. There are also plenty of buses and shared taxis (colectivos) to help residents navigate the city.

Cuisine: Santiago's culinary scene is a treat for the senses. From traditional Chilean dishes like empanadas, pastel de choclo, and cazuela to international cuisines, there's something for everyone. Street food is also a popular and delicious option for those on the go.

Climate: Santiago experiences a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. This makes it comfortable for most people, with plenty of sunshine throughout the year.

Safety: Like any major city, it's essential to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially during nighttime. Some areas are safer than others, so it's always good to consult with locals and fellow expatriates on the best practices.

Teacher Stories

Sarah from the UK: "I had always been drawn to Latin America, and Santiago, with its promise of a rich cultural experience and the backdrop of the Andes, was irresistible. My first day teaching here was a mix of nerves and excitement. The students were so eager to learn, and their enthusiasm was infectious. Santiago's blend of the traditional with the modern made every day a learning experience for me too. From tasting my first completo (a Chilean hot dog) to dancing cueca during the Fiestas Patrias, my journey in Santiago has been unforgettable."

Jason from New Zealand: "Coming from the quiet landscapes of New Zealand to the bustling city of Santiago was a massive change. I loved how each day in the classroom was different - my students ranged from young children to business professionals. They taught me as much about Chilean culture and slang (always a fun class) as I taught them English. Exploring the city's markets, enjoying the vibrant nightlife, and weekend trips to Valparaiso became regular activities for me."

Ava from Canada: "I'd traveled extensively but settling in Santiago was different. It was the first time I'd felt so at home away from home. My students, mostly adults, were passionate about learning English, and our class discussions would often move from language learning to deep cultural exchanges. I learned about Chile's history, its resilience, and the warmth of its people. On weekends, I'd find myself hiking the Andes or sipping on a Pisco Sour with friends. Santiago has a piece of my heart."

Liam from Australia: "Teaching in Santiago was an experience of a lifetime. The energy of the city, the kindness of my students, and the diverse landscapes that Chile offers made my stint here unforgettable. From sharing tales of the Australian outback to learning about the Mapuche heritage, it was a cultural exchange in every sense."

Moving Towards Teaching English In Santiago

Santiago, with its cosmopolitan charm and unique Latin flavor, beckons teachers from around the world.

The city's educational landscape is ever-evolving, with an increasing demand for English as a global language. This presents numerous opportunities for teachers, both in formal institutions and in more relaxed settings like cafes or online platforms.

To teach in Santiago is to immerse oneself in a vibrant culture, to touch the lives of eager students, and to be touched in return by the warmth and hospitality of the Chilean people. Whether it's the allure of the Andes, the thrill of teaching, or the call of adventure, Santiago is waiting.