After applying for several jobs via the TEFL England website in various Latin American countries (Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia) and even Eastern European ones (Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina), I finally have one in Ecuador! Advice I would give on applications for English-teaching jobs is to have a really strong cover letter and highlight any previous travel experience you have to emphasise your international, all-inclusive, culturally aware outlook. Mentioning previous experience either teaching or just being around children is useful too!
Unlike all of the other jobs I had applied for, this one is not in a major city but in a fairly small one called Loja, tucked up in the Andes at 2100m in southern Ecuador near the border with Peru. From what I’ve read, it looks beautiful, vibrant, charismatic and very safe (especially in a South American context). I will certainly be doing much more research on Loja and Ecuador in general, but it’s so far so good.
Sorting out visas is definitely high on my list of priorities. The guy I spoke to in the Skype interview (who’s in charge of the school I will be working at) told me that I should enter Ecuador on a 90-day tourist visa, which you are given automatically upon arrival, and he will then arrange for all teachers to be transferred onto a volunteer visa which will last a year. On the forums I’ve browsed, there seems to be some disagreement over whether you can apply for a new visa once in Ecuador on a tourist visa. Some people say you can apply for a new one, but it is costly and you may need to travel outside of the country to Peru or Colombia. I have another Skype interview on Monday to discuss these things, so I will certainly clarify the visa situation then. The FCO has some information on entry requirements for Ecuador: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ecuador/entry-requirements which I have been checking as well.
But on the whole I’m very much looking forward to getting away and having a real job, exploring the deep unknown and flying the nest that is my parents’ house. I probably have around 4 weeks left, so I’m going to make the most of my last weeks in the UK by getting fit, planning lessons for the kids, researching Ecuador, re-learning Spanish from my old textbooks and online resources and sorting out flights, visas and much more besides!
Feel free to contact me with any questions or any advice - my email is [email protected]