Ever wondered about teaching in Montevideo, Uruguay? A good discussion with participation from teachers on the ground in this South American capital is happening over at Dave's ESL Cafe.
Hello, since as far as I can see there's not an entry about Uruguay (let alone a whole country section!) I thought I would add my experience since Uruguay and Montevideo are both hidden gems and in my opinion well-worth coming to - and pretty straightforward as far as English-teaching goes, after the usual due-paying that seems to be the norm in South America.
I arrived in Montevideo in March 2009 after doing a CELTA in Buenos Aires and finding it impossible to get work over the summer. Not only that, a few mates who did manage to find some said that all the institutes wanted people with a legal work permit which is basically impossible to organize from within Argentina.
So, after getting fed-up with the hectic-ness of Buenos Aires and the lousy work situation, I made it over to M'vid to visit some friends and immediately loved it. It's small enough to get around easily (walking, bike or bus), faded-charming, but still enough of a city to have bars, restaurants, great cinema and theatre scenes and enough going on to keep you busy.
After several hours on Google, I'd sent my CV to about 25 English-language institutes and immediately started working for the London Institute (the International House affiliate here). I quit there eventually since I felt they were taking advantage of me and the organization was just terrible. But by then I'd found 4 or 5 other institutes all of whom have work for me either permanent or now-and-then. The reputable ones I would recommend approaching are:
Focus Inglés Empresarial (in-company stuff)
Eureka (a small institute owned and well-run by a great English guy who pays well)
Widd Professional (a small, new institute, again family owned-and-run and really friendly)
The Langland Institute (a very well-run and professional institute that does in-company as well)
The other big ones are the Anglo (an Anglo-Uruguayan cultural institute) and the Alianza (a US-Uruguayan venture) which never responded to my approaches.
Because I turned-up right at the start of the academic year (beginning of March) a lot of places had already organized teachers for their classes for the entire year, so arriving beginning of February might be a better bet to get in on the ground floor with the bigger institutes.
As far as work visas are concerned, a couple of places asked me to become legal - but I've been working for them no problem in the meantime. As a Brit, I've had to get a police check from the UK, get that and my birth certificate legalized by the UK Foreign Office (which is the stage I'm at now), after that I have to get them both legalized by the Uruguayan embassy in London, then sent here, translated, legalized AGAIN by the Ministry of Immigration here, and then along with a local police check and medical certificate I can get a year's work permit. It's a long process and to be honest I'm not sure if I'll get to the end of it before I leave Uruguay (at the moment, December). But it's worth doing if you're planning on staying longer than a year and it allows you to get free medical treatment here.
The pay rate is good, after about 3 months sorting myself out and getting to know the right people, I'm up to a full timetable of 25 hours teaching a week which is more than enough to pay my way and save some too. I was lucky enough to be able to stay even when the work wasn't coming in, but now it is I should be able to recoup the money I spent during the fallow period. Foreigners are definitely more of a rarity in Montevideo than in Buenos Aires, so the novelty-factor (and native-speaker thing) goes a long way. People are definitely Anglophiles here, but I don't think that would affect getting work. And no-one's asked to see my CELTA certificate, even though I do have one!
Apart from that; renting a place has been no problem - sharing is pretty rare for young people since everyone lives with their parents til they're married, and students are normally in dorms (foreigners can live there too, but they're pretty student-y and at least 4 people to a bedroom). I managed to find a shared apartment with my own bedroom from a classified in the newspaper so they do exist. Renting an apartment by yourself is possible with just a passport as proof of identity, but the estate agents ask for 6 months' rent as deposit.
I can't think of much else but if you're thinking of coming to Uruguay - do! And contact me if you have questions.
I've been living in Uruguay for the past almost 5 years now.. its great.. although i hate Montevideo.. too many ppl.. the coastal towns are where its at..
there are many options down here.. its a great place to live and rock out.
its funny that they are making you get a visa.. most places are ok with just a passport and you can get the socidad free still...
but its only like $50/month.. and honestly if you calculate all of the costs for translations and legalizations it may not be worth it so much..
if you need a translator let me know i have a great one who is fairly cheap and close to the migracions office. on missiones.
more discussion at the link above