I have been teaching English in Chilean Patagonia for just over three months now and I am contracted to be here until the end of November. I’m teaching in a country and continent that is a completely different from anything I have ever experienced.
–Spencer completed the 120-hour TEFL certificate course with TEYL specialization–
The idea of teaching English in Chile was in my head for about five months prior to actually arriving here, so I did what I could to prepare myself. Naturally I turned to what I imagined lots of gringos like me would turn to; literature. I’m not saying this was a bad idea, but now that I’m a little more knowledgeable I would recommend films or short films and trying to look at things regionally. Chile is an extremely long country and in my travels, Patagonia, where I have been living, is virtually a different world from Valparaiso, which again seems to be a different world from Santiago, which is only an hour away.
Life at the End Of The World – Teaching in Chile
There are many things that are shared throughout the country such as their love of soccer, nationalist music and dances, pride, and street art. I haven’t had a real lot of time to travel through South America but I’ve been told soccer is big all over.
As far as the infamous culture shock I have always been warned about before going anywhere, I don’t believe I’ve had a real sense of “shock”. There have of course been a fair amount of surprises but nothing that has ever discouraged me from existing here. I believe that the things that have made Chile stand out were just the things that have made me fall in love with this place. It seems to be a very honest country and it doesn’t have anything to hide. For example, stray dogs don’t get whisked away to the pound, they get ends of meat and jackets put on them. Street artists don’t have to resort to making quick, few color tags on the inside of a bridge, here they’re given permission to do enormous murals on the side of some of the most well seen buildings in the city.
Choosing to pursue teaching abroad, especially in Chile is most likely the one of the best decisions I have made. Though there are certain aspects of life down here at the end of the earth, I’m planning on remaining here after my contract, perhaps to find more work teaching.