Paraguay is a landlocked country in South America and shares its borders with Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. Like a lot of South American countries, Spanish is widely spoken in Paraguay because it was colonised by the Spanish in the 16th century. After colonisation, the country was ruled by a number of dictators, but now the country enjoys political stability.
Paraguay is quite a small country and only has a population of around 6.5 million people and most of them live in the capital city of Asunción.
It is a developing country but is has experienced rapid economic growth in the 21st century. In 2010, Paraguay had the largest economic growth in South America at 14.5% and was also the 3rd fastest in the world behind Singapore and Qatar. Although growth has continued, it has slowed in recent years.
Read more about Paraguay from Wikipedia.
Why Teach English in Paraguay
When TEFL teachers think about working in South America, Paraguay isn’t a country that is high on the list. However, Paraguay can be a good choice for teachers for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Paraguay offers a unique experience for any visitor whether it is for a few days, few months or even longer! The country’s history of isolationist policies has meant that it is largely free from the commercialism of the west and there isn’t another country quite like it anywhere in the world.
Moreover, TEFL teachers are quite sought after and they also add prestige to an organisation that is lucky to find one! You will be a ‘famous’ face where you decide to live and people will treat you like a VIP nearly everywhere you go.
You certainly won’t earn a lot of money teaching English is Paraguay, but you will earn enough money to cover your cost of living which is very cheap in Paraguay. You can eat delicious fresh food for just a dollar or two a meal!
Where to Teach English in Paraguay
Although the country is quite small you will find the most teaching opportunities in the capital city of Asuncion and smaller cities like Ciudad del Este and Encarnacion will have some opportunities as well.
Types of Teaching Jobs in Paraguay
Although most opportunities are to be had in the private sector, some teachers will find work in the public sector. However, there is often little funding a very few facilities available. You might find that you have up to 70 students in a classroom with no materials and this can really test your teaching skills!
Private schools are the opposite of public schools and they often have air-conditioned rooms, computer labs and small classes with only around 15 students. You will find that students are usually well behaved and interested in learning English.
Some teachers are often approached by people to provide private lessons. However, money is often an issue for many Paraguayans so you can expect that you could be offered services in return for your time. For example, you might be offered Spanish lessons or even time with a personal trainer in exchange for English lessons.
Teaching Requirements and Qualifications
It is possible to find a job in Paraguay without a degree, teaching certificate or qualifications. As long as you are a native English speaker, you will be able to find something quite easily.
However, there are some bilingual international schools in the country for more privileged children and the salary is much higher than most other schools. These schools will be stricter about your qualifications and experience and will usually require that you have a bachelor’s degree, and some kind of teaching certificate like a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA.
Expected Salary and Living Costs
[sociallocker id=”1415″]Salaries can be very low for TEFL teachers in Paraguay and you might only be earning around $400 – $600 per month. You might be lucky enough to find one of the few jobs that pay more than this, but on the whole, you won’t earn a huge amount in Paraguay. International schools will pay a lot more, but they will require that their teachers are better qualified and experienced.
One of the good things about Paraguay is the incredibly low cost of living in the country. You can rent a large apartment in the city for around only $100 per month. Meals can cost only a dollar or two, and you can enjoy a very good lifestyle on only $100 per week.
Don’t expect to save money when working in Paraguay, and don’t expect accommodation, end of contract bonuses and other salary add-ons that you might get in other countries.
For more information about the cost of living in Paraguay, click here.[/sociallocker]
You will find that many people work in Paraguay illegally on a tourist visa. However, this is never recommended because it is still illegal and might cause you some problems in the future.
If you do want to apply for a work permit, it is up to your employer to obtain it for you. The school you are working for probably won’t cover the cost of the visa, and they will ask you to cover the cost yourself. Although they won’t pay for it, they usually will make the application for you if you ask them. If you don’t ask, most won’t ask you!
How to Find a Job Teaching in Paraguay
It is very unusual to be offered a job before you arrive in the country as most schools will want to conduct a face-to-face interview with you. However, there are a few things that you can do before you arrive in the country.
You can take a look at ESL jobs boards because schools may advertise for vacant positions, but they will complete the recruiting process in person. Moreover, you can find a list of schools and contact them directly before you arrive. You could try calling or sending an email letting them know when you are arriving and that you are looking for a job.
Finally, you might want to try the old fashioned way of looking for a job and it works very well in Paraguay. Print off some of your CVs and go round as many schools as possible and ask if they are hiring native English speaking teachers. You will probably find that you will be quite a few call backs this way.
Teach English in Paraguay
Paraguay is a bit off the beaten track when it comes to teaching English. Most people don’t look to teach English in Paraguay, instead they choose one of the more popular destinations in South America. However, Paraguay can be an attractive choice!
As a native English speaking teacher you will be treated very well by the local people and they will be very eager and enthusiastic to learn.
You won’t earn a lot of money but you can enjoy a very good lifestyle on a small salary. The cost of living is very low in Paraguay and your small salary will go very far.
Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in Paraguay, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.