i’m not going to pretend it’s been an easy/fun few weeks of job searching in bogota. but overall, we’ve gained experience, information and a new grasp of patience after coming down from our ever-changing daily routine as travelers. so, though we had some low moments of thinking doors were closed to us, we sat and contemplated what this meant about other doors that might newly be opened. in four weeks’ time we’ve come up with a plan b, c, d, e and then back around to b! this involved questions about how to get work, how to get certifications we thought we needed in order to work, how to stay in colombia without getting work, how to stretch what money we have left so that we can stay in south america for at least a few more months.
we started out trying to work for bilingual private schools. we trekked around the city taking our resumes and never getting past the security guards. so, we sent them via the internet and made calls. no one wanted to talk to us. we think, partially, because we actually need teaching degrees to get these jobs. so, we felt like that door was officially closed to us. we went for the next type of ‘native-english-speaker’ job, becoming ESL teachers. we looked into getting certified through an institute here, as we were assured we wouldn’t get jobs without an ESL teaching certification. it was going to be $1700 A PIECE! yikes, for a month of intensive training. then you weren’t necessarily guaranteed work. after emailing with the head of the institute and meeting with one of the teachers to get the scoop, we got the feeling that it might not actually be worth the effort: crazy working hours (like leaving your house at 4am!), minimal pay, not a lot of support, etc. etc. so, we hit a point where we weren’t even sure we wanted to try and land any of these jobs.
we have found multiple organizations in colombia and ecuador that take on volunteers to teach and help out with projects at their rural mountain schools. and we started to realize that this might be much more our style. we would be teaching english/music/arts/geography to all ages of children and living with families in the andes. the two organizations that we are considering ask for a VERY minimal weekly donation to their cause and offer so much in return. we both decided this could be the best way to finally dive fully into spanish, as the rural areas definitely don’t use much english. we would be able to teach young kids, instead of high-powered business men (huge plus for both of us, as we are exceedingly more comfortable around kids than business men). and we could learn more about rural life in colombia and ecuador. our favorite experience, hands down, on the whole trip so far was our time in the miraflor ecoreserve in nicaragua. we are thinking this might have some similar opportunities for learning and growth.
soooooo, of course, just when we think we’ve got an idea of our next four months, we both get calls for interviews at an english teaching institute. we decided we could not pass them up. so we went and enjoyed the process of taking an english grammar test, and chatting with the academic coordinator for the institute. but, learning the pay, the hours, the clientele, we were still leaning pretty heavily toward volunteering with rural kids in the mountains. we’ll see what this next step in our adventure holds for us. for now, we’re are content to be on the ride, plan as loosely as we can, and in the end… trust the process.
what have we been doing to pass the hours in bogota, when we weren’t on the job search? well, for one thing, we’ve both discovered our favorite lunchtime meal. most restaurants here have a ‘menu del dia’ which is kind of an all inclusive, cheap ($3-5 total!) lunch option that is a ton of food. and most have very similar options, so we’ve gotten to know the choices pretty well.
we’ve also gotten to know the city pretty well, walking through a lot of the neighborhoods, going to museums we hadn’t yet been to, a wine tasting expo with our friend andrea, and we’ve experimented with some new dishes in the little kitchen in our apartment. we got a chance to sneak away to the little college town of manizales last weekend. more to come on that trip and more colombian food pics too!