Preparing to move abroad

So we made the decision back in April 2014 to move abroad. We had always said we wanted to live away from England for a bit and in particular, we wanted to live somewhere we could practise our Spanish. We had loved our backpacking trip around South America in 2012 and were keen to return to that part of the world.

We began doing our research, mainly looking on the internet, but also getting out books from the library and contacting friends who lived or who had been to South America.

From searching around the internet, we quickly realised that teaching English would be the easiest way to allow us to live out in South America, and to do this we would be best off getting some kind of English teaching qualification. We considered various routes to obtaining this, including the TEFL and CELTA courses, and we thought about whether it would be best to do it at home or abroad. For us, we went for the CELTA and decided to do it in Ecuador. I’ve written all about this in the CELTA in Ecuador section of my site, so please take a look if you want find out more.

We also needed to consider how easy it was to get a job, where we could live, cost of living, cost of moving, visas etc. Looking around the internet and reading about other peoples’ experiences was the best way to do it.

Below is a list of websites and blogs that we found particularly useful when doing our research:

Living/moving abroad:

  • When planning your move abroad, you may consider using international movers to transport some belongings. In many South American countries it is very difficult to have certain things sent in the post. You can end up paying a lot of money to receive certain items, such as clothes or electricals, because of high import taxes. We’ve had friends in Ecuador and Peru who have not been able to collect a present sent from home because it contained a tshirt. The price to pick up the delivery was substantially higher than the value of the items.

So, to avoid any disappointment and extra charges you may want to look into hiring an international moving company. Here is a handy tool to give you an idea of prices:


Los Frailes, Ecuador
Los Frailes, Ecuador


Gauchos in Salta, Argentina
Gauchos in Salta, Argentina

Teaching English abroad:

Teaching how to teach English, CELTA Ecuador
Teaching how to teach English, CELTA Ecuador

If you liked what you read, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Thank you! 🙂 

8 thoughts on “Preparing to move abroad

  1. Hello, I love your website, very informative.
    I really want to teach English in South America, I have my TEFL Certificate but I do not have a degree. I have read that it is still possible to teach in South America without a degree. In your experience, have you come across other teacher’s who do not have a degree?
    I have also read that private schools do employ teacher’s without a degree. Any comments that you have would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi there Paulette,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      I don’t know any schools that asked to see qualifications or asked about my degree. Having said that, I did not come across anyone who did not have a degree.
      In my opinion, if you have a TEFL and are native-English, then you should be fine. Unless you are going to be teaching for the big companies, like International House or Berlitz, I can’t imagine it would be too much of a problem. It simply depends on the school. We know plenty of schools who required no qualifications whatsoever – just that you were native English is enough!
      The Mini Explorer 🙂

  2. Hi! im just wondering whether you had a degree before taking up the teaching role and how hard you found it to get work in Argentina? I have a TEFL qualification and am hoping to find a teaching job in Argentina after backpacking South America for a few months early next year.

    1. Hi Timothy,
      Yes, I had a degree before I got into teaching. After I graduated, I went on to train & work as a secondary-school teacher in the UK before I did my CELTA. However, I know plenty of other people, my boyfriend included, who had no teaching experience prior to the CELTA and they managed just fine. It’s tough no matter what your level of experience!
      Your plan of backpacking and teaching sounds great! I wouldn’t exactly say it was ‘easy’ to get a teaching job in Argentina as timing/luck play a huge part. The new school year starts at the end of February/beginning of March, which is when they are more likely to employ an English teacher. From mid-December to mid-February, schools shut down and it may be impossible to get hold of anyone. So, as I said, it’s all about the right timing and luck as to whether you get a reply or not. Some schools may know they need an English teacher before their holidays (beginning of December), but most probably won’t know until a couple of weeks before the term starts (in Feb/March).
      We sent out tons of emails to schools, and resent them a few weeks later, before we got any replies. If you are native-English and have a teaching qualification, you’ll be able to get a job – but you have to be patient and persevere! Schools will only reply if they need you. We still got offers from schools up to a year after sending out our CV!
      Hope that helps – good luck!

  3. Hi

    I’ve just got a place on the CELTA course in Montañita and this website has been so helpful. Thanks!


  4. Great blog! I’ve been teaching in Spain and Korea for the past 4 years and am interesting in doing something more short term in Latin America but I’m not sure where to start! Did you just go on a tourist visa to start and figure it out from there? Really enjoy your posts!

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for visiting! Teaching in South America was amazing & highly recommended! There’s plenty of information on The Mini Explorer of exactly how I did it -visit the pages on Teaching English. There is a list of English schools & institutes here for you to contact. For info on visas, check out this page. If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to get in contact! Good luck!

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