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Teach English in
Uruguay

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When you think of Latin America, the first places that spring to mind are big, vibrant locations such as Brazil and Argentina, but underdogs like Uruguay are well worth consideration. South America’s second-smallest country is finally emerging as a popular destination for both tourists and expats. Uruguay is a sophisticated country with a heady mix […]

When you think of Latin America, the first places that spring to mind are big, vibrant locations such as Brazil and Argentina, but underdogs like Uruguay are well worth consideration. South America's second-smallest country is finally emerging as a popular destination for both tourists and expats. Uruguay is a sophisticated country with a heady mix of metropolitan chic and rural wilderness. The stable economic growth and progressive cultural attitudes make it a great place for English teachers to find work in Latin America. Uruguay is also a popular choice compared to other Latin American countries as it is one of the most stable countries in the region and it has a low crime rate.

The capital, Montevideo, balances Uruguay's colonial past with a progressive present, making it an appealing place for those looking to teach English abroad . Schools in the region are keen to find new TEFL teachers, and while wages aren’t high, the cost of living is manageable. Additionally, there are plenty of voluntary opportunities available. It’s sometimes hard to believe that this beautiful city is located in sunny South America, as many people say it has a decidedly European feel, thanks to the open-air cafes, small markets, and beautiful architecture.

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Key Facts

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs : Montevideo
  • Average salary for EFL teachers : The average salary for EFL teachers in Uruguay ranges from UYU 19,000 to UYU 45,000 ($500-$1,200 USD / £400-£950) per month, varying based on factors such as experience, location, type of institution and type of teaching position.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: To teach English in Uruguay, a TEFL certification is essential. If you're new to teaching, employers in Uruguay look for a Level 5 qualification. While a Bachelor’s degree is preferred, it is not mandatory. Native English proficiency is expected, and citizenship from English-speaking countries is favoured. Legal working status requires a temporary residence permit or a Cedula. Prior teaching experience is beneficial and always desirable, but not required.
  • Term times : March to December
  • Currency : Uruguayan peso (UYU)
  • Language : Spanish
  • Teaching programmes : Volunteering, Private tutoring, Universities, Bilingual Kindergartens, Private Language Schools
  • Age restrictions:  None
  • Previous teaching experience: Useful for paid positions

Uruguay has a high-quality education system, with compulsory education up to the age of 18 and free university, with increasing numbers in higher education studies. It has one of the highest literacy rates in Latin America, and is part of a project called One Laptop per Child, where every primary school student in the country is provided with a laptop for educational purposes. The teacher/student ratio in Uruguayan classrooms is one of the lowest in the world, which is another contributing factor to their great literacy rate and success in getting students to attend their compulsory schooling.

On the EF English Proficiency Index in 2020, Uruguay ranked as 51 out of 100 countries. It doesn’t sound like a great score, but it's close to transitioning into the ‘moderate’ skill list rather than the ‘low’ list, and actually scored better in both 2019 and 2018. Uruguay ranks around the middle of the list compared to other Latin American countries.

TEFL teachers in Uruguay say that their students are friendly and welcoming. Locals in Uruguay are keen to improve their English, so if your regular job doesn’t cover your living costs, it shouldn’t be too hard to find some private students to tutor in your free time. Many TEFL teachers in Uruguay choose to earn a little extra by teaching online, which can earn you better wages than teaching locally and is also a great choice because Uruguay has some of the fastest internet speeds (for the lowest cost) in South America .

Requirements for teaching English in Uruguay

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Teach in Uruguay £750 GBP
($900 USD)
Preferred March Preferred No Yes None

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Living Costs

As the fourth most expensive country in Latin America, Uruguay isn’t the cheapest place to live in South America, but you’ll enjoy a premium standard of living, and the income for TEFL teachers in the city will be more than adequate to live comfortably. If you like cycling, head to the Rambla in Montevideo – a 14-mile-long waterfront stretch of cycle paths and walking routes, dotted with restaurants. If you want other ideas of how to enjoy yourself for cheap in Uruguay, look out for open-air music performances and dance squares where people gather on a regular basis. The weather in Uruguay is mild, though it can get quite windy along the coast. Traditional dishes you’ll want to try in Uruguay include asado barbeque, rice pudding served with dulce de leche, fried bread, capeletis a la caruso (stuffed pasta/dumplings), and the best sharing option of Revuelto Gramajo, which is a plate of French fries combined with sautéed onions, eggs, ham, and green peas.

Uruguay has a public healthcare system, but most expats choose to become members of the mutualista, which is like health insurance but is attached to a specific clinic or hospital .

  • Accommodation : £389 - £604 / $537 - $836
  • Utilities : £87 / $120
  • Health insurance : Cost of a typical visit to a GP: £31 / $42
  • Monthly transport pass : £33 / $45
  • Basic dinner out for two : £16 / $22
  • Cappuccino in expat area : £3.02 / $4.18
  • A beer in a pub : £2.88 / $3.99
  • 1 litre of milk : £0.58 / $.80
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola : £1.78 / $2.46

(living costs sourced from Expatistan )

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