Frequently Asked Questions
The following provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions about employment in Colegio Bolivar:
What are the inclusive dates of the employment year, and when are applications for employment accepted?
The teachers' school year begins in late August and runs through late June. Most hiring for the following year is completed by April, although last minute openings do occasionally occur. Applications are accepted throughout the year. While an interview is not absolutely essential, it is very helpful. The majority of such interviews occur during the director's recruiting trip in February and March.
What are the basic qualifications for employment at Colegio Bolivar?
All expatriate teachers working at Colegio Bolivar must hold a valid teaching certificate from one of the fifty states or, in the case of Canada or other country of origin, from the appropriate agency in that country. Normally, we prefer a minimum of two years of professional experience and, all else being equal, an advanced degree. Both of these have been waived, however, when interviews, recommendations, or both indicate an unusually strong though inexperienced candidate.
What is the expected length of stay?
The initial contract is for two years, at the beginning and end of which we provide plane tickets and baggage allowance to point of origin. The contract is, at the convenience of both parties, renewable for up to a total of six years. There are a series of bonuses for renewal of contract, including annual round trip plane fare to point of origin.
Can married couples, couples with children, or single parents with accompanying children be hired?
The answer to all three questions is a very qualified yes. We will hire couples, but only if both are qualified teachers who plan to work at Colegio Bolivar. It is virtually impossible for a non-teaching spouse to find employment in Colombia, and one salary is not enough to comfortably support a couple and provide any savings. Couples with school age children will have nearly cost-free education provided for those children at the school. Couples with younger than school age children find that adequate and reasonable full time, live-in help is available. In the case of the single teacher parent, some outside source of income may be necessary.
Please tell me something about Colegio Bolivar
Colegio Bolivar was founded in 1947 to provide a North American style education to dependents of North American Business and diplomatic families, as well as to those Colombian and third country families who desired such an education for their children. In the years since its founding, demographics have changed and the school has become more and more Colombian in population (nearly 85%), but the basic mission of the school has remained the same. Today Colegio Bolivar is located on a beautiful 30 acre campus on the outskirts of Cali. With nearly 1200 students of 20 nationalities, it is, in both process and product, comparable to the private country day school you would find in any medium or larger sized North American city, although the ability range of our students may be somewhat wider. Facilities include 60 classrooms, a modern library, a science building, an auditorium, a gymnasium with swimming pool, two computer laboratories, an administration building, and ample playing field space.
What is the language of instruction?
Although the population of Colegio Bolivar is overwhelmingly Colombian, it is an English language school, beginning with English as a Second Language in the pre-school (K4 and K5) and early elementary school. While all students have at least one hour of Spanish language study daily, virtually all other academic classes are taught in English. By upper elementary school, the students are all academically bilingual. Traditionally, some 20-30% of the graduates attend universities in the United States where they matriculate as any North American would, with none of the special requirements of the average foreign student.
What is the makeup of the faculty?
Colegio Bolivar has 105 faculty members, 16 teaching assistants and seven administrators of whom 46% are North Americans and third country, and 54% Colombian. Nearly 80% are either native English speakers or have near native fluency. Twenty-five of the faculty are "import" teachers, those brought specifically from the U.S. for employment with Colegio Bolivar. The staff includes twenty one masters degree and five PhD's.
Please tell me something about Cali
Cali is considered to be one of South America's hidden gems, until recently unknown to most people outside Colombia. Located in the southwestern part of the country, it is its second largest (two million) and most casual city. Cali is located at three thousand feet in the agriculturally rich Cauca Valley, two hours from the Pacific Coast. Its climate is extremely comfortable throughout the year (85 by day and 65 at night) and is chiefly responsible for Cali being an open, outdoor city. The quality of public services (electricity, phone, transportation, health), while sometimes not at the level of the US., is normally quite high. Rather centrally located, with a busy international airport, Cali is within easy reach of a large number of geographically, recreationally, and historically interesting sites. Cali's night life is active, with an abundance of reasonably priced restaurants, theaters, nightclubs, and concert halls. Considered Colombia's sporting center, Cali offers tennis, swimming, golf, soccer, basketball, volleyball, cycling, racquetball, backpacking, paintball and hiking. More information and city pictures here.
What are the salary and benefits?
Foreign hire salaries range from US$ 20.000 to 25.000 depending upon degree and experience. The amounts quoted represent net dollars after all tax and Social Security deductions have been made. Colombia’s remains a moderate economy and, after day to day living expenses are met, a teacher can expect to save between 25 and 35%. It is important to point out, however, that at least some of these savings are often spent in major travel occurring during Christmas, Easter or summer vacations.
In addition to the financial package, foreign hire teachers have US based medical coverage (CIGNA) for which the school pays half, a local medical plan, round-trip transportation and baggage to their point of origin, access to low interest loans towards the purchase of a car, and access to a well rounded activities program (including trips) for school personnel. In addition, the school provides each teacher with basic furnishings for kitchen, living room, dinning room and bed room.
What help is given to newly arrived teachers in adjusting to Colombia?
There is a short orientation in Miami in early August. During this time, teachers from a number of Latin American countries gather with their directors for a program sponsored by the US Department of State. We then fly to Colombia as a group. Once there, the school provides an orientation that is both practical and theoretical in nature. The school will assist you in finding adequate housing and will help you with the overall process of settling in.
I am interested in pursuing employment with Colegio Bolivar. What procedure must I follow?
Given enough lead time, send us a résumé and, if available, a placement file, along with an indication of when and where you would be available for an interview. We would suggest registering with one of the international recruiting organizations (International Schools Services, Princeton, NJ.; SEARCH, Dallas, PA; University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa; Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, are just a few, with the latter two having only minimal charges). Should time be short, please don't hesitate to call us (572) 485 5050 or 485 0453.
In any case, it would be most helpful for you to send us a copy of your placement file (including references), or apply via our onlime application form or to have it with you when we meet for an interview.