The English Opens Doors Program is an exciting way to teach English in Chile. The program places volunteer English teachers in public schools around the country, providing participants with a small stipend for their work. Although this program doesn’t offer a way to teach and save money, it does come with many unique benefits.
First and foremost, English Opens Doors provides a rare opportunity to learn Spanish and experience a cultural immersion with a local host family. Additionally, participants can choose to teach on a short, one-semester contract or for an entire school year, making it easy to fit in after college or between jobs. Living in Chile also means the ability to experience diverse landscapes in the comfort of one country, from sunny deserts to snow-peaked mountains. Lastly, this program is open to non-native English speakers so long as they can demonstrate near-native ability.
This ultimate guide shares everything you need to teach with the English Opens Doors Program in Chile.
Note: Due to the current COVID pandemic, the English Opens Doors Program is temporarily suspended. However, you can follow their website for online teaching opportunities and updates on when they will begin accepting applications again.
Read more: Teaching English in Latin America
Snapshot of Teaching English with the English Opens Doors Program
Avg. Salary: 100,000 CLP ($125)/month
Teaching Hours: 24 hours per week
Duration of contract: One or two semesters
Application period: Late fall, early spring
Start date: February or July
School term: March to July, July to December
Visa requirements: Temporary resident visa
What is the English Opens Doors Program?
The English Opens Doors Program (EODP), or Programa Inglés Abre Puertas, is a government teach abroad program sponsored by the Chilean Ministry of Education. The program also receives support from the United Nations Development Program. The primary mission of EODP is to improve access to English education in Chile's public schools and equip young pupils with the necessary skills to succeed in our globalized world.
What are the requirements to teach English with the English Opens Doors Program?
Before applying to teach English with English Opens Doors, it’s necessary to check if you’re eligible. Applicants must:
- Be a near-native English speaker
- Have a Bachelor’s degree
- Be between 21-35 years old
- Have a TEFL certificate (preferred*)
The English Opens Doors Program is unique because it doesn't limit participants to a short list of nationalities. Instead, you must demonstrate a near-native ability to speak English through your education, professional experience, and interview.
*Additionally, having a TEFL certificate isn't required to volunteer with EODP. However, having a reputable TEFL certificate not only helps your application stand out but can also ensure you're equipped to lead English classes successfully. CIEE TEFL offers a $150 discount on the 150-Hour TEFL Certificate to those applying to government teaching programs like EODP. This certificate helps teachers increase their chances of securing teaching jobs abroad.
You can learn more and see the complete list of eligibility criteria on the EODP official website.
Your Responsibilities as an EODP Volunteer in Chile
EODP volunteers work as teaching assistants with a head teacher to plan lessons, lead classes, and implement extracurriculars like summer and winter camps and afterschool clubs. The program specifically works with students between 10-18 years old, and volunteers may work with four or more grade levels if the school is small. Each week, EODP teaching assistants have 24 classroom hours and 11 hours for lesson planning and prep.
Learn more about CIEE TEFL’s Job Placement Assistance in Chile.
EODP Salary: How much can you earn teaching with English Opens Doors?
English Opens Doors participants receive a stipend of 100,000 Chilean Pesos ($125) for each month of service, that's typically paid every other month. This stipend is meant to cover the costs of teaching and transportation to and from work.
In addition, volunteers are placed with a host family that provides a room and meals throughout the program. Those who opt to live independently receive 165,000 CLP ($180) per month for rent, but this amount generally is only enough to partially cover the cost of an apartment.
Participants must come with enough savings not only for start-up costs but also to fund extra expenses outside the room and board provided by the host family.
Additional Benefits Provided to English Opens Doors Volunteers
Teachers are ultimately responsible for the cost of flying to Chile, gathering necessary documents for the visa, and other costs associated with moving to abroad. However, this no-fee volunteer program offers a relatively excellent benefits package to help offset the costs of living and teaching in Chile.
The additional benefits teaching volunteers receive are:
- In-country health insurance
- Local bank account set-up
- Room and board with a local host family
- Waived fees for Chile's temporary resident visa
- Free airport transport when first arrived
- Online Spanish course
- One-week orientation that includes accommodation and meals
- One week of vacation during the school break for two-semester volunteers
Where are teachers placed in Chile as volunteers?
English teachers with the English Opens Doors program are placed in Chile's public schools to work with students between 5th-12th grade. The program offers rural and city placements all over the country. But every year, the Ministry of Education chooses new schools and regions to be part of the initiative, so placement options can change depending on when you apply. On your application, it's possible to list preferences. It's worth noting that big cities like Santiago and Valparaiso are highly competitive due to limited availability and high demand.
How to Apply to Teach English with English Opens Doors
Once you've checked your eligibility, it's time to apply!
1. Create an account and apply online on the EODP website.
2. Prepare and submit required information and documents in two steps:
- Personal information
- A scan of your passport
- A professional resume
- University transcripts
- Teaching certifications, if applicable.
- An Applicant Recommendation Form (reference letter)
- Personal essay questions, mandatory reading, and cultural questions
3. A 45-60 minute Skype interview for those who pass the initial application phases
4. Apply for a temporary residence visa at the nearest Chilean consulate or embassy in your home country.
5. Fly to Santiago for a one-week orientation.
6. Begin teaching!
English Opens Doors Program Application Period
The English Opens Doors Program has four application periods throughout the year, two periods for start dates in the spring semester (start of the year), and two with start dates in the fall semester (middle of the year). The application periods change each year, and are announced on the program’s official website and social media channels.
The Pros and Cons of Teaching English as a Volunteer in Chile
The EOD program is unlike any other teach abroad program, and the experience comes with pros and cons.
Pros of Teaching with Chile’s English Opens Doors Program
- Find a job in South America before leaving home: Ordinarily, teachers must move to South America and begin the job hunt in-country. But with EODP, participants leave the comfort of home with a TEFL job in Chile.
- High support when moving to Chile: This program offers participants valuable help like visa assistance, airport transfer when you first arrive, expenses-paid orientation, a Chilean bank account, etc.
- Experience life in Chile and South America: English Opens Doors participants enjoy the rare opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and better their Spanish.
Cons of Teaching with Chile’s English Opens Doors Program
- Low salary: EOD is a volunteer program, and teachers are responsible for costs outside of teaching and living fundamentals, which means travel and extra activities must be paid out of pocket.
- No choice in placement: Although applicants can list a preference on their application, placement is ultimately dictated by availability.
- Possibility of low resources: Some schools may not have the classroom equipment or resources you're used to.
What’s it like to teach English in Chile as a volunteer?
Teaching English in Chile is an incredibly unique experience. These helpful guides share what it’s like to live and teach in Chile.
- Teaching English in Chile: My Review of English Opens Doors by Snook Outta Water
- Things To Do in Chile: 50 Incredible Experiences by On My Canvas
- What to Expect When Teaching English in Chile by CIEE Teach Abroad
- How to Live with a Host Family by GoOverseas
Do you need a TEFL certificate to teach with English Opens Doors?
A TEFL certificate isn't required to teach with the English Opens Doors Program. However, applicants that don’t have teaching experience but have a reputable TEFL certificate demonstrate that they're highly motivated, trained, and prepared for the classroom, which can give you a leg up on the competition.
CIEE TEFL’s 150-Hour TEFL Certification
CIEE TEFL is an internationally trusted brand recognized for being one of the best TEFL providers in the industry. CIEE has a proven track record of helping graduates secure teaching jobs abroad and equips teachers with the confidence to succeed—especially in Chile!
CIEE TEFL's 150-hour TEFL certification makes it easy to complete your TEFL training online in just three months. This comprehensive course includes:
- 130 hours of ACCET accredited coursework
- A 20-hour TEFL practicum
- Instruction by highly qualified TEFL tutors
- CIEE TEFL Job Placement Assistance in Chile.
- $150 discount for government teach abroad participants like EODP