My Experience with the CELTA Application Process at IH Bogota

A few months ago I decided to move to Colombia where I was born and obtain my CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) in order to gain a basic qualification to teach English and gain a much better understanding of English grammar and teaching methodology.

There are two different institutes that offer the CELTA in Colombia, International House and the British Council. I opted for International House due to the cost of the course ($1,795 USD to $2,280 USD (approximately)). These are the steps I took in order to qualify for the CELTA course.

celta#1: Since I already knew my final destination I only applied to the CELTA course at International House in Bogota.

#2: I headed on over to IH Bogota’s website and downloaded the CELTA course application and pre-interview form.

#3: I completely filled out the form accurately and in its entirety. This requires knowledge of active verb forms and sentence structure. There are also questions on teaching methodology such as “How would you CONVEY THE MEANING of “congratulations?” Due to the difficult nature of the form I spent about a week filling it out the first time.

#4: If you pass the pre-interview task, you’ll be emailed by IH and they will request to set up a Skype interview with you in order to go over your application answers. I should note that my application was not accepted on the first try because my answers were not accurate and I had to edit two sections of the application and then resubmit it. It took me about another 5 days to edit it. Since I knew I needed textbook help in order to complete the application, I went to the library and picked up a grammar book.

#5: Time for the interview! Good news, my application was accepted after I submitted it for the second time. The interview was 45 minutes long over Skype, just audio with no video feed. My interviewer is the training manager at IH in Bogota. I would say it was a difficult interview.  I had to identify each part of a sentence. My sentence was “The teacher is absent.” The = definite article; teacher = noun; is = verb; and absent = adjective. I was then given 4 sentences and asked to define the active verb forms such as simple past and present perfect simple, etc. I was even asked to change the last sentence given to me into another form. I was also asked quite a few questions on methodology such as “How would I explain ‘I must have something to drink’ to a group of students?” One way to explain it to students is to tell a simple story about someone in the desert who is looking for water. My interviewer mentioned that on my application I stated that “must have” is a certainty but that “certainty” isn’t quite correct and asked me what makes it different from the other sentences in the list. I said it’s a “necessity” which was the correct answer.

#6: Be formally accepted into the CELTA course at IH! At the end of my interview the interviewer took a moment to verbally accept me into the CELTA course. She told me she would be emailing me a formal letter of acceptance along with some additional information.  I received the email about an hour later with the acceptance letter along with a pre-course task and key, and information for shared accommodation.

accepted

The last step is to pay for the entire course, which is $1795 USD.  In addition I have to pick an accommodation option which will probably be around another $600 for the month for a single person studio apartment (Nov 10 to Dec 9).

A few tips:

Buy a grammar book to study! I bought myself Michael Swan’s English Grammar Usage which I kept open to the Active Verb Form section during the interview. This proved invaluable since I referred to the book during the interview in order to answer the questions. In addition, make sure you study the difference between nouns, verbs, articles, etc., as you will be expected to identify the different parts of a sentence.  This did not occur to me in advance but since I have no teaching experience I should have purchased a book on teaching methodology to learn a couple of basics. If you plan on taking the CELTA I suggest you do the same.

Have you taken the CELTA? What else would you have done to prepare for the interview?

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7 thoughts on “My Experience with the CELTA Application Process at IH Bogota

  1. Awesome….. how did the course go? How was the school there?

    I’m getting my personals in order to do the same at that same location. Any info would help.
    (Eating locations, accomodations, studies, transportation, contacts, etc).

    How has job offers and work experience been since you finished?

    Thanks Ahead,
    Chuck Nicholson, MBA

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    • The course went well. The british council offers lodging but it’s a bit expensive. I would suggest you try to find a private room at a hostel in La Candelaria. As far as eating goes, you only have an hour for lunch so really you just have to try to find something around the area. To get around you need a Transmilenio card, you can by one at the bus station. I live in Medellin and get paid pretty well, almost $30000 per hour. How much you get paid depends on where you live, salaries are higher in Bogota and Medellin, then they start getting a little lower. Small towns pay horribly. Stay away from Armenia. You might even try applying at universities, they usually pay the best.

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      • Hi Paulette,

        I am currently at #4 stage that you have mentioned above.

        After you obtained the CELTA how easy was it to find employment?

        Is it possible to find employment prior to arriving in Colombia/obtaining CELTA?

        What would you do differently if you started again?

        Thanks

        Mike

        Like

  2. I live in NYC and what I want is to take the CELTA cerification here in Manhattan since it would give my CV more prestige and then go back to Medellin to work there.Do you think that’s a good idea what I’m planning to do? Do you get paid 30000 because you have the CELTA? please help me. Thank you Paulette. I’m from Colombia by the way

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  3. Hi Paulette,

    I am currently at #4 stage that you have mentioned above.

    After you obtained the CELTA how easy was it to find employment?

    Is it possible to find employment prior to arriving in Colombia/obtaining CELTA?

    What would you do differently if you started again?

    Thanks

    Mike

    Like

    • Hi Michael. Schools in Colombia normally do not hire from overseas. You have to be here on the ground. The only program that you can apply to that for sure will hire you from overseas is the government’s SENA/MINEDUCACION program. There are various recruiters that recruit for this program. You are considered a volunteer, not an employee, and as such you get a volunteer visa and a monthly stipend of $1,500,000 per month. This amount is just fine if you live in a small to mid-sized city, but may not go far is you live in a large city. In my opinion, this is an excellent way to get your foot into the country and get experience. You can read more details about it here: http://greenhearttravel.org/program/adult/teach/teach-in-colombia

      Like

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