Colombia TEFL Experience intern, Kristy, sheds light on what it is like living in Santa Veronica and teaching in Puerto Colombia.
Life can be tough as an intern TEFL teacher when you are living on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
I mean, the weather is sunny and hot all the time, the people are super friendly and go out of their way to say good morning to you and there is an abundance of gorgeous weekend getaway spots all within a few hours of Santa Veronica.
Plus, it’s Carnival season in February, so there is always music, dancing and entertainment happening in the streets and schools.
Sounds really hard, doesn’t it?
Of course, I am kidding.
Being a TEFL intern is a great way to experience Colombia’s people, culture, music, food, dance and schools.
Let me tell you about a few aspects of life as an intern TEFL teacher on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, so you can get an idea of all the interesting, fun and beautiful things we get to experience.
The TEFL House
The TEFL house in Santa Veronica is not at all what we expected.*
It is a two-storey, tropical, yellow villa complete with a pool, palm trees and hammocks.
Tough life, I know.
The house is tiled throughout, has three bathrooms and a huge balcony that wraps around the top floor.
It is a really nice place to be, whether you’ve just finished a hectic day of teaching or you just want somewhere to chill on the weekends.
There are two stray cats that live on the property and seem to get adopted by each group of interns that stays here.
The grey and white male cat is a bit of a handful, as he’s full of energy, loves to steal food and will chew on or chase anything in sight.
The older, female cat is very placid and has a really pleasant personality.
She has also just given birth to a litter of kittens.
Imagine our surprise when we discovered she’d given birth inside the couch in the living room!
The Joy of Cooking!
Being able to cook our own food in the TEFL house has been a blessing for myself and my partner, Jarryd, as we’re both vegans and can sometimes struggle to find suitable meals when we go out.
But there are a number of supermarkets in Puerto Colombia and also one in Juan de Acosta (a 15 minute bus ride away), so shopping is fairly easy.
We always have access to fresh fruit and vegetables, rice, pasta, beans and lentils, which we use to whip up creative and colourful meals.
We’re definitely not going hungry or eating junk food (Mum, you can stop worrying).
Also, Barranquilla is only an hour bus ride away, so if we need specialty food items (like tofu), clothing or electronics, we just head there to do our shopping.
Playa de Santa Veronica is a five minute stroll from our house and is a nice spot for a run, a swim or somewhere to sit and watch the world go by.
There are a number of restaurants in this area, where you can get cheap lunches or dinners – great for interns on a budget!
Santa Veronica is a fishing village, so you’ll find fishing boats scattered along the shore and there are usually local people swimming in the surf.
We found the beach to be a nice place to walk around and explore and we even made our way up to a nearby lookout where you can get a great view of the town.
The Exclusive Beach House
About two weeks into our internship, we were given access to ‘the beach house’, a stunning property right on the seaside in Santa Veronica.
We’ve spent afternoons there swimming in the ocean, chilling out on the rooftop and watching beautiful sunsets.
It’s also a great place for the TEFL team to come together on a Saturday night for a communal BBQ and drinks.
Speaking of sunsets, it’s hard to find a bad one on the coast.
Whether you’re in Santa Veronica or Puerto Colombia, there seems to be no shortage of spectacular sunsets.
We love seeing the sky turn pink, purple and blue and watching the sun dip below the horizon in front of our eyes.
There is a great spot in Puerto Colombia called Hotel Pradomar, where you can sit, sip beers and watch the sunset from a little table on the sand.
The three schools we’re teaching at in Puerto Colombia are Maria Mancilla Sanchez Preschool, Francisco Javier Cisneros and San Nicolas de Tolentino Primary and High School.
Each school is unique in its own right and our teaching experiences have been vastly different.
Some of the interns are also teaching a class of adults from the local community who wish to learn English as a life skill.
The schools are often under-resourced and the classrooms are basic and small.
But despite the lack of facilities, the children are so warm, friendly and curious and they’ll often come up and hug you when you’re leaving school for the day.
I’ll write more about our teaching experiences in future blog posts, but right now it’s time for the pool. You can follow Kristy and Jarryd’s travels on their blog here.