Thursday, May 22, 2014

Beware the Bait and Switch in Peru

Bait and switch can refer to a number of things, such as jobs and shopping, but it always refers to fraud. Recruiters may use bait and switch when they dangle a cushy job in front of someone only to change it at the last minute. It's also commonly used in Peru when shopping at the markets or buying something off someone on the street. I've known plenty of people who have fallen victim to this trick both in Peru and elsewhere. Here are some tips to help you avoid the bait and switch trap.

Take your time. Sellers who use bait and switch try to get time on their side and have you rush. When you rush you're not paying as much attention. Beware of people who want to make you rush.

Refuse a bag. Bags can hide a lot of sins. If there's no bag it's harder for the seller to hide anything.

Buy from reputable people. I love shopping at markets, but some people hate it. The noise, the sellers hawking their wares, etc. However, if you can build relationships with the people you buy from you'll find it can be a great experience. They might give you discounts or the latest and the greatest. Ask other people who they buy from and keep going back to people who give you good deals and good items.

Speak Spanish. Sick of getting the foreigner's price? Learn Spanish. Plain and simple. It's a pretty easy to learn a couple of words and phrases here and there. Knowing Spanish will help you assimilate to the culture and you'll be able to communicate easier.

Be careful about meeting people you find online. I find that living abroad is safer than living at home. I've met many of my friends online through Facebook, forums, and even Craigslist. Back home you wouldn't do that. However, not everyone is safe. Meeting people online can always be dangerous. Be sure to meet in a well-lit place, preferably during the day with other people around.

Trust your instinct. If something doesn't feel right it probably isn't. Move on and find somewhere else to go shopping.

More Shopping Tips
I wrote about markets in Lima as well as shopping in Peru and while markets are great, you have to be careful. Shopping in markets can be a fun experience. These 3 tips will help you make the most of your shopping experience.
  1. Get recommendations: ask friends which sellers are good and which ones should be avoided.
  2. Pricing: be wary of pricing, especially sellers who drop their prices drastically.
  3. Trust your instinct: it's usually right.


Monday, May 12, 2014

TEFL in China vs TEFL in Peru

One of the most common questions I get asked about Peru (in addition to marriage, divorce, and visa info) is what it's like to teach English there. Many people know what it's like to teach English in China, so I thought I'd compare TEFLing (not international schools) in Peru and China.

Here is a basic summary of what it's like to TEFL in both countries. 

Salary About $1000-$1600 a month.
Jobs in the south and big cities pay more but may not include accommodation.
About $700-$1500 a month. Hourly pay is usually about $10 an hour. Institutes usually pay hourly.                            
Flights Included. You usually get half of your flight paid for after six months and the other half at the end of your contract. Usually not included.
Accommodation Usually included or a stipend is given. Usually not included.
Visa Legally you should get a Z (work) visa, though some places will have you work on an f (business) visa or an L (tourist visa). Most places will not get you a visa and will either hire people who already have visas or people on tourist visas.
Types of jobs Kindergarten, institute, and university jobs are the most common. Most jobs are at institutes. Universities do hire native English speakers, but few will go through the trouble to get work visas.
Contracts 12 months for kindergartens and institutes. 10 months for universities with some universities paying you during the two month vacation if you renew your contract with them. 12 month contracts are the norm, though if you're on a tourist visa you might not sign a contract at all.
Extra work The British Council often looks for IELTS examiners. You can also find private students. Many teachers work at a couple different places as well as teach private students.

If you're looking for more info about TEFLing, you can find a lot of articles about teaching in China and teaching in Peru at TEFL Tips. If you decide to go to Peru, you should start learning the language. Knowing Spanish will help you assimilate to the culture and you'll be able to communicate easier.


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