If you want to teach English as a foreign language, it is important to make sure you are as well prepared as you can possibly be before entering a classroom. It is equally important to have a good understanding of the country and culture you are hoping to make your home while you are teaching. Below we look at some important aspects of etiquette in different countries in Latin America. The countries of Latin America are an increasingly popular destination for newly qualified English teachers. While they are generally more relaxed when it comes to formal rules of etiquette than other regions of the world, there are, as with any country, particular social norms that any visitor should make the effort to understand.
Manners/Behaviour: Although Colombians are generally relaxed about punctuality, as a foreigner you will be expected to be on time.
Communication: Shake hands when meeting people and remember to smile. Do not beckon people with your index finger use your whole hand faced palm down. Be prepared to take some time over greetings as it is considered a sign of respect.
Manners/Behaviour: Punctuality is important to Costa Ricans and you are expected to be on time for appointments. When invited to a person's house it is appropriate to bring a gift of flowers, chocolate or alcohol. You should avoid putting your feet up on any furniture that is not expressly designed for that purpose.
Communication: Handshakes are the common way of greeting each other. It is fine to talk about politics in Costa Rica but you should avoid discussing religion.
Manners/Behaviour: Bargaining is not expected in shops or markets. Punching your left palm with your right fist is an obscene gesture. Gifts should be opened when they are received. Arriving late for social events is usual and you should try to arrive 15 to 30 minutes late.
Communication: Maintaining eye contact in conversation is important. Chileans stand quite close when talking with you. Avoid discussing politics or human rights issues.
Manners/Behaviour: Using the 'OK' hand signal is considered very rude and should be avoided. Punctuality is not important in Brazil and you should be prepared to wait for people to arrive late. Personal subjects such as salary, job etc. should be avoided in conversation.
Communication: Shake hands with people you meet and maintain eye contact. Friends will often hug each other on meeting. Be prepared to take time greeting and bidding farewell to people. Using a person's title is not important and first names are often used.
Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.