News: Teach Abroad in Colombia - Dec 4, 2019
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Wednesday, December 4, 2019School Spotlights

Teach Abroad in Colombia

Founded in 1956 as the British Colombo College, Colegio Colombo Británico (CCB) is a vibrant International Baccalaureate (IB) World School with international accreditation by the Council of International Schools. In 1976, CCB was first school in Colombia to offer the IB Diploma Programme, and the second in Latin America to do so. The school now also offers the IB Primary Years (PYP) and Middle Years Programmes (MYP).

CCB rests on an expansive, green campus in the warm and friendly city of Cali, best known for its vibrant nightlife and salsa dancing. Cali offers a rich cultural scene—such as concerts, museum, and guided tours around town—as well as outdoor recreation due to its proximity to natural landscapes, like Pico de Loro and Río Pance. With an abundance of tropical trees, lush and colorful plants, wildlife, and a warm climate year-round, the region offers an excellent quality of life. While some teachers choose to in more rural surroundings closer to the school, others prefer the cafes, restaurants, galleries, and other amenities of neighborhoods closer to the city center, such as St. Antonio. Cali and the surrounding area definitely offer something for all tastes!

CCB, also accredited by the Colombian Ministry of Education, currently enrolls 1,245 pre-K–12, day students, the majority of whom are Colombian, with 11% from North America and the U.K. The total teaching staff of 150 includes 25 teachers from North America and the U.K, and the student to teacher ratio is 8:1. The curriculum—comprised of inquiry-based learning, with the Reggio Emilia approach in the early years and continuing through the three levels of the IB Programme—prepares the students for the challenges of higher education.

Over the years, CCB has purchased surrounding land to expand its campus. Today, it boasts extensive recreational areas and well-equipped academic facilities: chemistry, physics, biology, and technology labs; an information center and libraries; auditoriums; sports areas with courts, pools, and an indoor gym; a cafeteria; and offices for administration and maintenance.

CCB integrates technology from pre-K through Grade 12. Very early on, students become familiar with coding, robotics, and design technology. One of CCB’s pedagogical goals is to promote differentiated student-centered inquiry learning, and technology is a valuable tool and catalyst to promote student projects. CCB renovated an area adjacent to the art room to become an Exploratorium, a high-tech space for students to engage in intuitive programming, robotics, video and audio production, and more. There, the students are able to realize their digital designs in physical form. For students in Grades 11 and 12 who are interested in further developing their skills in this area, CCB also offers the IB Diploma Design Technology course and access to engineering faculty and labs at a local university. In this way, the school has created an articulated pathway for students interested in applied technology careers, including architecture, industrial design, communications and engineering.

A combination of curricular and extracurricular activities focuses on developing and strengthening student talent, while also providing healthy options for free time. Choices for sport include table tennis, artistic gymnastics, skating, basketball, swimming, football, volleyball, and judo. Through a House Program emulating the British school tradition of assigning students to a “house,” students also compete against one another in sports. Students may also join scouts or culinary arts programs. Art programs include visual art, music, theatre, chorus, fiddle, drums, dance, and ballet. CCB is known for the quality of its annual musicals, in which 100 students from all grades participate through acting, dancing, singing, and performing the music. The most recent production, Aladdin, attracted more than 4,500 spectators for four performances!

CCB encourages students, starting in Grade 6, to have transformative multicultural experiences through school trips. Excursions to England, the U.S., France, and Canada have brought them into contact with other students from all over the globe. Because Colombia has such a rich diversity of climates and cultures, it lends itself to year-round field trips all across the country.

CCB prefers to hire experienced single teachers, but will consider hiring interns; married teachers, including those with a non-teaching spouse; teaching couples who are not married; experienced teachers lacking certification; and those certified in a non-English speaking country. All international hires must have at least three years of teaching experience and must possess an academic degree in the subject they will be teaching. There is no age limit to obtain a work visa in Colombia. Headmaster John Zuman describes the “heart” of the school, Corazón Colombo:

. . . [which is ] present in each and every one of our students, parents, teachers, alumni, directors, and staff. . .We pour our hearts into everything. Into our academic chores. How we treat one another. How we care for our infrastructure and the nature that surrounds us. We pour our hearts into what we do even well beyond our school years. “Corazón Colombo” represents all those unforgettable and unique memories that transpired here, in this School.

The CCB benefits package includes a monthly housing stipend, a moving allowance, and the loan of some basic furniture. Airfare is provided at the start of the contract and every two years thereafter. Tuition is fully covered for two children. Additional benefits include bus transport to and from the school as well as staff programs for sports and health/fitness. Extensive professional development is offered, primarily for and by the IB. In fact, all teachers are expected to take required IB courses—in-person or on-line—in their first year at CCB. Employees pay a percentage to receive local health insurance coverage, and there are local employment opportunities for a non-teaching spouse. Because of Colombia’s low cost of living, the CCB package allows a family of four to live modestly on one salary.

To gain access to Colegio Colombo Britanico, Colombia’s full profile on the Search Associates database, including a list of all open positions, candidates can apply for membership by clicking here. Candidates already registered can easily access the school profile directly through their dashboards.

Please note: The information presented about this school was valid on the date published. This information may change, and the most up-to-date information can be found on the school profile.

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