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Considering Teaching English in Calama

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Prescott, Arizona
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Considering Teaching English in Calama

I would welcome so information about Calama Chile. First off, due to damage from a broken neck I must live in a dry climate, Calama will be fine for my health. I live at 5,200' above sea level in a high country desert, Northern Arizona. Will Calama feel familiar to me?

I am male and 43. I have lots of visible tattoos, is that a problem there? I will learn basic Spanish before going.

How is the health care? I need access to a psychiatrist and a doctor who can handle my pain management needs. Is Medical Marijuana legal there?

The Oxford Seminar site states that the mean salary would be 1,000,000 clp a month, maybe $2,000 US a month, give or take. What would a nice 2 bedroom place cost? How about the cost of a maid or cleaning service? Can I live and work in the city riding a bicycle and have no car?

There are not many places with the climate I need, especially when I eliminate the Middle Eastern countries. I have always wanted to spend time below the Equator, so I can see a new night sky.

Thank you for your time,


Santiago, Chile
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for Chile, Santiago
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1. Re: Considering Teaching English in Calama

Salaries are high in Calama because most people work in the mining industry. I would not be sure that the pay of an English teacher would be the same. The climate probably meets your needs, but you would probably find medical care problematic as the private insurers may not be willing to cover you as you have a preexisting condition.

I cannot answer you questions about rent, a maid or riding a bike.

As far as I am aware medical marijuana is not legal here.

Edmonton, Canada
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2. Re: Considering Teaching English in Calama

Regarding the bike, absolutely you can get by, depending on where in the city you live, and how far you are willing to bike. Realistically if you are a decent biker, you can get from the airport (outskirts of the city) to the downtown area in about an hour.... Not a big city. So, biking is easy, but also they have Micro buses which cost 400 Pesos / equivalent to 80 cents roughly and you just have to know the number and it will take you anywhere.

It is the most well-off city financially in Chile because of the Copper mines, so things may be slightly more expensive than the rest of the country (except tourist areas...) but still much cheaper than Arizona. The weather is painfully dry. The altitude you will be okay with, the weather is something you will not experience anywhere else. Beautiful cloudless night skies where you can see all the stars. If you can appreciate the weather and the simplistic boringness of the city, then you will fall in love with the beautiful natural world of Calama.

Not sure about the rest. Hope I helped

The Chilean Central...
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3. Re: Considering Teaching English in Calama

Never been there but on a popular expat board, Calama has a reputation of being a dirty ugly city and not a destination for a foreigner to voluntarily place themselves there unless we are talking a $$$$ mining job.

Montreal, Canada
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4. Re: Considering Teaching English in Calama

Calama is growing rapidly (like most mining areas in the north of Chile), however, it still lags behind other bigger cities located in the Atacama region. You may want to try instead bigger cities such as Iquique, Arica, or Antofagasta.

5. Re: Considering Teaching English in Calama

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