You’ve heard the rumors. But are they true? Traveling the world while getting paid. But how? Whether you’re an aimless 20 year old or a 60 year old looking for another life adventure, and anywhere in between, then teaching English abroad is probably a phrase that has peaked your interest. So, where do you start?
Step 1: Get TEFL Certified
You don’t need a Bachelor’s degree to get hired at some schools, but you do need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certification. Are you eligible to take a TEFL course? Here’s the checklist: be over 18, have a high school degree, and be a native (or near native) English speaker.
There are a lot of TEFL programs out there, so you have to know what you’re looking for. A legitimate program will be accredited, offer 140 hours of training, plenty of teaching practice, and a guaranteed job placement upon graduating. You can go the online or on-site route, the former being cheaper but taken less seriously, while the on-site programs are more expensive yet highly recommended. Once you complete your TEFL program, the battle is halfway over.
Step 2: Choose A Destination
Depending on the kind of experience you’re looking to take away from teaching abroad, then the location will vary along with it. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Latin America is more culturally welcoming and relaxed when it comes to visa processing, but the pay isn’t that great and it’s not that easy to move around amongst countries.
In China, Korea, and Japan the pay is great with fantastic infrastructure and excellent work conditions! However, there are a lot of hoops to jump through in order to get there with their selectivism along with vaccinations before departing and after arriving. The culture is also a complete brain warp in comparison to the West you’re used to.
Europe is fractured into 3 regions: Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, and Russia), Developed Europe (France, Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia), and Developing Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece). There’s good pay, it’s easy to travel, and there’s a lot to see that’s been romanticized for centuries. However, Europe prefers EU citizens, so you might have to get used to rejection before you find the school looking for Americans.
So, it all comes down to which culture allures you and the kind of lifestyle you want to embody. Feed your sense of wonder and let yourself fall in love with a place.
Step 3: Job Hunting
Looking for the school that’s right for you mostly entails figuring out what kind of teacher you want to be. It’s time to get a little introspective, and consider these points:
What age of the students do you wish to teach?
Which work schedule do you prefer?
What type of institution do you wish to work with (K-12 School or Language Center)?
Do you want to teach an Established Curriculum or a Holistic Approach?
Are you looking for Part-time or Full-time positions?
Once you’ve decided what you want from a school, you can start contacting recruiters! If went with an accredited TEFL course, then they will usually do the contacting for you once you narrow it down to 5 countries. Then put your fancy shoes on because it’s interview time! The school will provide you with any additional details, and you’re off!