Have you just finished college and are looking for the next step? Do you love to travel and need a change of scenery? Does the idea of working at a job that allows you to help people appeal to you?
If any of these sounds like you, teaching in foreign countries may be just what you’re looking for. Luckily for you, English teachers are in high demand abroad!
Even if you’ve never considered teaching before, you might be surprised at how appealing a job like this can be.
Why Should I Teach English Abroad?
The greatest thing about teaching in foreign countries is that it allows you to experience the world. In today’s economy, it isn’t easy to find the money to travel.
However, if you decide to teach English abroad, you’ll be paid to live in an exciting new country! It’s the perfect way to jump-start your career while seeing the world.
Additionally, traveling to places outside of your comfort zone will allow you to network and make connections that you might never have been exposed to back at home. Lots of exciting people start their careers by traveling and teaching, so you’ll have the opportunity to make some great connections that will benefit you in the long-run.
Teaching abroad is also a great resume-builder, especially for those seeking to enter the education field. Being TEFL-certified is an impressive accomplishment or any teacher, and school districts will be eager to hire you.
Even if you aren’t looking to start a teaching career, spending time teaching abroad will give you valuable work experience that will impress any employer. You’ll learn to navigate other countries and cultures, work independently, communicate effectively, and become a leader for your students. These are all valuable skills in today’s industries.
What Countries Are Looking for Teachers?
There are a lot of countries that need English teachers. English is the world’s most widely spoken language; statistics show that about 1.5 billion people speak it worldwide, and only approximately 360 million of those are native speakers.
A lot of countries looking for English teachers are in Asia, but there are opportunities worldwide. Here are some of the countries where English teachers are in high demand:
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
- Czech Republic
There are lots of other countries that are looking for English teachers, so do some research before choosing a company to work for so you’ll have a chance to be assigned to the places that interest you most.
What Background Do I Need?
If you’re interested in learning how to teach English as a foreign language, but are concerned that you don’t have the right background, you’re in luck! Teaching in foreign countries is open to anyone who holds a Bachelor’s degree. You don’t have to have a degree specific to teaching or English to take advantage of these exciting opportunities.
Schools abroad often look for American teachers for other subjects; these jobs do require more teaching background. However, anyone with the proper certification can teach in a language school. The students in these schools are both adults and children, most of who are looking to learn English as a second (or possibly third) language.
Some schools will offer jobs to anyone who speaks English fluently, regardless of educational background.
However, you should approach these opportunities with caution. These schools will typically offer lower salaries and less desirable working conditions than those that have higher standards for teachers. You’re better off working toward the proper certifications and seeking employment in a more reputable school.
What Training Should I Pursue?
If you want to train to teach English as a foreign language, the first thing that you need to do is get ESL-certified. TEFL certifications are the primary way to go about this.
There are numerous options for getting TEFL certified. There are online courses as well as in-person programs that can earn you your certification; some programs offer a combination of both. You can take these courses in the United States or abroad. The total course hours of these programs typically range from 100-240 hours.
TEFL training programs will give you all of the basics that you need to learn how to teach English as a foreign language. Topics include:
- Planning lessons
- Managing your classroom
- Teaching language skills
- Practicing lessons
- Using and finding resources
Some courses will also offer more specialized guidance on teaching English for specific circumstances, such as business settings.
Whether you have teaching experience or not, these lessons give valuable insight on how to handle the particular classroom scenarios you’ll encounter when teaching English abroad.
How Do I Choose the Best TEFL Program for Me?
A quick internet search will show you that there are a lot of TEFL programs out there. How do you pick the TEFL programs that are best for you?
The first thing that you should do is to make sure you’re researching multiple different programs. This way, you can compare the offerings of the various programs to make sure that you are getting everything that you need to begin teaching abroad. A good program should offer at least 100 hours of coursework and provide a TEFL certificate at the end.
One way to determine the quality of the program is to seek testimonials from former students. Are those who completed this program currently teaching overseas in their desired country? Were they happy with their learning experience and career outcomes? These are essential questions to ask before committing to a program.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to the program coordinators to ask questions. Quality programs will have staff that is eager to help.
What Else Do I Need to Do?
Once you have your certification and have chosen a company or school to work for, remember that teaching overseas isn’t as simple as packing a bag and hopping on a plane. You’ll need the proper visas before you can begin work outside of your native country. Companies that specialize in placing teachers abroad should be able to help with this process.
Once your visa is in hand, you’re ready to begin your adventure and start helping learners across the globe!