Are You Really Ready to Teach English Abroad?

Nomad and ex-TEFL English teacher Taylor helps identify what you need to ask yourself, and what to look for in opportunities before you make the big move.

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Teaching English abroad is a great opportunity to escape daily norms and experience life in new cultural surrounds. While it may seem like an easy decision to make, it can be a daunting task with so much information available online. Here's a little FAQ to help get you started.

Is Teaching English Right for You?

There are a few crucial questions you need to ask yourself to determine if teaching is an appropriate step for you to explore.

Are you ready to commit? Teaching English is a job that needs to be taken seriously. Most contracts are one year, some six months, and rarely will you find any that are 3-4 months.

Teaching is hard work. You need to understand that you’ll be working mostly, and traveling occasionally – as a benefit. If that sits well with you, then it’s time to move onto the next question.

Why do you want to teach English? If you’re genuinely interested in helping your students, you are the ideal candidate. Your top priorities should be getting to know the place you’re living in, and experiencing the culture first-hand, over traveling every weekend.

An ideal set of skills for the job include: organization, patience, confidence, and the ability to think on your feet.

In’s and Outs of Teaching English Overseas

Anywhere you teach will require you to have some kind of teaching certification. There are a number to choose from such as TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, and more.

They range in price and difficulty, but they all cover the basics of learning how to teach English. Some have specializations for teaching children or business learners. It’s recommended that you have at least a 100-hour certification, as many countries require this as the minimum.

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How to Pick Where’s Right for You

The most important deciding factor is to know what you want to get out of this experience. Is there a language you’d like to learn – perhaps Spanish somewhere in South America? Or is there a city you’ve dreamt of living in – maybe somewhere in Europe?

Pay is also a big factor to consider. Are you okay with just breaking even and enjoying the experience, or do you hope to save? Saving can easily be done in countries such as South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

If you have your teaching certificate and a college degree in any subject, you can teach almost anywhere in the world. If you don’t have a college degree, your options are more limited – but many are available in countries such as in Cambodia, Spain, and Argentina.

Many countries in Asia and the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, are in need of English teachers the most.

Are You Really Ready for This?

You understand that teaching English is not an easy job. You know that you may not be able to save money but are satisfied with the experience you’ll have from living abroad. You can make a time commitment to the job and your students.

If you agree with those statements, then you’re ready to teach English abroad. Your first step is to get your teaching certification. Second is to start applying for jobs! Sites such as ESL Cafe, ESL Job Board, and ESL Employment will help you find available job opportunities across the globe.

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