How to Teach English Abroad (In six Easy Steps)
Have you ever thought about leaving your boring life behind for a new one full of exciting adventures, new people and unique experiences? Maybe in an exotic new country like Colombia or Japan?
Teaching English abroad might be for you! With tons of exciting countries opening up their doors to young recent college graduates looking to make a difference in the world while having a great time doing it, TEFL teaching is an incredibly easy field to get into.
Here’s how to teach English abroad in six easy steps.
1. Take a TEFL Course
This is perhaps the most important step in becoming an English teacher, becoming qualified. TEFL (along with CELTA/TESOL) is an internationally recognised course that is a requirement by pretty much all employers to work at their schools.
One can take the TEFL onsite or online and there are pros and cons to each, but online courses are generally a far better bang for your buck.
Not all TEFL courses are created equal though, so make sure to do some research before you sign up! Make sure your TEFL provider is fully accredited and has good reviews online before signing up.
Most employers also require at least 100 hours of TEFL coursework, so don’t waste your time with anything less than that.
2. Decide Where you Want to Teach
Now the most fun part of the whole process is deciding where you want to teach! There are many many fun and exciting destinations with a high demand for TEFL teachers.
Some destinations like China, Japan and the Middle East pay top dollar for English teachers and are ideal for anyone serious about making a life long career out of teaching English.
Other Places like Europe and Latin America pay a lot less and are great for someone looking to try teaching English abroad for a year or two as a way to finance sustainable travelling in a destination they’ve always wanted to see.
Whatever place you choose, make sure to research everything thoroughly from climate, to cost of living and expected salary.
3. Go Through the Interview Process
Once you have decided where you want to live, it’s time to get in touch with your TEFL academy about placement to teach English abroad!
Any good TEFL academy will offer placement assistance (steer clear of any that don’t!) and they should be helping you every step of the way until you land your interview. They will help you tailor a resume and cover letter specific to the schools they work with before sending them out to employers.
The employers will then get in touch with you to schedule a Skype interview! As the employers will likely be in different time zones, there’s a good chance that your interview will be at a very odd hour, early morning or late at night.
Whatever the hour, make sure to look fresh, alert and presentable! Have a shower, drink some coffee and wear a nice shirt and tie (or blouse for the ladies). As long as you have done some research, (the TEFL academy should steer you in the right direction) the interview should go fine and you will receive an acceptance email within a couple weeks!
If deciding which destination to pick was the best part, filling out the paperwork is undoubtedly the worst.
Now is the time to look into flights, get criminal record checks, gather documents, fill out forms and wait in long lines at international embassies.
Every country is different and your school will send you precise instructions on how to apply for the necessary Visa, make sure to follow them to a T.
You will also want to begin the process as early as possible, the bureaucracy can take an incredibly long time and it is very likely that additional steps will be added along the way as thing inevitably go wrong but stand strong, you will get through it eventually with a crisp new visa in your passport to teach English abroad!
5. Wrap up your Current Life
Now that you have a job and visa, it’s time to start putting your affairs in order. You will have to quit your current job and leave your apartment. You will also have a ton of other things to wrap up like perhaps selling your car or putting your possessions in storage.
This is also a time of spending a lot of money. You will be buying your plane ticket for one, but there will be added expenses of travelling gear and appropriate clothes.
You will need a new teaching wardrobe consisting of business casual clothing as well as climate appropriate clothes for when you’re not teaching. Quality luggage is also a necessity, have at least one large suitcase that fits everything as well as a mid sized backpack for your inevitable weekend and holiday excursions. There’s a good chance you also won’t get your preferred brands of personal care/beauty products so make sure you stock up! Don’t overpack though, you can always buy more stuff when you get there.
Another thing to look into is vaccinations. Do your research and speak to a doctor before getting anything, every place has different illnesses and you will need different inoculations depending on where you are going.
6. Get on the Plane
It’s done. All your affairs are in order, your bags are packed and goodbyes said. Get a ride to the airport, check your bags and step on board, your adventure teaching English abroad begins now!