A Beginners Guide To Teaching English Abroad

by Ed Forteau /
Ed Forteau's picture
Jun 25, 2012 / 0 comments

Teaching English abroad is no longer as easy to do as it was, but that is not a bad thing. The days when native speakers could qualify to teach English abroad simply by virtue of being native speakers are pretty much gone. However, this means that there is much more quality in terms of the training offered to aspiring teachers and also that there is much more chance of you converting your experience of teaching abroad into meaningful professional development.



The first thing to consider then, when thinking about going abroad to teach English, is how to get qualified. Many service providers ask for a degree as well as some kind of teaching qualification, so if you do not have a degree it may be a barrier to entry.



When it comes to a teaching qualification, there are a wide range of options available, of variable quality and reputation. However, employers will generally consider qualifications which involve 120 hours of study and teaching practice. The benefits of using non-native speakers of English to teach the language have also been reassessed in recent years, so do not worry of you are not a native speaker.


However, it is important to remember that attaining a qualification will cost you hundreds and possibly thousands, of pounds. If this does not sound appealing, then you may want to look at working in some countries in the Far East which tend to be more willing to employ native speakers who have a degree.


It is important to also consider what you want to gain from the experience before you commit to anything. If you are keen to give something back to the community, then voluntary service overseas might be a good idea. Volunteer organizations will also sometimes provide Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) training before you head overseas. However, if you want to earn money from your time overseas, this is not the route you should be taking.


Making Money

Earning money is a tricky subject when it comes to teaching English abroad. Many jobs will offer a salary that provides a decent standard of living in the host country, but will be largely worthless back home. If you want to save money as well as enjoy a rewarding experience, then make your choice of destination accordingly.


Once you have made a careful and considered evaluation of what your aims and motivations are, it is time to seek out a job opportunity. The best place to look for these is online and there is a specialist TEFL website available for job seekers in the UK. It is also worthwhile checking newspapers for vacancies as many service providers advertise their vacancies in the press. The jobs sections of the quality broadsheets tend to be the best places to look.


Once you have established where you will be traveling to, the last step is to do some research and reading about where you are going. If you can learn some of the local language then that will be a massive help to you, as well as creating the right impression in your new temporary home. Learn as much as you can about where you are going before you travel and don’t forget to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy as this can help to give you peace of mind so you can concentrate on enjoying yourself once at your destination.