Answers to the Biggest Questions about Teaching English Abroad
You’re thinking about teaching English abroad, but you want to know what it’s really like. Here are 4 areas of teaching English abroad that you should know before making a decision.
If you’re thinking about teaching English abroad, you probably have plenty of questions. After all, it’s not like you’re familiar with hopping onto a plane, heading to the other side of the world, and teaching complete strangers how to speak English!
In order to make things a little less intimidating, we’ve got answers to your biggest questions:
1. “How long will I be gone for?”
Each teaching English abroad job comes with its own specific contract, but typically, you can count on committing to 6-12 months in your new country. So, you’ll need to be prepared to pick up and move for an extended period of time.
The good news is, if you totally fall in love with teaching English abroad, you’ll likely be able to do it for as long as you want. Even though your particular job may end, there is usually a never-ending stream of job openings. So, when your first job ends, if you want to keep the experience going, you can move onto another one!
In fact, if you work with a good TEFL certification program, you’ll have access to all kinds of job resources after you graduate — that you can use for the rest of your life. That way, if you want to teach English overseas as a career, you can do it!
2. “Where will I live?”
There is — literally — a world of opportunities! Because so many people in China and Japan want to learn English for business purposes, there is a big demand for English teachers throughout Asia. There are also a number of opportunities in South America.
Just remember — you may not end up in a big city. In fact, many of the teaching opportunities are in suburbs and smaller areas. You may not be in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, but by being “off the beaten path” you can actually learn a lot more about the country itself!
3. “Is it hard to get certified?”
As long as you’re willing to take a 150-hour course, it’s very easy! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need any prior teaching experience in order to teach English overseas. In fact, you don’t even need a college degree! For many people, this certification process is much more attractive and far less expensive than spending years in a college or university in order to get a teaching job at home.
4. “Besides the experience itself, what other perks are there?”
You will see the benefits of teaching English abroad long after you return to stateside life. Simply by putting it on a resume, you’re showing potential employers that you have what it takes to head out on your own, into an unfamiliar situation, and thrive. That will automatically put you ahead of the pack!
Teaching English Overseas — It Can Change Your Life!
Maybe you’ve never thought about being a teacher before. Or, maybe you’ve always dreamed of being a teacher — but thought you had to do it in a “traditional” classroom here in the States.
Either way, you need to give some serious thought about teaching English overseas.
It can change your life!
Imagine packing up and heading to a foreign country, where things are completely different from everything you have ever known. Sure, moving to a place where you don’t know a single soul — let alone doing it on the other side of the world — sounds intimidating.
But think of how liberating it can be!
If you can successfully fly to a new country, stand up in front of a group of strangers, and teach them something new, what else are you capable of? For the rest of your life, you’ll have added confidence and independence by teaching English overseas that you may never have realized any other way.
And, of course, you’ll have some awesome stories to tell!
Talk to anyone who has spent any time teaching English overseas, and they’ll have enough interesting, fascinating stories to fill a book. From the culture to the food, to the students, you’ll come home with amazing experiences. While all of your friends and family members watch travel TV shows wondering what every nook and cranny of the globe is really like, you’ll be there finding out!
Plus, when you teach English abroad, you can rest easy knowing that you’re doing something that other people really appreciate. After all, millions of people all over the world want to learn English — whether it’s to get a leg-up on the job market or to simply enjoy English music and movies. By teaching them what they so desperately want to learn, you’ll make a real difference in your students’ lives.
Even better? They’ll make a real difference in your life, too.
In fact, part of this experience is doing some learning of your own. You’ll get to head off the beaten path and avoid seeing your new country through the eyes of a tourist. Instead, your students will be able to take you under their wings and introduce you to new customs, new foods, and new places that you never would have known existed if you relied solely on some travel guidebook.
When you’re old and grey and you sit down with your grandkids to tell them stories about “back in the day”, what kind of experiences do you want to be able to share? By teaching English overseas, you’ll get to share experiences and lessons that you never would have gotten any other way!
3 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Teaching English Overseas
If you’re dreaming of a career where you can see the world and truly make a difference, you need to take a serious look at teaching English overseas. While you may know some of the basics about how these jobs work, there are 3 things you might not know:
1. You don’t need formal teaching experience
Even though you’ll be considered an English teacher to your students, you don’t need a special teaching degree — or even a college degree, although a degree is preferred — to get one of these jobs! Instead, you need your TEFL certification.
How do you get it?
You have to take a 150-hour course (130 hours are in the classroom and 20 hours are hands-on student teaching) from an accredited program. Once you pass, your certification never expires — meaning you can teach English all over the world for as long as you want, without having to take any kind of continuing education courses.
2. The job market is totally different than the one here at home
If you don’t want to get caught up in the pink slips that are plaguing all of your friends here at home, teaching English overseas is a great way to get around them! There is such a demand for TEFL certification professionals that you should have no trouble finding a job.
And, in order to make things even easier, a good TEFL course will offer lifetime job placement assistance.
3. You don’t have to head to a big city
When you hear the words “Teach English abroad”, you probably think of a bustling city somewhere on the other side of the world, where everyone wants to learn English so that they can advance their own career objectives. That’s certainly the case for many of the students.
However, that’s not why all of them want to learn English.
There are also plenty of people who want to learn English for other reasons — like being able to watch English TV shows and movies, or being able to sing along with English songs, or for the sheer enjoyment of learning something new. And, in many cases, these people live outside the hustle and bustle of a big city — meaning there are plenty of teaching opportunities in suburban and rural areas.
For some teachers, they wouldn’t have it any other way! By getting out of the big cities they can learn more about their country. They can get more of a small-town feel and learn just as much from their students as their students learn from them.
So, if the thought of heading to a giant, unfamiliar city scares you, don’t let that stop you from pursuing a career teaching English overseas. There’s a lot to be said for small towns.