Planning to teach abroad? Where to start, and where can you go? Let us give you some basic info!
If you’re an adventurer at heart,
you know that travelling is one of the best ways to make yourself happy. If you pair your desire to travel with a purpose with teaching abroad, you’re already getting an outline of a great, fulfilling career, but it’s not always easy to combine these two passions. Luckily, English skills are much sought-after all over the world, and if you’re eager to impart your knowledge and see what other countries have to offer, then teaching abroad is a great choice. If you are
Who is teaching abroad for?
Not for the timid, that’s for sure. A popular notion is that teaching abroad is only suitable for students taking a gap year, but in truth, it’s a great career choice for people who need something different in their life.
If you’re stuck in a rut and your wanderlust is making you crave a change in environment, going abroad and dedicating yourself to young students is a very good way to challenge yourself.
This can be a complete and serious career change, but it can also be fun and temporary. Bear in mind that you’ll probably be living in a new place surrounded by people you won’t know very well initially—this could be a little scary at first, but it can also be a part of the appeal. The point is this: if you love teaching and travelling, this is a good option.
What certification do you need?
If you plan to live in a non-English speaking country, you’ll need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. Certain countries like China have plenty of learning centers where teachers can get their accreditation—for example, school programs like the Monkey Tree ESL are a good choice if you want to perfect your English and pick up all the necessary teaching skills. You can also get a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate and teach foreign students who live in a country where English is the predominant language. If you want to know more about the difference between the two, you can read here. These are the basic courses that you need if you want to do this job, but they shouldn’t be too difficult to finish if you’re serious about the whole thing.
What kind of skills are required?
Besides the ability to make learning fun, it’s also a good idea to work on your communication skills and your social graces—you might be moving to a completely new country where you won’t know anyone, and it’s on you to make friends and create bonds with colleagues, students, and others around you. If you’re moving to a country where English is the primary language, consider that getting accreditation to teach might be more challenging and will require hard work. For example, teaching in the UK might mean getting a CELTA which can take around a year to complete.
If you wish to volunteer and teach in Third World countries, your biggest challenge might be the lack of resources. However, the students are usually very eager to learn, and there’s something very special and profound about helping them gain new skills that will help them live better lives.
What does teaching abroad look like?
It depends on where you end up going. Cambodia will offer a different experience than South Korea, so try applying for jobs in countries that appeal to you somehow. Remember, while this can be a very fun job, it’s still a job and it requires you to be responsible—you’ll be helping shape young minds and you need to know what you’re doing. Also, prepare for a bout of loneliness that might strike you when you first arrive. It will go away once you’ve adjusted, so don’t worry too much if things feel a little overwhelming initially. Persist, enjoy your job, and you’ll be just fine.
If you love teaching and travelling, this is a great career choice for you. Now that you know what your options are, it’s time to take the plunge and follow your dreams!