Are you a native English speaker? Would you like to gain some experience working abroad? If yes, then teaching English as a foreign language could be for you.
Why teach abroad: Skills and experience
There are many benefits of teaching English as a foreign language including the opportunity to explore the world whilst earning a regular income. Although those teaching English abroad can expect to earn around £14,000, taxes for foreign teachers are extremely low and so are living costs.
The experience of teaching abroad is a fantastic addition to your CV and will be an opportunity for you to demonstrate countless qualities sought by employers including:
- Communication skills
- Ability to work with a diverse group of people
- Leadership skills
- Language skills
To teach English abroad you don’t need to be able to speak another language, although you can expect to pick up language skills along the way.
Where to teach: Europe or Asia
The demand for native English speakers is higher than ever especially in South East Asia, where you can often secure a teaching job without any teaching experience or TEFL (or equivalent) qualifications. If you opt to teach in Europe, America or Australia you will need TEFL qualifications to secure employment.
The difference in cultures can come as a shock to many, even more so to those with little or no travel experience. Opting for a short term programme is a good way to get a taste of whether you can live and work in a country for a longer period of time. It’s also a good choice if you’re looking to fit the experience around your studies, in the summer or winter breaks.
When it comes to flexibility, Europe offers the most in terms of short term placements and TEFL qualifications will enable you to access a wealth of opportunities.
What to teach: English and more
If you’re interested in teaching abroad but would like to vary topics, choosing to work at a summer camp instead of a school can offer a varied programme including, sports, drama and art.
How to get qualified: Online or practical
There are a range of courses and centres to choose from. Make sure that whichever course you do end up doing is officially accredited. TEFL, Cambridge (CELTA) or Trinity (TESOL) are the most recognised qualifications.
As well as numerous course providers there are also many options of how to train. These include online courses (if working outside China, South Korea and other parts of Asia these need to be supplemented with practical training) and weekend courses.
The need for English teachers across the world is so great that even if it’s not your first language there are still options for teaching. To teach English as a Second Language (ESL) you don’t have to be a native English speaker.
How to find out more
Carrying out a considerable amount of research into the working conditions of the country and the TEFL courses offered is essential to making an informed decision.
Prospects.ac.uk is a great starting point for finding out more about teaching English overseas. The site also lists a number of places where you can find vacancies such as Cactus TEFL and TEFL.com. The British Council also has an English language assistant programme with opportunities to teach in the UK and abroad.
TEFL.org.uk, International House and i-to-i are a few resources where you can start to learn more about the courses available and working and living abroad. i-to-i is an online resource which has easy to digest, but detailed information on countries where you can choose to teach. It also breaks down the TEFL acronyms so you can get to know your CELTA from your DELTA. The Guardian TEFL site is a good starting point for finding out about other people’s experiences and what the experts say. You can also come into the Careers Centre for more information.