Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a job waiting for them as soon as they graduate college and, even once graduated, the search can be time-consuming and seriously tough. On the other hand, you might not be interested in starting a potentially life-long career right away.
A lot of us are just looking forward to having time to figure out who we are outside of studying. But if you’re on the fence about your next steps after college, why not consider TEFL? It stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and it allows you to travel the world, get work experience and get paid.
Teaching English abroad has become a very popular path for recent college graduates and there are so many reasons why. If you’re fluent in English and have a college degree then you are in a very fortunate position to have your pick of where to teach.
Why TEFL abroad?
Teaching English abroad won’t be easy, but it sure will be a worthwhile experience. Living and working in a country different to your own will teach so many things – your students won’t be the only ones learning!
Living completely independently, overcoming language barriers, getting used to different customs, and absorbing yourself in a new culture will be incredibly character building.
What do I need to be an English teacher?
Besides fluency in English, what else do you need to be an English teacher? Well, it all depends on where you want to go and who your employer is. For example, qualifying for a work visa in Asia (excluding Cambodia) and the Middle East means you’ll need to have a degree. It tends to be unimportant what you’ve majored in, you just need evidence of having graduated.
Some countries/employers may only hire native English speakers or those who have a degree or passport from an English-speaking country. Other countries will have age requirements such as being over 21 or under 70.
Wherever you do go, it’s likely that having a TEFL certificate will be essential, if not highly prioritised. The better the course you take, the more chance you’ll have of being hired by a great employer.
Because requirements can vary so much, we can’t stress enough how important it is to do extensive research before applying for any jobs. This will save time and avoid potential disappointment. There are endless job opportunities opening all the time that are within your reach if you’ve done enough research.
You’ll also need lots of enthusiasm, patience, and a great work ethic so that you can engage with students, manage classes, and have a long-lasting impact on their experience learning English.
Getting qualified to TEFL as a student
If you’re considering teaching abroad, it’s highly recommended that you invest in a 120-hour TEFL course from a well-accredited provider. The course can be completed entirely online within the space of 6 months. Most people take much less time than this though. You have the time to do it at your own pace meaning you can absolutely fit it around your studies.
Deciding where to teach
Some people know exactly where they want to teach and others have absolutely no idea. Fear not if it’s a little overwhelming. While there are so many places you could go, you’ll find that EFL teachers who have travelled to many different corners of the world each have fantastic tales to tell and have made memories that will last a lifetime.
You won’t get rich teaching English abroad but there are definitely some places that’ll pay you well enough to live very comfortably. Maybe you want to make enough money to travel far and wide during your time off. Or maybe you want to return home with more savings than you left. EFL positions with the best wages can be found in China, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East.
Often, jobs in these countries will offer you additional benefits such as flight reimbursements or accommodation stipends. Although the wage is higher than most TEFL jobs in these countries, the cost of living is higher too so that’s worth bearing in mind when comparing locations.
If you’re conscious of your cash and want to keep spending to a minimum when living abroad, some of the most affordable TEFL destinations include Spain, Italy, Mexico, Vietnam and Thailand.
Plan in advance and get applying!
The more proactive you are in planning your move abroad, the better. Qualify to TEFL with a well-accredited provider to give yourself the best odds of securing a job quickly. Do your research, find out where you’d like to teach and if you’re eligible for a visa. Keep an open mind and send off multiple applications and once you’re hired you can start planning your move!
The adventure never has to end as an EFL teacher. So, are you ready to start yours?