So, you’ve traveled abroad and know how life-changing it is. You’ve seen the rewards of international travel and enjoy the little challenges of getting lost, figuring out local customs, and breaking language barriers. You love seeking out adventures and gaining new cultural perspectives. Most of all, the idea of packing a suitcase and moving to another country is exciting and appealing. If this is you, you might consider making money to travel by teaching English abroad!
Amauri and I have visited over 50 countries now and lived in 9. By far the most popular question we get from people is “how do you pay for all your travels?”. Somehow, people think there is some sort of trick to living this type of lifestyle, but really – it’s doable for most people. From our experiences, teaching English is the easiest way to get paid to live in another country and travel the world. Here we want to give 5 reasons why you should consider teaching English abroad and highlight how to do it.
Why Should I Teach English Abroad?
1. The Demand
1 billion people enroll in English classes worldwide yearly. That is a lot of students that need a teacher! With this amount of demand, the possibilities are endless and gives you power over what country you want to live in. You don’t need a degree in education or any prior teaching experience (although a certification is recommended!). While there are more opportunities for recent grads, many retirees can teach English as well. This was appealing to us, as I was beyond the typical “recent grad” and got certified at 30.
2. Living Abroad
Most likely you’re sole reason for wanting to teach English is to experience life in another country for an extended amount of time. Instead of that 1 week vacation that cost you an arm and a leg, teaching English will allow you to live comfortably in another country. Financial benefits aside, you will be able to completely immerse yourself in a different culture and live like a real local. For us, the unique challenges and experiences that come along with being an expat are exciting. Figuring out mundane tasks like grocery shopping, the complexities of learning a new language, the friendships formed, and the expansion of our own personal perspectives on the world are the reasons we love living abroad.
Here is the beauty of teaching English – there is a need almost anywhere! Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America are all continents that are actively recruiting teachers every year. In fact, most of our English teaching friends tend to hop around quite easily, again – using the certification to travel and get paid.
3. Opportunities to Travel
Your chances to travel will increase. Many companies offer vacation days in addition to holiday breaks, giving you plenty of time to explore surrounding countries. Teachers often gain a portfolio of students to tutor privately so that they can create their own flexible schedule. Even better, many teachers intentionally create gaps in their contracts, giving themselves free time to travel in between jobs.
4. Making a Difference
While you initially may have considered teaching English overseas for your own personal fulfillment, you must also consider that the reason many students want to learn English is for better opportunities in regards to employment and education. More often than not, students just want to create a better future for themselves and their families. By teaching them English, you can play a key role in helping them achieve these goals. Win win!
5. Personal Growth
It’s inevitable that you will gain some personal development in moving to another country. Immersing yourself in another culture and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone isn’t easy. It’s scary to leave behind everything that is familiar to you, but it’s also liberating. You are given the opportunity to re-define yourself. Through our experiences we were forced to accept and adapt to the different values and ideas from cultures that are not our own. We’ve learned that our way is definitely not the only way and rolling with the punches is a life skill that takes continuous effort. Thus, we have become more confident, adaptable, resourceful, and open-minded in our abilities because of our travels.
How do I do it?
Are you convinced that teaching English abroad is for you? Your first step is to get qualified. If you’re a native English speaker, you do have an advantage, but contrary to what you might think being born in an English-speaking country does not make you a good English teacher. Do you remember past perfect tense? Phrasal verbs? Colloquial contractions? (I sure didn’t!) We’re guessing it’s been a long time since you’ve heard these terms, so it helps immensely to get a refresher. For this reason, we highly recommend getting certified. In fact, most countries and schools will require you to get a TEFL certificate (teaching English as a foreign language), TESOL certificate (teaching English to speakers of other languages), or CELTA (certificate of English language teaching to adults).
We spent 4 weeks in Prague taking the TEFL course, meeting awesome new people (many that we are still good friends with), exploring the Czech Republic – and loving every minute! Prague is a vibrant, fairytale city with a large expat community and plenty of resources for a new teacher. It is also quite easy to get a work permit compared to other EU countries, so if you’re keen to work in Europe (and you don’t have an EU passport) we highly recommend putting Prague on top of your list.
You can find a teaching job without being certified, but a certification will make your life a heck of a lot easier. My 4 week intensive course gave me real life preparation for being an actual teacher with feedback from an experienced professional. You will also be able to create a network of friends in the business that you can rely on throughout your career. There are online courses that are typically cheaper and faster, but in our opinion they do not prepare you enough for a real live classroom.
If you would like to get qualified to teach English, you could take the Trinity Cert. TESOL (http://www.oxfordtefl.com/oxford-tefl-courses/tefl-certificate/) course in one of their locations. Contact our friend Karin at OxfordTEFL (email email@example.com) for more information.
Are you ready to take the leap?
If you’ve been infected with wanderlust – that desire to explore new places and experience new cultures like we have been, we urge you to get out there and live the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. We know how hard it is. We had a great life back home in Florida, but we wanted more. We had an internal voice inside our head’s telling us that this was the right path if we wanted to fulfill our dream of traveling the world. It was scary, but the thought of not trying was even scarier. The risk of failure was worth the adventure! As a result, traveling has made us better people individually and stronger as a couple.
English is in demand around the world, creating jobs almost anywhere, which makes it the easiest way to get paid to travel the world. If you are considering a change of lifestyle, we hope this information inspires you to take the plunge into teaching abroad. It is that simple – you just have to want it badly enough and be willing to put yourself out there.
To continue your research, there is a plethora of information-rich resources online to get you started. The best resource we’ve come across for all things teaching English is Dave’s ESL Cafe (www.eslcafe.com). So get out there and experience it for yourself! There is no reward in life without risk, right?
Dave’s ESL Cafe – www.eslcafe.com
Karin at OxfordTEFL (email firstname.lastname@example.org) for certification information