Expat Careers: Teaching English as a Second Language
When working abroad, often times you need to be creative and resourceful in order to adapt to your new surroundings. If English is your native language, then teaching English in a foreign country – for both adults and children alike – is a viable way to get in touch with your new surroundings while earning some cash.
No prior teaching experience? Many times, this isn’t a problem depending on the country. Your first step to start teaching is proficiency in English and a desire to work with others. However, many countries will require that you have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, especially if you go through a company that specializes in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) placement.
Although it varies by location, other certifications combined with experience may serve as a replacement for a four year degree. To supplement your existing education or to get more comfortable with teaching English, there are many online and live class options available to get certified for TESL or TESOL.
Of course, you’ll want to research what the pay and requirements are for your country of choice. If flexibility is an option, one thing to keep in mind is that larger countries such as Russia or China have a higher demand for instructors and will often pay more.
Depending on if you’re already in the country or planning to be, there are several different ways to find TESL jobs. As mentioned, if you’re still in the planning phase, a credible TESL agency might be the best way to go. They can provide you with valuable information and planning that you would otherwise have to do on your own. Additionally, they often handle your living arrangements so you won’t have the stress of a new job in a foreign country along with finding a place to live.
If you’ve already an expat in your destination country, then an agency might not be the best alternative. Being in-country gives you the advantage of talking with people face-to-face and to put the word out there that you’re looking for work as an English instructor. Sometimes, your best asset is your smile and your ability to connect with others. Local publications, both online and in print, are also great places to search for TESL jobs.
Teaching English abroad isn’t for everyone, but for many, it’s a natural career transition when living in another country. If you’re good with people and want to connect with local culture, then consider becoming a TESL instructor for fun and money.