Teach English in a Foreign Country

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This post is a companion piece to the Tutoring for Money post earlier this month, but it describes a slightly different version of teaching and tutoring than your typical local neighborhood gig.

If you consider yourself an adventurous person, you might want to consider heading overseas to teach English in a foreign country. Obviously, this gig isn’t for everyone (people with a full-time job they need to keep, for example)- but if you can take time off from your normal life and want to experience a gig like no other- this could be your ticket to world travel.

How to Get Started

Teaching English overseas starts with finding a company to work with. In some countries, English teachers and tutors are in such high demand that companies advertise on expat sites looking for potential workers and pay for the one-way airfare ticket to get you there (you’ll either have to pay for your own ticket home or in some cases get the return ticket after you complete a 6-month or 1-year contract with the company.) Some well-known companies include English First and Wall Street English, which both have branches in many different countries around the globe. The highest demand will be in places where there are few English speakers, such as in Southeast Asia. If you get a certificate or degree in teaching English, your program may help you find a gig.

What You Need to Teach English Overseas

The main requirement to teaching English overseas is that you are a native speaker. A TEFL (Teacher of English as a Foreign Language) certificate will open up a lot more opportunities (and higher pay rates), but it isn’t an absolute necessity in some areas of the world. If you have any teaching or tutoring experience back home, that can help land a better teaching gig.

Things to Keep in Mind

Accept from the start that you’re not going to get a gig teaching English in Paris, Berlin or Rome. If that’s your goal, it’s just not going to happen. There are already plenty of English speakers with degrees in teaching and a passport or visa that lets them stay in western Europe indefinitely, and they’re already taking the jobs there. Eastern Europe might give you a better chance, and even more so if you’re willing to go teach in a rural or out-of-the-way area. Asia offers some of the best opportunities for English teaching- especially China, Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea. Japan has opportunities, but it’s somewhat saturated with applicants to teach, so you need to stand out from the crowd to get a gig there. South America is another option to consider, and English teachers are in demand in Saudia Arabia and other areas of the Middle East. African countries offer a growing opportunity for English teaching, although there are not as many programs available yet in Africa.

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