Travelling and working in a foreign country can be an amazing experience and whether for a year or for a career, the opportunity to use your ability to speak English in order to travel and live abroad is a very real possibility. Not only will you be able to save money while immersing yourself in a new culture, but you will not even be required to speak a foreign language or have any teaching experience under your belt.
No teaching experience does not, however, mean that in all situations a native or fluent English speaker can apply for a position as a teacher in a foreign country. It is not uncommon that a degree is required in order to find a position or simply for the application of a working visa. In china for example the law required that all teachers possess a degree in order to work within the country. The final requirement before flying off to your new classroom is a certificate from an accredited course.
Depending on the country, these courses will have different names but the access to a teaching position remains the same. A Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate can be acquired after completing a course ranging from a 20 hour weekend course to a 120 hour online course taking up to 3 months. An important factor in the choice of the establishment attended is the accreditation as well as the possibility of experience within a classroom. The TEFL and TESOL certificates are intended for English speakers, whether English is their native language or not. The student in the case of TEFL and TESOL is someone from a non-English speaking country who wants to learn English as a second language. The available positions range from schools and language institutions to private tutoring for students.
These positions are available globally with the opportunities in Latin America and Europe allowing first time English teachers to break even while still enjoying your time in a foreign country. On the other hand, while most people would agree that teachers did not choose their career for the money, regions such as Asia or the Middle East grant benefits such as airfare and housing plus the ability to save up to 50% of your income after expenses.
An Average day teaching English in China:
Acronyms you are likely to encounter:
TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Native or fluent English speakers teaching English as a second language to students in a foreign country
TESL – Teaching English as a Second Language
Native English speakers teaching foreigners within an English country
TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Similar to the TEFL qualification with a broader range of topics less thoroughly
TOEIC – Test of English for International Communication
CELTA – Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
TESOL qualification from the University of Cambridge