Teaching English Abroad: Answers to the Big Questions

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If you love to travel but are more committed than just a two week trip to Italy, you might be considering living abroad. If you work or have studied in certain industries, your work visa will likely be easy as pie to finagle, but if your background is a little less marketable overseas, teaching English could be one way to score yourself a job, a place to live, and a fulfilling experience somewhere new. If teaching English is something you’re interested in, there a number of questions you’ll probably want answered. Here are just a few answers to help get you off to a good start.

Am I Qualified?

The answer to this question depends on the program and country you are looking to apply through, but its likely that if you have a college education you’re going to be able to find a job somewhere without a problem. Some programs will require you to speak the native language as well as fluent English, and some programs will require you to have a teaching background.

But many just require you to speak fluent English and to have gotten your bachelors degree. There are also programs that will require a TESOL or TEFL certification, something you can get easily enough by taking a fairly manageable class online or in person. But while having the certification certainly helps when you’re looking for jobs you qualify for, it isn’t absolutely necessary.

What Program Should I Choose?

This depends on your priorities. For example, the country you live in may be the most important thing to you — in which case, you won’t be able to be as choosy. But the most important thing is to read reviews on the program you qualify for and choose to go research. Some may be deceptively easy to get jobs with, but are terrible at hosting teachers and following through on payment. Nothing would be worse than showing up for your new job only to find that it doesn’t exist, or has been delayed.

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