Teaching English as a second language or another skill in a foreign country is a lifelong dream for many people.
The idea of traveling somewhere brand new, learning a new language and experiencing all a new culture has to offer, from food to music to historical sites, is too good for many to pass up.
Speaking English fluently is a skill many people have, and using their skills to give back to a community in another place. Whether it's an urban center, like Seoul, South Korea or a rural farming community in Italy, it's a great way to give back to others while building upon your own essential skills.
Some people trek to another place to teach English abroad when they've graduated from college, and others travel and teach in their retirement years.
This guide will help you learn how to get
started, share personal stories of those who have already taught
abroad, and tell you everything you need to know to make your mark in
a new place and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Table of Contents
A quick summary by learn.org of the credentials required to become an ESL teacher.
This easy-to-read chart from the TEFL Academy will let you compare degree requirements, salaries, hiring periods, application costs and visa requirements for 50 countries worldwide.
You'll also find individual country profiles here, that share information such as length of a typical contract, possible vacation time plans, cost of living, monthly salary and an idea of the typical student population you would teach, from children to businessmen.
Most teach abroad programs require an applicant to have a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language, or TEFL. This website helps you understand how to get a TEFL certificate online.
This interview with a teacher from Go Overseas explains the pros and cons of getting a TEFL certificate.
In this fact sheet from Go Abroad, you’ll learn seven things to consider before getting your TEFL certificate, such as the costs of different programs, how requirements change depending on your location and some of the challenges of teaching English in a foreign country.
When you take a look at this guide from Nomadasaurus, you’ll find tons of resources to help you begin your journey to teaching English in a foreign country.
The guide lists some benefits to teaching English abroad and explains logistics and requirements. You’ll also find information to help you decide if you should secure a job in a foreign country first, or move to your new home first and then search for employment.
In this four-minute YouTube video from Muriel Dijkema, who taught English in Chengdu, China, you’ll find tips on how to get started and information on how to decide whether to be a private tutor or teach in a larger school setting.
The demand for English teachers abroad is huge.
Over 1 billion people enroll in English classes each year.
To but this in perspective that 13% of the world's population the combined populations of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan and Russia!
A former English teacher who calls himself Nomadic Matt shares tips and experiences for teaching abroad. In this e-book and website, he shares some of his top countries to work in, ideas about salary, some of the hardships of teaching abroad and more.
Here, you’ll find the personal story of a Jamie Bowlby-Whiting, a former teacher who taught English in Turkey, South Korea, Uganda and Poland. He shares some of the best experiences he had while teaching abroad and how teaching abroad has changed his life.
Bowlby-Whiting has written books about his experiences abroad, which you can also find on this website.
Go Overseas provides a list of pointers for teaching in a foreign country. Some of the highlights include steps for making a presentation and tips for structured and free time in the classroom.
The website also offers ideas for what to do if a lesson plan fails with a group of students. You’ll also find a lengthy list of games to play with your students, such as The Board Race, a relay race to share words the students are learning; and Simon Says, to help them understand basic instructions in English.
Language Corps offers job opportunities for people of all ages in 21 countries worldwide, including Italy, Costa Rica, Spain, Turkey and the Czech Republic. They also have a short term volunteer program in Southeast Asia for eight weeks.
The volunteer program combines language certification programs with a teaching position. Language Corps also offers a lifetime guarantee to help you find a job teaching English abroad if you enroll in any program with the exception of their volunteer options.
Go Overseas job board is unique in that they post new jobs daily and work directly with the hiring schools. Recent available positions included a preschool teaching job in Brazil, several jobs in China and Korea and a public school teaching job in Dubai.
The Global Work and Travel Company offers job placement at a variety of locations around the globe, including Thailand, Peru, South Korea, Vietnam and jobs in Europe.
Asia - The Teach English hotspot
Almost every country in the world has some sort of teach English opportunity. But Asia wins the prize for the amount of demand for teachers and because of this your skills will be in high demand.
This includes perks to entice you to teach there.
- Want to teach in China? They're the most likely to reimburse your airfare.
- Singapore catching your eye? As far as salary goes, they're the most likely to pay you the highest salary - $2,800 - $3,500 per month.
- Thailand tempting you? For those not sure about 12 month contracts, Thailand sometimes offer a contract as short as 5 months.
The Evangelical Alliance Mission, or TEAM, is an organization that pairs teaching abroad with Christian missionary work, has more than 350 global teaching and education positions posted on their job board. Recent opportunities include positions in Portugal, Chad and Germany.
CIEE, or the Council on International Exchange, offers job placements in 11 countries including Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Portugal, and Senegal.
The CIEE program is unique because they offer opportunities to teach children in a classroom or professionals, as well as short-term programs that combine volunteer work and travel with teaching.
English First has job opportunities in 80 different cities in China and Indonesia. Programs are one year in length. Applicants can choose to teach English to children, adults, or in an online setting.
The International TEFL Academy shares their views on the 10 best locations to teach English abroad in 2017, including Nicaragua, Colombia and Poland.
Run by Teach Away, this ESL job board bills itself as “eclectic.” Recent job opportunities include ESL jobs in China, Japan, Singapore and Honduras, and range from teaching preschool through college students.
Accredited TESOL and TEFL certifications. UNI-Prep's online TESOL & TEFL Certificate program qualifies an individual to work as an English and ESL/EFL teacher internationally.
Footprints Recruiting shares job opportunities for native English speakers and certified public school teacher across the globe. Recent positions include jobs in Korea and China. Each job posting lists how many available job slots are left, which is a unique category.
GeoVisions encourages applicants to “seek experiences,” (they even use it as a hashtag,) and has a plethora of different opportunities, including positions teaching and volunteering abroad, summer programs, such as a camp counselor in Italy or Thailand, au pair positions in Ireland, Spain and more, and international internship opportunities.
These personal testimonials from people who have received their TEFL certification through an Oxford Seminar course share some of their best experiences from teaching abroad. Stories include a short-term teaching placement in Mexico, a former teacher who made teaching abroad their full time job, and more.
Dave Sperling runs Dave’s ESL Café calls his website a meeting place for ESL teachers and students around the globe. The site has country-specific job boards, a place to post your resume, photo galleries and forums for teachers.
There are plenty of resources for ESL students too, such as grammar lessons, quizzes, lists of slang terms and a forum to connect with other ESL students.
Curiosity Travels follows the life of one teacher as she experiences life teaching abroad in South Korea and Spain.
The American Teacher Overseas blog is different for a few reasons. First, the blog is about a teaching experience in Qatar, in the Middle East. Secondly, this teacher brought her two young sons along to experience life in a new culture.
Red Dragon Diaries shares insights into the daily life of Tom Gates, a former IT professional who began teaching abroad in Korea as an adult. The blog shares useful words to know, challenges of life in a foreign country, teaching tips and travel videos.
Teaching Wanderlust shares the everyday life of Amanda Isberg, “an educator teaching her way around the world, one country at a time.” She has taught English in Venezuela, and shares her life through blog posts and photography.
Mentioned in more than a few “best teaching abroad blogs” articles, Adventures Around Asia is a look into the life of Richelle, a teacher who has been teaching English in China for the last four years.
Join Chase shares the life of Chase Chisholm, a man who is “teaching and biking around the world.” His blog has more than just culture shock and food posts. Chase has lived and taught in Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe and Southeast Asia.
He also shares ideas for current and future teachers, like 11 uses for chopsticks in the classroom and how to keep your holiday traditions when living in a foreign country. His website also offers photographic prints of his travels for sale.
When reading this blog, you’re hearing the voice of Lina, a young woman who is currently teaching abroad in Peru. She has also worked in Roatan Island in the Caribbean and Colombia as well as volunteered at a hostel in Guatemala.
Jimmy ESL calls itself the blog for “everything about teaching English abroad.” The author taught English in Japan for four years and taught ESL classes in Washington, D.C. The blog includes country-specific blog posts and job boards, worksheets for teachers to use in the classroom and ways to submit a guest post to the blog.
This short podcast shares some tips and information for those interested in teaching abroad.
In this episode of the Abroaders podcast, the hosts interview English teacher Josh Plotkin about what it was like teaching in a foreign country.
This podcast shares stories and tips from Michael Adams. Adams taught English in Japan and Oman and shares some of his unforgettable experiences.
ESL Teacher Talk provides podcasts for teachers to help improve lesson plans and creativity in their classrooms. Some recent topics featured were sight words, teaching about holidays and tips to increase motivation for students. Each podcast features stories and games to play in the classroom.
International House offers podcasts on a variety of subjects for English and a second language teachers, including lesson planning, teaching methods, how to correct student errors in class, and ideas to help students in writing and pronunciation.
The TEFLology podcast had a wide range of resources for those who are teaching abroad or teaching English as a second language. The blog was founded in the summer of 2014 and it still updating frequently.
Recent podcasts include topics such as an interview with a linguistics professor in China, grammar lessons and information on international conferences for teachers. The podcasts also allow listeners to send questions to each week’s featured guest via email.
Teaching English Abroad by Susan Griffith is a comprehensive guide to getting your start teaching in a foreign country. The book includes firsthand accounts from former teachers, a directory of TEFL programs and more.
A unique take on teaching abroad, Wilderness U. shares opportunities and insights on teaching students about the great outdoors, both abroad and in the United States.
The Voluntourist is author Ken Budd’s firsthand account of doing good in the world by volunteering around the globe. Budd shares stories of volunteering with children in China, working at a refugee camp in Palestine and more.
Using 28 stories to represent the 28 million African people affected by AIDS, author Stephanie Nolen shares personal accounts of people in Africa who are dealing with or have lost someone to the disease.
The stories include Nolen’s account of sharing a ride with a truck driver in Kenya, meeting a 14-year-old who was the caretaker for her younger brother in Ethiopia, meeting an HIV positive nurse in Malawi, and more.