Work Abroad – Teach Abroad

Teaching English can be a great way to work abroad. You’ll be able to travel abroad, and live somewhere for an extended period of time and really soak up the local culture. The qualifications can vary, but for the most part, you don’t need much training to teach English abroad – if you can read this blog, you’re half way there.

For English Teachers working abroad, most employers require a Bachelors degree, but almost any field is acceptable. Often times you can just show up, and find a job, although the market is changing all the time, and I’d recommend a bit of planning before you hit the road looking for work abroad.

A Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification is usually a good idea, but not always required. A TEFL certificate will certainly help you find work, and if you are considering teaching as a career, it’s a necessity. If you’re just looking to dabble, you might be able to get by with just your bachelors degree.


because British and Irish teachers don’t need work permits or Visas to teach in other European Union countries. If you have your heart set on Jobs can be found just about anywhere that there is a need to learn English. Just about every non-English speaking country is looking for native English speaking teachers, so you have a lot of options. It can be difficult for Americans to secure a position teaching in Europeworking abroad in Europe, teaching English, there may still be some opportunities available, you’ll just have to sell your skills a little harder.

In some cases, you can make pretty good money, but don’t plan on getting rich by teaching abroad. You should be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle while you are there, but you probably won’t take much home. You might consider spending your extra cash on traveling to neighboring cities and countries. Not only will you get a fun break from your teaching schedule, but you will gain a better understanding of the culture and the language of your host country.

Next week: Working Holidays

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  • Kathleen

    Teaching English is a great way to support yourself abroad. I kicked myself for not getting a TOEFL certification before I went to work in Ireland last summer (and they speak English there!). But do be careful. A good 10 or 20 percent of the English teaching jobs in China are a little rough on the teacher. A good friend of mine ended up in an industrial city with no other English speakers, trying desperately to get her host family to give her access to the toilet paper and eventually coming home early when her crooked boss tried to steal her passport. She doesn’t regret going, but she definitely regrets not having done her research before she went.

  • Rachel Lewis

    For a skeptical Brit the idea of working abroad in an American summer camp can come as quite a shock to the system. Growing up in the UK I never experienced any environment that could possibly prepare me for the culture I experience when I spent a summer living with, and teaching, underprivileged children in the Pocono Mountains. However I have to say that it was the most rewarding experience of my life. Not only was I able to recapture my childhood…but I did it with cheers!
    As well as learning all about the cultures of a summer camp and the close kinship of its members I was able to experience some of that East Coast Soul, while I traveled around Philly, New Jersey, New York, and Washington… before of course heading over to see what the West coast had to offer! I felt so privileged to have been able to take in so many different cities and ways of life in that one summer abroad, and I am eager to see what the rest of the world has to offer! So here’s to another chance for adventures…

  • H’Rina

    Instructing English in Vietnam for college credit was awesome and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a trial run at being a teacher. For me, this meant getting tossed into a classroom of forty high school students, supplied only with a pockmarked chalk board, a few nubs of chalk and my wits to breathe life into a grammar lesson. Sound daunting? Indeed it was but also rewarding. I created English lessons based on hip hop history and American civil rights leaders, engaging students to discuss and ask questions in a language that I was helping them acquire.
    But it wasn’t all daisies. Being a teacher can be a draining balancing act. Due to Vietnam’s history of giving law-making positions to the most scholarly, one who is educated enough to be a teacher is granted the respect normally relegated to a priest, cop, or mayor—all rolled into one. Even I was automatically placed on a pedestal and expected to be a holier-than-thou pillar of respectability. It’s a tricky role to play considering the bouts of debauchery are practically a rite of passage of college-sponsored travel abroad. I imagined that I plummeted quickly out of the high esteem of my fellow Vietnamese teachers once they realized that I was simply a half-crazed university student, who impersonated an English instructor and pined for the occasional night at the pub.
    Word to the wise: Vietnam remains very traditional. Though this county has been infiltrated with by western media, MTV’s rump-shaking videos shock Vietnamese audiences as Elvis’ pelvis-swiveling debut did in the 50’s, in America. Not to my surprise, I was susceptible to the traditional expectations of a woman although I wasn’t prepared for how much cultural mores would chafe against me in daily life. For example, wearing a tank tops or going out alone was considered inappropriate and unacceptable to a respectable woman—and more so to a teacher. On some level, I understood the need of propriety and safety, but dressing comfortably and exploring Ho Chi Minh City were two things I wasn’t willing to sacrifice. Alas, a textbook example of culture clash.
    Often teaching helped me cope. For example, in preparations for International Woman’s Day, a class that was ninety-percent female requested to learn about the women’s liberation movement in America. Hence, a sort of symbiosis was reached: the students needed to hear about it just as much as I needed to teach it.