There are three main costs you’ll need to budget for if you’re planning to teach English abroad: TEFL qualification, pre-departure costs and living expenses for the first few weeks after you arrive in your destination country.
To get a reasonable paid job teaching English abroad you’ll need to do a 120-hour accredited TEFL course as a minimum.
Expect to pay between £200-£400 for a good quality, regulated online TEFL course. If you want to top this up with classroom elements and specialist modules you’ll be looking at around another £100 for each. CELTA courses are far more expensive – at anything upwards of £1,000.
Most countries will require you to get a work permit or visa to teach English legally. Fees vary depending on both your home and destination countries. Check with the local embassy to find out what you’ll need to pay.
You’ll also need to factor in your flight – although your TEFL employer may reimburse you for this once you’ve started teaching. If you tend to be a casual dresser, you also may need to splash out on some professional clothes – and possibly even a suitcase too.
Budget for around 6-8 weeks’ living expenses when you arrive as you won’t get paid until you’ve started work. Unless your TEFL contract includes accommodation (common in South Korea and China) you’ll need to pay for your housing as well as food, travel, medical support and any extras such as sightseeing trips. Check online forums for a rough idea of local costs.
The good news is that the money doesn’t all flow one way. On top of your monthly wage and any extra perks such as accommodation or health insurance, you may well get a completion bonus once you complete your contract. Which will give you a nice pot of money to travel to your next destination!