Can I Teach English Abroad?

You’d be amazed at the different types of people that take TEFL courses and head off to teach overseas.  Everyone from students taking gap years and graduates looking for better job opportunities abroad, to career breakers looking for a change and retired people who want to take advantage of their new-found freedom.  Saying that, a lot of people question: “Can I teach English abroad?”.  Well the answer is yes!  As long as you’ve got a taste for adventure and a desire to teach English, of course you can!

Take a look at the stories from some of our TEFLers to get a better idea of who teaches English abroad.  Then make sure you sign-up to Chalkboard to speak to people who are living and working abroad at the minute.

The Student TEFL teacher

“I made the biggest decision of my life on a cold, dark February morning; stuck in the library doing an essay for the third year of my degree, I decided that instead of returning to university after the summer to do an Honours year, I would go on an adventure!

So I did.  For six wonderful months, I combined backpacking with teaching English in Thailand, an enchanting country I had longed to explore having read about its distinct culture, fascinating history, ancient traditions and abundance of natural beauty.

Before Asia, my only travelling experience had been camping in the countryside and a couple of short European package holidays and city breaks: not much compared to living and working in a country halfway across the world, but I relished the thought of leaving my comfort zone of family, friends and familiar surrounds for an exotic faraway land.” – Alice McBrearty

The Graduate TEFL teacher

“I took my TEFL course with i-to-i in June 2004, a couple of years after graduating. I was stuck in a dull, but well-paid job, paying off my student debts and dreaming of doing something more exciting with my life.

My sister was teaching in South Korea, and a couple of months after receiving my certificate I went to Seoul to visit her.  I hadn’t planned to go as far as Asia to teach, instead I was thinking more about Europe and waiting for a time when I felt I had both enough money and confidence to up sticks and leave.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Seoul and seeing the lifestyle that my sister and her teacher friends lived so much that I left my suitcase behind, flew home to quit my job and a month later flew back out to find a teaching position.  I had several interviews with schools around Seoul, and accepted a job on New Year’s Eve 2004.

I began to teach kindergarten and elementary kids.  It was very daunting at first, but I remembered what I had learned in my TEFL course and after a few weeks it became so much fun that I hardly felt like I was working at all; I felt as though I was getting paid to have a great time.  In addition to that, I got to meet hundreds of new friends and see fantastic places all over the country; as well as taking several trips in my holidays to places like China, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Macau.  I enjoyed it so much: I spent three years in Seoul, and I’m still teaching, but this time I’m in the Czech Republic!” – Daniel Deacon

The Career Break TEFL teacher

“Why did I decide to leave England to teach English in a far-flung corner of the planet, Thailand?  Imagine the scene: recently graduated from Lancaster University; I’ve studied hard my whole life; I did well in school, college and university and now I find myself sat in my second 9-5 telesales job in the space of four months selling insurance, possibly the dullest thing a person can buy.

That was not where I envisaged myself when I graduated.  I had two options: I could stay in the telesales job whilst looking for some dream job to come along in rainy Bolton (during an imminent recession); or I could get out there and make the most of the fact that I was still young, I had no major commitments keeping me where I was (kids, mortgage, wife etc) and there was a whole world out there that needed to be seen.” – Gareth Openshaw

The Retired TEFL teacher

“I’m a CEO of a medium size charity in Wales (45 staff).  As part of my retirement programme I did an 80 hour TEFL course with i-to i; and I shall be heading off to Bodhgaya in Northern India at the end of December to spend six months (maybe even longer) teaching young Tibetan monks English.  My TEFL qualification really will come in handy!  There are a number of reasons why the monks want to learn English: to be able to communicate with western visitors to the monastery and to travel abroad and teach in western centres.  So if you meet a Tibetan monk who speaks with a Geordie/Welsh accent then you’ll know who taught him English!

I’m so looking forward to going – I’ve never been to India before and I am hoping that I may even be able to put my skills in management to good use.  The Head of the monastery intends to establish a Buddhist university for westerners so perhaps I may be able to help there too. I’ll try to keep i-to-i informed of how the English classes are going.” – Nina Finnigan

What kind of TEFL teacher are you? Post a comment below!


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