One of the best things about teaching English abroad is that there are so many destination options! With a high demand for TEFL teachers all over the world, the list of where you could teach is endless. So, how do you decide where to start TEFLing? Start by asking yourself these questions…
1. What do you want to get out of the experience?
It’s important to ask yourself why you want to teach English abroad. Some people might want TEFL to broaden their horizons, give them a chance to get paid to travel the world and see some amazing sights. Whereas, others might want to save money and boost their CV. Where you end up will depend on what you want to get out of the experience. If it’s a good salary you’re looking for, places like China, Japan and the UAE will be perfect for you! But if you’re dreaming of travelling on your days off, you might be better looking at Europe or South East Asia, where it’s easy to get around and you’ll generally have more time off.
2. What are the job requirements?
Job requirements can vary massively from country to country. From places like Mexico – where you’ll be able to bag a job with just a TEFL certificate – to Dubai, where you’ll need a degree in a relevant field and at least 2 years’ experience along with your TEFL certificate. It’s really important to look into the requirements of each country to make sure you’ll be able to land a job there.
3. Can you get the correct visa?
With most TEFL jobs, you’ll need a visa to work in that country. There are a few countries where you might be able to get a temporary visa, or a working holiday visa, if you have the correct passport. If you don’t fall under these categories, you’ll generally need to apply for a work visa. Always make sure you check the visa requirements for your chosen country as some places require you to have a certain passport and a degree.
4. How much money do you want to make?
Will you be happy just breaking even or do you want to make enough to save or cover additional travel costs? In most countries, as a first-time TEFL teacher, you’ll easily make enough money to pay your bills, live comfortably and still enjoy life. But if you’re hoping to be able to put away savings at the end of the month, you’ll have to think carefully about where you want to TEFL. Check out our job guides to get a rough idea of how much you can make and how much it costs to live in each country.
5. What till the start-up costs be?
Start-up costs for teaching English abroad can vary depending on where you want to teach. If you land a job in Japan, the UAE or China, your TEFL contract will generally include flights, visa fees and accommodation, so you don’t need to worry about start-up costs as such. Just make sure you have enough to cover your living expenses for your first month or so (before you get your first TEFL pay cheque!). For other TEFL countries, you might need to pay for your own flights, accommodation and maybe even visas.
6. Who do you want to teach?
If you want to teach children, you’ll find thousands of teaching positions all over the world in private and government schools. But if you’ve got your heart set on teaching adults, you might have to choose you country more carefully. China, Japan, South Korea, Costa Rica, Chile and parts of Europe are prime destinations for adult education! Grab yourself a specialist course in teaching Business English and you’ll increase your chances of landing a job in one of these countries.
7. Can you see yourself living there?
Ultimately, it can all come down to this. Where can you actually see yourself living? Are you dreaming of spending your days off lazing by the beach? Do you want to be able to travel to local countries or have you always wanted to live and work in an uber-modern city with looming skyscrapers? There’s a TEFL country to suit everyone, you just need to work out what you want and if you’ll qualify for the jobs there.
Still unsure? Take our handy TEFL quiz to find out which destination suits you!