6 Reasons Why You’re Still Not Teaching English Abroad

You have no money?  You’re scared of changing your routine?  You think you’re too old?  We won’t be having any of these excuses!  If teaching English abroad is something you REALLY want to do, then you will find a way around it… and i-to-i will be on hand to help you bust those issues that are holding you back.

 Let’s find out why you’re still not teaching English abroad

1.  You have no money

This couldn’t be a better reason for you to start teaching English abroad!  Unless you choose to volunteer, you are guaranteed to get paid for the teaching that you do; which could be anything from £600/$1000 per month in Thailand to £2,300/$3500 per month in Saudi Arabia, which let’s face it, is where the money is at!  On top of this, a lot of countries’ (especially Asia, and sometimes Eastern Europe) employers will provide you with free accommodation – usually nearby your place of work with another English teacher – or at the very least, a housing allowance.  You’ll also find that countries like China and South Korea will also reimburse your flight costs upon completion of your contract.  So you see, the ‘no money’ excuse really can’t hold you back from achieving your teaching dreams!

To find out more about the teaching salaries in different countries take a look at our Top TEFL Destinations Guide.

2. You’re scared of changing routine

Get up.  Eat breakfast.  Go to work.  Go to the gym.  Get home.  Make dinner. Watch trashy TV.  Go to bed.  Repeat.

Does your daily routine sound something like this?  Well, wouldn’t you rather be waking up to a tranquil view of the glistening sea, before starting your job where you inspire students to better themselves; and swap your daily run through a muddy park in the pouring rain to along the beach?  Or even switching those boring ready meals to delicious local cuisine?  You surely can’t be THAT scared of changing your routine!

3. You think you’re too old

Ask yourself this… WHY should you ever be too old to start teaching English abroad?  If it is something you are passionate about, then nothing should stop you; and in fact, many schools prefer more mature teachers as the perceptions are you have more valuable life experience – saying that, if you’re fresh out of Uni, you’ll have an equally good chance of landing your dream job.  You may even want to see places you’ve never been to before, and TEFL couldn’t be a better way to fund this!  Wouldn’t you rather live a life saying ‘oh well’ rather than ‘what if’?  And just think about it: the grandchildren would love a free holiday to an amazing destination!

4. TEFL is your dream… but not your partner’s

So, you have this picture in your head of how your life could be teaching abroad in your favourite country, but your partner doesn’t share the same dream?  Well, there are ways around this: does your partner work for a large corporation where they could get a transfer maybe?  Or is TEFLing something you could convince your partner into doing?  Maybe they’re deterred because they think teaching English abroad is only concerned with teaching children – not everyone is that interested in teaching kids.  Instead, why not inform them that there’s so much more to it than this – they could teach English at University, or even teach business English to professionals.

Ultimately though, when it comes to your future partner, deciding to TEFL is a long-term commitment.  You have to ask yourself which is more important to you in the long-run: your partner, or your teaching career.  If you do decide to go ahead and teach English abroad, there’s nothing wrong in forging a long-distance relationship.

5. You have concerns about moving to a completely new culture

We’d be lying if we said that moving to an entirely new country (with cultural norms very different to what you’re used to) is easy; but that’s actually part of the fun.  Think about how much you will learn – the different experiences you’ll encounter, the amazing new people you’ll meet.  Yes, there will always be things you don’t like about your TEFL destination, but you need to consider how many good things will come from this opportunity rather than focusing on the bad.  It’s also worth remembering that thousands of people teach English abroad every year and love it!

You’ll also find that most TEFL destinations have a really good expat community where you will likely find people in the same position as you.  We’re not saying you should rely on these communities, but they are good place to start making friends while you get settled.

Another great thing to think about if you’re nervous about starting your TEFL adventure would be to consider doing one of i-to-i’s internships in China, Vietnam and Thailand; where you will move to your chosen country with a group of people in EXACTLY the same position as you, and enjoy 24/7 support from our expert partners.

6. Commitments at home

Obviously the thought of moving away from home where your friends and family are is daunting – all of the parties, weddings and Christmases you could miss out on.  However, you have to ask yourself whether sticking around for any of these events will be as valuable, and provide you with such a life-changing experience as teaching abroad would.  Answer this question honestly, and we believe that you’ll come to the right conclusion.

Challenge us!

If you think you have a better reason for why you’re still not teaching abroad (despite wanting to) then  drop us a comment below and our TEFL experts will do their best to help!



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  1. jan de beer

    just a quick question…is a university degree (minimum BA degree) necessary or wil TEFL coarse olny also be allowed?

    • Katherine Hackett

      Hi Jan, You can teach abroad in many countries with just an i-to-i TEFL certificate. Where was it you were interested in teaching? Thanks, Kat

  2. Valerie D. Kennedy

    What if you are teaching at a school which acknowledges TEFL certificate, does i-to-i help you to resumit a resume so your salary can be amended

    • Elle Pollicott

      Hi Valerie, I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. All of the jobs on the i-to-i TEFL jobs board have been vetted and so will offer good salaries; and when you take a course with us, you are able to use our eResume, which is online and available for employers to view. Hope this answers your question, and any more questions, just let me know! Elle

  3. Kremena Dimi

    Are all TEFL teachers single? Can you move to another country teaching English with your family including husband and two kids?

    • Elle Pollicott

      Hi Kremena, no, not all TEFL teachers are single – there are many that are able to move families out there. However, this will vary from country to country depending on visa regulations, and as these rules are constantly changing, it’s not something I’d be able to advise you on unfortunately. Whereabouts in the world do you want to teach? I would suggest that you contact their embassy in your area, or have a look on their website and see what they say. Hope this helps! Elle

  4. Bret Simpson

    I do not have a degree. I feel this limits me greatly, because I am a more mature individual and finances (saving for retirement) are becoming major issues. Teaching in Vietnam or Latin America would be amazing, but how sustainable…? Really? The money is better in Japan and Saudi, but they require degrees. Shame. Thank you.

    • Elle Pollicott

      Hi Bret, unfortunately Japan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam all require TEFL teachers to have degrees, but you don’t need a degree to teach in any Latin or South American country. There are also many countries in Asia like China, Cambodia and Laos that don’t require degrees, as well as Eastern Europe – although admittedly, it’s easier getting a job there if you do have a degree. If you want to look into the requirements for specific countries, you can take a look at our destination pages: http://www.onlinetefl.com/teach-english-abroad/, or you can give us a call on 0113 205 4610 and one of our advisers will be able to talk you through your options.

  5. Terri Moynihan

    I am sixty and have completed a BA in english literature and geography only last year. I have thought about this all of my life but had other commitments but feel now is the time but am I too old? Also I would prefer to be where there are older people around me rather all 20 year olds.

  6. Ali

    I am from India and am a graduate. Am I eligible to take this course?

  7. Marian Spillane

    I will be 61 years old this year. I do not have a degree but have worked in a high school for 11 years teaching english and phonics. Would i be able to teach abroad?

    • Elle Pollicott

      Hi Marian – yes you would! Age isn’t a barrier at all, and being more ‘mature’ can work in your favour in many places as you’re seen as having more life experience. There are some countries that require you have a degree to teach in; like Thailand, Vietnam and the Middle East, but the fact that you’ve been a teacher for the past 11 years is a huge bonus, and you’d be able to find a job in most South East Asian countries, South America and Eastern Europe extremely easily! If you want to talk about this further, I’d recommend you get in touch with one of our expert advisers – you can either do this by requesting a call back here, http://www.onlinetefl.com/contact-tefl-team/call-me-back.html or heading over to our homepage where you can see the local-rate number depending on whereabouts in the world you live. Hope this helps and good luck with your TEFL adventure!

  8. Nelly

    Hi There,I have a few questions…I am currently a student. I am studying towards a BSc Degree in Biology. I study trough a correspondence university, that do have campuses all around the world. will i still be able to do a TEFL course and work overseas whilst studying?…My other concern is, I would like to be in one place the most 8 months..I want to travel to many places, is this possible…Lastly once you have been offered a job, does TEFL help you find residence?….Any advice or feedback will be greatly appreciated

    • Elle Pollicott

      Hi Nelly, thanks for your message. As 120hours of our TEFL course is completed online, you would be able to complete it overseas, and you shouldn’t have a problem fitting it alongside your current studies, as we have many University students who complete their TEFL qualification whilst studying. With regards to your question on residence: we offer TEFL courses which enable you to find a job (one of the ways to do this is by checking out our jobs board and using your eResume), but we don’t actually place you in a job and therefore, we don’t help you find accommodation. It’s something you’ll need to ask your prospective employers – some employers provide you with accommodation free of charge, others with a housing allowance; but they should all assist you in finding housing. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0113 205 4610 to speak to one of our expert advisers.

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