So you’ve got that all-important TEFL certificate under your belt and you’re all ready and raring to go… but to where?! “Where should I teach English abroad” is the burning question everyone wants to know. The answer is, you can teach pretty much anywhere, so the world really is your oyster. Deciding where to teach is a huge decision, so here are just a few things to ask yourself to help you in deciding where to go!
1. Will I be able to obtain a visa?
This may be something you give thought to when deciding where to teach English abroad, but it’s something you should give some thought to. In some countries you are unable to gain a visa without having a degree, such as Japan, South Korea and Thailand, so without one you won’t be able to teach there. There are loads of places you could teach without a degree, but if you are unable to get a visa it will make your decision of where to teach that little bit easier.
2. Would I be able to teach who I want?
If you have your heart set on teaching in private schools or private tutoring to small families, you need to check that is possible in whichever country you are thinking about going to.
3. Will I be able to adapt to the culture?
Most people who TEFL go to experience a different culture, which is one of the main benefits about teaching English abroad. However sometimes the culture of a country can be a little overwhelming, as things can be completely different to your life back home. If you would find it hard to adapt to the culture, then it may not be the perfect move for you. Remember there are loads of opportunities all across the globe so you don’t have to go somewhere you’re not comfortable with.
4. What do I want to get out of the experience?
You need to think are you going to become a TEFL teacher to make money, immerse yourself in a new culture or to do some voluntary work? Let’s face it, you’re not going to make millions as a TEFL teacher, but you can earn a lot more in some countries. For example, you could earn a lot more in South Korea than you would in Ecuador, so you need to think about whether you want to be able to make a good living and maybe save some pennies, or not earn as much but still be able to live comfortably and enjoy your TEFL experience.
5. Will I be able to do the travelling I want to?
Do you want to travel to as many countries as possible, or are you content with staying in one country and immersing yourself in that culture? Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have incredible cultures, but if you’re teaching English here, travelling to other countries can be expensive. However, if you were based in Europe you would easily be able to travel to other countries at a lower cost.
6. Do I meet the minimum requirements to teach English tere?
There is nothing worse than having your heart set on going to a certain country, then realising that you are unable to teach there as you don’t meet the minimum requirements to be able to teach there. Some countries require you to have a degree and a TEFL qualification of a certain number of hours. The requirements for different countries can vary a lot so you should check that you meet these first.
7. Does the country have a strong teaching abroad market?
Countries in Asia have a huge demand for TEFL teachers, whereas in places like South Africa the demand is a lot lower for paid TEFL teachers, so you need to do research into the demand for TEFL teachers. However, don’t just rule a country out altogether if there isn’t a huge demand, you might still be able to find work with the right qualifications.
8. Will I be able to commit to the time frame?
Some countries, such as Spain, have summer schools, so you would only be needed for a few months. In general, most schools require a year’s commitment, but there are some schools that hire teachers for shorter lengths of time. It’s always worth checking the time length of contracts that are usually given in a country.
As well as asking yourself all the following questions, you need to do lots of additional research into the country. Use all the information available to you to help you decide where to teach. You can use i-to-i’s jobs abroad page – to get lots of information on what teaching is like in different countries. For each country you can download a free guide which gives you all the essential information to teaching there. You can also use the groups on Chalkboard to read blogs from people who are teaching in the country – this will give you a really good idea of what to expect in the country.
How did you decide where to teach first? Tell us below!