Teaching English Abroad: Why and How?
Teaching English Abroad: Why and How?
Guest post: James Jenkin
Whether you’re just finishing university or looking for something to do during the summer vacation, teaching English abroad is something to consider. Not only is this your chance to add some international work experience to your résumé, it’s also a great way to see the world while doing something valuable and getting paid at the same time.
Boost your graduate résumé
In an increasingly competitive job market, gaining work experience has become a priority for many students and graduates. As a young person entering the work place you’ll also want to stand out from the crowd and have a number of key transferrable skills. So, how can you get this experience and make sure you’re at the top of the graduate résumé pile?
Here’s how spending some time teaching English abroad can help you to fit the bill!
1. Gain transferrable skills
Public speaking: How often have you had to give a presentation at university? Did it bring you out in a cold sweat? The thought of public speaking is terrifying for many, but after a few times standing in front of a large class, consider your fear conquered! Future employers will look at this favorably, as it shows you’re able to deliver your ideas coherently.
Organization: Although you’re used to meeting deadlines at university, teaching English abroad will require a whole new level of organization. Think being a student is a juggling act? Try planning lessons, marking work and still managing to have a social life and explore a new place!
Learn a new language: While you don’t need to learn a new language to teach English overseas, there’s no doubt that after spending a decent amount of time in a foreign country you’ll start to pick up a few key phrases. And if you do want to learn more, being immersed is the best way to get fluent fast.
2. Get international work experience
While most students or graduates look for part-time bar or waitressing work during the summer vacation, teaching English abroad will demonstrate your ability to think outside the box. Aside from the transferable skills gained, the work you’ll be doing is really valuable. This isn’t just a summer or a gap year spent relaxing on a beach (although there’s usually some time for that); you’ll also have the opportunity to do something worthwhile and help others through education.
If you’re mid-way through job applications you can appreciate the difficulty in finding work without that much needed experience – and international work experience is likely to be especially valuable, as most graduate employers do recognize the benefits.
3. Develop yourself – and have fun!
Teaching English abroad is also more generally a great opportunity for personal development. While there’s no doubt that becoming an English teacher is a real job, many graduates take up TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) as a stop-gap between finishing university and starting out on a different career.
The social benefits of teaching English abroad are also extremely tempting – living abroad gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new country, meet lots of new people, and you get to travel on weekends! At i-to-i we like to say that teaching English abroad means you get paid to travel!
About TEFL jobs
To apply for TEFL jobs, you first need an accredited TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course and the ability to speak English fluently!
How long do TEFL jobs last? Full time TEFL job contracts tend to last between 9 months and a year. If you’re looking for something shorter, summer camps take place all over the world and can be anything from 2 weeks to 3 months.
Where can I find TEFL jobs? There are technically TEFL jobs in any country where people want to learn English, which I’m sure you can imagine is a lot of countries! Having said that, the most popular TEFL destinations tend to be in Asia, Europe and South America.
What can I earn as a TEFL teacher? Salaries, like everything else worldwide vary! In a small Mexican village you could be earning $400 a month whereas in large Asian cities, such as Seoul and Tokyo, monthly pay packets are around $3,000.
Whether you’re a student or a graduate, there’s a TEFL opportunity for everyone!
James Jenkin is the academic director of i-to-i TEFL. He has been teaching English as a foreign language since 1994 and has managed English language programs in Vietnam, China and Australia. His classroom career has included teaching Sudanese refugees, Vietnamese government ministers and Chinese airline pilots.
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