Everyone has different ways of making money on the road. My secret for 5 years before becoming a full-time travel blogger was to teach English abroad!
I’ve taught in lots of different countries, made excellent money and you can do it too!
I have however made some mistakes too and want to help you get the best experience and salary you can. Read on to find out how I funded my travels through the power of vocabulary and grammar!
I’ve taught kindergarten (nursery), primary (elementary) and secondary (middle) school, University and adults in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Austria / Poland / Germany and China. Please click on each country below for detailed information on what I did, where, how I got that job and how good it was! Make sure to finish reading this article too though! You need to know the essentials first to teach English abroad!
Here’s my top advice for you to teach English abroad successfully…
If you want to teach, it’s good to know whether you actually like it, can do it and are prepared with a toolbox of tricks up your sleeve.
Many jobs need you to have a TEFL certificate with at least 100 hours put into it these days. With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, what’s the easiest and cheapest way you can start?
I personally love MyTEFL. They’re professional, supportive and experienced. They provide a convenient and comprehensive 120 hour online course and they have been kind enough to give all of you 35% off their TEFL certification.
If you do not have a degree, the good news is that you can still teach English abroad.
If you want to get a TEFL certificate and teaching experience at the same time, why not excel in your English teaching and take part in an internship?
Doing an internship (some with a full paid salary) will give you everything you need to get your dream job straight away!
90% of the time, the way I have got a better teaching job has been through word of mouth. Friends have recommended me and forwarded my CV and it’s totally paid off. Most of the best jobs are never even advertised.
Nine times out of ten, being already in the country you want to teach in will get you miles ahead of applicants hunting online. Employers like to hire quick and if you’re literally there for the taking and they can see you face-to-face, they’ll be super happy. Sure, this means paying for your own flight and needing to have some courage to head there but it’s worth it.
If you’re not connected with other teachers, cannot afford to fly into the country yourself or want a guaranteed job before you land somewhere, looking online is a great option. There’s lots of different job websites out there.
MyTEFL have excellent paid internships with a guaranteed job in China, Thailand and Africa where you’ll receive an introduction to the country, the school system, the culture, the language, survival tips and much more.
Good, wholesome places I have also used are:
There are plenty of opportunities for you.
I recommend you read my How to Teach English Online article.
It has lots of information in it about how much money you can earn, what qualifications and materials you need to get started and who to work for. There are many different companies out there and there is one for you. Even if you do not have a degree, there are teaching English opportunities available!
From experience, I recommend not working for big companies. The care, salary and benefits are just not the same as independent schools but still, I wouldn’t knock them completely. Do what you feel is right for you.
Once you get offered a job, make sure you read the contract very carefully. In fact, make sure you actually get that contract in your hands! (you can read about my terrible mistake with a contract in my Vietnam teaching post). You need to be clear on a number of things before you start including:
a) Your pay: is it hourly, weekly or monthly?
b) Do you get paid for overtime?
c) What days you’re working: is working Saturday, Sunday and evenings OK for you or are you a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 person?
d) Your notice period: is it 3 days, 3 weeks of even 3 months? I’ve been trapped before and had trouble getting out of a job that wasn’t for me
e) The expenses you have to pay if you decide to leave your job early
f) Your duties and responsibilities
g) Preparation time: are the materials you need to teach ready for you or do you have to plan and prepare everything yourself?
h) Your benefits! Housing / travel / holidays / health insurance – these are all bonuses that are definitely helpful to have
If your main job allows it, teaching and tutoring privately can really increase your monthly salary. One-on-one lessons are in high demand by students. I will post about how to conduct private tutoring soon. Stay tuned for this!
China and South Korea are definitely in the top 10 as well as countries in the Middle East! It’s not all about the money though. You can teach and earn enough to live, eat and be merry in many places. Go where your interests lie and where you think you can integrate into the culture. Teacake did consider Saudi Arabia once (for 10 seconds) then quickly changed her mind. I wouldn’t last 10 minutes there.
Here’s some great up-to-date articles on where it’s hot to teach at the moment:
The International TEFL Academy and
ESL 101 know what’s up!
Getting a TEFL certificate is definitely the way to start and I highly recommend MyTEFL for their amazing online course. However, there are also some excellent on-site courses too which you may prefer to jump right in and do. I’ll be updating this article with different locations. Watch this space!
If you have your heart set on Costa Rica, Guatemala or Peru, I have heard very good things about Maximo Nivel’s 150 hour on-site TEFL certification prgramme.
Wishing you the best with your future TEFL career and teaching English abroad adventure!