Your Next International Adventure? Teaching English Abroad

Your Next International Adventure?  Teaching English Abroad.

  • Do you love international travel and visiting new countries?
  • Would you like to get paid to live in Italy, Thailand or Costa Rica?
  • Do you want to boost your resume and gain new skills?

If you’re looking for your next international adventure, you might want to consider teaching English abroad.  Here are 9 reasons why:

1.     Get paid to live in a foreign country

If you love traveling or you’ve had a great experience studying abroad, then teaching English abroad will probably be right up your alley. As a professional English teacher, you actually get paid a good income to live and teach English in a foreign country, whether it be Spain, Thailand, Argentina or any of 100 other countries.  While it does require start-up costs (usually $1500 – $3000 to cover TEFL certification, travel costs, and supporting yourself until you receive your first paycheck), teaching English abroad is a far more cost-effective way to engage in long-term international living and travel.

In Europe and Latin America, most first-time English teachers make enough income to support themselves, cover their basic expenses (rent, groceries, utilities, etc.) and have a little in the way of going out on the town a couple of times a week and traveling on the weekends.

Those looking to earn extra income should consider English teaching opportunities in Asia and the Middle East.  In countries like China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, most first-time English teachers make enough to save $400- $1,000 a month after expenses and often receive benefits like free housing, airfare, health insurance and paid vacation.

9-2012-Photo-Contest-Alicia-Cesaro-Graduation-Day2.  Experience a foreign country as a local

When you teach English abroad, you don’t experience a foreign country as a tourist from the vantage point of a tour bus, a cruise ship, or even a hostel – you truly immerse yourself in the country as a member of the local community.  You will likely live in a typical apartment in a middle class neighborhood, shop in local markets and enjoy meeting friends in local cafes and bars. As an English teacher, you will meet, interact and become friends with members of the local community from all walks of life.

3.  Gain international work experience for your resume

Want your resume to stand out?  In the globalized economy of the 21st century where goods, investments and communications cross international borders at ever increasing speeds, employers in nearly all sectors seek to hire those with international work experience.  In addition, moving abroad to teach English will prove your initiative, your willingness to take on challenges outside of your comfort zone, and your ability to adapt to new environment.

4.  Enhance your prospects for getting into a great graduate school

From law schools to the MBA programs, top graduate programs and professional schools in nearly every discipline now encourage applicants to gain “real world experience” working and engaging in the world outside of the ivory towers of academia.  Teaching English provides exactly this sort of experience and will also provide for a great conversation starter in interviews (and parties!) that will set you apart as somebody who is unique and interesting.

5.  Fantastic international travel opportunities

It may be obvious to point out that when you teach English abroad and live in a foreign country, you’ll be engaging in international travel, but think of it this way: if you are living in Dallas, St. Louis or Philadelphia, how likely is it that you can take the weekend to enjoy a train ride through Europe or spend your long weekends scuba diving in Thailand?  Not at all, but if you are teaching English in Madrid, Florence or Bangkok, these sorts of opportunities are routine, convenient and affordable.  Furthermore, since you will be paid as an English teacher abroad, you will be able to afford travel to a degree that your friends back home will only dream of.

Italy-AnnieChen86.  Make great friends and connections

Whether it be in China, Costa Rica or the Czech Republic, teaching English abroad provides the opportunity of a lifetime to meet and interact with people from different parts of the world and very few people who teach abroad fail to make lifelong friends while overseas.  Not only will you make friends – whether they be colleagues, neighbors, or your students – from the country where you are teaching, but in most cases you will also interact with a lively expatriate community.  You will meet and make friends with other English teachers from places like Australia, Canada, Britain and Ireland, and from other countries as well. You’ll encounter a lively social scene and enjoy opportunities to meet others with similar interests or passions, whether it be cooking, music, art, sports or anything else.

7.  Learn a foreign language

It’s not a secret that the best way to learn a foreign language is to immerse yourself in it, so what better way to learn Mandarin Chinese, German or Spanish than by living and working in Taiwan, Germany or Argentina.  You’ll be constantly exposed to the local language and have ample opportunities to practice; in addition, language classes will be widely available and cheaper than back in your home country.

8.  In a lousy economy, teaching English abroad offers lots of jobs

In one of the toughest job markets in generations, especially for young college graduates and folks in their 20s, the job market for native or even fluent non-native English speakers to teach English overseas is one of the few sectors where there are always job openings. One reason is that approximately one billion people in the world are taking English classes – 300 million in China alone – so the demand for native speaking teachers is nearly insatiable.  Another factor is that most teachers do not stay in the same jobs for more than a year or two, so there is a revolving door of jobs as schools and language institutes constantly seek new teachers to replace those who are leaving.

KEY TIP!  You DO NOT need to have prior teaching experience, an education degree, or even a college diploma to teach English abroad, but you’ll need to take a four-week (or the equivalent online or part-time) accredited TEFL certification class (TEFL=Teaching English as a Foreign Language) that will provide you with the skills and qualification you need to get hired and become a successful teacher. The vast majority of language schools and institutes will not hire you off the street simply because you speak English!

9.  Make a positive impact on the lives of others

For hundreds of millions of people around the world, learning English is essential for opening up doors to enhance educational and employment opportunities that can truly enable them to provide a better future for themselves and for their families.  As a teacher, you can take great pride in playing an integral role in helping your students achieve their goal of learning English and enhancing their chances to enjoy a better life.


Virtually anybody can teach English abroad, but one key is research.  To learn more, get your hands on this country chart, which compares detailed salaries, hiring requirements, interview procedures and visa information for teaching English abroad in more than 50 countries around the world. You can also request a free downloadable brochure from International TEFL Academy that provides a basic guide to all aspects of teaching English abroad and you can call 773-634-9900 (+02 033 186 930 in the U.K.) to speak with an expert advisor who will review all of your questions about teaching English abroad.

John Bentley is a Senior Admissions Advisor at the International TEFL Academy, which trains and certifies nearly 1,500 people a year to teach English abroad and provides lifetime job search guidance to all students and graduates.  A graduate of Harvard and Northwestern, he wrote for the Egypt-Israel Edition of the famous Let’s Go! Guidebook series and has worked in the field of international travel, education, and journalism throughout his career. John also grew up in Cairo, Egypt and has traveled to 55 countries worldwide. 

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