Teaching English Abroad

This is the third in a series of posts about how to spend your time during extended travels.  Be sure to check out Taking a Year Off After School to Travel and Volunteering Abroad During Your Travels.

Traveling is wonderful but unless you have a big bank account before you set out, you probably won’t manage to travel forever.

A great way to make ends meet abroad is by teaching English.  It doesn’t matter where you are going, chances are there are schools teaching English to people who want to learn it.  You don’t even need a college degree.  What you will need is a TEFL or TESOL certificate.

Let me warn you first: there are an abundance of online TEFL programs that may or may not be recognized by many institutions.  The general consensus is that the best way to get your TEFL certificate is to enroll in a program where you will receive hands-on teaching experience.  Many of these programs are arranged in foreign countries so you have classes for you to begin working with immediately.

Also, these schools can often help with job placement but be careful of any guaranteeing you a job after you finish.  Not many reputable programs will guarantee you job placement and if they do, they’re probably getting a kickback of some sort or even charging you for the service.

The money isn’t great but is typically enough to get by on and put a little bit away for furthering your travels if that is your plan.

The places you can teach are endless, but chances are employment will be difficult to find in most areas of Europe.  Asia, Latin America, and many Middle Eastern countries are probably your best bets.  The classes you can teach can range from adults learning English for business to children who might not even have their own native language skills down yet.  The great thing about this style of teaching English is that you don’t need to know the local language to teach it.  It’s all done with signs, gestures, and other techniques that mean you could teach in China one semester, and Peru the next.  I was pretty impressed the first time I was given a demonstration by a teacher working in Costa Rica.

If you are interested in more information about choosing a TEFL program, I recommend checking out BootsnAll‘s article, How to Choose Your TEFL Certification Program (if at all).

Have you taught English abroad or are you looking into it? We’d appreciate hearing about it in the comments below!

If you like this article please consider subscribing to our RSS or Email feed or following @HavePack on Twitter.

creative commons photo by rudenoon on Flickr

Taking a Year Off After School to Travel

Graduation joy
Creative Commons by Robert Crum

Spring break is wrapping up and the home stretch for many students is now in full force. Soon, students will be graduating from high school or college and ready to move on to the next chapter in life.

Going on to college? Starting their career? These are just the two most likely choices students are facing, but some will contemplate taking a year off. Some will be lazy and do nothing worthwhile, some will get meaningless jobs to make enough money to move out and live off of, and others will venture out into the world. It’s the later that we’ll be looking at today.

Deciding to Travel

Are you considering taking time off from your normal routine to travel for a while? Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Experience other cultures
  • Learn about world history
  • Make new friends
  • Learn real-life skills

Cons:

  • Potentially expensive
  • Putting off job or school acceptance

For High School Grads

If you are about to graduate high school, I’ll assume you are planning on attending college. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t, but that is the typical route students take here in America. Often, the school application process begins in the beginning of the student’s senior year and it might be damaging to put off going directly to college if you have already been accepted. Many times though, admission can be delayed by simply contacting the school in question. If it is a typical public university, this likely is not a problem. If it is Ivy League or a private institution, you might run into problems and if that is the case, you should heavily weigh your options before making a decision.

For those who do decide to take some time off before starting their higher education, they’ll learn valuable real life skills. Spending time traveling around the world can truly help expose you to so many different cultures and experiences that you will certainly not only learn, but possibly be steered to a path that you will eventually want to follow in school.

For College Grads

If you are about to graduate college you’re likely looking at potential employers, brushing up your resume, and determining what type of job you are qualified for.

There’s only one problem: the economy.

The economy is absolutely terrible right now and while I hate to add to the hype surrounding it, the simple truth is that there are very few jobs out there, and definitely even less for new grads. The job pool is huge thanks to all of the layoffs we have experienced across the country and chances are that there is somebody more qualified than you and willing to work for less than they would normally. What does this mean for grads? Get ready for a tough time.

But what if you have the financial means to do some traveling for awhile? Go for it. I can’t guarantee that the economy will recover by the time you get back, but it can’t get that much worse… can it? Maybe I shouldn’t ask that.

So why not hit the road? Find a way to make your travels appeal to employers in the future. Consider volunteering somewhere or doing some writing. It might be difficult to make a living by traveling but you can certainly use your experiences to your advantage. Give this article on making your travels look good on your resume over at Matador Network a read and see if you can come up with some good ideas of your own.

Be sure to check back this week for two more articles about ways to spend a year abroad.

Did you, or are you currently on a gap year? Tell us about it!

If you like this article please consider subscribing to our RSS or Email feed or following us on Twitter.