OK, you’ve handed in your notice, packed your bags, said bye to mum, paid off the credit card (well, most of it) and you’re off on your yearlong adventure. Problem is if you are anything like me you’ve spent a little too long in Europe, enjoyed a couple extra flights in lieu of excruciating overnight chicken buses, sampled a few too many brews in Mexico and before you realize it you are not quite half way through your trip and over three quarters through your budget.
Talk to several different travelers about their travel tips and you probably won’t hear the same answer twice. Everybody has their own preferences and techniques or they don’t bother planning at all. Both sides have their advantages and both have their disadvantages.
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!
creative commons photo by rudenoon on Flickr